We’re way beyond the time when building a career was an easy trip on a flat road. Today, careers progress through bumps, twists, and side steps. As a result, playing it safe isn’t necessarily going to help you reach the goals you wish to achieve.
While you definitely shouldn’t be reckless and make decisions that could damage your career, some risks can help you progress quickly – and potentially reap financial rewards.
But how can you distinguish between risks that will pay off and the ones that are just silly? It all starts with using your common sense. For example, pursuing a dream role on a whim can endanger your family financially, making it an unwise risk to take. These “misfit risks” often lead to personal dissatisfaction and regrets.
So what risks are worth taking? To help you get started, here’s a list of calculated risks with a significant potential payoff.
1. Seek new responsibilities
Even if the tasks you’re interested in are not related to your field, it’s best to be proactive and learn new things. If you hit a roadblock at some point, think about whether you could pick up another online course or certification. It’s never a waste of time to gain more knowledge because it also helps you enhance your credentials and confidence.
2. Prioritize culture over salary
If you’re seeking a new role, see if a potential company’s culture would help you set up a long and healthy career. It’s a bad idea to choose money over culture. Fat paychecks can’t compensate for the stress your mind and body will face if you are in an unfulfilling job. Keep the “work-life” balance squarely in your brain. If you think the compensation is less than what you can get elsewhere, consider the non-monetary perks you might receive. If you are sublimely happy professionally and socially by working at a particular company, the risk of lower compensation should pay off.
3. Convey your ideas
Not every risk is about changing companies or roles. Some risks are internal and involve conveying your ideas to upper management. You might have a creative idea that could make your employer millions of dollars, but the perception that your recommendation may not be appreciated may be preventing you from speaking up. Don’t shy away from sharing your ideas. Even if they aren’t used, they will show executives that you are innovative and care about the company’s betterment.
4. Say no to a promotion if it’s not right
As good as a promotion sounds, is it going to take you closer to your goal? If it doesn’t align with your career objectives, avoid the temptation to say yes. A better approach would be to opt for a move that helps you develop close contact with the company’s key people. Start networking with decision-makers, and explore opportunities that would enhance your IQ and emotional intelligence.
5. Don’t be afraid to go solo
The idea of working solo instills feelings of fear in the hearts of many. Sure, working as a contract worker or freelancer might add layers of complication to your routine (insurance, taxes, etc.). But along with these challenges comes the perk of setting your own hours. In other words, the payoff for branching out on your own may outweigh what you will get by staying in your comfort zone. Do you have a knack for writing? Reach out to a local website and ask if you can write paid content for their blog. Get away from the cushy trap of “9-5,” and don’t be afraid to make bold moves for your career.
6. Look outside if you feel stagnant
When you feel there is no room for advancement in your current role, it may be time to switch careers or move to another industry. Research some employers in a different sector and evaluate the type of culture that guides their company. Then, see if you have the skills you would need to succeed in that sector. If the skills match up, list them on your resume along with your best achievements. As you seek to make a change, reach out to our Salt Lake City recruitment firm. We will draw on our deep Utah networks to match you with a company that will fit your skills and personality
Sometimes, the key to unlocking career progress lies outside of the workplace. By this, we mean that you might be able to upgrade your skills by volunteering. Besides getting a chance to do good for the community, you could find ways to do the work you love. If your objective is to become a developer, you could volunteer to develop an app for a charity organization. In the COVID-19 era, there are even ways to volunteer remotely. Sites like volunteermatch.org can connect you with organizations that need your skills and energy.
8. Fix a nagging problem
Nearly all organizations have systems or practices that employees complain about. However, the problem never gets to the senior management. Make 2021 the year you face those issues. Come up with a proposal to resolve long-standing issues in your department. Whether it’s a way to make meetings less boring or an idea to incorporate new software that streamlines a particular process, take action. If you join in the complaining crowd, you’re never going to be the person who helps bring change. But if you can become solution-oriented, you can improve your work life and potentially do the same for others.
There you have it – eight career risks that are worth taking this year and beyond. No matter where you stand currently, calculated risks can put you in a better place in the long run. Switching directions and creating your own unique paths early on will help you find your true calling. Even if you fail at first, learn from the experience and keep moving forward with an eye on the big picture. Good luck!