Monday, August 23, 2010

Can Avoiding Risks in Your Career Be Risky?

When there is uncertainty and instability in the workplace, employees feel more pressure to prove their value, stand out, and demonstrate their ability to embrace change. This can often lead to taking calculated career risks. Laid-off workers also find themselves in a position to take risks as they attempt to create new career opportunities.

The amount of risk can vary, depending on the situation. Even small steps can be risky; for example, volunteering to tackle a new task or proposing a new process improvement. Bigger leaps involve even more risk, such as pursuing a position with more responsibility, changing occupations altogether, or launching a small business.

The important thing is to think before you leap. You may want to consider the following before you take a purposeful career risk:
  • Be informed: Gather and evaluate as much relevant information as possible about the risk you are getting ready to undertake. Remember, there are no guarantees things will go as you would like; however, the more informed you are, the better the chance you’ll have a positive outcome.
  • Align with your goals: Any job risk you take should help move you closer to the goals you’ve set for your career. If a risk does not align well with your goals, there is a good chance the results will not be fruitful.
  • Have a back-up plan: If you take a calculated career risk and it doesn’t work out, make sure you have a back-up plan. You don’t want to find that you’ve put your whole career on the line and left yourself no other options. For example, if you launch a small business, have a plan for finding a job with an employer if your business doesn’t succeed.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail: Sometimes failure can lead to success, particularly when you’re willing to learn from your experiences. Don’t let your fear of failure keep you from trying new things and taking calculated risks in your career.

Big or small, taking career risks can be uncomfortable and intimidating; however, when you’ve done your homework, taking risks can lead to personal growth as well as professional gain.

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