Myths and Realities of Effective Career Decision Making
Myths and Realities of Effective Career Decision Making

Have you ever noticed that chance happenings, unplanned events, often determine your life career decisions?

A cancelled appointment, a spontaneous trip, are unplanned events that may lead to unexpected life career directions.

A satisfying career is attained by making the most of new, unforeseen experiences, and creating your desired course. Below are common career decision making myths. To advance your career, challenge these myths.

1. Choose a career goal as early as possible. Commit to one occupation for life.

Challenge the myth. An early career decision should not be interpreted as a permanent commitment to one occupational goal. Keep options open to adapt to a changing world. Capitalize on and respond positively to unexpected opportunities, changing situations.

If you trained for a job you no longer enjoy, explore other more satisfying options. Consider moving down the corporate ladder to learn different skills and take advantage of new company opportunities. Explore lateral positions by cross-training on other job functions, or creatively redesign your job so you can satisfy unmet needs. Think about changing companies, self employment, relocating, retraining, and time out.

2. Act only when you're sure of the outcome.  Trying something new is risky.

Challenge the myth. If you don’t try, you’ll never know what you can accomplish. Try the new venture. Minimize risk by preparing. Know yourself (passion, needs, interests, skills). Research options. Read business publications, surf the internet, conduct informational interviews, network.

Develop a plan, and outline a timeline to realize your goal. Identify barriers that might impede reaching your goal. Plan how to overcome these. Focus on your goal, but review and modify it as circumstances change.

3. Avoid mistakes. Fear keeps many from going after what they really want.

Challenge the myth. Don't fear mistakes. Setbacks are normal, instructive. Mistakes can give you a good indication of your strengths and limitations. Recognize and acknowledge mistakes. Focus on ways to minimize these and maximize outcomes.

Learn from the mistake. Identify why the error occurred, and explore ways to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

4. Wait for a lucky break. Waiting for the phone to ring, and wondering why things are not working out as planned is unproductive.

Challenge the myth. Create your own luck. Although you can’t always control the outcome of events, you can control your attitudes, beliefs, and try different approaches other times.

Review the fortunate experiences you’ve had over the past three years, and note when you’ve had luck. Talk to others about their luck, and identify ways you can make luck possible. List three strategies that appeared to best facilitate luck.

5. Only apply for jobs for which you have given required skills.

Challenge the myth. While there are some jobs which require specific educational preparation or work experience, you never learn everything you need to know from your initial training.

Go for your desired job. Learn new skills on the job. Don’t underestimate your abilities. When employers advertise a position, they frequently list skills they want in applicants. This is the employer’s wish list. Apply for the job even though you don’t have all skills listed. Make the job fit you.

Employers want people who can do the work. Show how your related skills and accomplishments fit the job. Use personal job accomplishments to illustrate these. Using examples demonstrate results you’ve achieved. Indicate why you want the job, and what you can contribute. Demonstrate willingness to learn, teamwork, creativity, initiative and responsibility. Employers will teach you to do the job the way they prefer.

Use the skills learned in one job to qualify for the next. Continue to learn. Take courses, join professional groups, and read professional literature.

6. Put your career first. Attaining your ideal job will lead to a satisfying life.

Challenge the myth. Lead a balanced life. Work is one component of a happy life.  No one job can meet all your needs and interests. Identify activities that would bring peace and satisfaction to your life (relationship, leisure activities, another job, volunteer activity, education, other,) List steps you could you take to pursue one pleasurable activity.

7. Luck is an accident. Unplanned events will inevitably have an impact on your career.

Challenge the myth. Take advantage of unplanned events, new opportunities. Luck is no accident. Although you can specify goals, these goals can be modified as you and your environment change.

Adopt beliefs and engage in activities that make your life satisfying. Measure your success by the obstacles you have overcome while achieving success, not by the positions you have attained.

8. Years of formal education entitle you to a high-paying job. You’re entitled to a well-paying job because of your education. You can’t change jobs now because you’ve invested considerable training and experience.

Challenge the myth. Education is never wasted, but often not the sole criterion for job attainment. Employers consider many employee qualities including accomplishments, enthusiasm, teamwork, creativity, initiative, creativity, responsibility, honesty and problem solving ability.

9. Unexpected events disrupt life career goals and plans so don't bother planning.

Challenge the myth. Planning is good, but be willing to modify plans as circumstances change. Make the most of unplanned events. Convert frustrations and unexpected disappointments into opportunities for career advancement.

Note unexpected events that influenced your last career or other major decision.  Identify actions you took and what worked best. Consider how you might modify and adapt these actions to attain another goal.

10. Be realistic. Focus on beliefs that can help you confront and manage irrational myths.

What myths do you hold that may be stopping you from attaining a desired goal? Restructure these myths. List positive things can you say or do that will enable you to move forward toward your goal.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life offers inspiration and guidelines to help you challenge unproductive beliefs, and create and grow your desired life career/life:

Carole Kanchier, PhD, is an internationally recognized newspaper/digital columnist, registered psychologist and author of the award-winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life and the forthcoming Arouse the Force Within You!  Carole Kanchier has taught at University of California, Berkeley and Santa Cruz and University of Alberta, and served as visiting fellow at Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, and other institutions of higher learning. Dr. Kanchier is known for her pioneering, interdisciplinary approach to human potential.