Decisions, decisions, decisions! We all make them all day, every day!
“In fact, some sources suggest that the average person makes an eye-popping 35,000 choices per day.”
(Krockow, E., 2018)
From what to eat for breakfast or which shoes to wear to more significant decisions like who to marry or which job to apply for, we all make choices that impact our own lives and the lives of others all of the time.
I was recently asked to speak to a small group of 16-year-olds as part of a session on career progression about my own journey through education and employment. In preparation, I reflected on my journey through education and subsequent career path and was struck initially by the number of twists and turns in my journey to date. Having followed a fairly traditional route through education, passing GCSE’s, onto A levels then a degree, I saw how my path as an employee has been varied throughout the years, particularly in my 20’s. The choices I have made with regards to jobs I have had, had been influenced by a variety of factors. Subject choices at school were purely made on the basis of my interest in the subjects and my ability. However, decisions about jobs have been more complex. Sometimes, other circumstances such as family issues/responsibilities or finances have played a part in the choices I have made career-wise.
So, what did I learn from my own reflections…?
It’s ok to change your mind. As I have made my own decisions about jobs through my life so far, while they feel like a big deal at the time, looking back I am reassured that I have been able to change my mind as and when the time has felt right and I have wanted to move to alternative employment. Plus, each job has served its purpose and I have been able to give my all to my varying roles whilst I have been in post.
Responsibilities often trump feelings. As an 18-year-old who needed to move out of home due to family circumstances, I chose to get a job waitressing on a breakfast shift at a local hotel alongside studying for my degree. No part of me felt an overwhelming desire to get up at 5.30am to get to work on time so that I could then get to university later in the day, but my responsibility to pay my rent and bills outweighed my desire to stay in bed a bit longer. Sometimes how we feel needs to take a back seat in favour of addressing other priorities.
Big decisions need time. I worked for my previous employer for 17 years, so my decision to change jobs was a massive deal. Knowing that leaving would be such a significant life change, I spent many months thinking about what I wanted from my next step. Feelings often come and go so it was important for me to make sure this decision was measured and would be one I wouldn’t regret.
Accountability is key. Having trusted friends to bounce ideas off while progressing bigger life decisions has been so helpful in my life. Allowing people that you trust to have your best interests at heart to challenge you or encourage you is key to making good decisions.
Some choices will be seemingly small and insignificant. However, when making bigger and potentially life-changing decisions, we need to take time, weigh up all the options, check in with those you trust and then make the best decision you can at the time. Indecision in itself is a choice, so be bold and take control of the choices you have. Whether you are choosing subject options at school, deciding which college to attend, considering a career change or deciding on a partner, let’s choose wisely, making measured decisions that are not only considerate of their impact on us but also on those around us.
Operations Manager, Phase Trust