How to Stop Second Guessing My Career Choice

by Lisa McQuerrey

Even if you’re satisfied with your job, it can be easy to let your mind wander into thoughts about how your life might be different if you had opted for another career path. While some professional introspection is healthy and keeps you focused on work you enjoy, over-thinking can lead to frustration and diminished job performance.

Take an Aptitude Test

Taking a career aptitude test can give you insights into whether you are in the right profession based on your skills and interests. These tests are typically administered to students as a way to help them make informed decisions about education and career paths. But aptitude tests are also useful for people who are already working because they help you make similar decisions. Use the results in a practical way. If they are fairly on target with what you’re doing, reassure yourself that you’re moving in the right direction. If results point to professions in no way related to your current field, it might be worth examining how you ended up in your current line of work, and if you’re better suited to another profession.

Write a Career Plan

Develop a plan that helps you chart the direction you want your career to take. Sometimes second-guessing comes from boredom or job stagnation. If that’s the case, you don’t need a new career, just new challenges and a new attitude. Enlist a mentor at work to help you refine your approach and motivate yourself to take on new responsibilities. Take continuing educational classes or get involved with industry associations so you can reignite your enthusiasm about your line of work.

Periodically Reevaluate

Regularly evaluate your career plan to make sure you’re on track with goals, and that those goals are still relevant to your life. Sometimes major life changes or circumstances can alter the way you view your career and cause you to start second guessing if. If you take time to regularly assess your professional objectives, you have a better idea of what you are doing to reach them and whether they still fit with your career and life goals. Understanding where you stand in your career plan can give you a clearer picture of it, and help you stop second-guessing your choices.

Be Realistic

Take a realistic approach to how you view yourself and your career. If you have friends who earn significantly more money or seem to have an exciting job, it can make you wonder if you should pursue something different. Remind yourself why you choose your line of work and what you enjoy about it. Make a list of the positives and negatives. If you find that the positives outweigh the negatives, this is reason enough to stop second guessing your career choice. If the negatives outweigh the positives, try to figure out how to improve on the negatives before giving up on your career choice and scouting another one.

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