Life is a culmination of choices…one after another. We appreciate the simple ones, especially when the tougher ones weigh heavily on our minds. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do…what is right. With many of these more difficult choices, we find ourselves weighing the pros and cons in order to help us make up our minds. Quite a lot goes in to some decisions, as it may not be simply black or white; the greyness surrounds us. So what do you do when tallying up the pluses and minuses only to find that no matter what choice you make, you can’t have it all?
Let’s look at our careers for example. There are some people who feel called towards a particular field or profession. They just know that’s what they’re meant to do. For many, however, that’s not the case. The decision to stay or move on may come down to some or all of the following questions:
- Do I like what I’m currently doing?
- Am I getting paid what I’m worth?
- Do I enjoy the people I work with?
- Is there a clear career path at this company?
- Do I have a good work/life balance?
What if I told you that your decision on your next career move would only provide yes answers to three of the above questions? Which answers are most important to you? What are you willing to risk to get to the yes answers? Maybe you’d begin by ranking each of these question based on your current situation. Maybe the culmination of your career to that point would be the timeline you’d use to make this decision. How do you decide?
Several years ago, a boyfriend and I decided to take the Love Languages quiz at the advice of a friend of his. For those not familiar with this, here is a quick rundown. There are five love languages: Physical touch, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, and Service. Individually, both you and your partner answer a list of questions. At the end, it ranks the five Love Languages in order of importance for each of you. The ranking is how you prefer to receive affection.
For example, you may have gifts at the top of your list and your partner may have it at the bottom of theirs while Quality Time ranks #1 for them. What many people do by mistake is to show affection towards their partners how they themselves prefer to receive affection rather than how their partner wishes to receive it. Your partner may just want to spend time together doing anything, yet, because you like to receive gifts, you shower them with what you most desire. Giving your partner what they want is the key to mastering the Love Languages. Of course first you have to know how yours are ranked.
At the time I did this, two of my Love Languages were tied for 2nd place. The #1 ranked item for me was due to struggles we had in our relationship. Given that I’ve changed a lot since then, I’d guess that my ranking would be much different now. This shift in thinking is an example of how a decision such as your career can change as you, your priorities, and your situation changes.
My question to the above career dilemma is why can’t you have it all? Why does it seem you always have to give up something to get something else higher on your list? Maybe some people do get it all, but I honestly think that for most of us it is a choice, and in some cases could be a life-altering one. So how do you choose? What tells you whether to stay or go?
Sure, it would be nice to lay down some roots, but many people nowadays stay at one job for a couple of years before moving on to the next adventure. How much does longevity really matter if you’re making a change for a high-ranked reason?
While I would absolutely love to hear your opinion on this, my answer is that it’s a gamble either way. My very smart brother, who definitely enjoys gambling, once told me that there are not right or wrong decisions when it comes to things like this; there are just decisions. Maybe it was a good one. Maybe it wasn’t. That’s how life goes. You are continuously learning and moving forward. Sure, sometimes the right answer is to stay where you are, but it means you have to be satisfied with the “yes” answers you get to your ranked questions.
So tell me…what qualities do you rank in regards to your career? What are your deal breakers?
Incredible food for thought. We’ll have to talk about my career choices.
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It’s amazing looking back on where you are today and thinking about the choices you made at the time, and what would have happened if you made the other choice.
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