Are You Making Emotional Career Decisions?

You’ve made a decision about your career.  It feels like the right thing to do, but you are afraid that your judgement is being swayed by your emotions.  How do you step back and determine if your choice is based on a careful analysis of the facts, or if it is simply a reflection of your current state of mind.  Here are some tips that may help:    

Consider what is happening around you.  Have there been any big changes in your life recently?  Have you been under a lot of stress, either at work or at home?  We often underestimate the effect that our environment has on the way that we feel.  Reflect on what has been happening in your life, and consider how recent events may be impacting your decision.       
Ask for feedback.  The people closest to us can be a source of valuable insight.  They know you well, but they are able to be a little more objective.  Let them in on your plans and see what they have to say.  You may not take their advice, but it is always wise to hear another perspective.    

Write down the pros and cons of all of your options before you make a decision.  Many people skip this step because it feels like a waste of time.  However, when you are trying to assess the merit of your decision, this approach clearly outlines the advantages and disadvantages of each choice.  If you find after doing this exercise that your choice looks poor on paper, but still feels right, then it is a good indication that your decision is probably an emotional one.   

Assess yourself.  You are the best judge of your own feelings.  What do you think?  Does the decision feel emotional, or do you feel like you made a rational decision based on all available information?  If you are being honest with yourself, you should have a fairly clear indication of your state of mind.      

Sleep on it.  Don’t rush into anything.  Take some time to reflect on your decision before you make any big moves.  Something that looks like a great idea today may look very differently tomorrow.       

An emotional choice is not always a bad one, and you should always take your emotions into account when you are making career decisions.  However, it is important that you are aware of the role that your emotions are playing in your choices.  When we are unaware of their influence, we allow our emotions to take us off track.  

(Written by Karen Bivand)


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