Have you been faced with a choice and not sure which direction to take? This happens to all of us at some point, and to varying degrees. Indecision can be stressful, especially when something’s riding on it, such as getting a job. I’ve seen people struggle with decisions relating to their job search and career, when they’ve needed a sounding board to work things through. Some scenarios include:
- Choosing to study one course over another
- Whether to attend the interview or to withdraw the application
- Deciding on the right time to return to work after an extended break
Often it boils down to having confidence about which path is best for you. A part of you knows what the right choice is, but your inner voice may be saying something different. These doubts may stem from the fear of stuffing up or rejection, letting someone down or missing out on something better. Or there could be other reasons.
Symptoms of indecision may be:
- Taking the easy option and regretting it (or wondering “what if”)
- Sabotaging the idea or opportunity
- Procrastinating (or doing nothing at all)
Here’s some practical decision-making tips:
Write a pros and cons list. This is a quick and easy way to analyse a decision. You can even create a weighted pros and cons list to indicate the importance of each factor in the list. Just as recruiters have set criteria for the ideal candidate, draw up your own “must haves” for your ideal role or company.
Do your research. Being informed helps minimize the risk in making a wrong choice. If job location is important to you and the workplace is a 40 km drive away, drive there in peak hour to see how long it takes. Sometimes the job advertisement doesn’t give much detail about the organisation so do a Google search to see what information you can find. Speak to people you know who work there and always ask questions at interview.
Talk it through with a trusted advisor. Go over your concerns with a career coach or mentor. Your friends and family are also good for support, but they may bring their opinions and vested interests, so bear this in mind with their offers of advice. Sometimes just speaking it through with someone who is objective and has experience in this area can help give clarity or confirm your initial thoughts.
Go with your gut instinct. We don’t have a crystal ball to tell us how things will turn out, but we can still assess situations based on the information presented to us. Have trust that the rest will fall into place and be flexible when things don’t go exactly as planned.
Often your first instinct can be right, but taking the time to weigh up your options can help with making your choice confidently. And what a relief this can be!
Have you had a time where you weren’t sure about the best path to take?