Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Risk Taking and Careers

I know many people who are unhappy with their career.  They perhaps feel stuck in a rut and want a career change or are unsure about how to progress within their chosen field.  However, when it comes to making a decision to do something about it, they often disregard various career options because of the risk involved.  So, what exactly is this risk? 

Is the risk worse than the risk of spending the rest of your life feeling unhappy at work?

We all know of James Caan from Dragon’s Den.  He is an extremely successful entrepreneur and took some calculated risks to get there. One of the biggest risks he took was at the beginning of his career when he decided to leave school at 16 with no qualifications.  At this time, he chose not to pursue a career in the family business, as had been expected of him, but to pursue his passion to become an entrepreneur. 

Having left school at 16, James began to make a successful career in recruitment and subsequently founded recruitment company Alexander Mann which grew to in excess of £130m turnover.  During this period of his career, he also launched Humana International which established in 147 offices in 30 countries.  Both businesses were sold in 1999 and James’ success continues today.  Not a bad outcome as a result of the risk he took at the age of 16.

I am not now suggesting that you jump hastily into making a risky decision about your career.  Nor am I suggesting that you continue to disregard options to change career or make developments in your chosen field when you believe it is too risky. 

What I am suggesting is that you do some risk management when making decisions about your future career.  Spend time considering whether the risk is worth taking.  What are your options?

Then ask yourself the following questions:

What’s the worst thing that could happen?

James Caan had assessed that if he failed in his mission having left school at 16, he could always fall back on the option to take a job in his father’s business. 

What is the risk of doing nothing? 

In 10 years time, will you be feeling even more disheartened by what you are doing?  Often people are averse to taking a risk in their career, yet subsequently regret the things they didn’t do. 

What’s the best thing that could happen?

You may enjoy work and pursue a really successful career.   You may get the promotion you have always wanted or succeed in a really fantastic career change.   

Is the risk worth taking now?

What is stopping you from pursuing a fantastic career?  Do one thing today towards making your decision.  To assist, see our free resources at www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk.

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