Head vs. heart: evaluating your career priorities


figure balamce head and heart on seesawIf you are looking for a career change, deciding what job to do can be overwhelming and challenging. Often we support people who are facing redundancy and are unsure what their next career step should be, with lots of different options to pursue. There might be a career you’ve always dreamed of pursuing but hadn’t made financial sense before now, or you might have formed close friendships with colleagues and are reluctant to move on – even if doing so means advancing your career. It can be hard to make an objective decision about your career priorities without letting your heart and emotions take over.

How can you make an objective decision about your next career move?

Approaching decision-making

It’s easy to take the wrong approach when making huge, potentially life-changing decisions. Effective decision-making relies on thorough research, an understanding of risks and key motivators. Making decisions about your career when under pressure or feeling impatient could compromise the eventual outcome. Above all, remember that no decision is irreversible. You can always revert to plan B if your initial decision doesn’t work out.

Objective decision-making

It’s almost completely impossible to completely disregard your emotions when making career-related decisions, but introducing as much objectivity as possible into the process can certainly provide clarity and focus. Here’s one method of achieving this:

  • Decide upon around 10 career priorities (e.g. gaining a specific new skill, earning a certain salary or attaining a management position). Think about what are the most important factors for you in finding your next role.
  • Rank these from least important (1) to most important (10).
  • Determine 3-4 career options that are open to you (e.g. staying in your current role, a career change, taking a new job in the same industry or going back into education).
  • Think about how likely it is that each of these career options will fulfil your priorities. For example, how likely is it that staying at your current company will lead to the salary increase you’re after?
  • Assign numbers to these probabilities, from very unlikely (1) to very probable (10).
  • Multiply the rank of each career priority with the probability of it occurring under each option.
  • Add up all the scores associated with each option.

You will now have a score attached to each option. The higher the number, the higher the likelihood that the option will meet your career priorities.

Using your result

These numbers are just a starting point. Thoroughly assess the highest rated options. Are there any downsides? Do you need more information to decide for sure? Is this option realistic?

Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email info@renovo.co.uk

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