Beyond the comfort zone for your career

Going beyond the comfort zone when reviewing your career.

So another year so nearly over, bar being sexually harassed by Jones from accounts at the company Christmas binge and gropathon on a floating vomitorium. Now is the time, with a Bacardi Breezer in one hand and a half empty bottle of warm chardonnay in the other, for some sober reflection on how your career has stacked up this year and how you would like it to play out in the coming year.

In simple terms there are two different approaches to career decision-making. The traditional approach is to think before you act. The prescription requires us to reflect carefully on our perceived strengths and weaknesses, to consider our interests and preferences, to identify our values and to be aware of our skill set. Then we consider the array of occupations that best fit the results of our thinking. The best fitting occupations become our vocational goals.

Reviewing your career

There is much to commend this approach, especially if you have been guilty of making impetuous career-decisions that have ended badly. Maybe it is time to appreciate where your talent lies. Maybe this will be the year when you realise you are too old to become the next teen sensation and instead focus your energies on something better suited to your skills.

The alternative approach is to act before you think. Before you think I am promoting reckless abandon – slow your thinking down to consider the issue in more depth. Changing careers means moving to an uncertain future. Most of us struggle with being comfortable with uncertainty. For that reason we tend to place more emphasis on the potential downsides that we can imagine and underestimate the possible upsides.

In other words, it is common for people faced with making decisions that are going to have uncertain outcomes to raise many objections to taking action, preferring instead to stick with an unsatisfactory status quo in preference to the risk of an appalling alternative. This kind of thinking becomes a potent barrier to action and if left unchecked, may contribute to you getting stuck in a repetitive rut.

Read more of this article in the Sydney Morning Herald here