You’re at a crossroads and it’s time to make a decision, knowing full well that your actions will determine the direction your career takes. It’s a stressful position to be in – so minimize the risk of making the wrong choice by keeping the following common scenarios in your mind:

Becoming complacent due to apparent job stability. Man instinctively finds comfort in his surroundings and it is no different in a professional one – that’s why you will, in the course of your career, come across a lot of seasoned professionals whose skillset are nowhere near compatible with today’s broadening job market – they seem certain of their continued, long-term employment because of the comfort bubble created due to the prevailing sense of job security.

However, such a mindset is highly detrimental to your career growth – remember, even the most stable job prospects may be derailed by unforeseen, external stimuli! That is why, to borrow a term from the tech industry, you need to future proof yourself.

Future proofing your career involves constant vigilance – ensuring no opportunity for professional development is allowed to slip by. Keep yourself updated with market and industry trends, particularly noting the sort of expertise other companies in your chosen field are looking for. Based on that information, discuss relevant training options with your manager – companies are always looking to invest in employees for mutual growth.

Additionally, look to improve your transferable skillset. Identify shortcomings (again, based on tangible market analysis) and devise a plan to overcome those deficiencies. For example, a more-than-cursory knowledge of programming is fast becoming a norm beyond the IT and tech industries; it may be time to brush up on your HTML and CSS skills. Luckily there are free online resources available for almost every subject under the sky, so get cracking!

Not exploring the full scope of your current job. An issue that plagues many professionals is the idea that “the grass is always greener on the other side”, that is, the impression that their job is not “good”.

This impression is, 9 times out of 10, a result of facing small problems and minor complaints, causing job dissatisfaction. This feeling is compounded by the further impression that other people out there have far better jobs in the same position as you.

However, this “grass is greener” syndrome can be solved by one small realization: the importance of appreciating what you have. If your jobs offers competitive salary, a friendly and safe work environment and career growth prospects, it’s a good job! If you’re missing that “something” to make your job better, there are better solutions that quitting or moving on. Talk to your manager (or HR, depending on the nature of your needs) and communicate your requirement for greater job satisfaction. Explore the full scope of your job and your workplace! Discover new avenues to take professionally, make minor adjustments to less-than-ideal things and voila! The grass is now greener on your side!

Rushing a decision on that new job. Accepting a new job without considering the entire scenario or even other forthcoming offers can be disastrous for your career and your resume.

When changing jobs, or being offered employment after a period without a job, every opportunity may appear exciting and bright and lucrative; however, it’s only after you get to know the workplace and its culture that you realize that maybe, you jumped the gun on this. You may discover similar issues that were prevalent in your previous office – things may even be worse!

A common reason for “jumping the gun” is attributed to the fact that people are desperate for change, be it financial, cultural or just technical – a sure shot recipe for career mismanagement!

There is a simple way to save yourself from this trap: research. Figure out why and what you want from a new job beforehand and consequently, whether or not those requirements are met from the new place of employment. How do you find out the latter? Simple: Just ask during the interview. Not only do such pointed questions help clarify the decision for you but they also demonstrate to employers your dedication and critical reasoning ability, valued traits in employees.

Remember, decisions regarding career have lasting effects. Some effects may not even become apparent till years down the line. Consider these main mistakes that people make, next time you sit down to chart out your life plan.

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