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Identify and Avoid These Career Decision-Making Traps

Identify and Avoid These Career Decision-Making Traps

Peter Vogt, MonsterTRAK Career Coach

Deborah Schneider spent far more time researching the $15,000 car she once bought than she did on a slightly larger purchase — her $90,000 law degree.

“Years later, I realized how common that is,” says Schneider, who coauthored Should You Really Be a Lawyer? with Gary Belsky and produces its accompanying Web site. “Each year, many college students spend more time planning their next spring break than their postcollege career, even though they’ll spend a lot more time on the job than on vacation.”

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1. How often do you make a "To Do" list?

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Consider Your Choice Challenges

Blame what Schneider and Belsky call choice challenges, or mental traps that practically everyone falls into at times, especially when making major career decisions. Three of the most common choice challenges you’ll face are:

The Herd Mentality: The tendency to do what everyone else seems to be doing.
Example: “All of my colleagues seem to be exploring rad tech careers. Maybe I should too.”

Anchoring: Attaching great importance to something that may have little or no bearing on your best interests.
Example: “My girlfriend always wanted me to become a surgeon.”

Decision Paralysis: Becoming so overwhelmed with choices that you can’t decide, or you decide not to decide.
Example: “I don’t know what I want to do, so I’ll just go to graduate school to keep my options open.”

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