8 Ways to Make Better Career Decisions

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  • March 31, 2016
Career Decisions

There are times when we reach a crossroads in our lives and we have to make a career decision. Career decisions can be challenging.

Many times we end up working jobs that aren’t helping us grow or aren’t maximizing our full skillset. We end up feeling undervalued and yearn for something more.

Taking the next step can be stressful and nerve-wracking especially if we’re uncertain about what’s next.

Stalling and waiting helps no one. It doesn’t benefit you or your employer, so it’s normally best to give it some deep thought and make a decision that will start moving you in the direction you want to go.

Follow Your Intuition

Deep down inside we always know what we want to do. It’s the same feeling telling you that your current job isn’t cutting it anymore. We may not have all the answers but our emotions clearly provide us with all the information we need to make a decision.

If your job no longer feels like it’s supporting your growth and the path you want to take, it’s time to move on. Just because you don’t know what that next step is doesn’t mean you should remain stagnant.

Trust your intuition and start moving forward.

Don’t Listen To What Others Tell You

When all is said and done, this is your life. Letting others tell you what to do is not going to help you achieve the career goals you have.

It’s natural to turn to our family and closest friends to get input, but don’t be surprised by the advice you get. You may have ambitions that don’t align with their points of view.

The thing about the people closest to you is that they care about you and they want the best for you. This typically results in them advising you to take the safest and surest path because they don’t want you to fail.

Though the safest and surest path will be the most common advice from your closest peers, it is likely not the path to the life you want.

Don’t Do What You’re “Supposed” to Do

Normally we stay at jobs until we’re promoted or find a similar job with a slight pay increase at another firm. This is fine but will probably not lead you to finding a career that fulfills you. Finding a career that is fulfilling will require a more active approach.

Sometimes this may require doing a complete 180, going from one job type to completely different one. It might mean quitting your consistent, paying corporate job to pursue a new avenue or taking a pay cut and moving into a different role to learn new skills.

It’s easy to keep going down the path you’re on, it’s comfortable. Yet finding a career that lights you up or harnesses your personal talents will require some searching.

Don’t keep going down a career path just because it’s what you’re “supposed” to do.

“If you limit your choices to only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise.”

–Robert Fritz

Be Willing to Look Wrong

When we step onto a brand new career path we run the possibility of making a mistake. We can’t know for certain whether a career path is for us or not until we do it. There is no shame in that (It’s actually GREAT!)

Learning what we don’t like is just as important as learning what we do like.

Having the courage to make mistakes gives us the freedom to take paths and explore avenues we may not have otherwise.

Yes, you may face some friends and colleagues saying “I told you so” when your new career path doesn’t unfold, but think about how good it would feel to have a career that you’re passionate about – a career that fuels your growth. Now isn’t that worth it?

Understand You Can Turn Back

If you’re a hard working employee and you leave your firm on good terms you will always have the option of returning. Employers know how challenging it is to find reliable and hard-working employees.

If you leave to pursue a new venture, it doesn’t mean that door is closed forever. You can always go back in 6 months or a year and see if the position is available. You’re more likely to get hired because they already know you and you already know the business, meaning they would only have to provide minimal training for you to start working again.

Even if your old company isn’t hiring, there will normally be similar opportunities in that industry. Having experience in a specific field is valuable to employers. If they see specific experience on your resume they’ll likely give you a shot.

New Opportunities Will Arise

We’ve all heard the saying, every new beginning starts when another opportunity ends. This can’t be any truer than it is in the career world.

As soon as we’re out of work or looking for a new job, friends and colleagues start sending you new job opportunities. You start sitting down with people you know to see if anyone in their network may potentially be looking to hire someone with your skill set.

If you’re not actively looking for a new career it’s not going to happen. There are so many websites that list new opportunities every single day. LinkedIN, Indeed and Craigslist are only a few of the options you can use to begin your search.

New opportunities only begin when you are ready to close the chapter behind you.

Have Faith in Yourself

Taking on a new career will require a leap of faith in your abilities and talents.

It can be a little unsettling leaving your old job to pursue a new path but keep in mind, if your current job is not bringing you the fulfillment and growth you want, it’s exactly the right step.

Betting on yourself is always the right thing to do. If you feel like your talents and abilities aren’t being fully appreciated by your current employer, it’s time to move forward.

Have faith in your abilities and pursue an opportunity that will bring you the growth you’re seeking.

Commit to Your End Goal

Sometimes we’re not always certain about the path ahead but if we have an end goal in mind it can be a lot easier to navigate to our destination.

Sometimes we may have to gain some experience in a field or sector in order to land our dream job. Be patient and take the necessary steps to achieve your end goal.

This may require going back to school and taking some courses or it may require learning some brand new skills. Stick to your vision and you’ll end up there in due time.

Career changes can be the most difficult and rewarding challenges we face throughout our lives.  Although they will always be stressful, we can still feel confident in our abilities to make the best decisions for ourselves.

Make your own choices and don’t be afraid to take risks. It is ok to be wrong, you can always regroup and try again.  You know what is best for you.  Trust your intuition and go after your dream career-at the end of the day, no one is responsible for your career and happiness but you.

To all your endeavors,


PS. I was inspired to write this post from all the recent conversations I had. I recently gave up my consistent corporate paying job to pursue a career in blogging and podcasting. Through this process I’ve had an insane amount of people reach out to me and share the pains/struggles they’re facing in their personal careers.

All these conversations motivated me to write this post. So to everyone who reached out, this post goes out to you. Thank you for opening up and sharing your pains. May you have the strength to take you where your heart desires.