risk.shindlerDid you know that each year coconuts falling from trees kill about 150 people? Your reaction to this might range from ‘you’re kidding?’, ‘how awful, it’s no laughing matter’ and ‘let’s cancel our holiday’ to ‘I’ve never even seen a real coconut tree’ and ‘I’m unlikely to be passing under one for the foreseeable future’.

I have also been coaching several people recently who are considering changing their job or career. A common connection between these two apparently random items is people’s attitude to risk.

What you are prepared to do or not (and why) will have a bearing on your decision-making and choices, whether you are a recent graduate seeking an entry-level job or a redundant over-50 wondering what to do next.

Taking a job or career risk tends to involve more than the individual concerned.  Some would argue vulnerable young people need protecting from themselves, based on the premise that they don’t know what they don’t know and careers professionals owe a duty of care.

I also work with organisations where attention is given to corporate governance, where contingency plans are put in place for business continuity and where risk registers are developed, including consideration of how the risks can be mitigated. It got me thinking that a personal risk register might help guide your thinking about job and career choices.

Here are 20 questions to help you build your own risk register:

  1. What if the grass is always greener? What if it isn’t?
  2. What if I fail?
  3. If I succeed, will I be able to cope?
  4. If I apply for this job and get it, what will I gain?
  5. If I apply for this job and do not get it, what will I gain?
  6. If I apply for this job and get it, what will I lose or how will I suffer?
  7. If I apply for this job and do not get it, what will I lose or how will I suffer?
  8. Over what will I be/not be prepared to compromise?
  9. How will taking this path affect those who are closest to me?
  10. What if those closest to me do not want me to take this path?
  11. What if those closest to me want me to take a different path than the one I want?
  12. What if the job is great but takes me away from my desired path?
  13. What if the people are great but the job is not?
  14. What if the job is great but the people are not?
  15. What are my warning signs that I am becoming dissatisfied or unfulfilled?
  16. What will be the warning signs for me that it is time to move (e.g. from my current role, team, organisation, sector, location etc)?
  17. How will I know if I am in danger of moving too quickly?
  18. How will I know if I am stagnating or too often in the comfort zone or staying too long?
  19. How will I know if I am in danger of being too stretched or over-stressed?
  20. How will I know if I am happy or satisfied or fulfilled or realising my potential?

Create your personal risk register and list the ways you will you mitigate the risks so you make the right decision for you.

What questions do you find helpful or unhelpful?  What would you change or add?

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