Evidence-based agony aunt: I don't know which job offer to take!

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Jan Hills
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Our evidence-based agony aunt, Jan Hills, uses findings from neuroscience and psychology to tell you how to solve your organisational problems in brain-savvy ways, that work with the mind's natural tendecies and not against it. Got a problem you want her to look at it? Drop us a line at [email protected]. We'll get back quickly.

Question:

"I have two job offers and I don’t know which one to take. One minute the internal role seems best, the next minute the external one is most attractive. How do I decide what to do?"

Answer:

Before making the decision check-in with how you are feeling - good, positive, optimistic, open to ideas?  If the answer is yes that’s your brain in a reward state and we know when you are in this mode decisions are more creative, perspective is wider and possibilities seem greater. Rick Hanson, the author of Buddha Brain, calls this the green zone.

There is another mode which is when the brain lacks something, or is in fear: this is the inhibitory state. Rick calls it the red zone. It developed to keep us safe.

From an evolutionary perspective, we needed this state to be alert to danger and to act to prevent harm to ourselves.

In this mode we are cautious, even-risk adverse. We fight, flee or freeze, our perception narrows, our focus is on safety.

Making a major life decision is best made in the green zone. My advice would be take a little time, talk through the two roles with someone you trust. And make sure you are in the green zone when you finally decide!

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14th Jun 2017 16:56

This is something I would never have thought to consider. But it makes sense. Whenever confronted with multiple workplace possibilities, my spouse and I have made a comprehensive list of pros and cons for each option then evaluate those to find the best fit. It's always worked and I think by working through all the ups and downs we feel more secure in stepping forward with a choice.

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