The Key to Career Success: Three Decisions

I wager that I am not the only one who has ever thought to myself: I don’t like my job but don’t know what to do, or, I don’t know what career to pursue, or, felt stuck in a job and depressed. I doubt I am the only person to have felt the frustration of graduating only to feel like my career has not begun. Or that sinking feeling of starting out in one profession, only to think, I choose the wrong career, now what. Perhaps you also feel some of this now.

You are not alone. What you feel is real. But you will find the career success you want.

It can be tough and indeed even a lonely feeling, that desperation, and frustration of not being happy or feeling successful in your job. Especially at this time of year, when resolutions are being set, dreams are being imagined, and New Year’s Eve seems like millennia ago.

However, trust me when I say you are certainly not alone in any of these feelings. Many people, of all backgrounds and geographies, feel exactly these thoughts right now. Many including me, have certainly felt these feeling before. You are not alone. What you feel is real.

And yet, I know for certain that your future is bright. I know for sure, without even meeting you, or knowing anything about you that you will get through this and find career success and happiness. How? Because you are reading this blog post. You are eager to learn and do something different, to do whatever it takes to make the changes you need to in order to achieve your dreams.

Master 3 simple decisions to take back control of your career.

Here is where I let you in on a secret about career success, something that has occurred to me: If you want to learn how to make best career decisions for you, then you need to learn, practice and master three decisions. Three simple career decisions! If you can execute and give your best to each of these, then you truly will be the master of your own career.

So here they are:

  • Stay – where you are to learn
  • Go – to a new employer for a better chance
  • Switch – professions for fresh opportunity

Before I break each one down for you, it is important to keep in your mind that for true career success you need to play the long game. Sometimes it is worth sacrificing something in the short term for long-term gain. For example, perhaps you are in a job pays a salary below market average, but you will learn lots that will help you later in your career.

With this long-term perspective in mind, let me break each one down for you:

If you Stay, make sure you actively do so.

The decision to Stay is a decision to stay where you currently are and maximize your career learning opportunity. You would do this if you are in a job with an employer where you have massive learning upside (i.e. the amount you could and will learn by spending time in this job at this particular employer should bring you a clear future benefit).

In order to execute a successful Stay decision, you need to actively do so. In other words, you need to focus your energy, effort and time on extracting the best value and learning you can from your current job. This might be as simple as rethinking how you spend your lunchtime, to instead spend time learning things you are interested in (and that will add value to your career).

If you Go, make sure you know where you are going.

If you decide to Go, you are basically deciding to go to a different employer because there you hope to have a better chance at learning, promotion and/or increased salary. Or perhaps you are just starting out in your career, in which case you would Go to an employer to start in your profession.

The key to making a successful Go decision is to make a move that gives you better learning, promotion or earnings than in your current job. This means doing research, reaching out to people who work at prospective employers and using online tools to read reviews of the employers you are considering.

If you Switch, be prepared to tell your story.

When you decide to Switch, you are deciding that you want to change to a new profession. Essentially, you have exhausted the profession you are in, perhaps you no longer enjoy what you are doing and/or maybe you just want to do something different.

If you decide to make a Switch to a new profession, you will want to prepare to tell your story. In order to do this, you will want to do three things well:

  • Translate your experience – by researching the tasks and day-to-day of your new profession, you will be able to identify pieces of your existing experiences which translate well;
  • Build up – with your new found knowledge of your new profession, try to close any experience gaps you have and spend time building up direct and relevant experience; and
  • Learn the language – read around your new profession, so that you learn the language and buzz words. Therefore when you come to tell your story, the person listening (i.e. an interviewer) will be more likely to picture you in the job.

If you can master these three career decisions, you can take control, and have a successful career.

This truly is it. These are the three decisions that you will need on your journey to career success. If you truly give your best to executing each decision when you have made them and focus your energy and effort on the decision, then you will master them and be successful.

I know you can do it.

5 thoughts on “The Key to Career Success: Three Decisions

  1. Great insight Tom! I enjoyed reading and trying to put all things into perspective and how they can relate to my personal experience.


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