By Denene Brox, for Yahoo! HotJobs
Taking calculated risks in your career can help you reach your goals. Below are some of the common career risks that you may grapple with, and how to weigh your options.
Risk: Going Back to School
Making the financial and time commitment to go back to school for an advanced degree or certification can feel overwhelming. Factoring into the equation family responsibilities or not being able to quit your job to focus on school can make furthering your education feel like a heavier burden.
Weighing Your Options: "First you need to know your end goal and what you are trying to achieve by going back to school, such as a raise or changing career paths," advises career coach Hallie Crawford. "Next, determine if going back to school helps you achieve this goal by talking to your boss and mentors. In some fields an advanced degree matters; in others it really doesn't."
Risk: Changing Careers
So many people hate their jobs yet toil away daily because sticking with the familiar feels safe. People are unhappy on the job for a number of reasons, including being in a profession that does not utilize their passions and interests.
Weighing Your Options: With increased company layoffs, no one is immune to losing a job. Finding work you love should be a priority in your career. Mitigate the risk of career change by doing research before you make the leap so that you'll know what to expect from your new career in terms of salary ranges and what the work is really like.
"There's always some amount of risk, but if you are truly unhappy the risk is worth it," says Crawford.
Risk: Saying 'No' to Added Responsibility
If your boss is saddling you with more responsibility with a project or promotion, be sure you understand exactly what that will mean for your success. Not all promotions are created equal, and you can quickly become the office doormat if you constantly take on projects that may not have high enough visibility to move your career forward.
Weighing Your Options: Saying no to more money or recognition is often hard to justify. Your friends, family and colleagues may think you're crazy for passing up a promotion. But you have to follow your gut instincts. In weighing your options, ask yourself if this project or promotion will really move your forward.
Risk: Starting a Business
More people than ever before are going into business for themselves. Many dream of being their own boss but find the risk of giving up a regular paycheck, health insurance and retirement accounts too high.
Weighing Your Options: Do your research (including healthcare options for the self-employed), save money and build contacts in your industry while you're still working in your current job.
"Business ownership is a risk and it's not for the faint of heart," says business coach Dresdene Flynn-White. "However, the risks can be mitigated by financial and mental preparation. If someone wants to learn about business ownership, they should work part-time in a small business to get that reality check."