Become a Member
Proudly Sponsored By
articles / advertising know-how and fearless opinions
IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  Career Regrets and Dealing With Them

Career Regrets and Dealing With Them

Posted on April 29, 2013 and read 3,829 times

Career Regrets and Dealing With Them thumbnail

gregdillon Career Regrets and Dealing With ThemGreg Dillon
Strategic Design Consultant

GD Inspires

Do you have any career regrets?

Here’s a bold statement: I actually don’t think I do. I have made errors, sure, but regrets? Not worth it, every wrong direction, misstep or moment of poor judgement should be a learning, not a cross to bear.

I speak to a lot of people; peers, colleagues, friends, mentors, family and sometimes randoms, and it is curious how often people hold onto career regrets and use them to punish themselves for years after.

Broadly speaking, there are three common career regrets:

Taking a job for the money

If you are lucky enough to be offered a job with a ‘flattering’ compensation package you’re likely to start mentally spending the cash before you’ve even finished reading the three-page contract. I’ve done it, I was offered a full time job that netted me a 53% pay rise overnight. I took it. It was not the right move for me, I knew that by the end of the second day.

What did I do? I resigned on day twelve using decisive action to move on to pastures appropriate instead of fields of gold.

Do I regret it? No. It was a good learning and pushed me one step closer towards doing my own thing.

Conjuring the confidence to start the business earlier

Starting your own business is nerve-wracking, don’t get me wrong, it takes energy, commitment, cash and a lot of guys to take the leap. A lot of people get comfortable in their day jobs and subsequently while away their time dreaming of pastures new.

If you want to start your own business one day, make productive use of your time building the idea, get your business plan written and the idea sketched out in principle.

Then work out what you would need to achieve your goal, what the costs would be to start up, what the route to payback is, how long it will take, what the income potential is, different scenarios that would affect your bottom line and when you can stop working for the man and start being the man (or woman, obviously).

That’s exactly what I did in my last full time job, I planned and planned and projected how things would pan out until I had the confidence to break away from the ‘day job’ and start my ’24/7 job’ of being a consultancy founder slash .com founder slash blogger slash photographer slash husband (to be).

Not speaking up and not acting on hunches

Something that is apparent in most people’s careers is nerves. The nervousness that stops you speaking in meetings, voicing ideas that later are raised by those higher up, leaving you gutted that you had not had the idea attributed to you. I used to feel like that when I was junior, but, through practice and experience have the confidence to say what I’m thinking to see if it moves the project and the brand in the right direction.

Whilst it is good practice to respect and listen to those higher up the strategic pole than you, be aware that all of us are fallible, we all make mistakes or follow initial hypotheses too soon and whatnot. There are times when junior members of the team hang off the every word of anyone paid more than them, I see it all the time.

I’m not saying be argumentative or to challenge them on everything but do not be afraid to counter or voice your own opinion as you never know where the gem of insight and creative platforms will come from.

Do you have any career regrets?

How do you or did you deal with them?

What advice would you give to others?

Greg is a freelance brand strategist working with brands and agencies all round the world, he is also the author of, a website aimed at giving advice and insight to new, existing and veteran freelancers as well as commenting on all things strategic. Feel free to email him at: or follow on Twitter @StratTalking




    Moving Millennials thumbnail Moving Millennials
    Thoughts from a Cannes Creative Effectiveness 2013 Jury member thumbnail Thoughts from a Cannes Creative Effectiveness 2013 Jury member


    Agency Profile: Advico Y&R thumbnail Agency Profile: Advico Y&R


    Copyright © 2001-2017 IHAVEANIDEA inc. All rights reserved. No material contained in this site may be republished or reposted.
    IHAVEANIDEA™ is a trademark of IHAVEANIDEA inc. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy

    Copyright © 2009 ihaveanidea inc. All rights reserved.

    No material contained in this site may be republished or reposted. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy