Career decisions are not necessarily exclusive

Career decisions are not necessarily exclusive

In several recent mentor coach conversations my mentees were asking for guidance on various decisions.  Several about to graduate, others looking to make changes in their work career.  Several opportunities presented themselves call them choice A, B, and C.  All very different but worthwhile choices.  Each with many pros.  And each with very few cons.  So which choice do they make?

Given their situations, the answer was obvious.  Choose all of them.  Now this counter-intuitive recommendation requires a bit of explanation:

Previous generations (parents, grand parents) typically worked in one role.  Some at the same company for most if not all of their working careers.  A 10+, 20+ even 30+ year tenure was fairly common.  So in their cases, the choice meant a great deal.  For current careers that could have many pivots, and much shorter durations in a given role/employer, the ability to do all of A, B, and C within a career is more and more possible.  That’s not to say that you’d go through A –> B –> C, but more likely you go through some intermediary “hops” (call it A –> A1 –> A2 –> B –> B1 –> B2–> B3 –> C).

Take a high performing student’s option to join a management consulting firm, versus going into law versus going to work on policy issues with the UN.  A tough decision indeed.  But a broader perspective could show that the career decisions was not exactly mutually exclusive.  For the immediate future, yes they would choose one, but that would by no means close the door to other opportunities in the other two in the future (in fact they might actually open more doors).  So thinking about decisions as not necessarily being mutually exclusive can go a long way to realizing your potential!


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