7 Career Risks You Should Take to Get Ahead
By Alice Berg
“If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you have gained.” The quote by writer Neil Gaiman couldn’t be closer to the truth. Often, we get too comfortable in our careers and forget or grow reluctant to change. But when you search yourself, you’ll realize that deep down you yearn for more.
While not all risks are to be taken, there are those that, when done right, can grow your career. There are some calculated risks you should be taking, but aren’t that could give you multiple rewards. Let’s focus on these seven calculated risks you should probably take today...
Request for Additional Responsibilities
You may be feeling that what you are already tasked with is adequate. However, if you want to show that you are proactive, challenge yourself to take on new responsibilities on top of your old ones. Don’t shy away from taking career risks such as doing work because you won’t be financially compensated for it. Often, the reward for this calcuated risk will come later in the form of a bonus, raise, better benefits, or a promotion. At the moment, think about the new, valuable skills you will be gaining, and the perceptions you are shaping about yourself in the workplace.
Accept Tasks Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Are there particular tasks at work that no one is willing to do? Go for them. Taking risks at work often means saying ‘yes’ a lot more. Don’t limit or think too little of yourself. In many instances, tasks that we often view as difficult or impossible are doable. So, if no one volunteers to take on a special project, be the one to accept it. Say ‘yes’ to responsibilities that you think are a little greater than you. Remember, while every step you make outside your limits is often risky, it will prove to be worth it after you’ve shown your ability to handle a task.
Negotiate a Raise
With the current talent shortage and employers competing for the few available skilled workers in the US, job candidates are in an excellent position to negotiate their starting salaries. Sadly, only about 39% of employees negotiated their salary in their most recent job offer. That is because the majority of people undervalue themselves. Salary negotiation is a calculated risk that you shouldn’t shy away from taking.
In most cases, you can negotiate a higher pay after the first offer is on the table. Think about it; the worst outcome is that they say no, while the best is you start with a higher base salary. Remember, recruiters will attempt to get you are the lowest figure within the role’s pay range. Do your research and come up with your own range to negotiate properly. Salary negotiation is a skill you should nurture from the get-go as you will need it later when you advance in the organization.
Relocating for Work
One of the hardest things you may have to do in your career is moving away from what is familiar to you to a strange place. It may be relocating to a new city, state, or overseas. If a lucrative opportunity to work in a different place arises, don’t be afraid to go for it. It might be the best decision you will ever make in your career.
You will quickly adjust to the new environment, make friends, and generally get used to leaving things you once knew behind. As for your loved ones, it won’t be easy to live far from them. But you can continue keeping tabs with them regardless of where you are. If you think of this career move as an adventure, you’ll find it much easier to adapt to a new location.
Change Your Field or Industry
Are you afraid to move to a new field because you want to play safe? According to one shocking report, 53% of Americans are unhappy at work. And among the most cited reasons for dissatisfaction with work are stagnant growth, lack of appreciation, remuneration, and overworking. In the end, playing it safe is risky and can prevent you from advancing in a career as quickly as you would if you were to take calculated risks.
If you are stuck in an industry or field that’s not providing room for growth or is no longer challenging, it might be time to switch things up. Develop new career goals and update a LinkedIn profile to reflect your new path.
Voice Your Opinion Even If It’s Not a Popular One
Taking risks in life include saying what is on your mind, even though you know that it’s not popular. The same goes for your career. There are moments when you will be in the same room with people who are either more experienced or in higher positions than you. In these situations, you can feel intimidated to share your thoughts to the discussion, especially if it goes against what other people have suggested. Give your opinion regardless.
If your boss is sharp-witted and smart, they will pay attention to what you are saying. And if your opinion makes sense, you will make a good impression in their eyes. Just make sure you do it with respect and professionalism.
Follow Your Career Passion or Start Your Own Hustle
Some people work in their dream careers, while others hope to venture into something that they are passionate about in the future. One of the biggest regrets that people have later on in their lives is not chasing their passions and dreams. And it is often starting a business in something one is passionate about. You can start your small venture now, even as a side hustle. If you plan well and work hard, it might be one of the calculated risks that take you to the next level.
Now you know what career risks you should be taking to grow. You will find some much more difficult than others. If you are not happy with your current situation or want to move ahead in your career, you must take risks.
Alice Berg is a blogger and a career advisor, who received a degree in Social Work and Applied Social Studies. Now she helps people to find their own way in life, gives career advice and guidance, helps young people to prepare for their careers. You can find Alice on Twitter and Medium.