Clambering up the career ladder is a journey marked by big decisions.
Should I stay or should I go? Should I keep plodding along or push for a promotion? Do I need to go freelance?
The tricky thing about these questions and all the other job-related queries is that there often isn’t a clear, obvious, correct answer.
Instead, you have to weigh up all the factors, tune into your gut, and take a leap.
That’s easier said than done, though. How do you know which move is the right one for you? How can you make that choice?
Grant J Ryan is the author of Comparonomics, and an expert when it comes to decision-making.
Ahead, he breaks down the essential steps to take when trying to answer that big question: should I take this job? Or stick with the one I have?
Work out the things that are important to you
Forget what other people will think for a minute – what really matters to you when it comes to a job?
For some people, a better salary is the most important thing. That’ll make the decision easier.
For others, other factors are more important – but it can be hard to admit that when the world tells us to take the ‘best’ (whether that means highest paid or most respected) job rather than the one that makes us happiest.
So, Grant encourages you to make a list of what’s important to you. That might be income, or it could be time with family, or an easy commute, or feeling creatively fulfilled. Working that out is the first step.
Estimate how much the job will impact these factors
‘Let’s say you are trying to compare your current high-paying corporate job with a new option to go out on your own with a consulting business that allows you to work on the things you enjoy,’ Grant says. ‘The new job option would likely be less stressful and give you more control but probably a lower income.’
Go through each of your important factors and compare your current job versus the new offer.
Comparonomics has a handy graph function to help you map this out – you just enter in your important factors, then decide if one option is better or worse than the other for each one.
‘The key thing about this tool is that it clearly shows not just the things you think are important, but how different they are for the two job options,’ explains Grant.
‘The advantage of a tool like this is that it forces you to list the key things that are most important to you and to actively think about how different they are for the two job options. For you, the list of important things may well be completely different from this example.
‘The graph also makes it easier to discuss with anyone else as they can see what you are thinking about, and you can have an informed discussion.’
Let go of what you think you should do
When you look at your graph, you might notice some areas that your new job would be significantly worse than your current job… but that you still want to take it.
This is when you need to look at your factors and work out which you really, genuinely care about the most.
Would you be willing to sacrifice a great commute for more opportunities to be creative, for example? Is being able to spend more time on your hobbies more valuable to you than a more respected job?
Don’t get caught up on the things that we’re told make a ‘good’ job. Tune into what you actually want and what matters in your life, then give yourself permission to make a choice that makes sense to you, even if it might seem strange to other people.
‘Your list of important things will be different and how you perceive them changing is unique to you,’ says Grant. ‘It helps to be explicit about both things. It also helps to enable a conversation with the other people that your decision will affect.’
Comparonomics: Why life is better than you think, and how to make it even better by Grant J Ryan is out now, published by Big Idea Publishing, available on Amazon.
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