Have you ever encountered a talented professional who seems skilled enough to be good at many different things, but somehow seems to avoid finding career success? People who possess a versatile skill set may be too preoccupied with keeping their career options open. Here’s how you can combine this principle with a focus to achieve progress.
The value of options
It can be quite easy to understand why a lot of people like to keep their options open. In everyday life decisions, many of us can be reluctant to risks or don’t enjoy extensive planning. When you go on a holiday in Louisiana, for instance, you may not enjoy micro-managing each detail of your trip. Instead, you choose Shreveport boat dealers to let you rent a personal watercraft so that you get to do what you want and go where you feel like visiting.
Having options gives you power and flexibility in many decisions that you face each day, and this also carries over to some extent in your career. For example, if you don’t see yourself working at your current company in the long term, you can back out of overtime commitments and a heavy workload. You use the spare time to learn new skills and begin to explore your options in more flexible or satisfying occupations.
How focus brings success
At the same time, overvaluing your career options can turn your path of progression into something that resembles a meandering and branching river. An effect known as the psychological immune system can make any individual feel happier about committing to a decision from which backing out is not an option. You end up not only shortening and simplifying the decision-making process but derive more satisfaction from that commitment.
Having a focus in career keeps your time and effort spent on each job from draining away in different directions. It tells a story and builds a sense of progression that demonstrates to current and future employers that you have a clear vision for your personal development and the dedication to achieve your goals, both of which are qualities they value.
Striking the right balance
Commit too quickly in your career, and you may miss out on better opportunities or even potentially doom yourself to mastering a skill that could suddenly become obsolete. Think of how a programming language, such as Objective-C, can be replaced with Swift in a single announcement by Apple, forcing developers to retrain themselves after years of coding experience.
Yet career options aren’t exactly like portfolio investments. Assets such as shares of stock or real estate can appreciate regardless of what you do. But, as an employee, you can only manage to stand out and harness the power of those varied options by demonstrating to some extent that you are focused on doing something particularly well.
The better strategy would be to find a balance between the two. Concentrate on a certain path long enough to achieve results that set you apart from other candidates. This, in turn, will help you create career options, which is a more active route to diversifying career choices and increasing mobility than merely keeping options open and avoiding any commitment.
Keeping your options open can be good advice in daily life, but there are limits to its application in terms of your career. Knowing this, you can exert deliberate effort and excel, get noticed, and enjoy a wider range of paths to success.