Making Big Decisions

“There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book.” – Josh Jameson

Making Big Decisions

By Andrea Novakowski

Christopher, one of my clients, called me to share some great news.

“I have a job offer with a larger, more stable company that elevates my title and my compensation,” he said. “And I’d be working for my mentor.”

“That sounds like a wonderful opportunity,” I said.

“Well, I have some concerns about it. I’d like to talk it over with you.”

The discussion that followed helped Christopher make a choice that was right for him at this stage in his life. But before we get to that, we need to back up…

Christopher started working with me a couple of years ago because he wanted to enhance his skills in a new role, manage his work-life balance, and attain confidence and calm during busy and stressful times.

Now, after two years with his company, he felt like he was finally hitting his stride. He’d built good working relationships with his co-workers and others in his company. His work was easier and more enjoyable. He’d also joined one of the company sports teams, and the connections he made there had spilled over into projects at work, allowing for even more relationship building.

So far, so good. But now Christopher was at a career juncture.

Should he leave the comfort of this company and stretch to the next rung on someone else’s corporate ladder? Or should he stay where he was and continue to build his reputation in his current location?

There were some key things that Christopher had learned about himself during past job transitions: it had taken him a number of months to feel productive in a new role, and even longer to build strong working relationships. During these periods, he’d wound up spending extra hours at the office until he’d reached a point where he felt good about his contribution, and that meant less time at home.

As we all know, at each stage of life, certain criteria weigh more heavily than others. Like a kaleidoscope, each change or opportunity causes a shift in our perspective.

Christopher and his wife have a young child, with a second on the way. He didn’t want to miss this family time any more than he had to. A new job wouldn’t align with his value of “family” and he realized that, unlike the last time he changed jobs, his presence at home was more important than ever right now.

As Christopher thought more about his current role, he recognized he wanted to be a part of an organization where he knew he’d fit in well. If he put in another couple of years, he’d be even more marketable as he continued to excel at his current job, build relationships, and seek promotions.

He realized that, especially with a growing family, growing his savings account was important – but that this would come in time when all of the other key elements fell into place.

In the end, Christopher decided to stay in his current position. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was the right one for where he was at that moment in time.

Here are the three highlights of Christopher’s discovery.

  1. The belief that the grass will be greener at a new job may not necessarily be accurate.
  1. Simply recognizing and appreciating the good things you have right now can enhance your life.
  1. Knowing what actions align with who you are, as well as with your values and skills, makes decision-making easier.

Whether you own a business or are a leader working for someone else, you can apply these lessons when it’s time to make your next career decision. While an opportunity may appear exciting due to its newness and possibility, make sure it fits with your current stage of life and your values before you jump.


What decision are you considering that could benefit from reflection on what’s most important to you and how you can be true to yourself? Can you make some adjustments at your current company that honor your values? (For a list of what those values might be, click here.)

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