Most professionals face career risks and in the case of David, a mid-level career professional working in the marketing department of a consulting firm when he was suddenly approached by a recruiter looking to poach him to a tech start-up.
David went through the application and interview phase and came out the top candidate for the job. An offer was made an offer by the human resource manager of tech start-up but David refused the offer because he was not willing to take career risks staring him in the face.
The business dictionary defines risks as a probability or threat of damage, injury, liability, loss, or any other negative occurrence that is caused by external or internal vulnerabilities, and that may be avoided through preemptive action.
Life is about risks but more about calculated risks. The career risks that spooked David from accepting the offer despite the fact that the salary was higher than his present employment was that there was no health insurance, tax remittance or pension contribution from his prospective employer.
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While the human resources manager claimed they are a new company and would look into those in the months and years to come, David felt this opportunity did not present him the stability he was looking for in a new place of employment. Hence, this was a risk he was not willing to take. Here, we look at career risks you should never take as well as why you should avoid them.
It is always tempting when you receive an employment offer with a bigger salary than what you currently earn. By default, it lures you into thinking that the grass is greener on the other side. Unfortunately, this is not entirely true. Thinking the grass is always greener on the other side without proper research and review of the policies and working conditions from a new employer can cost you much more than you initially realise.
This can be the difference between moving from a decent job to a really terrible workplace. Avoid looking at your next job strictly based on the salary and automatically arrive at the conclusion that the grass is greener on the other side. Just like David found out; he wasn’t at this point in his career, ready to move to a job where his pension, tax and health insurance would no longer be provided by his new-to-be employer. Think long-term and review everything before concluding the grass is greener.
Thinking Short-Term Career Risks
If you are building a career, your thinking and decisions should be hinged on the long-term benefits it has for your career. The bigger picture spans beyond short-term benefits. Don’t be short-sighted by your present job or be tricked by the juicy salary offer of a new job. Think long-term and focus on career opportunities and options that it presents your career with a better chance of attaining your goals. Thinking short-term has the capacity to cloud your judgement and this will eventually affect your career negatively.
Do you remember the level of enthusiasm you brought with you when you resumed work at your current place of employment? This was a few months or a couple of years ago. Do you remember the enthusiasm and diligence with which you attacked your tasks because you wanted the job? Now, you have gotten comfortable and grown lackadaisical about developing yourself or acquiring relevant skills. Sadly, nothing awaits any career professional who treads this path than doom.
Getting comfortable is detrimental to your career because it doesn’t just affect your chances of doing a fantastic job but can eventually lead to job loss, which can be devastating for your career. Don’t get comfortable with your great results, the job role or company. Consistently find ways to stay edgy and stick to a path that improves your career and professional capabilities.
Outdated Skills Invite Career Risks
The workplace with the advent of Technology and Artificial Intelligence is at a critical point of revolution in the workplace. The last thing you want to be is a career professional with skills that are no longer relevant.
Job automation means several job roles and redundant tasks will be lost to machines. Only career professionals who have their skills updated and have acquired new skills will remain relevant in this wave of technological advancement. Always seek out training, professional certifications and new skills that help you stand out as a top performer in the workplace.
The professional life is about relationships; nurture and maintain them. Between you, your colleagues and employers, it is always advised that you maintain a cordial relationship. Things go wrong and people disagree but if you ever have to leave an organisation, try not to burn bridges or close doors you have walked through.
Nothing Lasts Forever
‘Nothing lasts forever’ is a statement of fact. Your career and everything around it might be going nicely at the moment and then the next instant, due to circumstances beyond your control, you could lose your job. What was once a cordial relationship between you and the management of the company could suddenly go wrong.
Don’t let unforeseen circumstances like this knock you or your career down. Give your best at all times and when it ends, get up and go at it again with your best.
Thinking you are not good enough for the job or your role would hurt your career than it would help it. Being a good fit is a combination of experience and training. If you don’t have either or both, find ways to gain them because like the saying goes, “…you can achieve it if you believe in it and take appropriate action.”
Your self-worth would also reflect on the quality of offers you receive from prospective employers. You are good enough so don’t hurt your career by understating that.
Sticking Strictly to Your Job Description
One of the biggest career risks you can take is sticking to what your role demands of you and nothing more. If you can do more, be innovative and suggest new ideas that would ensure that organisational goals are achieved. If you keep playing it safe and turn down opportunities to learn more by taking up extra responsibilities, you are hurting your career and missing out on opportunities to be seen as a career professional with the capacity to take up leadership roles.
Let’s not deceive ourselves. Some bosses and managers are much more than a pain in the neck. Some of them appear to have perfected the art of making the workplace become a landmine where you find yourself treading with great caution. Even if your boss or manager falls into this category, don’t be in a rush to quit your job. That’s not the way to go.
Before you write that resignation letter, take a moment to think about the job and why you are opting for the option of quitting. Even if you hate the job, don’t just walk out of the company.
The idea of quitting and searching for a new job might seem appealing to you but remember that without careful planning, frustration could creep in very easily. Think back to some of the things you once liked about the job and the new things that you have learnt. This should give you some mental energy burst as well as the enthusiasm you need to search for a better and more fulfilling job.
Gambling When You Are Inching Towards Retirement
One of the riskiest times to take chances with your career is when you are getting closer to your retirement. It is easier and safer to take risks when you are younger. The risk of quitting your current job and travelling abroad to start afresh is safer to take when you are younger and have the advantage of a young age. The same risk would be tougher for a career professional who is just a couple of years away from retirement.
In conclusion, before you take career risks, give it a 360 review and focus more on the long-term implication of the risk you are about to take. Trust your gut but carry out detailed research to have a better and firmer understanding of how things might pan out. As always, we wish you the very best in your career.