Assessing Risk and Compromise


Careers are both ordered and disordered. The career destiny of each individual cannot be predicted in advance but, it is a function of countless planned and unplanned questions, risks, compromises, and learning experiences beginning at birth.

When we are presented with a decision, especially one as big as a potential major or career, the consideration of risk and compromise must be part of our decision-making process.

As the image above suggests, assessing risk and compromise is not a linear process, but one much more resembling chaos theory. You will need to determine which questions would be of greatest use to you as you process the risk and compromise associated with selecting a major or career. Here are a few examples of questions you may want to ask yourself:

  • Is this decision going to make any real difference to your life or the life of anyone else?
  • What will happen if you do nothing?
  • Is it beyond your control?
  • What’s stopping you from making these choices?
  • What else do you need to know in order to make these choices?
  • What are you willing to compromise?
  • How does it feel? What can you gain? What are you afraid of?
  • And others (see the Risk and Compromise tool below for an extended list)

You can also use this Risk and Compromise tool to help you determine whether or not you have considered risk and compromise in your decision, and you can then make notes as you process these questions on your own.

Additionally, you can use the for free to facilitate your career decision-making process by focusing on how to cope with your career decision-making making difficulties. The CDDQ is based on research performed at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and The Ohio State University by a team led by Profs. Itamar Gati and Samuel H. Osipow.