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Do any of these top five career regrets apply to you?

Posted Jan 17, 2013 7:36 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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“I wish I hadn’t taken the job for the money.” That is among the top five career regrets expressed by a group of 30 professionals who spoke to a tech entrepreneur and blogger.

The group included an investment bank executive, a failing self-employed photographer, a millionaire entrepreneur, and a Fortune 500 CEO, according to Daniel Gulati, who wrote at the HBR Blog Network published by the Harvard Business Review.

“Disappointment doesn't discriminate; no matter what industry the individual operated in, what role they had been given, or whether they were soaring successes or mired in failure, five dominant themes shone through,” Gulati wrote. The other four regrets:

• “I wish I had quit earlier.” Those who had quit jobs to pursue their passions, wish they had done so earlier.

• “I wish I had the confidence to start my own business.” Gulati cites a recent study that found 70 percent of workers wished their current job would help them start a business some day, but only 15 percent said they had what it takes to become an entrepreneur.

• “I wish I had used my time at school more productively.” Many of those in the group said they wished they had used their school years to find a truly rewarding first job.

• “I wish I had acted on my career hunches.” Many told of passing up opportunities that could have helped their careers.

The American Lawyer’s Careerist blog noted the findings and questioned whether they all applied to lawyers. “As for starting your own business, I think the entrepreneurial thing has been oversold,” the Careerist says. “It's not for everybody. Most lawyers I know—particularly those born and raised in big firms—would be helpless lambs on their own.”

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