4. Relying on a Pros and Cons List
Raise your hand if you’ve ever made a pros and cons list about a potential job or project. It’s the sensible move—you’re laying out all the reasons you should and shouldn’t take on a new venture in order to make an informed, rational decision.
But informed and rational isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. “If you are getting a bad gut feeling about working for a certain boss, a ‘pit in the stomach’ sensation about a dicey work environment, or are self-rationalizing over taking a major pay cut, you should never ignore the little voice in your ear warning you that something is wrong,” explains Cheryl Rich Heisler, founder and president of career-consulting site Lawternatives.
If you’re getting a bad feeling about an opportunity that seems promising on the surface, says Heisler, it’s time to get more information. “Dig deeper, and either reassure yourself that your impressions are wrong, or back away from the offer. This is true even for choosing your first career track—trust yourself.” That’s not to say that a few nerves means you should bail on a second-round interview, but if you can’t shake your anxiety and can’t alleviate it with more information, it might be time to take a step back.
“If,” says Heisler, “after doing your research and networking, the career, industry or job you’re exploring doesn’t feel right to you, reconsider. The happiest employees are working in areas they enjoy within industries they love.”