Search
Advice » Job Hunt Strategy» Career Assessment » Identify and Avoid These Care ...
Identify and Avoid These Career Decision-Making Traps

Identify and Avoid These Career Decision-Making Traps

Deborah Schneider spent far more time researching the $15,000 car she once bought than she did on a slightly larger purchase -- her $90,000 law degree.

"Years later, I realized how common that is," says Schneider, who authored Should You Really Be a Lawyer? with Gary Belsky and produces its accompanying Web site. "Each year, many college students spend more time planning their next spring break than their postcollege career, even though they'll spend a lot more time on the job than on vacation."

Consider Your Choice Challenges

Blame what Schneider and Belsky call choice challenges, or mental traps that practically everyone falls into at times, especially when making major career decisions. Three of the most common choice challenges you'll face as a college student are:

  • The Herd Mentality: The tendency to do what everyone else seems to be doing. Example: "All my friends are majoring in business, so I will too."

  • Anchoring: Attaching great importance to something that may have little or no bearing on your best interests. Example: "My parents have always wanted me to be a lawyer."

  • Decision Paralysis: Becoming so overwhelmed with choices that you can't decide, or you decide not to decide. Example: "I don't know what I want to do, so I'll just go to graduate school to keep my options open."

Schneider and Belsky also write about 10 more choice challenges:

  • The Confirmation Bias: The tendency to seek information that confirms your existing knowledge and shut out what contradicts it. Example: Talking to friends and family who say a career in medicine sounds great instead of asking actual doctors who might suggest otherwise.

  • Ignoring the Base Rate: Disregarding the odds of success within a situation. Example: Assuming you'll land a job in professional sports after you finish college, even though relatively few new grads actually pull that off.

  • The Information Cascade: Being influenced by repeated exposure to certain facts. Example: "I'd better go to graduate school to wait out this bad job market."

  • Mental Accounting: Treating money differently depending on its source and your use for it. Example: "My family will pay for my degree if I major in finance, so I might as well be a finance major even though my heart's not in it."

  • Overconfidence: Overestimating your abilities, skills or knowledge. Example: "I really don't know what I'll do with a master's degree, but I'll figure it out by the time I'm done with grad school."

  • Regret Aversion: Making decisions to avoid feeling bad in the future. Example: "I'm going to stick with my biology major, because if I change to something else, I might be sorry later."

  • Rules of Thumb: Mental shortcuts to make choices easier. Example: "I better not major in art, because you can't get a job with that degree."

  • The Status Quo Bias: Resisting change in favor of the familiar. Example: "I don't really like my current internship, but at least I know what to expect from it."

  • The Endowment Effect: Putting higher value on something you have than you would if someone else had it. Example: "I hate my math major, but I'm doing so well in it that it makes no sense to switch to psychology."

  • The Sunk Cost Fallacy: Overemphasizing the money, time, psychological energy or other resources you've invested. Example: "I can't throw away my $75,000 MBA and become a teacher."

Avoid the Career Traps

Are you making any of these miscalculations? If so, work on identifying and asking better questions about your future career, and take time to research careers using a variety of sources, says Schneider. The counselors at your school's career center can help.

"If they don't, investing in a good career book or a career counselor in private practice is worth the time and money," Schneider stresses -- especially when your future happiness is at stake.

Latest Jobs

CONFIDENTIAL
Posted: 07/23/2014
Houston, TX, 77002
City of Destin
Posted: 07/23/2014
Destin, 32541
City of Destin
Posted: 07/23/2014
Destin, 32541
EQUIS
Posted: 07/23/2014
Aston, 19014
AHI SUPPLY, LP
Posted: 07/23/2014
Houston, TX, 77002

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.30.40-321
eTrustLogo