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28/03/2013

The Top Five Career Regrets.

Daniel Gulati, co-author of ‘Passion &Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leadersasks a simple question. What do you regret most about your career? What would you do differently if you had the chance to magically rewind your career?
Here were the top five career regrets he identifies on most professional’s mind:

1. I wish I hadn't taken the job for the money. By far the biggest regret of all came from those who opted into high-paying but ultimately dissatisfying careers. Classic research proves that compensation- or salary, is a not a true motivator. What is surprising, though, are the feelings of helplessness these individuals face. Lamented one banker, "I dream of quitting every day, but I have too many commitments." Another consultant said, "I'd love to leave the stress behind, but I don't think I'd be good at anything else."

2. I wish I had quit earlier. Almost uniformly, those who had actually quit their jobs to pursue their passions wished they had done so earlier. "Those years could have been spent working on problems that mattered to
me. You can't ever get those years back."

3. I wish I had the confidence to start my own business. As their personal finances shored up, professionals that Daniel Gulati surveyed yearned for more control over their lives. The logical answer? To start their own businesses- however small.

4. I wish I had used my time at school more productively. Despite all the controversy currently surrounding the value of education, many employers, students and parents still view college education as a worthwhile investment. This is reflected in the growing popularity of college: Although more students are attending college, many of the group's participants wished they had thoughtfully used their school years to get a truly rewarding first job.

5. I wish I had acted on my career hunches. Several individuals recounted windows of opportunity in their careers, or as one professional described, "now-or-never moments." Recent theories of psychology articulate the importance of identifying these sometimes unpredictable but potentially rewarding moments of change, and jumping on these opportunities to advance your professional life.

Far from being suppressed, career regrets should hold a privileged place in your life. Research shows that regret can be a powerful catalyst for change, far outweighing the short-term emotional downsides. As famed psychologist Dr. Neal Roese recently stated, "On average, regret is a helpful emotion." It can even be an inspiring one. But it means that we must articulate and celebrate our disappointments, understanding that it's our capacity to experience regret deeply, and learn from it constructively to ultimately frame our future success.

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