“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary”-Jim Rohn
Who wants an ordinary career path? None of us. We start our careers with an expectation to scale greater heights. But somewhere down the path, we start losing momentum, our growth carrier derails and we find ourselves in the middle of nowhere. Is it due to external factors our own decisions? Well, a mix of both, sometimes. We do not have much control over external factors, but when it comes to our decisions, we need to be a tad careful. There are choices to be made, risks to be taken. These risks when they pay off leads to progress in our career and provides satisfaction.
Here are some of the risks worth taking in your career:
1. Tread on an unexplored territory
All it takes is to view things from a fresh perspective. Whenever you feel stuck in your career, you can risk changing your current profile or trying out a completely new or slightly tangential role, depending on your risk appetite. Only once you get the taste of a different role, you may find it more challenging and interesting than your current one. For eg: If you are into content creation, how about trying graphic designing and telling your story through graphics. Sometimes just stepping out of your comfort zone leads us to a whole new world, which you may be blissfully unaware of.
2. Be Greedy
Why not? Ask for more if you feel you deserve it. It could be anything like a promotion, a change in role, a raise, a transfer, just anything. Shed all your apprehensions regarding this one. No one better than you know your worth and there is nothing wrong in asking for a well-deserved career reward. It shows your self-awareness and the fact that you know how to place yourself out there. You never know, your boss might be pleasantly surprised by your self-confidence, bold attitude and proactive approach towards your career.
3. Get back to school
Learning should never cease as long as we are alive. We all know that to stay ahead of the game, we need to constantly reinvent ourselves. For this, we need to go back to school/ university or pursue a course alongside our jobs. But we fear to go on sabbatical to pursue a full-time course or get jittery as to how to manage a full-time job with professional studies alongside. However, this is a risk that is surely worthwhile. The industry landscape is constantly changing and reskilling yourself is the only way to survive. Maybe you can take a middle path and go for courses that you can balance with your professional commitments.
4. Follow your passion
Each one of us has a dream or passion that keeps tugging at our heart. However, we still aren’t ready to leave the comfort of a stable job to follow our passion. It could be anything such as launching a start-up or pursuing professional singing, dancing, acting, sports etc. Eventually, we chose something we are good at instead of choosing something we can excel at. The loss is ours. So listen to your heart and do not ignore your passion. You may have it in you to make it large. Most of the times you will emerge as a professionally successful individual, at other times you will be content of at least giving it a shot. Life is too short for regrets.
5. Choose work culture over a salary
If you tell your peers that you prefer a more culturally congruent company over one that pays you more, they would probably be shocked. But let’s face it salary shouldn’t be the only motivation for picking a company to work with. For a long-term career growth, you need to choose an organisation based on cultural fit. You need to find out more about the culture of the company through various sources like online reviews, friends who work there or directly through the HR. If the culture of the company is aligned with your personality, you will stick around longer and be more productive.
6. Voice your concerns
It’s easy to sleep over nudging issues but it takes a lot to voice your concerns. Most of the times we think what others might think about us if we bring up issues. We are caught in this vicious cycle of false self-image in the company and the result is nothing but a goofed-up career. Be it a fresher, an experienced personnel, an executive due for promotion or someone about to exit the company. Each one has hiccups when it comes to raising concerns. If there is a serious issue which it could be an impediment to your productivity or career growth, you need to address your concerns to the correct person. However, be sure to keep the approach polite to avoid offending anyone. It surely is a risk, but you can’t win a race with tied legs, can you?
Be bold but pragmatic
This is not an exhaustive list but definitely some risks worth taking when faced with a sticky career decision. However, it is best to take calculated risks. Before rushing to things, ask yourself,
(1) What is my risk appetite at this juncture?
(2) Is it the right time to take this risk?
(3) What is my back up plan if this move doesn’t pay off?
(4) Can I think about a negotiable solution instead of taking this risk?
Remember, whatever is the outcome of the risk taken, you need to be bold enough to accept and live with your decision.