Many regret their career choicesNews added by Benefits Pro on August 2, 2013

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Dan Cook

Are you a rocket-scientist who now wishes you’d become a teacher? A titan of the manufacturing world who longs to give up the corner office for a career as a classical pianist?

You’re not alone if you have regrets about your career choice. Two studies quantify how many workers out there wish they’d taken the other fork in the road.

Philips North America surveyed 1,000 U.S. workers on a variety of job satisfaction topics. What made the Philips survey different was that respondents were asked whether they felt their personal interests were allowed to shine through in their jobs. Turns out if the answer to that is “yes,” then folks are much happier at work and have fewer career choice regrets.

“Forty-one percent of those who don’t apply personal interests through their work regret their career path, whereas only 23 percent of workers who are able to do so regret theirs,” the Philips survey concluded.

A second study sliced the job-regrets data a little more finely. polled 500 employees, asking them specifically whether they regretted their choice of careers and, if so, how much they regretted it.

Here’s what the research showed:
  • 77 percent of workers admitted to sometimes regretting their career decisions;
  • 23 percent said they never felt any regrets about their career paths;
  • Boredom was the biggest reason respondents gave for regretting their choice of career – 35 percent said they felt bored at work and longed for a more exciting or worthwhile role;
  • Money was the next biggest factor in job regrets — 31 percent said they wished they had chosen a more lucrative career path;
  • 7 percent said they would have chosen a less demanding career.
One respondent said: “At school I dreamed of becoming a doctor but I flunked my exams and ended up in sales. I make a good living but I must admit there are times when I wish I had done something a little more worthwhile with my life. I could be curing sick children but instead I’m selling stuff and banging a gong when I reach my targets. It’s fun but 10 percent of the time I find myself wishing I’d tried harder in those exams.”

Ah, the road not taken … always paved with gold.

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