Career Regret

Monday 18 August, 2014

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Regrets are a fact of life. Everyone has them, whether they are small or large. And if you don’t, please let us in on the secret. It could range from wishing you attended an event, to wishing you chose a different degree or even wishing you chose a different career. It could be that you didn’t take a gap year, or that you didn’t apply for that job, even if it was a smaller salary. Whatever it is, one thing seems to stay the same. As the saying goes, “you always regret the things you didn’t do rather than the things you did”. 


Your career should be somewhere for you to express your skills and creativity, not an area for you to feel a sense of regret. If you feel you are on the wrong path, then change course. If you regret the industry you have entered, then look into alternate fields. There is always something to be done, and there is no time like the present. You don’t want to spend fifty or more years of your life wondering what could have been!


OneShift recently conducted a survey that showed 49% of Australian University Graduates felt that their studies did not adequately prepare them for the workforce, while 80% also said that they believe experience is more highly valued than an education. This is interesting considering that the Sydney Morning Herald has recently reported that people have a greater tendency to feel regret if they did not complete tertiary education, perhaps feeling as though they had limited their options for success. There are liimitless opportunites for us to regret decisions that we did or didn't make in our career, but what are the most common?


The Harvard Business Review interviewed a diverse professional group of 30 and questioned them about their top 5 career regrets. And once again, they are all regrets about what people didn’t act upon rather than what they did. Here are the top 5 career regrets, try to learn from them:


  1.      I wish I hadn’t taken the job for the money
  2.      I wish I had quit earlier
  3.      I wish I had the confidence to start my own business
  4.      I wish I had used my time at school more productively
  5.      I wish I had acted on my career hunches


All these five points focus on opportunities we didn’t act upon. We need to recognize that there is no perfect time, there is only now to make positive changes. 

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