YOUR contract has been going along smoothly. An initial three month contract has rolled over and 12 months later you are still with the same organisation. What bliss. You’ve planned a trip to watch the northern lights and have just come back from a long weekend in Prague. The money is good and the work is interesting — most of the time. Does life get any better?
Then it happens. You get a phone call from your old manager. She is enjoying her new role and is building up her new team. Your skills will be a great fit and she asks whether you would be interested in an interim or permanent role as she searches for staff. She has always been impressed with your work. Your contract ends in a month and indications are that there is a new project which means your skills will be in demand.
What seemed like a comfortable situation, now requires active decision making as you weigh up your options. The only decision you had to make before the phone call was whether you went to Amsterdam or Zagreb for your next trip. The rest was smooth sailing. Now, you are faced with the choice of whether you take that new role or stay where you are comfortable. You know the people, the you know the role and you know how the organisation works. Everyone knows you and the after work drinks are awesome.
So what do you do? Everyone says listen to your gut. But what do you do when your gut is not talking to you?
One thing you can do is avoid the decision and let it be made for you. Maybe they won’t renew your contract. Decision made. Or maybe you can ask your friends what they would do. But this can be more confusing as they may not have all the facts and their point of view may not be aligned with your needs.
Another method is to use a systematic way of making decisions. This removes the emotion and allows you to consider the facts — in other words, it de-clutters your thoughts and feelings, freeing you to make a decision that takes your context and your bigger picture into consideration. There are many systematic ways of making decisions. A few simple questions is often the best.
The following questions can highlight opportunities you may not have considered and help you assess what is important to you. When you are thinking about the answers, consider your reaction. If the answers to these questions suggest you would be in a worse position or you feel uneasy, then you have your answer — and vice versa. These three questions require that you consider the issue in a different way and foster creative thinking about a decision that may otherwise be causing you angst.
So what are these magic questions? Ask yourself:
1. What would happen if you stay where you are?
2. What could you be missing out on if you stayed where you are?
3. What could you gain if you were to take up the new contract?
When we are faced with decisions that we did not expect to make, it can really throw us off kilter. Rather than being a victim of circumstance, take a systematic approach, de-clutter your thoughts and find your own solution.