Can you define a career risk, but more importantly, can you define it intelligently?

Posted on 06-06-2013 by
Tags: Upgrading Your Skills

In his blog, Sacrifices to Becoming a Partner in a Large Law Firm, David E. Behrend, Director, Career Planning Services for Lawyers, defines career risk using a simple test. By adding "what" to any career risk you are considering, you can determine if you’re risking anything of real value. If you don’t care much about the lost “what,” you’re holding on to the status quo. This isn't a risk.

Once you've defined a true risk, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha advocate a kind of safety net. As described in their book, the start-up of YOU, there’s risk, and then there’s “intelligent” risk, which is something that can be assessed and managed. Intelligent risk involves:

  • an honest estimation of the threat;
  • a worst-case scenario evaluation;
  • a Plan B pivot; and
  • a push back against uncertainty (which tends to inflate the risk).

Defining your risk and taking your risk are different things. How do you define a true career risk, and once it’s defined, how do you know if you should take it?

@Mastery & Support

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