By Liz Reyer
Star Tribune (Minneapolis).
Q: I’m at a turning point in my career and am trying to decide if I should move to a large corporate setting, stay with a smaller firm or take the entrepreneurial path. I have a good business idea but also have opportunities with existing companies. How to decide?
A: Listen to your head … and your heart … when making the call. Whichever choice you make, you’ll be most satisfied if it aligns with your values. If you’ve never really thought about what’s important to you, and have just moved from option to option, try some intentionality. Consider when you’ve felt most satisfied, most energized, most indifferent, and most unhappy in your work. Then figure out what factors are underneath those feelings. For example, if you’re security minded and were unhappy in an unstructured work setting, take it into account in assessing options. Specific questions that may help formulate your values include:
-What is important to me in a work setting?
-What type of role is best for me?
-Does the product/service offered matter to me?
-What level or form of work/life balance am I seeking?
-In what ways am I trying to make a difference?
Think about your goals. When you imagine your life in five or 10 years, where would you like to be? Consider how each option helps advance you toward that goal.
Then take a deep and realistic look at your qualifications. You may have the urge to go out on your own; if so, you’ll be more successful if you can combine your business idea with experiences that equip you to develop a business plan, find investors, build a team, and successfully deliver your product or service. If your self-assessment gives you pause, identify your key weaknesses and either focus on them to learn the needed skills, or bring on a partner with complementary skills.