By Prateek Bhargava:
What do you do when you select a restaurant to throw a party?
You look it up on your smartphone, ask a couple of people for reviews, do a ground visit to check if the place meets your requirements of music and décor, see if the place falls in your price range, negotiate and make a booking, sit down with the manager to finalise menu and then finally invite hundred other people.
Basically, you do everything you can to make sure that you’ve got it all in order. But when it comes to making a choice that can make or break your entire future, you rely on pure hearsay, and maybe a few online reviews and advice that other people give you, and do not look for elements that might throw you off your game.
So, essentially you do more due diligence for throwing a party, than making your career decisions. When the world tells you what you should, I’m telling you what you shouldn’t.
Here are 6 extremely important things not to do, when making a career decision.
Everyone knows that two comes after one, but while we’re in the decision-making process, we often first take decisions and then look for evidence that might justify our decision. So if you’re thinking to yourself, “Doing Engineering would be a good move for me, but let me weigh out its pros and cons…” you’re letting confirmation bias influence your decision. Do not do that, consider every option independently and give it a fair shot. Remember, AB = BA, but only in math!
Prof X mixed up sugar and spice and everything nice to brew success. But that could be a recipe for disaster too if you do it subjectively, and you know, with fifty other people. Your mind is already confused with the options that are open to you. Bringing in viewpoints of family and friends, which are totally different from each other, will only deepen the ocean. Sure they all love you, and want what’s best for you, but looks like this is a decision, that you have to take yourself. If you absolutely must, involve someone who is objective and can look at the bigger picture to give you the right advice.
In general, decisions based on emotions tend to be more irrational than the ones based on fact and reason. And when fear captains the flight, the outcome is even worse. It tends to hold your mind hostage and keeps you safe in your minute comfort space. Fear can and will never, support or reinforce your high ambitions. So pop that bubble and get started, make your career decisions, not on ‘what if you don’t make it’, but on ‘what if you do’.
For many, it’s always this or that, IIT or nothing, a pattern known as ‘A or B mentality’. In such a zone, your mind tends to paint everything in black and white and show you only two stark options at the corners and nothing in the middle. Such a thought-process limits your horizon and stops you from accurately understanding the prospects that surround you. Sure, aim for the Everest, but do not limit your options. When in ‘this or that’ situation, always ask yourself, and? You already have the two options in black, search for and what else?
The time of fashion design being exclusive to girls and engineering to boys has long gone by. Today, we do what we like. They say to try something new, we have to first drain out what’s in our mind already. It holds true to our career decisions as well. To truly explore something, we must first let go of our preconceptions and beliefs. Allow your perceptions and notions to grow along with evidence, never let your commitment to your ideology or set of beliefs stop you from doing what’s right. After all, if 90’s don’t influence our style anymore, why should they influence our decisions?
Excessive thinking could cause your mind to undergo ‘analysis paralysis’, a situation where your mind goes round and round in circles to absorb, analyse and debate to make a decision. That is until a new internet article, or someone’s viewpoint comes along. And then, it all starts again. This can happen to the best of us, and all we might end up doing is revolving in circles and not come to any final word. Thinking is fine, but do not overdo it. Give yourself a stipulated time to evaluate all possibilities, and then you must game on, and make that career decision, you’ve been dreading it for a while. Making decisions is hard. Knowing that they’ll effect your entire life, is harder. But this is a decision, that all of us have to make, don’t be a dummy and fall into traps, do not do the things mentioned above, and you might be good to go, already!