Ever thought about how you make decisions?
We make decisions every day, such as ‘what shall I have for lunch?’ We don’t usually ponder this for too long as we already have a number of known factors, what we have in the fridge, what we feel like eating and how long it might take to prepare!
This is known as using ‘heuristics’ or ‘mental shortcuts'.snapshot information, In other words, those pieces of information we can recall quickly without having to spend too much time pulling together lots of information before we make a decision. Being able to do this really helps us especially when we are constantly having to make decisions pretty much every hour of the day in some shape or form!
This type of decision making is probably okay for the day-to-day, but when it comes to decisions that could impact your future, these mental shortcuts might not be the most reliable.
When it comes to career decision making, this approach might not work. For example, a parent might recall their time as a theatre nurse and brings their interpretation to the role. This is good information but not the only available heuristic on which to base a decision and a young person may think it sounds like a really good career choice, despite the fact they wouldn’t want to work shifts and can’t stand the sight of blood!
Another example might be you see that to gain a degree in zoology requires a grade 6 in GCSE Maths, you don’t have this grade so decide to reject the idea despite your passion for animals and work experience in a local animal centre.
So how to do we avoid placing more value on ‘readily available information’ that only provides a snapshot view of the contents that make up the decision-making process.
1. Don’t jump to conclusions – slow down and take time to look at what information you might need to make a really informed decision.
2. Search for other opinions or sources. Contact people who work in the role and ask them if they can answer a few questions.
3. Find reliable information about the career you are interested in.
4. Think more widely and consider associated careers too. Are there other ways of achieving your goal?
5. Finally, to gain the most accurate and informed picture of career possibilities – speak to a qualified and experienced careers professional! Find out how to research and evaluate the role, understand your skills, passions and your likes and dislikes!
Moral of the story: Take the scenic route to better career decision making!