I need to make a career decision. What should I do?
Maybe you’ve got a couple of options on the table and need to pick one, or maybe you’re still figuring out where to apply in the first place.
We know career decisions can be difficult: there’s so many options and so much information. To make matters worse, there are plenty of biases which reduce our ability decide rationally.
So how can you make the best possible decision given the information available? You can do better than just “going with your gut”.
After surveying the literature on the science of decision making,1 and coaching hundreds of people, this is the process we recommend. You can work through the article below, or use our interactive tool.
Case study: Jess
“80,000 Hours has nothing short of revolutionised the way I think about my career.”
Notes and references
- We surveyed the following sources:
- Ariely, Dan. Predictably irrational. New York: HarperCollins, 2008.
- Arkes, Hal R., and Catherine Blumer. "The psychology of sunk cost." Organizational behavior and human decision processes 35.1 (1985): 124-140.
- Heath, Chip, and Dan Heath. Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work. Random House, 2013.
- Hubbard, Douglas W. "How to measure anything." Finding the Value of "Intangibles" in Business (2007).
- Keeney, Ralph L., and Ralph L. Keeney. Value-focused thinking: A path to creative decisionmaking. Harvard University Press, 2009.
- Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, fast and slow. Macmillan, 2011.
- Larrick, Richard P. "Broaden the decision frame to make effective decisions." Handbook of principles of organizational behavior (2009): 461-480.
- Tversky, Amos, and Daniel Kahneman. "Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases." Science 185.4157 (1974): 1124-1131.↩