Right now, the company I work for is going through some changes. We recently were acquired/merged with another company and the new/combined company is basically rebuilding the organization structure from scratch. This means a lot of uncertainty and unknown. It also means that I’m facing some difficult decisions in terms of what I would like to do moving forward.
I feel fortunate in that it does seem like I have some options (and a Plan B, C, etc…); but it still poses a slightly (well, more than slightly) stressful situation. And it’s been dragging on for a while now (at least a couple of weeks intensely, but really, for months).
So this whole thing has really made me think about how I make difficult decisions – I mean, some choices are easy and I can make relatively automatically. Some, I try not to stress over because realistically, the impact on my life is relatively minor. But major decisions – like work/career path – that don’t have obvious answers tend to cause me a bit more stress.
My first step is almost always to talk about the situation with my trusted friends/family members (probably well past the time where they’re sick of hearing about it!). And while they try to provide insights or ask good questions, I also know (and they tell me!) that it ultimately has to be my decision. After that though, I wondered if there was any consistency to how I do make decisions and/or how I ought to make decisions. The self reflection continues – but in the meantime, I did some Googling to see if there was expert advice out there…
This article and this LinkedIn post both offer several methods for general decision-making, some that I’m familiar with (pro-con list) and some that I’m not as familiar with. So I may try out a couple of those, just to see what happens! But really two articles – both coincidentally from The Daily Muse – that popped up in my research really hit home with me.
First, the editor-in-chief Adrian Granzella Larssen posted about “The So-Easy-It’s-Almost-Crazy Secret to Making Any Career Decision.” I encourage you to read the full article, but in summary, the secret is that you should envision or describe the person that you are (or want to be) and then determine which decision best aligns to that person. This really hit home with me because I’ve never been a person who defines myself by my career. While work is a part of who I am, it’s not ALL of who I am – so the idea of looking at a career decision in terms of how it supports my vision of myself as a complete person… that really makes sense to me.
The second article by Caris Thetford, “No Really: There are No ‘Right’ or ‘Wrong’ Career Decisions,” reinforces a lot of what my friends and family have been telling me – this decision, while important, doesn’t have to define the rest of my life or even the rest of my career. I can make one decision now and make a different decision later – that I can really only make the best decisions with the information I currently have available. I’m trying to truly internalize this so that I can (hopefully) put a little bit less pressure on myself and this decision.
So, I don’t have the answer yet, but I’m hoping that I can use some of these thoughts and tools to make a good decision when the time comes. Any other recommendations or suggestions for how you all make tough decisions?