Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Second-guessing your career path
Having doubts about your career decisions is normal – at least for people I talk with about choosing a career and in my own experience. Like buyer’s remorse, you may feel a twinge of uncertainty as the financial aid office cashier takes your check and your decision to enroll in that master’s degree becomes final. Or when you attend your first staff meeting at a new job and you feel out of place – and out of your depth. Or opening your business doors and for the first few hours you don’t make a single sale.
These gut-clenching moments are a natural part of taking risks, a necessary part of career growth. Ideally, you want to be in a position to go back over, in your mind, the process you went through to make your decision. You want to be comfortable that you looked at all your options, learned about them, and thought about the consequences before making your decision.
One step we recommend in making a good career decision is to think of all the obstacles and consequences you will face from your chosen path, and to anticipate your responses to them. For example, if you know a significant other (family, friend, partner) will criticize you for your decision, decide how you will answer that criticism – before you receive it. (that school is too expensive, all lawyers are crooks, men don’t become nurses, etc.) Often, second-guessing your career path occurs when you receive negative comments about your choice. If you’re already prepared for criticism, then there is nothing new to think or worry about. You’ll be prepared, as I was, to cheerily say “not ALL lawyers are crooks – I’ll be the 1% exception!”