This is my framework to make my big (and best) career decisions.
Before making life-changing career decisions, I always ask myself these 5 questions.
I’ve started to work in the IT industry very early… my first IT job was at the age of 17, working in a local ISP in the early days of the internet in my city, in Brasil. Some years later, I took my first life-changing career decision: leave Brazil and move to Florence, Italy, in 1998.
In Florence and Milan, Italy, I built the foundation of my enterprise career working at some great companies, including Hewlett-Packard Enterprise… until 2016, I’ve made another life-changing career decision: I accepted a great job offer to leave Italy and move to Poland, to work at IBM… and that great experience, the achievement there and all the knowledge acquired at the Big Blue, led me to the AI & ML Center of Excellence of the Volvo Group.
Everyone finds themselves at some crossroads from time to time. That’s when indecision gains strength, we don’t know which way to go, and we never have the answer to our dilemmas.
And today I want to share a simple but efficient framework to make my best career decisions.
Driving your career decisions
What makes you want to change your job? Higher salaries and more benefits usually come to the attention of those who receive a new job offer. But, to not regret it later and not harm your career development, it’s worth reflecting a little more and analyzing important points.
Making a career decision — that in most cases means accepting a job offer, leaving a current job, or making a career pivot — is always tricky, mainly because there’s usually no “right” answer.
To figure out what’s right for me, I always ask myself five simple but powerful questions that help me narrow down my options and help me focus on what’s important.
The first question is related to my feelings: I ask myself what are my feelings telling me?
I enjoy thinking about the work I am doing now or the work I intend to do in the future. Brainstorm and jot down ideas for various careers you are interested in. What emotions arise?
What is important to you? Understanding your values will enable you to make decisions that are in line with the most important things to you.
The second question is strategic: Where do I want to be in 5 years and ten years? What is the career path I want to follow?
This question is deeply related to my career plan itself. I cannot think only about the next few months, and I imagine the place and professional position I want to achieve in the medium and long term. It helps me to visualize better what I want and plan to get there.
The third question is about my family: How my decision will impact my loved ones.
I always ask them for their thoughts, input, and feelings and consider their inputs as pros or cons when it will be the moment to decide.
The fourth question is about the real reasons behind my decision: Why am I taking this decision? What are the real reasons behind my choices? Am I objective?
I always try to make informed decisions, data-driven decisions as consistently as possible, trying not to take in the equation too many hopes and assumptions.
Because if I have to decide based on an erroneous interpretation of my options, I’ve learned across these years that I will have an excellent probability of being disappointed in the long run.
The fifth and last question is about the company’s moment: For me is important to understand the moment of the company, for example, analyzing whether the company is investing, is growing, or is stagnant, in particular when it comes to my specialized area (AI).
Important decisions in our lives — whether at work or in life — are never simple, so I believe that defining a strategic plan for our professional life is essential to shorten the path to success. I like to think about my career as if it were a company with value to add to the market.
I hope you can use some of these questions to support you when deciding which path to take in the corporate world — based on professional opportunities that arise throughout your career.
And finding the most valuable answers for these questions can be an essential part of this planning. Good luck!
A highly engaged and innovative AI Strategist. Passionate about communication, with a broad I.T. Management and AI background.