We have a new plant in the office! …not to say that we have a great number of plants here at Sokanu HQ. In fact, this is the very first plant of what we hope will be many.
She’s the species Fiddlehead, of the genus Ficus, which means that she’s from the same family as the common fig tree. We’ve named her Siobhán (shivawn), drawing Celtic inspiration from her fiddle-shaped leaves.
Over the past two weeks I’ve invested a few hours here and there learning about physical-object interaction design using Arduino. It’s been tons of fun—I can picture designing with tangible things instead of pixels and code in a perhaps not-so-distant future.
With a few more hours here and there over the next couple of weeks I’ll enable Siobhán to tell us when she’s thirsty using Arduino, Twitter and a soil moisture sensor from our friends at Earth Easy. Expect to hear from her soon!
I can remember sitting in a tax season “kick-off” meeting, my first as an aspiring CPA working at an accounting firm, concerned about how I may or may not have sold my soul for the next two months and if I would have to say goodbye to my friends for the time being. One of the managers was fielding an obvious question about what expected overtime hours would be and said “don’t stop doing the things that are important to you just because it’s tax season. If there are things you like doing, keep doing them, because if you don’t you wont be happy”. The matter-of-fact way he communicated his point stuck with me, and I’ve made sure to keep those wise words in the back of my mind since.
Those words are certainly ones to live by, regardless of the season or scenario. I like to keep them tucked away and in those moments I feel pressured with studies or tired at work, I pull them out, reminding myself that I’m allowed to take some time to see friends, work out, or just make sure I’m taking deep enough breaths. What I’ve learned in juggling school, work, and some semblance of a social life, is that nothing needs to be completely cut out. My mother once told me that “you can’t dance at all the weddings”, but you can certainly make time for the most significant of them. My constant juggling act has helped me pick up a few tips and tricks along the way:
1.Prioritize. If your exam is this week, put studying first. But if your best friend’s birthday is also this weekend and nothing would make you happier than to attend, plan your study schedule in advance. In my experience, the motivation to spend time with your friends will help you get started on whatever it is beforehand and allow you those few hours off to celebrate.
2. Keep doing the things that make you happy. If you’re the type of person who thrives on physical activity or getting outdoors, make the time for it. Don’t sacrifice your well-being to stay an extra hour at work; find days you can wake up early or leave work earlier to get that time in. You’ll be happier and more productive that way: everyone wins.
3. Put yourself first. Don’t feel bad when you can’t do everything you feel you should be; if you’re tired or need a break, give you regrets to the social outing you aren’t up for. If you don’t feel well, call in sick. Make sure you aren’t foregoing your own well-being to please everyone else. Eventually you will be able to dance at all the weddings, and it will be a lot more fun when you aren’t overwhelmed.
The big day is finally here! We are incredibly excited to announce the Public Beta Launch of Sokanu. We have been working tirelessly to create a platform that answers the question from everyone’s childhood, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” We believe that every single person should wake up every morning feeling passionate about their day. Sokanu is the place to help people discover their ideal career that best fits with who they are as a person.
Our Discover page allows you to answer questions about yourself that unlock information about your personality, abilities, values, traits, and interests. After you answer the initial set of questions, the Discover page shows your top 5 careers that match who you. As you answer more questions, the results are refined. At anytime you can re-answer any question. If a career comes up that doesn’t resonate with you, you can click the “not interested” button and a new career will slide in to take its place. If a career piques your interest, you can read all about it on our career pages.
Our career pages answer the five fundamental questions of a career: what is this career? What does a person in this career do? What does it take to become someone in this career? What is the workplace like? What is the salary? Any question you have about a career will be answered here. See a breakdown of why you are compatible or not with any career. Very soon, you will be able to explore reviews from people working in the industry, future employment projections, infographics, and videos exploring aspects for each career.
Your profile page is where you tell your story and share the moments in your life that led up to your current career, or wherever you happen to be in your life. Share past experiences and describe why every moment mattered to you with text, images, or videos. Keep it short and sweet, or tell the whole story. You can read other stories and find out what makes a person unique in every career. Compare yourself with others and find your similarities. Other people can read about your past and present experiences to find out what makes you a unique individual.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Are there people in your life that are still trying to answer that question? Everything we’ve created is meant to help you find a career in life that will make you happy every day. Discover that passion.
Welcome to the most advanced career site on the planet. This is Sokanu.
For a while I went to the chiropractor regularly, not because I had any physical issues, but because the first session was a gift from a friend. At the time, my emotional well-being had been hit by a truck, and though I didn’t realize immediately, I needed healing. The chiropractor gave me a space to feel open and vulnerable and acknowledge the things that I had been avoiding that kept myself from moving on. He was not the spine-cracking chiropractor most people think of when they hear that word. He worked with energy and encouraged people to always eat well, move well, and live well. I know there is a lot of controversy about alternative medicine, I want to talk about one aspect of this process that really spoke to me.
The Triad of Change
The Triad of Change is a way of making effective choices that will benefit other aspects of your life. If one aspect of your life is suffering and you want to change, no matter how hard you focus on it, it sometimes just doesn’t turn out the way you wish it would.
For example, I have been struggling with my weight for most of my adolescent life. My behavior was making me choose all the wrong things, even though I knew that gorging on food would NOT make me feel good.
Instead of focusing on trying to change my behavior, Dr. Norm told me that I should try to change one of the other aspects of my life on my Triad of Change. Working on another side of the triangle that wasn’t as difficult, would eventually affect the other aspects. This meant I could work on structure or perception. I always find structure to be the one that needs the most explanation, but I understand it as my body movement. If I spend most of my day in one immobile position, I need to start moving more. Along with these bad behavioral issues, this meant my physical activity was also a bit of an issue. As a result, perception was the most achievable way to go.
Instead of trying to look at weight loss as a way to quit being unhappy, I had to look at it another way. Trying to avoid something still means you are focused on that thing. My perception was looking at what I didn’t want, rather than what I did want.
What do I want my future to look like? How do I want to feel?
Looking at my life this way made the other choices, concerning behavior and structure, so much easier. The other sides of the triangle shifted with me as my perception did.
This approach is a great way to deal with any issue, no matter which side you are trying to change. Identify your issue, choose a change that will take less effort, and everything else will fall into place.
From The CEO: Why Career Discovery Matters - At Any Stage of Your Life
"The past is not your potential. In any hour you can choose to liberate the future. - Marilyn Ferguson
I want to talk about when career discovery is important in a person’s life. I get asked a lot about whether Sokanu is applicable for people that aren’t “young”. When people hear the phrase “find a career” they automatically assume that it has to be for a student, either in high school or post secondary. Why? I’ve never understood this - even though I understand that this is the common thought.
Nearly every single person will at some point be faced with the choice - “what do I do for work?” For a large percentage of people, this choice may be forced or pigeonholed due to circumstances. But ever-increasingly, this choice is becoming more and more open. No longer do people decide on their career based on what their parents did (or do). In today’s world, people have a plethora of choice as to where to go and what to do.
However, this is causing some serious problems. The theory of Paradox of Choice comes into play here (more choice is actually worse for us). There are tons and tons of careers, each with their own characteristics and unique nature.
How do we choose? Where do we start? How can we learn more about each career? This is, by definition, career discovery. It is the process of starting from ground zero, and establishing three things:
Who am I as a person?
What are the characteristics of each career? How can I learn about “what” each career represents?
How do I match or “fit” with each career?
These questions should arise whenever your “work” state of mind changes. Of course, you can have a state of mind shift from a student to a working person, but this is just one case. Some others can be:
Making the decision early on as to what career to go after, and how that affects your school choices (both high school & post-secondary courses)
Transitioning from being a parent to entering back into the workforce after 20 years
Being laid off from a position and trying to enter back into the working world
Not being happy in a current career and wanting to switch
Each of these targets a different age and situation - but all have one thing in common. The mindset shared by the person is the same. The question - “what do I do next?” is the most important question. This is what career discovery represents - a starting point. A place to come to evaluate that mindset and then leap to another point. While your education, family circumstance and age may differ - the way you should approach your career should be the same. The “next steps” after that is what differs.
If you’ve ever had to travel for your job you know that it can really be a mixed bag. On the one hand, you get paid to travel, which is an awesome opportunity to see some new places. On the other hand, your stay is often brief, you still have to focus on work, and airports are not exactly the most comfortable places in the world. Here are a few tips to make traveling for work a breeze:
1. Pack light. This is essential. Don’t check bags unless you absolutely have to. Bring one jacket and one pair of (comfortable) shoes that you can wear on the plane. This will save you from losing your luggage, save you time, and decrease strain on your body from hauling a heavy suitcase.
2. Do a little research beforehand. Find things that are close to your hotel—attractions, sights, etc—that you can visit if you have a little downtime. It’s nice to fit in even one or two indulgences when you’re on the road if you can.
3. If you’re too strapped for time to take in the sights, try to at least enjoy the food. You will have to eat sometime! Whether it’s at a nice restaurant with a client or at a food cart for a quick lunch, enjoy what the city has to offer. Every city prides itself on some kind of cuisine, so check it out while you’re there. Even try to be a little adventurous.
4. Use Skype. One of the biggest drawbacks, especially if you’re gone for more than a day or two, is being separated from your friends and family. Even just calling to say goodnight makes this infinitely easier to bear.
5. Work smart and stay organized. Having a clear travel plan and clear outcomes for your trip will take a lot of stress off your mind.
There is a certain wisdom that only comes from experience, as any traveler can tell you. This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of travel tips, but try to keep them in mind next time you head out of town on business. They could make all the difference for your job and for mental wellbeing.
What’s most important in your life that contributes to the happiness of your own country? This index takes a look at what is valued most, like education, safety, housing, and 8 other areas in 36 countries.
This interactive tool lets YOU contribute to your country’s index so that it represents what you believe is important in leading a happy life.
Recently, dealing with road rage has become a part of my every day commute. I don’t like myself when I get angry at the back of people’s heads or their profiles as they drive past me. “Idiot” is a term I mutter (or yell) much too frequently.
It wasn’t always this way. Bussing around Vancouver, or even meep-meeping around town in a Car2Go during rush hour, never upset me as much as some of this Vancouver Island traffic can. But now, if someone merges lanes too quickly, or doesn’t respond to a green light as fast as I think they should, they get branded with a mental “idiot” stamp. What is this ridiculous notion that I am the only sensible driver out on the road? I know I make mistakes (leaving the blinker on too long or day-dreaming at a red light that suddenly turns green). All the mistakes I make are the same that I judge, though when it’s me, and a driver gets aggravated, I just give them the “relax” hand gesture. (It’s like you’re going in for a slap but never commit)
I spoke about this briefly on my vlog the other day, and after promising myself I wouldn’t get upset, I felt myself raging this morning about a girl behind me on the highway powdering her face in the review mirror! “Woman, watch where you’re going!” My rage was as red as ever.
Most of the posts I’ve read about road rage are about ways of preventing road rage, or diagnosing yourself as a rager. I want to talk about the source of our pissed-offedness. I think it comes down to a power trip.
Really, we give ourselves way too much credit. When you are a teenager you are allowed to read a book that will tell you most of the things you need to know about dealing with a vehicle. Then if you do well, with some supervision, you are allowed to take that power to the roads. And from there we grow. And our driving ego gets bigger and bigger.
But let’s look at this power. We get to sit in a (somewhat) protective metal box, dictate our direction and speed, and decide when we want to come and go. This is a crazy privilege that we just got! I’m 23 and have been driving since I was 14. My dad would take me on the back roads to steer when I was even younger, and a couple years later, would let me make the gear shifts from the passenger seat. And while I can feel incomplete or even unsure of myself in many circumstances, on the road, I am all powerful. Nope.
I am completely power-tripping. We are moving faster, for longer, and with more accuracy. And now with google maps we have even more confidence about getting to where we’re going. I think this attitude amplifies our bubble-rudeness. I say bubble, because we allow ourselves to say rude things because other people will never hear it. If I ever bump into someone on the street, my Canadian-ness cannot help but apologize, to which the bump-ee will graciously say “no problem.”
I am not a mean person, but in that vehicle I can be straight up rude. And if I think I’m powerful because I am in a car, that means everyone else driving is just as powerful—which we all know—cancels out all the power.
My sensitivity to the woman powdering her face was about my safety and the people around the two of us. I wasn’t angry about her sub-par skill in driving, I was pissed that at any moment, she could change someone’s life, and her own, from a split second of ignorance.
Take the power out of the equation and imagine you are every person in every vehicle. Imagine they are your family, your children, or someone you love. My red-face fades and suddenly it is up to my driving to keep everyone safe in their speeding containers.
I won’t waste precious time fuming at someone’s bumper. I will do better this time.
I recently finished reading the book How Children Succeed (highly recommend it) and took a few core points away from it. The point I want to talk about today is that of character, a term used in the book to explain common traits that successful children have.
Traditionally we think of the same metrics of success for a child. IQ, test scores, grades are some of the most common. These are all things we can “measure” easily and can be ranked on both a micro level (within the classroom) and on a macro level (across the country or the world). The problem with this methodology? These may determine success within the academic environment, but do they really matter when it comes to success in life?
The author, Paul Tough, argues no (for the most part). What matters equally, or more, is character, a set of traits that are difficult to measure - but make us who we are. This quote from Paul sums it up nicely:
"Absolutely, cognitive skill and IQ make a big difference; vocabulary matters. But the scientists, the economists and neuroscientists and psychologists who I’ve been studying and writing about are really challenging the idea that IQ, that standardized test scores, that those are the most important things in a child’s success. I think there’s lots of evidence out there now that says that these other strengths, these character strengths, these noncognitive skills, are at least as important in a child’s success and quite possibly more important."
I want to spend a lot more time talking about the psychology & neuroscience in another post, but I want to take this post to dive into three of the most important character “traits” and how they affect people. Since Sokanu is a human development platform focused on career discovery, many of these traits have a direct influence on the way we approach development. The three core traits I want to focus on are grit, self-control and curiosity.
In my opinion, the most important character trait a human can possess. Grit is exactly what it sounds like - a will to succeed. Persistence in the face of adversity. Running over roadblocks.
The biggest negative to achieving high grades and “success” in academia is that you don’t “learn” how to fail. You don’t know what it is like to go around an obstacle. So the first time something doesn’t go your way, you are unsure of what to do. This is why you see so many “smart” students never reach their full potential in the “real world”.
I’m a big fan of this definition in Wikipedia:
Grit in psychology is a positive, non-cognitive trait, based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or endstate coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective. This perseverance of effort promotes the overcoming of obstacles or challenges that lie within a gritty individual’s path to accomplishment and serves as a driving force in achievement realization. Commonly associated concepts within the field of psychology include “perseverance,” “hardiness,” “resilience,” “ambition,” “need for achievement” and conscientiousness.
The way I like to think of this is as a way to delay gratification or satisfaction. Most people (especially in this generation) crave instant gratification. We want apps to download in seconds, songs to stream instantly (for free of course) and responses to be sent right away. Imagine the shock then when people realize that success takes years of hard work.
This character trait is incredibly important because it goes hand in hand with grit. Understanding that you may have to delay certain things in order to have a long term gain is incredibly difficult for people. It is the difference between short and long term thinking. Would you rather have $200,000 today or double your money, every day for a month, starting at $0.01?
There is a great quote about entrepreneurship that I believe applies to self-control really nicely.
An obvious one, but it is constantly shocking how many people lack this. Having a genuine curiosity about the state of the world opens up your mind in more ways than you know. The neural pathways created or activated during this process is incredible. Reading books, traveling to new places and talking to people with a different perspective all alter the way you think about things.
Children having natural curiosity is something we should try and keep throughout life. Many kids lose this sense once they think it is “uncool” to learn. It should always be your goal to be curious. Wonder about how things are made, cultures are formed and how the world works in general.
Combined with the two traits above, curiosity completes what I believe are the three most important character traits for building successful people. There are many more I’d like to talk about in our next post. The concept of teaching character vs traditional “success” metrics is an extremely important one. We should all be spending more time building these traits in people we know and love - and understanding how early development of this extrapolates over an entire lifetime. It literally affects every aspect of your life. That is why character is so important.
There’s a list on my fridge, with all the best brain foods that I should keep stocked up in my fridge. Blueberries, salmon, avocado, flax, eggs, chocolate (no argument there)- but what are these foods actually doing for my body?
"You’ve done thousands of homework assignments and you’ve sat through hours and hours of lectures. You’ve accumulated various certificates, diplomas and degrees. I guess that means you’re educated, right?"
It’s hardly a secret, but it’s something we often overlook. Eating properly is key not only to our physical but also our mental health. You’ve heard the term “you are what you eat” before, but as cliché as it sounds it holds a lot of truth. Your body can only use what you give it, so make sure to pack your diet full of things that are good for both body and mind.
Don’t skip breakfast! Your brain needs those calories to function properly after a night of sleeping. Don’t forget, how much you eat and how often are important as well. Eating a small, healthy snacks between long periods without food and spreading your meals evenly throughout the day will help ensure your blood sugar doesn’t spike and crash as well. Oh, and don’t forget to stay hydrated. A thirsty brain will have greatly diminished memory and reasoning power.
With that in mind, here are a few brain-healthy meals to try out:
Beets have been found to be a source of natural nitrates which boost the blood flowing to your brain, upping your mental prowess. The walnuts are great too, having plenty of antioxidants and omega-3’s.
Salmon (among other kinds of fish) is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to lowering the risk of dementia and improving cognitive ability. Avocados, besides being delicious, are full of monounsaturated fats, which improve your body’s vascular system.
If only it was that easy, none of us would do it, right?
Even sitting down to write this article was a huge production. Set up the chair on the sunny porch, put on a pot of coffee, pick the perfect album to listen to, oh, tidy up the kitchen a bit. These are all things that can be done later but I insist on getting them finished now. All in the name of putting off the inevitable. As a University student, I am the Master Procrastinator - but in order to get a way with it I have developed 8 useful techniques to getting work done without the panic attacks.
1. Reward with Food and Drink Set yourself a mini goal - when you finish one task go grab a fresh cup of coffee. If your stomach gives its first gurgle of the day, don’t immediately remedy it with food. Wait until you finish whatever you’re working on (within reason) before getting up to grab a snack. Don’t let yourself give into pleasure immediately - the wait makes it more worth it - and maybe you’ll work a bit faster trying to get there!
2. Don’t Spend Time Looking for Something Small Ever get side-tracked on a Wikipedia article because you just HAD to know the year that a certain someone took part in some random event? Yep. Or thesaurus-ing another way to describe the colour black? All those little bits of time end up taking away a huge portion of your day. What seems like a minute or so quickly becomes several minutes as you read up on the article of the day or forget exactly what it was you were looking for. Leave all that stuff for another time, which brings us to the next tip:
3. Create a To-Do List I love lists. It’s a way to see exactly what I have to do (and also is it’s own form of procrastination). Break up your day into all of its parts, from the tiny insignificant tasks (check on wikipedia for date) or big stuff (finish blog post). If you have a lot to do and are feeling completely overwhelmed, add tasks to the list that you’ve already completed. It’s feels motivating to see a few things already ticked off.
4. Stream-of-Consciousness When you have to write something and have no idea where to begin - just begin. Write about not being able to write, don’t stop for typos, don’t even pause to think, just write exactly what your brain is spewing out. Sometimes the act of just writing, whether by hand or keyboard, gets us into the right groove for inspiration. It’s more useful than staring at an empty page.
5. Egg-timer There are some days when you can’t seem to focus on anything. Before it gets to that point in the day where you throw your hands up and surrender, give yourself structure. Set a timer in short intervals - start at just 7 minutes and don’t stop working until that ding goes off. When it does, give yourself a minute to read from you favourite site, or check your email. Then set yourself up for another 7 minutes. Eventually, that few minutes won’t seem like enough time to work.
6. Leave It On A ProductiveNote A professor gave me this advice and it’s been my absolute favourite: don’t stop working when you’ve run out of things to do - leave it on a note so that if you were to come back later, you are full of ideas and inspiration. When you return a few hours later or the next day, you will have renewed energy to go even further.
7. Go! Don’t stop. Now, this rule will contradict the previous one BUT sometimes you have to keep pushing. There is a fine line between coming back when there’s inspiration and ditching a project because you’ve had one great idea. A couple times I’ve been hit with a brilliant idea and then ditch the project until later and go celebrate. No. At the inception of an idea, stick with it until you are in a safe place to come back. You’ll know exactly what’s been done and what still needs to be completed.
8. Don’t count on the last minute I’ve heard this over and over. “All my best ideas come to me last minute.” Well, of course they do! You’ve had no choice but to just do it! Procrastination works because we are forced to sit down and produce. Get yourself producing to the point where you feel comfortable enough to walk away for a time. There will be plenty of time (or not) for the rushed routine later.
You do it. I do it. Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone in your procrastination. Just get it done. Good luck!
"Procrastinate now. Don’t put it off"—Ellen DeGeneres
An old proverb states, “The journey is the reward.” Now, it stands to reason that whoever first said that was probably not talking about their morning commute, but we can still stand to learn quite a bit from their philosophy (even when taken literally). Commuting, however you choose to do it, can have a large impact on your day. The lengths you go to get to and from your office can really affect your mood, work habits, and even your health. The key to making commuting easy and maybe even enjoyable lies in knowing your own limitations and adjusting how you move about accordingly.
I’ll use myself as an example. I don’t like to drive in the city. I’m generally a calm person, but for some reason nothing can drive me into a raging frenzy faster than being stuck in crawling rush hour traffic. Avoiding rush hour was one of the main reasons I bought a bike, and it became my favorite way to get around the city as a result. Riding my bike calms me down, gives me exercise, and lets me get out in the fresh air. I even like it when it’s raining. Now, I’m not saying bikes are the perfect solution for everyone, but I knew I didn’t like driving and saw it as a great alternative. It worked great for me.
Other people might prefer transit. A friend of mine actually enjoys taking the train because, as he describes, what would otherwise be wasted time behind the wheel (time where he’s solely concentrated on driving) he can now spend reading, talking, or simply thinking about other things. He can be productive or simply relax or both. It also saved him a lot of cash.
If you do have to drive—or hey, maybe you like driving—know what will minimize the stress of commuting. Nobody likes rush hour, so try to get to work early and take off a bit early if you can, in order to beat the rush. Alternatively, organize a carpool where you trade off driver’s responsibilities. At the very least you can take the carpool lane.
Spending a little time examining how you get to work can save you a lot of stress and have a really positive impact on your mood and your health. If you’ve been simply blocking your commute out of your mind so as not to deal with it, it might be worth your while to give it a second look.
From the CEO: Why is leaving a "wrong" career so hard?
Our content manager, Renee, was talking to one of her friends over the weekend whom is dissatisfied with his career. He is currently an engineer with stable employment, but finds it dull and can see himself being stuck in that job or career for years. The amazing part is that he knows that he would prefer to be working in plumbing or drafting, but feels he should wait before switching over. At the core of this is a fear of leaving what is “safe” and potentially switching into something else.
I want to take this blog post to talk about the reasons why we stay in careers that we aren’t passionate about, and how we can try and use frameworks to help us make decisions when it comes to making the switch. By pulling from other disciplines, hopefully I can present a unique way of looking at how to decide whether switching careers or not is the right thing to do.
The Obvious Reasons
There are many reasons why someone wouldn’t want to transition out of a pre-existing career. Most of it is forced by circumstance. A steady paycheque that is required to pay for a mortgage, car and a family is an impossible thing to give up. This is a topic for a much longer blog post, so I’ll leave it here.
Another reason that people don’t make the leap is - what do they make the leap to? Sokanu was built to help people find their perfect career. This is not limited to people without a career, in fact most people are unhappy in their current career. So just because you are unhappy with your current spot doesn’t mean you have a direction on where you want to go. This is a major issue.
However! In the example above our engineer knows that he doesn’t like what he is currently in, he knows what he wants to go into, and he has few responsibilities. So why isn’t he making the leap?
What’s Holding Us Back - Psychology
The human brain is an amazing thing, but it can also play tricks on us. Rationally, looking at the situation from above, we can form a basic chart.
We already know that we would be much happier in the career plumber than engineer, as our perceived happiness level shows. So why don’t we make the immediate switch? Why is our brain saying that “we should wait?” It’s because the chart is incomplete. We are missing the “irrational” and economic factors that weigh into this decision. Let’s add those to the chart and look at it again.
I have added two major factors that weigh into the decision here:
Salary (both current realized salaries and expected salaries at the end of the career lifecycle)
How “Should” We Approach The Problem?
The first thing we should do is take the various aspects from above and order relative to importance. What is most important to you in life? For me - the order goes something like this:
The Unknown “Gap”
You need to decide what is most important in life. I place time at the top because it is the one thing that we are not in control of. Everything else is manageable by us. Money can always be gained, time can not.
There is something else we have not considered. It is a term called Opportunity Cost, and it is a simple calculation that takes into account the sacrifice made for a second or other choice. In our case, opportunity cost dictates whether or not we should make this decision. Let’s take a look at our chart again.
Our Opportunity Cost is a combination of the following (not limited to):
Each time we decide to make the leap, we need to factor in these points. By switching to career A from B, do I:
have the necessary skills?
have the time to dedicate towards this? am I prepared for the length of the process?
understand that I will not be making a salary during this period?
have the mental state required to deal with the ups and downs of career changing?
have the training & education required for the new career? If not - how long will it take me to acquire this? (goes back into time)
Notice on the graph that the more time that passes (aka the older you get) the harder it becomes to make this switch? Why? The cost of switching becomes higher. It takes more time, costs more money, etc… We may think that by waiting we are lessening our risk, but this is in fact not true.
The problem is quite simple, yet hard to solve. When people think about switching careers, their order of importance goes something like this:
The “Unknown” Gap
We don’t think about happiness at all because it is hard to measure. We know we aren’t happy in our current career - yet we aren’t positive what the expected happiness in the new career will be. What scares us most is the short term, the stress & discomfort that this “unknown” gap will cause us. “What if I can’t find a job? What’s the best way to update my resume? Where do I look for this job?”
All of those thoughts are short-term. We can solve them in a matter of weeks, not years or decades. Our happiness, however, is going to decrease over time by staying in our current career. But because that is a long term thing, we rarely take it into account.
Put another way - this short term gap triggers our bad psychological tendencies. It makes us emotional rather than rational. Our brain goes through all of the hardship this short term decision will cause, instead of the long term benefits. Do not let it do this to you. Think about the short term as just a step in a long term goal.
Most of these points only apply if you know what your next career should be, and that it will increase your happiness. I will write another post that talks about what to do if that career is not (yet) known.
Remove emotion from the decision. Look at your decision like a graph, plotted out over time
Place emphasis on long term over short term. Don’t let short term bias dictate your major life decisions
Calculate the opportunity cost of staying in your current career vs. moving to the new
Realize the longer you wait, the harder it gets. The cost increases at a rate.
Time & happiness are your most important metrics. Optimize for these first, and everything else second.
It’s your life! Do what is right for you, in your situation, based on the knowledge you have. Try and apply a framework to these decisions. If nothing else, it will help you remove the guesswork from the process.