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How to break the career decision deadlock

Posted on Career planning

Are you stuck in a rut with a career decision? Torn between two job offers? Or just starting to plan your career and trying to decide your favourite sector? Whatever your dilemma, OU Careers Consultant Penny Beecroft has a trick up her sleeve which can help you decide.

“Students often come to me when facing a difficult career decision. I usually recommend getting a more rounded view of the situation using the ‘Six Thinking Hats’ method by psychologist Edward De Bono. Here’s how.

Look at your problem from different perspectives …using six different thinking hats. This helps you find factors that could be missed using your own typical thinking style, giving you a more complete picture of the decision. Here come the hats…

1. White hat for facts and information

Gather the relevant information, for example about the career and sector you’re interested in. Start with How do I become a…? and look at the careers info on the ‘Succeed’ tab of your Study Home page.

2. Red hat for emotions and feelings

Ask yourself “What do I feel?”. Only you can really know your own feelings, but our webinar Identifying your core values can help you recognise and understand your values and emotions. Also check out this online careers assessment and Your Career Planning Guide.

3. Black hat for challenges and risks

What are the potential problems? What could go wrong? I know looking at the dark side isn’t fun, but it’s good to get a healthy reality check. Our SWOT analysis tool will help you identify any strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

4. Yellow hat for positives and benefits

What are the benefits? What is the value to me? Write a list of benefits for each option to help you analyse them side-by-side.

5. Green hat for possibilities and alternatives

What other ideas can I generate? What haven’t I considered? With careers, the best choices are often found in places you didn’t expect or even know about. Explore Careers with your OU subject and browse hundreds of alternatives on OpportunityHub.

6. Blue hat to manage the process

Have I thought about all the perspectives and have I reached a decision?” This is the crunch point, but should be easier after wearing the other five hats.

If you still can’t plump for an option, “Making decisions and taking action” (section 3) in Your Career Planning Guide is just the thing to help you.”

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