Weighing the Risk

Leaving the comforts of your current job can be risky

by Jane Ripley-Blin

Almost a year ago, I decided to make a bold career move—to begin a job search while in the quality position I had been in for the past 18 years.

I had little idea where this journey would take me, but I knew I was ready for a change—but with change, comes an element of risk.

Would I have the skills and the adaptability to be successful in a new position with a different organization? Was it worth the risk to start somewhere new when I could more comfortably stay put? Would my family and friends support me during this transition? I had feelings of uncertainty and doubt, as well as concerns about potential losses.

As these questions swirled in my head, I had but one prevailing notion—the belief that if I’m not willing to take a risk, I am also hindering my ability to change and grow potentially for the better.

What were the risks I was willing to assume, and what was the probability that these would occur? I could end up hating my new job, failing in my new role or having less job security and growth potential.

Many of these risks were in my control and had a low probability of occurrence—as long as I considered them during my job search.

I also had to consider what I stood to potentially gain—valuable new work experiences, a shorter commute, more job flexibility and work-life balance.

The positives seemed more probable, so I felt ready to accept a certain amount of assumed risk.

Along with a willingness to accept risk, I also wanted to be a role model for my children. I wanted to show them that if you want a change in life, it may be worth accepting a certain level of risk.

Conversely, I don’t consider myself a big risk-taker. I don’t even like to gamble, but I had weighed the risk in this situation and was ready to roll the dice.

In the face of change

I began the process of scanning career sites, local job boards and navigating my way through the maze of employment opportunities to see what career opportunities lay beyond the realm of my current organization.

I ventured into this great unknown armed with recently acquired manager of quality/organizational excellence and quality improvement associate certifications, my years of quality experience and an underlying belief in my quest for change.

Several months later, a quality position with a reputable global organization became available. After several more months of waiting, interviewing and background checks, it was with a deep sense of gratitude that I was able to accept and celebrate my new position as a quality management coordinator.

I was fortunate that I was hired into a world-class quality organization and that my quality journey was beginning anew. It was difficult to say goodbye to the many colleagues and friends I was leaving, but I knew the risk I was taking was the right one for me.

I realized at the end of my journey that if you choose to reside only within the realm of your own comfort zone, you are not only avoiding risk, but you also are accepting risk—the risk of missing some of life’s greatest challenges, rewards and joys.

Jane Ripley-Blin is a quality management coordinator for Hewlett Packard in Williston, VT. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Wheaton College in Norton, MA. A member of ASQ, Ripley-Blin is an ASQ-certified manager of quality/organizational excellence, auditor and quality improvement associate.

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