Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
These words by Robert Frost’s poem “The Road not Taken” speak to the difficulty of making decisions and having to choose one life path over another.
Whether you’re in your last semester of graduate school or looking to switch career paths, there are times where big decisions will need to be made. One of the scariest parts of these times is the need to make decisions, and good ones, because they could have an effect on the rest of your life.
Planning your career and choosing a path should be fun, not stressful. So I’ve come up with some different tips that I have used in the past to help me make a big life choice.
First off, it can help to better understand how you make choices as an individual. Try asking yourself the following questions and reflecting on your answers to get a better idea of how you approach the process of making decisions.
1. What are some choices you have to make on a daily basis?
2. Are decisions hard or easy for you to make?
3. What was the hardest decision you ever had to make?
4. How do you usually make decisions? By impulse, by emotion, by asking others?
5. Who do you turn to for support when making a decision?
Once you are able to honestly answer these questions you will have a strong starting point for helping yourself figure out what works best for you when making a decision about your career path.
Whatever your passion or the direction you want to take it is important to do your research.
•Read up on different industries, companies and associations relating to the career that interests you.
•Look up different sites that provide reviews on companies from employees, like Indeed and Glassdoor.
•Connect with professionals in the field or at specific companies that you are interested in on LinkedIn.
•Personally reach out to employees at companies you are interested in and ask for an informational interview.
Finally, consider and compare all your options using a pros and cons list. It may sound simple and a bit old school but it is the easiest way to get a clear picture of what will work best for you based on what each industry or job has to offer. Once you have done this preliminary research, you will begin to have a better understanding of which job you could see yourself pursuing and enjoying.