Why Risk Is A Necessary Component To A Successful Career and How To Balance Risk With Reward

Career progress

Why Risk Is A Necessary Component To A Successful Career – And How To Balance Risk With Reward

Taking at least some risk is necessary for your career.

Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch wrote, “Companies cannot promise their people lifetime employment. Global competition is too fierce and economic cycles too frequent for any such guarantees. But they can promise their people every chance for employability — skills that will make them more attractive if they are forced to part ways.”

In the time since, Welch’s claim has become even more relevant. The speed of change in our workplaces has made it necessary to learn new skills and be proactive about getting them. Just think about the amount of new software you’ve had to work with in your office. In mine, we’ve been through implementation of SharePoint, Office 365, Outlook — and the list goes on. Consider all the devices you have at home. What happens if we don’t update our software, or replace a laptop after five years?

My point is that if we just do our jobs and wait for great things to happen, we’re taking a risk. I would argue it’s a fairly big risk: of not having the skills to excel, advance, move up in — or even change — our careers.

Here’s why: As Welch said, no employer can guarantee lifetime employment. Long gone, for the most part, are the days of spending 20 to 30 years at one job. I don’t think people should wait to get downsized, outsourced, or stuck in an unfulfilling job or career.

Is the job you have now going to be the same — or even be there at all — in five years?

First and foremost, recognize that it’s scary to contemplate a career change. There’s an emotional and financial component to switching jobs and industries. It’s OK to ask questions like, “After all these years investing time and money for education in my field, how can I move on to something else?” or, “How will I afford changing careers, or shifting to a new sector, from profit to nonprofit?” “Can I take a pay cut? Will I start at the bottom again?”

These are all valid, good and healthy questions to ask because there is risk in changing careers or shifting jobs or sectors. So, how do you minimize these risks? Here are some tips and tools to consider:

Think Really, Really Hard
Ask yourself, “Do I want to change careers and why?” Write it down. Discuss it with your network and trusted friends. Determine if this is really what you want to do. Life is too short: If you are unhappy and want to make a change, make a plan to change — just be certain it’s what you want to do. Run your ideas by a trusted friend or colleague and see what they think. Having a second objective opinion is very helpful.

Prepare To Branch Out
Once you’ve decided to make a change in your career, create an action plan outlining how you are going to make the change. When you begin building your action plan, consider the following:

Training: Don’t wait to pursue skill-building opportunities. Anticipate and participate in company training programs. If your organization offers tuition assistance, use it. Learn as much as you can, and think about what you need to learn to advance in your organization and in your field. Or, if you want to change careers, what are some courses that would help as you plan a transition? For example, could you take a course in accounting if you wanted to change to a finance career?

Mentoring: If you have access to a mentoring program, take advantage of it.

Networking: Go to company networking events or events in your chosen field. Attend a conference. Meet and network with people. If you can, perhaps find a volunteer or part-time role like the one you want to gain experience in, and see if it’s what you want. Use social media tools like LinkedIn to reach out to people who you’d like to connect with.

Social media: Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date. Many recruiters screen in and out through LinkedIn first.

Financial: Plan out how you can afford the transition and potential financial implications of a job change.

Emotional: Give yourself time to reflect and come to terms with the change, and that it will take time. And remember you’re not alone: As many as 75% of people want to at least change their jobs.
Review and reflect: Give yourself the opportunity to review your action plan, noting your progress and areas to work on. Give yourself the time — it’s not going to happen overnight. And don’t neglect self-care: It might be helpful to see a therapist or coach during this transition.

If you plan to change careers some degree of risk is necessary, but it can be managed. Consider the following common pitfalls and how you can avoid them:

Don’t wait until you’re burned out. It’s really difficult, if not impossible, to think about a new job or career if you’re too exhausted. Try to be proactive and give yourself thinking time on a regular basis to ask yourself, “Is this the job I want to do?” “Am I using my skills the way I want to?” “Am I happy?”
Understand the emotional aspects. It’s going to take time to change jobs or careers. Give yourself space and have a support system.
Have a financial plan. Really map out how you will meet your financial needs during the transition.

Once you’ve decided you want to make the change, stick with it and don’t give up.


Related Blogs

  • Oct 19, 2018
    Find Career Clarity!

    How To Find Career Clarity Using Three Top Career Theories Feeling like you need to make a career pivot because your job isn’t a good..

    0 Read More
  • Oct 12, 2018
    Integrators VS Segmentors

    Are your employees integrators or segmentors? An organization has both integrators and segmentors. Being a segmentor is a tough ask. If you choose to be..

    0 Read More
  • Sep 21, 2018
    What Motivates You to…

    What Motivates You to Work? That paycheck will never be big enough if it's the only reason you're going to work. Each of us respond..

    0 Read More
  • Sep 14, 2018
    Update Your Resume

    Updating Your Résumé Might Mean Updating Yourself It seems like a total no-brainer: you should update your résumé and online profiles when you are job..

    0 Read More
  • Sep 7, 2018
    Tap Into Your Motivation!

    Putting Yourself In Drive: How To Tap Into Your Motivation The one common component in every great success story is motivation: an ever-elusive elixir that..

    0 Read More
  • Aug 31, 2018
    Enhancing your job search

    How To Bounce Back When The Job Search Gets You Down With a dream job in mind, an updated résumé in hand and responses to..

    0 Read More
  • Aug 17, 2018
    Social media can cost…

    When 'What Happens In Vegas' Ends Up In Your Job Search   What happens in Vegas really doesn’t stay there. That “funny” picture about that..

    0 Read More
  • Aug 3, 2018
    Emotional Intelligence at Workplace

    How To Develop More Emotionally Intelligent Employees In the quest to develop leaders who will foster a culture of equity and inclusion in the workplace,..

    0 Read More
  • Jul 27, 2018
    Are you ready to…

    The Difference Between People Who Succeed and People Who Flop Successful people charge forward, take calculated risks, and come out on top because of it...

    0 Read More
  • Jul 6, 2018
    Hiring the right people?

    5 Steps to Hiring the Right People for Your Business "Hire slow, fire fast" is great advice, but it's not always easy to follow. The..

    0 Read More
  • Jun 29, 2018
    Ready for Entrepreneurial Success?

    4 Entry-Level Jobs That Will Prep You for Entrepreneurial Success Success is a journey, not a destination, so think hard about where to start. Entrepreneurship..

    0 Read More
  • Jun 22, 2018
    Simple Work-Life Balance

    Work-Life Balance Is Simple. To Succeed at Work, Get a Life. With the right balance of health and business, entrepreneurs can maximize productivity. The Organization..

    0 Read More
  • Apr 5, 2018
    Inclusion in the Workplace

    Inclusion Doesn’t Mean Including Everything and Everyone Inclusiveness is not about thought policing. It’s also not about turning everyone into a liberal. It’s a normal..

    0 Read More
  • Feb 23, 2018
    Leadership Role but Unprepared…

    You Were Promoted To A Leadership Role But You Feel Unprepared - Don't Panic You’ve been at the job for years. As much as you..

    0 Read More
  • Feb 16, 2018
    Fail at Switching Jobs?

    This Is the No. 1 Reason Why People Fail at Switching Jobs (and What to Do About It) There's a reason changing careers is so..

    1 Read More
  • Feb 2, 2018
    A Technique To Get…

    Didn't Get Your Dream Job? This 1 Technique Could Get You a Second Chance Every job seeker experiences this at least once, if not several..

    0 Read More
  • Jan 12, 2018
    Make 2018 a Productive…

    11 Expert Tips To Make 2018 Your Most Productive Year Ever Could eating cake for breakfast and never listening to your voicemail help you get..

    0 Read More
  • Dec 22, 2017
    Career Goals for 2018

    How to Set Your Career Goals for 2018 and Achieve Them Each New Year offers the opportunity for a fresh start—and that includes your career...

    0 Read More
  • Nov 24, 2017
    HR Function in 2024

    Will You Be Leading an HR Function in 2024? Here are five things to look at to examine and determine if you’ve got what it..

    0 Read More
  • Nov 10, 2017
    Your Impact at Work!

    What Is Your Impact? We keep throwing this word around called "impact." Do you know what your impact is and how would you define, discover,..

    0 Read More
  • Oct 27, 2017
    Inspiring Career Advice

    LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner's 3 Best Pieces of Career Advice Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn's CEO, has had nothing short of a successful career. After graduating from..

    0 Read More
  • Sep 15, 2017
    Lost your Job?

    Nine Things You Should and Shouldn't Do If You Lose Your Job Most of us wouldn’t think to associate the words "joblessness" and "fun," but..

    0 Read More
  • Aug 16, 2017
    Write your first CV

    It's all about potential: how to write a CV with no work experience Follow these tips to stand out among competing candidates – from research..

    0 Read More
  • Aug 10, 2017
    Friends and Career

    Being Too Busy for Friends Won’t Help Your Career Friendship matters. Everything we do to succeed in our careers is improved when we’re supported by..

    0 Read More
  • Jun 30, 2017
    Career Development

    Think Strategically About Your Career Development In a world where the average employee sends and receives 122 emails per day and attends an average of..

    0 Read More
  • Jun 2, 2017
    Advance Your Career

    How To Advance Your Career In A Crappy Entry-Level Job Yes, you can still bring yourself one step closer to snagging that dream job even..

    0 Read More
  • May 8, 2017
    Interview Preparation

    Interviews are generally regarded as the primary decision-making event in any recruitment process. Regardless of your academic credentials or career thus far, it is crucial..

    0 Read More
  • Apr 3, 2017
    Interview questions you have…

    Studies have shown that structured interviewing is more than twice as reliable a predictor of future employee performance than unstructured interviewing. That is why most..

    0 Read More
  • Mar 19, 2012
    Job Search Tips That…

    Cyprus unemployment has been steadily increasing monthly since 2008 and is getting closer to double digits (January 2012 Eurostat figure – 9.6%). However there are..

    0 Read More