Assuming you have chosen a clear career goal and strategy, the next step is to answer key questions about your rationale, readiness, alternatives and decision points. Each answer should clarify your actions and reinforce your decisions. Here are a few of the key questions to consider:
- Do I have all the important information or facts that I need for a decision? Beyond the usual who, what, when, why and where, career decisions have to include the marketplace; the supply/demand equation for your function, by industry and location; the organizational level (staff, supervisor, manager, director, VP); past experiences and performance; the quality of references; state-of-the-art technology skills; total compensation opportunities (now and in the future); remote versus office proficiency; and job specifications.
- Do I have to make a decision immediately? Is it the right time? The quickest decision may not be the right one, unless you’re 100% sure. Reflect on all the information you need given the economy, projections and your probability of success. Also consider your contingency plan if it doesn’t work out. What is your Plan B?
- Should the decision involve others? Certainly, the family/partners/commitments and how you leave your current job all needs to be considered. Your legacy and reputation are potentially at stake. What do mentors and coaches say about your readiness or risk factors? How about someone who has had this kind of job before?
- What are my alternatives? Every decision has alternative options. Expand your thinking to “what is possible” rather than just “do I want this job”. Consider alternatives that are out-of-the-mainstream rather than what everyone else is doing. Be unique and special. Will moving sideways give you a skill set or experience that will accelerate your career later on?
- What are the pros and cons of each alternatives? Do a deep dive into each alternative available to you. You owe it to yourself to look at each alternative in an objective and thorough way. The pluses and minuses will show you the best path to follow. If the pros and cons are equal for one alternative, don’t move forward. Reconsider that choice.
- What are the implications for each alternative? Each alternative has far reaching implications. Carefully assess how each alternative will support or detract from your longer-term goals. Some implications will launch you in a positive way. Others not.
- What are the potential financial and non-financial costs? There is a cost to everything. Even a non-decision is a decision and has a cost in time, effort and opportunity. Make two lists, financial and non-financial, to fully understand how each decision can affect you and your career.
- Is it in my best interest to make a decision? While others can attempt to influence your direction, only you can make the ultimate career decision. Only if a decision is right for you, can it be right for others, the new organization, and the stakeholders you will be working with and serving.
Honest and objective answers to these questions can prevent a career disaster.
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