Bad Career Decisions: How They Happen and How To Avoid Them

It makes no difference if you excelled in sports or the arts or got good grades in college. It doesn’t even matter if you quickly rose to the position of team leader and excelled in social situations at work. Even if you’re the Albert Einstein of your field, chances are you’ve made at least one counterintuitive decision in your professional career.

Look, I understand that nobody deliberately makes poor career decisions. decisions that make you doubt your ability to make wise choices in terms of your professional life The decisions you make paralyze you with regret and defeat as the sound of your cell phone alarm pierces your subconscious every morning. Making decisions that make you question your actions, your motivations, and your motivational goals.

Do any of the following career scenarios ring a bell? Have you ever accepted a job offer without giving it serious consideration as to whether it will advance your long-term career goals? Have you ever joined a work side project despite having a full plate of other responsibilities that prevent you from giving it your full attention, making you look unprofessional?

In spite of the fact that you feel most comfortable in smaller work environments, you apply for a job at that large company because your best friend persuaded you that bigger is better. Despite the fact that you have no interest in performing any of the tasks listed in the higher profile job description, you raise your hand to be considered for promotion because all of your coworkers have done so and you don’t want to be left behind. Because everyone else is doing it, you leave your job to start your own business because you believe that if you’re not in charge of your own destiny, you’ve somehow chosen a life of mediocrity.

When it comes to relationships, home purchases, or your health, for example, there are times when it is acceptable—even expected—to go with your gut when making a significant decision. However, this doesn’t necessarily apply when making your next career move. Instead, carefully consider which choice will bring you the closest to your long-term professional objectives. You should be able to articulate how and why your choice is the best one for your professional aspirations.

It’s not the end of the world if you haven’t found your career niche by 35, 45, or even 65. That means you should slow down. The most fruitful (and satisfying) career paths are those that are approached more like marathons than like sprints. Before taking any significant risks, experiment with your interests and consider your options.

The practice of watching game film is one of the things that makes high-performing athletes so great. No, you shouldn’t criticize yourself for every mistake you’ve made or beat yourself up, but you should try to learn from them. It’s crucial to reflect on what could have been done better and what lessons can be learned after each failure.

The worst thing you can do is confine yourself to a certain niche out of fear of discovering your interests. Attend that class on a subject unrelated to your line of work. Apply for that position in an entirely different industry. Do not feel compelled to complete tasks in a “logical order” that has been predetermined by another person. There is more than one path to success.

The best advice I’ve ever received was to avoid consulting with anyone you wouldn’t want to trade places with. I don’t rely on many people to guide my career decisions, with the exception of my mentor and career coach. Who better than you to guide your career in the right direction? When considering your next move, have faith in your own wisdom and experience. Ultimately you are responsible for your decisions.

Hopefully, you were able to improve your professional life since then, but it’s possible that you weren’t. You might be unsure of what to do next as you envision where you want your career to go in the future. The good news is that you can always get back on course and acquire the knowledge you need to make the right decisions moving forward. You’re smart and perfectly capable. Now is the time to ensure that your career decisions are sound.

The Psychology of Career Decisions | Sharon Belden Castonguay | TEDxWesleyanU

Signs that you may have made a bad career decision

The following are indicators that you might have made a bad professional choice:

What can lead you to make bad career decisions?

A professional may make a poor career choice for a number of reasons, such as:

Tips to avoid making bad career decisions

Utilize the following advice to help you steer clear of poor career choices:

Do your research

Do your homework on the organization and position you are considering before making a career decision. Check out the business’s website, news articles that mention it, and online customer reviews. Before making a decision, seek out as many unbiased sources as you can and weigh all the available data.

In general, businesses want to give you all the data you need to make an informed choice. If the hiring managers or professionals you are speaking to are evasive about the job’s specifics or press you to accept the position before you have all the facts, it might be an indication that the position is not what is being advertised.

Beware of scams

Even though most businesses are who they claim to be, there are scams out there, so it’s wise to use caution when assessing positions of interest. Make sure the business is legitimate, and only provide information electronically after receiving a formal offer. While providing your contact information and employment history to an interviewer is customary, no interviewer should request information like:

Ask for advice

Ask people you trust for advice on your situation. Describe any issues you have and enquire about their sincere opinions. They may provide you with fresh eyes to help you see things differently or may confirm your concerns.

Check in with your feelings

Before making a significant career choice, consider your true feelings regarding the circumstance. Decide if the change is something you truly want before accepting a position because you feel like you should. Identify your feelings and emotions. Positive career moves should signal a fresh start that excites you. Your feelings may indicate that this choice is not the best one for you at this time if they are primarily negative.

Talk to others at the company

Speak with any other company employees you can if you can, not just the hiring manager or interviewer. Inquire about their experiences to get a sense of the culture at the business. Try to picture yourself working there with those individuals. Find out more about the manager’s management philosophy and how they will be working with you. Ask about the companys culture and values. It may be a sign for you to continue your job search if you get unfavorable feedback or responses that do not fit your ideal workplace.

Distinguish risk from desperation

Risk-taking can be a smart career move that helps you advance in your field. However, it’s important to determine whether a change in career is driven by a desire to take a calculated risk or by a sense of desperation. Making a significant career change solely to escape your current situation may not be the best move if you feel bored or burned out at your current job.

Professional development, increased job satisfaction, a better work-life balance, or the pursuit of a passion are some of the good reasons to take a chance. Try to remain logical and objective when weighing your options.

Take your time

Take your time making big career decisions. Gathering information, speaking with friends and family, and determining how you feel about the situation may take a few days or weeks. This makes sure you only sign a contract with a business once you are certain of your decision.

Ask the interviewer or hiring manager when they need to hear your decision if you need more time to consider an offer. While giving you more time to think about your options, doing so demonstrates to the hiring manager that you are conscious of their time constraints.


How do you recover from a bad career decision?

Here are five moves to help you recover from a bad career move:
  1. Acknowledge the mistake. Don’t just tough it out. …
  2. Resolve to make a change. …
  3. Embrace your active role in the story. …
  4. Focus on the future. …
  5. Don’t confuse success with staying power.

What is a bad career choice?

The lack of job options in your area or industry could lead you to make a poor career choice. Lack of experience: If you don’t know how to thoroughly research a job or project, it could result in subpar results if the position isn’t a good fit for you.

How do you know if you picked the wrong career?

The fact that you abhor your job may be the clearest indication that you chose the wrong profession. Even if you aren’t stressed about the work, you lack motivation, are disengaged, and aren’t learning anything new. The whole thing is a bad cycle.

What are 4 factors that affect career choices?

Factors that influence career choices
  • Personality. Your personality consists of relatively stable enduring traits. …
  • Interest. …
  • Values. …
  • Perception of careers. …
  • Skills abilities and talents. …
  • Culture. …
  • Socio-economic factors. …
  • Other career related factors.

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