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8 priorities that shape your career decision

Backstory: My decision to leave L&T was reactive. While I evaluated it using some criteria, the move itself wasn’t planned. This framework is what I used when starting with Landmark in Dubai, and it also served my move to Babbel.

This is an overwhelming, topic but its important to get started! Here’s how to plan start planning your career:

  • Start with a slightly long-term vision. A 4-6 year horizon intertwining your personal & professional aspiration – fueling the purpose that’ll fuel your passion.
  • Broken down to define short-term milestones (next 2 years). Enhancing your toolkit: skills, business, tech acumen, or just leadership skills – towards mastery.
  • An action plan. E.g. Update your resume

Basing career decisions on intuition is a bad idea 👎🏼 Whether you’re kicking off search or accepting an offer, start with figuring what you’re optimizing for.

Basically kicking yourself out of your comfort zone! In this post, we’ll get started thinking what’s important to you. Everyone has needs. Being honest with yourself and prioritizing what’s important to you will not only help decide but also trade-off between opportunity cost and risk.

Its personal. But steering life is important. Its scary and exciting. Sound boarding this with a mentor is always a good idea.

The list below is how I look at choices – not necessarily in that order. You might need to tweak it for yourself – ⬇️ download or ➡️ view the spreadsheet online.

1. Opportunity & Toolkit

  • Enhances your toolkit?
  • Offers challenges, opportunities to learn?
  • Novelty*? A new domain / technology / vertical / market
  • Gives access to good mentors & a network?
  • Opens new avenues in the future**?
  • Offers better title***? Consider position in the organization hierarchy, competition
  • Offers a better role? Influence v/s Authority, Leadership
    * Novelty alone shouldn’t be a driver
    ** Don’t overrate future prospects when starting your career
    *** Opt for a rationalized, industry-wide title

2. Goals & PassionSource:

  • Makes best use of your passion?
  • Gets you a step closer to a future goal?
  • Aligns with personal interests – wealth, network, travel?
  • Gives a meaning, purpose to your life?

3. Risks

  • Leaving your comfort zone?
  • Chances of failing in the new role?
  • Relocating to a new country/city?
  • Could this be short-term? Changing jobs too often?
  • Employment contract? Notice period?
  • Is your gut sounding an alarm?
    * Answering No means low risk, high score
    ** Taking no action also has its own risk

4. SalarySource:

  • Fixed & Variable pay
  • Salary components, Tax benefits
  • Annual Bonus, Profit-sharing
  • Take-home salary, savings
  • Eligibility for next appraisal cycle

5. Benefits

  • Vacation/travel allowance
  • Reimbursements: telecom, fuel, gym, etc.
  • Insurance & Medical coverage for self/family
  • Loans, Child care/education, Discounts, etc.

6. Culture

  • Does the organization value people?
  • Hires for the long-run, recognizes & invests in people?
  • Promotes education, training, conferences?
  • Fits your personality, aligns with your values?
  • Has well-defined vision, mission, values, ethics and sticks to it?

7. Work-Life Balance

  • Work hours, timezone, daily commute
  • Flexible hours, working remotely
  • Does it require to be away from home – travel, relocation?
  • Work pressure, Time-off

8. Industry & Brand

  • The market/sector has positive outlook?
  • Is it a dynamic, recognized brand? leader / growing market share
  • Stability, Risk, Recession sensitive, layoffs

Hope this helps you solve the problem of plenty 🙂 I would love to hear your ideas on improving this further.

If you’re a leader, discuss with your team to understand what’s important to individuals. I actually ran this exercise with my team of PMs. Everyone figured optimal opportunities for themselves, and the team engagement resulted in 0 attrition. Coaching with good intent has many benefits!