Your turn challenge: Day 2 Taking risks in your career

Helping people manage their careers is important to me. It's why I blog about it and it's why I love working with leaders.

Some recent events got me thinking about risk and managing your career. I have advertised some roles in our business in part of the world where there is lots of potential for growth, both for the business and for our employees who are willing to do something a bit different. It's also exciting because as a business we are just starting to move people around the world, which is something I have benefited from. That's so cool.

I have fielded lots of questions from employees interested in the roles and one particular group all wanted to know what would happen after the assignments? They wanted a guarantee they could return to their old jobs or something similar. For those going on shorter assignments like 6 months we could reasonably accommodate this. For those on assignments of 2 years or longer it doesn't seem that easy. We can promise to do our best for our employees but things can change a lot during that time.

For most of us our appetite for risk is not that great. We all seem to want the upside of opportunities. We want high yield investments but when the market turns we (of course) are not happy if we lose money. We want high rewards but find it hard to except the downside. I drove a Mini Cooper S for a while and loved it. I loved the styling and the zippiness, the bright yellow paint job and the long intervals between servicing. I didn't like that when it was time to service my baby, I had to fork out an exorbitant amount of money. I guess that's human nature to only want the upside.
Wasn't she pretty?

It seems to work the same for our career. There are significant upside in the opportunities I have advertised including; contributing to a fast growing business, experience working in another country, personal and career growth and of course financial incentives. And the down side? Maybe the assignment won't work out? Maybe you won't like living in another country? Maybe you don't perform well enough? And maybe you won't have a safe secure job to come back to?

Unfortunately there are no guarantees in your career as in life. Jobs for life don't exist any more and markets will continue to be unstable. I wrote a bit about this here.

My advice is if the opportunity fits with your career goals and life then go for it, but have a plan for the downside. Think about what could be the worst that could happen and have a plan for that.