nextsteps.org

Make a Decision


Three doors

It’s crunch time.

You’ve come to the point where you have to make some choices. You’ve done a little soul-searching and learned more about yourself—what you like, what you’re good at, and what your values are. You’ve found some occupations that seem to match these aspects of your personality, and you’ve done the research and learned more about these particular occupations—what they have to offer you and what you have to offer them.

The next step is to evaluate your options and make a choice. Deciding on your future is a big step. It is a step you will have to make, but you will want to be sure you consider all the options, think carefully about each, and weigh the positive and negative aspects of each. Even then, there may not be one choice that stands out above all others. There are over 7000 occupations, and there won’t be one single one that suits you much better than all others. Your goal should be to find the most appropriate one, not the “correct” one.

Steps in the decision-making process:

We’ve provided a five-step model below that might help your make you decision.

1. Name the decision.
It sounds obvious, but stating precisely the decision you have to make is very important. Writing down the decision in question format will help you clarify your decision and keep it in mind during the next four steps.
Example: “What occupation would I like to be in five years from now?”
2. List the alternatives.
Write down at least two answers to your question from the first step.
3. Evaluate the alternatives and decide.
One way you might do this is to write down the potential outcomes of each alternative (both positive and negative) for you and for others who are important to you.
  This is probably the most difficult of the five steps. To help you out, here are two more exercises you can do to evaluate your options and make a choice from among them.
  Occupation Evaluation Table   Decision Matrix  
4. Test your choice.
Think of ways to test the alternative you have chosen. For example, you might take a summer job in the field, take a course related to the chosen alternative, volunteer in the area, or shadow someone who works at the same occupation. You may already have done some of these things. If you haven’t, and want to learn more about them, check out our section on researching your alternatives.
5. Evaluate your decision.
How well did your choice work? If you need to, you can start over again at step one.

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Michigan Reach Out! Home Last updated 11 July 03