It's never too late for employees to make bold decisions
With most people spending a third of their lives in the workplace, making a bad career decision isn’t something they’ll just ponder on – it’s a reality many of them will live to regret.
From failing to build a professional network to playing it safe and not taking more chances at work, regret and self-doubt can take on many forms. The repercussions, however, are almost always the same: they tend to limit an employee’s potential for success.
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In a survey of more than 1,000 people, career advice website Zety examined the notion of career regret, and identified the 10 biggest disappointments people carry around for most of their life:
Top 10 career regrets
- Not taking more initiative
- Not having enough mentorship or guidance
- Playing it safe or not taking more chances
- Not maintaining their network
- Not quitting a job they disliked sooner
- Not negotiating hard enough for raises
- Not focusing enough on advancing their career
- Not networking enough
- Not negotiating a higher starting salary
- Not working harder in school
Only 2% claimed they had no regrets. For the majority, however, differences in job dissatisfaction came down to how female and male employees experienced the workplace differently:
Top 3 career regrets women have more than men
- Not speaking up about a problem at work (34%)
- Not negotiating a higher starting salary (32%)
- Working in a field where they don’t make enough money (30%)
Top 3 career regrets men have more than women
- Not working harder (28%)
- Not maintaining their network (20%)
- Not taking more initiative (15%)
All in all, nearly four in five respondents (78%) said they wished they had taken more calculated risks such as pursuing their passion.
Top 10 career risks people wish they had taken
- Pursuing a passion (28%)
- Negotiating a higher starting salary (26%)
- Negotiating for a raise (24%)
- Going back to school (21%)
- Starting a business (20%)
- Changing fields or industries (16%)
- Speaking up about a problem at work (12%)
- Choosing a challenging profession or field (12%)
- Quitting a job they disliked (12%)
- Moving for work (12%)
But is it too late in the game to make life-changing career decisions? Not yet, according to 52% of respondents.
“A career can be a winding road, and no two journeys look the same,” said Bart Turczynski, editor-in-chief of Zety.
“Over half of respondents felt it was not too late for them to make the career changes they’ve been dreaming of,” he said. “While the under-25 crowd felt the strongest about their potential, each demographic had a glimmer of hope in their hearts to some degree.”