RISKY BUSINESS: Knowing When a Career Risk is Worth Taking

There are millions of jobs out there, and if you’re lucky enough to have a good one, why would you ever leave? The answer to that question is different for everyone. Only you can decide when it’s time to stay or time to go, but before you answer that question, here are a few things to consider when deciding if a career risk is worth taking:

The Myth of Stability

In many cases, stability is a deciding factor when choosing between two job opportunities. It’s tempting to take the more stable job so you don’t have to worry about mergers, layoffs, or other threats to your security. To a large degree, stability is a myth. It’s quite a nice concept, one that even actually exists in a few companies, but in this day and age, don’t be fooled by a false sense of it. Making a decision based on perceived job security could backfire.


Ideally you want a position where you’ll grow personally, learn, and improve. All of this will not only make you a better employee in the short term, but will also make you more marketable in the future because of your varied skill set. In line with personal growth is advancement opportunity. If you have a chance to accept a job from a company that will expand your scope of expertise and provide you with the potential to climb the ladder, then that might be a risk worth taking.


Another strong lure toward making a career leap is having a professional connection at the new position.  We have all had those colleagues with whom we work well and trust implicitly. If you’re being recruited by someone you’ve worked with in the past, someone you trust, then the risk is likely worth the reward. Just be sure you’re putting your trust in the right person, but if you’re generally a good judge of character, it could be a golden opportunity.

Client Base

Another big career risk is going off on your own and using your training and skill to make money for yourself, instead of for a big corporation. Starting your own business is much scarier than just changing jobs, but the key to success in this kind of career leap is having a client base already lined up. Assuming you’re not strapped to any legal restrictions, such as a non-compete agreement, your risk is significantly lowered if you have secured a few good clients who are committed to using your services and following you wherever you may go.

Each individual has many factors to consider when evaluating a career change. Personal financial situations and family responsibilities must be carefully assessed. Evaluate the pros and cons, know where you’re going and what you’re leaving behind, and make an intelligent choice based on your own needs, as well as your gut instincts. In the end, even if it turns out to be the wrong choice, just take another risk and start looking for that next dream job.

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