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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Reinersman

Weighty Decisions: Multiple Factors and Choices

One client shares a worry over when to get a degree while family responsibilities and health care are significant time-drains. Another client is unsure about applying for an opportunity that is a long-shot, when a recent work review was less than stellar. A group career session shows consensus over the financial concerns of changing jobs in the current economic conditions. While none of these issues is new to the career development professional, the frequency and intensity of issues surrounding career decisions may be rising. Couldn't all clients use some decision-making support? Will a particular intervention better aid those facing multiple factors and decisions? What evidence-based practice leads the way for effective goal-setting with such clients? These and more questions involve weighty decisions. ~ Melanie Reinersman,

Photo by Mark Fletcher-Brown on Unsplash

FOCUS ON: Traits of an Effective Decision Maker

Interdependent, collaborative and synergistic are a few of the traits of people who make mistakes and learn from them while making decisions. They also have courage, integrity and begin with the end in mind. With these traits, they can lay the groundwork for future effective decision-making. Read more from Decision Lens.

JOB SEARCHING: Why Seek Help with Decisions?

Because people do not always consider their own opinions objectively, seeking counselors, coaches, or consultants may result in valuable perspectives, wisdom and assessment. Job seekers may benefit from an examination of skills, goals, and cognitive biases before making a decision. This can increase the effectiveness of the decision. Read more from Career Bright.

FOR PRACTITIONERS: Meta-Decision Analysis

Deciding how to decide may be the first focus for anyone who is “sitting on a decision”. Devoting time and brain power to unimportant decisions can be costly. Reflection and analysis may lead to strategic processes that aid effective decisions when they are more important. Sometimes, taking small steps first, or simply assigning a deadline, can better guide the approach. Read more from Harvard Business Review.

COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY: Career Decision Making Overview and Exercise

Some people become anxious when faced with decisions. Interventions such as the Career Thoughts Inventory or the Career Decision Self-Efficacy Scale may be helpful to use with clients. The Cognitive Information Processing (CIP) theory can support career service delivery. A career decision making overview, including a exercise, may help clients, particularly students, with the process. Read more from the FSU Career Center.

CAREER SPOTLIGHT: Fitness Professionals

Advancing a career in the fitness field may involve educational decisions. Factors about returning to post-secondary education range from the impact of studies on client training schedules, finances and work/life balance, to the length of time since last being in school. Careers as an exercise physiologist, physical education instructor, or personal trainer start with decisions about credentials, degree programs, distance education and concurrent commitments. Internships and transferable skills are a few more factors. Exploration and conversation are required parts of the process of deciding to pursue advanced degrees in fitness and many more careers. Read more from IDEA.

TOP TEN: Studying Advanced Decision-making Techniques

Reading more about how to make good decisions is, well a good decision. “Decisive” and “Clearer Thinking” are two popular books. For more advanced reading, check out “Value-focused Thinking” or “Many Weak Arguments”. View the list of readings about decision-making techniques from 80,000 Hours (scroll to Step 7. Make your final assessment).


“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Making good decisions is a crucial skill at every level.” ~ Peter Drucker

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