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Issue: July 13, 2003
CAREER PROS:Stalled by Indecision
by Carole Kanchier
Brian says his job as an accountant "pays the bills," but he would like something more satisfying. He's been offered a similar job with another company, but he's not excited about it.
If you were Brian, what would you do? Change occupations? Try another company? Start your own business? Take time out? Grin and bear it? Change another part of your life?
Any course of action requires making a choice. Are you a good decision maker? Answer "yes" or "no" to the following.
When making major decisions, I:
The more you answered "yes", the more apt you are to make wise career decisions. Following are some guidelines to enhance your decision-making ability.
Identify the problem. Determine what's causing your dissatisfaction. Is it your job or another part of your life? Ask yourself questions such as what you like and dislike about your job, and whether the problem areas can be resolved without leaving. Identify other appealing alternatives.
Define and face the barriers. Describe the attitudes that are preventing you from making a move. Examples could be fear of losing a secure income; fear of losing power or making a mistake; not knowing what you want; or guilt that change may interfere with relationships.
Make a list of safeguards and resources that can minimize these barriers. Then make a commitment to act, whether that means making a change or staying put.
Prepare. Get to know yourself better by identifying your passion and mission. A good start is to acknowledge your deepest dreams. Also identify the skills, needs, values and other personal qualities you want your job to encompass. As well, specify your desired work locale, authority and responsibility levels, and lifestyle.
List your options and investigate each thoroughly. Research reduces risk. Read books and directories, surf the Internet, interview successful people in the field, take courses, attend professional meetings, shadow someone in your desired job, do volunteer or part-time work.
Check salary, benefits, educational and licensing requirements, job duties, work environment and related occupations. Determine personal qualities required, whether the occu-pation will meet your needs and other personal requirements. Note the lifestyle of workers and determine how to get started.
Narrow your options. Evaluate the alternatives using both intellect and intuition.
For an objective assessment, list all your job options across the top of a page. Down the side, write all the criteria important to you, such as sense of purpose, challenge, use of skills, time for family, commute, growth potential, etc. Give each option a rating of +1, 0 or -1, for each criteria. Tally the scores you've assigned to each option and compare the results.
Also listen to your intuition. Search your subconscious for answers. For example, ask a question before falling asleep. The answer may come to you in a dream or upon awakening. Keeping a dream log can help. Note the various internal and external cues you receive upon awakening and during the day.
If a decision doesn't come, don't force it. Give your question time to percolate. Get involved in activities. Typically, intuitive insights both precede and follow exhaustive use of analysis and logic. That's why creative insights often come when we're sleeping or doing routine activities.
Clarify your goal. State what you want. Not what others think you should do. There is no such thing as a wrong decision if you do it for the right reasons.
Develop an action plan. Put your plans in writing, breaking them down into manageable steps. Indicate dates for completing each activity, people involved and resources required. Make your plans flexible.
Focus, work hard and believe in yourself. Be sure to associate with people who believe in you as well. Their positive support will boost your confidence.
In time, making good decisions will come more naturally. Your success will boost your courage and enhance your willingness to take risks, both of which are vital elements of career success.
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