Big life decisions…we all have our own methods, thought patterns and people that we rely on to help make them. Career decisions are in this bucket and career mistakes are common. We leap before we look or stand at the precipice of change and stare while everyone else swims in the river of opportunity.
Hopefully, you assess your career progress regularly, such that when opportunity knocks you are ready to assess its impact on your career rather than feel disarmed or disrupted. If you are great at what you do, you probably have new opportunities chasing you from time to time…so let’s think ahead to that pivotal moment when decisions must be made.
What ideas should shape your framework when an offer is on the table from a new company? How do you know when it’s time to say yes?
Think People not Corporation/Status.
Though business model factors are vital, the greatest impact on your career potential, passion, and fulfillment will be the people you surround yourself with not the inanimate business itself. Consider the key people who you are interviewing with - up and down the ladder. Do I believe in these people? Will they believe in me? Are synergistic elements present among key collaborators that multiply into great and rewarding outcomes?
Think Business Model Not Numbers.
The most basic career pitfall is short-term thinking. Do I like the job and what it pays? Companies are smart enough to communicate long-term vision, but most jobs exist as a function of relatively short-term business objectives and are paid accordingly. Changes in market forces that might affect how valuable your position becomes, are not a primary consideration for management decisions in the best interest of the company. You must be aware of the core value proposition of your business, changing markets and technology, and how your role contributes over time to those changing dynamics if you want your skills to stay in demand over a long and fulfilling career. This applies equally to your existing job and all opportunities you might consider. It is your job to be in demand, not your company’s or even your boss’s.
Think Challenge not Comfort and Benefits.
This is clear cut. The rarer your contribution is, the more indispensable you become. Solve the more complicated problem…stretch yourself to uncomfortable places and you’ll likely grow into the challenge. Who you become is way more important than your initial comfort and the measurable benefits.
“Can’t say No” is the new “Yes”.
A clear no doubt “Yes” can be elusive with big decisions – especially amidst the natural fear that accompanies change. At some point the preponderance of the evidence gives way to an internal sense of how you would feel if you said “No”. I often tell candidates near the finish line that if you can say no, you probably should…or you still need more information. If your discovery process is objective and thorough, “Yes” is really the internal honesty that you can’t say “No”.
Wherever your career journey takes you, proactive thinking on a more regular basis about how you make big decisions will increase your readiness for what lies ahead...regardless of whether you stay or go.