Natasha Chatur, Work Happiness Coach, explains her interesting take on the different approaches people have to career crossroads! Which one will you you most resonate with?
Have you ever found yourself at a career crossroads? Many of my clients panic when they come to a crossroads, others are confused or feel lost. There’s a sense of wanting to move on and getting past the crossroads as quickly as possible. I get it. It’s not easy standing at a crossroads, not knowing which road to take. When you have made decisions and plans to lead yourself in a certain direction, you can be thrown off when those decisions bring you to a crossroads. You may feel off-balance or confused about what to do next. However, crossroads are actually a good thing.
They are a point where we pause, reflect and give ourselves a minute to check whether we’re on the right track. We get the opportunity to review whether we still want to stay on the same path, whether we still feel good about where we’re going, and most importantly, whether there is anything new to consider. Sometimes, in order to achieve more, we are forced to make difficult decisions. Some awkward or difficult emotions can arise while doing this. That’s why arriving at the crossroads may feel like it’s a difficult moment, but it’s better than facing a closed road.
People arrive at crossroads at different points in their lives; no one’s path is the same. You may be feeling low or positive; your motivation may be different from your closest friends. I’ve looked at the different responses to crossroads, and I think I can group them into three categories (can you tell I’m currently watching “The Witcher”?)
The Hasty One
This is the person who feels panic when they reach the crossroads. It’s overwhelming and uncomfortable because they don’t like uncertainty. They think that they need to make a decision fast, whatever it is. Maybe a few months or years down the road, the Hasty One reflects ‘I should have thought about that a bit more’, ‘looking back, that wasn’t the best decision for me’ or even, ‘maybe things could have been different if I had talked to someone.’
When the Avoider finds themselves at a crossroads, they bury their head in the sand. They simply want to “keep calm and carry on” in life. They don’t want to pay too much attention or get involved with the nature of the crossroads. They think that by carrying on they are making progress, but they haven’t stopped to examine themselves and why they are making this choice; why are they taking this road instead of the other? They aren’t gaining new insights that will give them a deeper understanding of themselves and their choices.
The Loiterer is happy to spend time at the crossroads as it avoids making a decision. They are aware they’ve reached a crossroads and that, ideally, they should pick a road to walk down. They know that they can choose a road for change and growth, and they definitely want that. But they’re not sure, and maybe someone else would be a better guide. So… they wait. And wait. And wait. They hang around waiting for someone to come and tell them which way; they’re looking for a sign, maybe a holler from above or a push from behind. They don’t want the responsibility for making that choice. So, they wait.
Do you see yourself as one of these? Are you the type to rush, carry on, or wait?
Decisions can be hard because there is something at stake regardless of which decision you make. However, if you’ve thought it through, you’re not going to make the wrong choice or put yourself in danger. Decisions are hard because there is no obvious choice. Whichever road you take, you may need to compromise, let go of something, or take a risk that is scary. Whatever it is that’s at stake for you- that’s what makes the decision so difficult. Maybe that’s the beauty of the crossroads: you can’t see an obvious choice.
What if you could be The Seeker? What if you could arrive at the crossroads and actively question yourself? What got you here? Who are you now and who do you want to be? What choice will get you there? What do you have to accept or give up for that choice? Is that something you can live with? What path might you regret if you don’t take it?
Boldly approach that crossroads. Question how and why you’ve got there. Learn to understand that the uncertainty is ok for a bit while you are seeking the answers. Embrace your choice. Crossroads are inevitable. Sometimes they are small, sometimes they are significant. They are always there for a reason. Remember, it’s better to come to a crossroads, than find yourself on a closed road.
Natasha Chatur is a Work Happiness Coach with a corporate background. She believes passionately and from experience, that such periods of professional transition and personal transformation can be improved, accelerated and more successful when providing access to coaching as a developmental opportunity.
Read more from Natasha: Finding work happiness in a modern world