At some point in our lives, we all come to a career crossroads. Sometimes it’s that you’ve been an entrepreneur for many years, and miss the stability and consistency of a corporate job. Other times it’s that you’re ready to leave your corporate job behind to strike out on your own. Sometimes it’s just that you’re not sure if a new job offer or promotion is what’s best for you or your career.
Career decisions can be some of the most challenging that we make. So much weighs on our jobs – from our finances to our family life, to the ever-elusive work/life balance or work/life integration. So, what do you do when you’re at a crossroads and aren’t sure of next steps?
Evaluate What You Really, Really Want
This is the toughest but most necessary step you’ll take when making a big career decision. What do you want out of this new opportunity? Or, more importantly, will this new opportunity bring you what you want out of your life and work?
Sometimes new opportunities, or big career-change decisions, come with a healthy dose of pros and cons. The new job you’re considering may be the perfect way to climb the ladder, but it might cost you your Saturdays with your family. Taking the leap to entrepreneurship might free your time up in ways you never could have imagined, but it can also come with financial stress and instability. Maybe you’re ready to sell your business or partner with another firm because being a business owner is taking too much of a toll on you – but you’re worried about sacrificing your freedom and being your own boss.
There will always be good and bad with every career decision. Evaluate what you truly want out of your life (or even just the next 5-10 years), and use that information to make an empowered decision.
Decide if This Move Is What’s Best for Your Career – and Your Personal Well Being
Although this move may be a perfect fit for your career right now, is it going to be a perfect fit for your personal life and goals? There’s no point in sacrificing your mental health or wellness, or even your family’s wellness, for a career move that won’t bring you exactly what you’re looking for. Carefully evaluate your decision – is it going to be a “win” in every area of your life?
Talk It Through With Key Shareholders in Your Decision
This might sound silly because you probably haven’t ever thought about who the “shareholders” of your life are. In truth, you get to decide who these people are. For most, it’s their spouse or partner, their kids, and possibly close family or friends. These people have a vested interest in your personal happiness and well-being, your career success, and your decision will have an immediate and direct impact on them.
Talk through your decision with these key shareholders in your life, and take their opinions into account. However, it’s also important to remember that even though their opinion matters, this is ultimately your decision to make.
Take Some Time to Think
The most important thing to remember is that these decisions don’t happen overnight. Take the time you need to come to a conclusion, and don’t be afraid to ask for more time if needed from a future employer, a spouse or partner, or even yourself. Give yourself the room and grace to talk this decision through, and to determine what path is best for you.
Have you ever taken a personal off-site planning session for yourself? It could be just getting away for a day. Going somewhere nice, where you can spend time, without distractions, no technology and really dig deep, think, dream, imagine and plan. It’s quite liberating. I do this 2 to 3 times per year and every time I find new mental strength, more clarity and more energy to keep reaching for my dreams! Highly recommend you try this soon.