Having options

You have done your experiment ( if it was needed ), you have done your list of things you are good at and enjoy doing, and now you have in front of you a list of choices. What to do next? Having more than one option, can sometimes be a blessing and sometimes a curse.

The book suggests to first expand your options, then limit them. Ideally, you are on a path to discover that ONE thing that you are meant to be doing, so after a natural exploration of different possibilities, you should logically come to a final stage of choosing the job of your dreams.

You can start identifying your options by listing as many possibilities as you can think of:

  • continue what you’re doing now
  • negotiate with your employer for a change of role, or responsibilities
  • search for a new job in the same field
  • search for a new job in a completely different field
  • go back to school or get trained to learn a new skill
  • begin to work on a side hustle
  • go into business with a friend

The possibilities are almost endless. The only way you can narrow down the possibilities is to use the joy-money-flow model. Only the combination of these 3 elements together will guarantee you winning the “career lottery”, so it is time to analyze your list and narrow down to those jobs that tick all 3 boxes. “There is more than one path. But finding your dream career isn’t about what you can do…it’s about what you should do. The goal isn’t just to find any possible path, but to find the path that’s best for you”.

To make it clearer, the book uses the “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” analogy. There are two conflicting theories about this. One is about putting all the eggs in one basket, because doing otherwise might distract you and take you off-course due to your focus and attention being split between different roles and/or projects. The other one encourages to have multiple projects and businesses, as most people don’t want to do the same thing all the time. Fortunately, there is a method that can help you decide:

  • focus – can you focus on one thing only at a time or are you person that works best under pressure with multiple deadlines?
  • diversification – are you a successful multitasker? or do you start it all and finish none?

Answering the above should help you find out which kind of person you are. The book suggests though, an approach that is viable for both personalities: “start with a lot of different baskets…over time you will discover something that requires more of your time and attention, and that’s when you switch to focusing more and more on that one thing”. In other words, you expand your options and then you limit them. During this exploration season, you will find it, or at least you will find something that it is promising. That is when you go all in. “Put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket very carefully”.

The next part of the book takes you through a menu of options. And by that I mean, the different paths of career that exists out there, where you can find the best fit for you. And this is what I enjoyed the most about the book. It is not a call to action to leave your salaried job to embark on entrepreneurship, unless this is what you really want and need. It recognizes that we are all different and with varied needs, and not one career suits all. In the current ever-changing and unstable work market, I think this book nailed it right. You can stay where you are and make it better for yourself if you are unhappy, but if you really want to make a change, there are multiple opportunities out there that might be the right fit for you. You just need to discover which one is the best, which one is your “career lottery”.

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