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How to Avoid Desperate Career Decisions

19 May 2016

You want more from your career. More recognition, more advancement, and in some cases, more interesting and meaningful work. None of this is unreasonable considering you spend a good part of your day, and a large portion of your life at work. Yet why do you sometimes make desperate career decisions that move you further away from achieving this ?

All too often, I meet people who are dissatisfied about certain aspects of their life or career, yet are reluctant to take meaningful action to address it. It could be for many different reasons - self doubt, fear of failure, being uncomfortable with change or sometimes just plain complacency. 

Being in pain is debilitating. I know I seem to be side tracking but bear with me. I suffer from severe sinusitis and a few weeks ago it flared up. Badly. For days, I felt horrible. I had a headache that just won’t go away. My mind felt foggy and I couldn’t think straight. Walking around like a zombie, all I could do was barely function to get through the day. When it cleared, it was like a giant fog lifted. The effects were immediate. My energy returned. My thoughts were clear. And I just felt better about life overall. It struck me then that being in emotional pain is no different.

When you’re stuck in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction, you’re in emotional pain. And that is just as debilitating. The danger when you don’t do anything to address it is that the pain builds. To the point it gets so bad, you’ll consider anything just to get away from it. I see this with some folks I work with. They get to the point they’re so unhappy with their jobs, they’re tempted to leave for a different role even when the new job isn’t a whole lot better.

I call that the ‘push’ factor. The pain points in your current role build to the point you’re pushed to consider something else. Anything else. You’re in avoidance mode and your career decisions are being pushed along, influenced more by what you don’t want.

Conversely, personal leadership is about being in the driver’s seat. It’s about taking the reins to direct where you want your career to go. And it starts with identifying your personal ‘pull’ factors - clarity about the kind of work that is satisfying and meaningful to you. Work that also leverages your strengths so that you can achieve the recognition and advancement you deserve. 

When you have this clarity, your career is being pulled forward by intentional choices that advance you towards a higher goal. A career that gives you meaningful success.

If you are unhappy with your current job or career, don’t let the pain build till you’re making desperate career decisions just to get rid of the thorn in your side. Be proactive to identify your ‘pull’ factors. Have the courage to make the hard choices. You absolutely can get more from your career.

Are your career choices driven mainly by ‘push’ or ‘pull’ factors ? Only you can answer that. 


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