6 Career Moves You'll Never Regret
You are in control of your career, and the decisions you make can either help you or hold you back. That's why it's important to make moves that set you in the right direction to increase your chances of career satisfaction.
Getting to the top takes confidence, hard work, determination, and you might even have to make a few sacrifices. Sometimes, the path to success isn't as straight as we'd like, and most people have at least one regrettable career decision under their belt. (You're not alone.) But even if you've made some mistakes, there are at least a few moves you'll never regret.
1. Take the Focus Off the Money
We all need to make a living. The more we earn, the better quality of life we enjoy. This by no means suggests staying in a career just because you're pulling in the big bucks. (See also: 10 Depressing Jobs That Aren't Worth the Money)
Understandably, you have to be reasonable and seek a position that lets you care for your financial responsibilities. But when you make a career decision based solely on the potential size of your paycheck, you could end up in a job you hate, and sacrifice more than you bargained for.
A company doesn't pay a generous salary without getting something in return. You have to count the cost and decide whether a promotion or a job offer is worth the money. I can't tell you the number of people I know who have voluntarily stepped down from positions because the money wasn't worth the hassle. Burnout is a real possibility when you give up time with your family and friends and work around the clock. Some people might say you're crazy for giving up a lucrative position, but you shouldn't put a career over your sanity.
2. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Don't be afraid to say yes. This doesn't mean you should take every opportunity that comes your way. You have to know your limitations so that you don't overwhelm yourself. But at the same time, you should step outside your comfort zone and take on new responsibilities. It can be frightening and intimidating, and you might fear failure.
However, saying yes is an opportunity to build self-confidence and you might surprise yourself. Fear keeps us stuck. Branching out and challenging yourself helps you realize your true potential and can open the door to better opportunities.
3. Follow Your Instincts
If the climate at work isn't great and you're questioning the security of your job due to recent layoffs and cutbacks, one of the worst things you can do is sit back, ignore the situation, and think you're somehow immune. You may feel a sense of loyalty to your employer, but loyalty doesn't pay your bills. The situation around your workplace might improve, or it might not. Listen to your gut and follow your instincts. If you have compelling reasons to believe the company won't bounce back, or if you think you're on the chopping block, there's no harm in plotting your next move and beating your employer to the punch.
4. Never Burn Bridges
It doesn't matter if you hate your job and you're beyond ready to move on, never burn bridges or slack off as you prepare to move into a position with a new company. You don't know what the future will hold. You may get to your next job and quickly realize the grass isn't greener on the other side. Make sure you give your current employer 110% until the very end. If you leave on a good note, the door may be open for you to return.
5. Keep Your Skills Up-to-Date
As far as your career goes, you may be your sharpest the first few years after graduation. Realize, however, that your skills can quickly become stale as your industry evolves and changes. Allowing your skills to become dated is career suicide. New grads are entering the workforce every year with the freshest knowledge and the latest information about the industry. If you can't keep up, you could lose your job to someone with less experience.
Staying up-to-date can mean taking a class or workshop on your own dime, or finding time to learn new software programs and technology. This is how you do your job well and stay ahead of changes in your industry. Not only can this move open doors, it helps you keep your job in a tough economy. You become a more valuable employee.
6. Pursue Your Dream Career
It takes courage to pursue your dream — especially if you're leaving behind a cushy position and moving into a completely new field. Some people stay in careers they hate because they spent money getting a degree in this area. But after working in a particular field for years, you may discover that your passion is elsewhere.
Moving up the ladder in a career that doesn't excite you can lead to a comfortable life — but you may later regret this decision. Carving your own way and taking a different path, however, is one move you'll never regret. If you can start your own business or find a job doing what you love — and you're still able to pay your bills — going to work won't feel like a job. You can join the ranks of a select few who actually love getting up in the morning and starting their day.
Have you recently change careers? Would you say these tips are helpful in hindsight? Share with us in the comments below.
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