In a nutshell
To make the best possible career decision, go through the following steps:
- Focus mainly on taking a good next step, not figuring out a precise long-term plan.
- Write out your most important priorities for the decision.
- Brainstorm extra options. Most people consider too few.
- Rank your options.
- Write out your key uncertainties.
- Go and investigate your key uncertainties. Many people try to figure out their career from the armchair, when often it would be better to go and speak to people or try things.
- Do your final ranking. Assess your options based on your priorities, and ask yourself why you might be wrong. Don’t just go with your gut.
- Make your best guess.
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, and coaching hundreds of people, this is the process we recommend:
Case study: Jess
“80,000 Hours has nothing short of revolutionised the way I think about my career.”