How to Think About Career Risk

How to Think About Career Risk

September 14, 2016
Amanda Rubizhevsky
Business Skills

by RDBA Contributing Editor Amanda Rubizhevsky, MPH, NC 

A common piece of advice when talking to colleagues or mentors about excelling in your career is to take risks. But what does it actually mean? And as typically risk adverse people, wanting precision and accuracy, retail dietitians might feel that this advice is incongruent with their personality and strengths.  The truth is true career success typically comes with taking some risk, so it’s time you get comfortable and cozy up to the idea. 

Yes, the word risk feels scary, but realize that you’ve already taken a great risk and entered a fairly new territory as a retail dietitian, and if you want to continue to trail blaze, you’ll need to push forward and continue to carve out an even greater role for yourself and retail RDs who follow.  

Moving forward, what does it actually mean to take risk? Taking risks, whether big or small, takes you out of your comfort zone, making space for you to learn, grow and be challenged. The risk usually offers a step to enable you to get closer to your ultimate career goal, and taking that leap catalyzes the process.

Here are three things to consider when thinking about career risk:

1. Forget the linear line to the top. Building skills using lateral moves is a way to get exposure to other leaders, improving your influence and leadership skills, while learning new skills and another function of the business. Work on partnering with the different departments in your store, not only to help promote what’s in their section, but so you better understand the intricacies of each.

2. Take a job that differentiates you from others. You’ve already done this by taking on a retail RD role, but find new ways and opportunities to push yourself.  There are many factors involved in your unique situation and success, so play to your strengths and push yourself, this is how you will learn and grow.  By taking on new roles and projects you will show management your diverse skill set and perseverance. 

3. Remember that timing is everything. Waiting to make the big move because you don’t feel ready isn’t always the best strategy. Opportunities will present themselves and don’t worry if you don’t feel completely ready— no one is ever completely ready; you are more prepared than you think! 

There are no guarantees, but if you don’t make bold moves, career advances will not happen quickly for you. Take the offensive. Remind yourself that great risk can yield great reward, but do keep in mind something all entrepreneurs know: risk is often associated with failure, and failure is not a bad thing, it’s an opportunity to learn, get back up and be better.