Should you stay or should you go?
The questions you need to answer, before you take a big decision:
It is an all too familiar situation: You are in a so-so position with so-so career prospects and a so-so boss. You apply for a different position (because: why not? “Go ahead and apply.”, your partner said, “you can always say no”) and, all of a sudden, there is an offer on the table, and now, very quickly you need to take a decision. Should you stay or should you go? But how?
1. What exactly are the options? You can stay (and maybe fight for some changes), you can accept this new position, or you can take this offer as a wake-up call to look for the kind of position you really want. Or you could do something completely different. Make sure you have truly all the options in front of you. It is rarely a simple choice between two fixed options.
2. What does your intuition tell you? Can you trust it? What would need to happen for your intuition to change? How can you get emotional buy-in for your decision?
3. What facts do you need to know about each option that would influence your decision? What aspects are unknowable?
4. What are the potential upsides and downsides of each option? What are the possible risks and benefits? Can you assess their likelihood?
5. What upsides and downsides are most important to you? Is the risk worth the potential benefit?
6. How do the different options align with your values, career and life goals? How could they?
7. Do you have enough support and advice to take a decision?
None of the above can take away the uncertainties of change. And the reality is that (almost) every choice, including the choice to do nothing, closes other options. Aging does this all by itself.
It takes courage to move, but don’t let those glib quotes about making the leap into the unknown fool you: it may also take courage to let that option pass. Growing up we should all pursue our dreams with reckless abandon. But being an adult means taking calculated risks and balancing conflicting interests.