At a Professional Crossroads?
How to Choose the Path That’s Right for You
By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
Making a career choice and staying with it is not as easy as it sounds, especially in today’s economic climate. It can be nerve-wracking to go through the process of choosing a path especially when you’re not sure where it will take you long-term. The challenge in today’s world is that it is no longer a career ladder but more of a career rock climbing wall where you go up, maybe lateral and take a step down a bit to climb back up.
So how do you know which path to take? How can you be sure that you are headed in the right direction?
Consider these thought processes to help you make the career choice that's right for you:
1. Believe in the worth of your efforts. Only you know how much work and effort you’ve put into making yourself ready for the ideal career. And, as the saying goes, “You get out what you put in.” If you are genuinely satisfied that you’ve made the most thorough preparations, then pat yourself on the back and go for it!
· Consider how your skills and achievements measure up to others in positions similar to the one you want to be in.
· Determine if the success you’ve achieved thus far has equipped you to take the path you most want to take. If not, figure out how to bridge the gap through continuous training, conferences, and education
· Review your accomplishments and trust that you have what it takes!
2. Know your career goals. One of the most significant aspects of choosing the right career path is determining what you want to achieve from it. Take a look at the options in front of you. How are they in alignment with your goals?
· Do you see yourself becoming the youngest CFO in the Northwest if you choose Option 1?
· Will the recognition you desire be forthcoming after two years working in Option 2?
· Can you safely say either option will allow you to reap the financial rewards you’re aiming for?
3. Do it for all the right reasons. When chasing success, it’s very easy to get sidetracked by all the frills that seem to come with it. In fact, you may even lose sight of why you’re chasing a particular goal! Why would you choose a particular path? Is it to fit in with peers? Is it to prove to naysayers that you actually have what it takes?
· If you want satisfaction, always choose the path that makes you happy and gives you pride in your achievements.
· Can you imagine doing this type of work long term?
· How will this job affect your lifestyle?
· Is this a job that expects 70+ hours a week? Is this a good choice for you and your family? Sometimes it is so weigh your options.
4. Never compromise your beliefs. Above all, what’s ultimately important when at a professional crossroads is sticking to what you believe in. It can be really tempting to jump at an offer that seems to have everything you ever wanted, with the “small” exception that you have to step on toes to get to the top!
· If you don’t believe there’s an ethical way to achieve the professional success you want, think long and hard about whether or not this is the right path for you.
· Usually, the choices that are the hardest to make are the best ones to make. It might not seem lucrative now, but you’ll never know what’s around the corner!
Remember that all that glitters isn’t gold! Sometimes the best road is the roughest road because at the end of it will be all the goals and successes you always dreamed of. Always remember to stay true to yourself and your goals; success is inevitable if you do!
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