Making a fuss over the difference between Career Indecisiveness or Career Indecision might sound like splitting hairs, but the two circumstances likely arise for different reasons and therefore have distinct remedies.

So if you are struggling to make a decision regarding your career, it’s worth considering if you suffer from Career Indecisiveness or Career Indecision. How to tell the difference?

Researchers have found that Career Indecisiveness is a symptom of overall indecisiveness related to anxiety and difficulties with problem-solving. By contrast, the greater a person’s Emotional Intelligence (e.g., ability to recognize his/her emotions, the emotions of others, cope with everyday problems, manage stress and have the capacity to be optimistic), the lower his/her Career Indecision. Career Indecision is a typical stage through which most of us progress when making educational and/or employment decisions.

This tells us that methods to reduce anxiety, such as meditation, may help alleviate Career Indecisiveness, as well as struggles with making other decisions. On the other hand, training programs that aim to boost Emotional Intelligence should reduce Career Indecision. In fact, there is evidence for such.

For example, Italian high school students who participated in four weekly sessions of an Emotional Intelligence intervention (e.g., it helped teens perceive emotions in themselves, and others, via music, art and stories) showed higher levels of Emotional Intelligence at the end of the intervention compared to a control group of students. The students who participated in the intervention also showed lower levels of general indecisiveness and problems related to making career decisions (DiFabio & Kenny, 2011).

So if it you feel as if you can’t seem to make any decisions, consider embarking on a meditation practice. But if your decision woes are more specific and related mostly to career issues, think about signing up for an emotional intelligence training program – it will likely reap you many rewards.      

Di Fabio, A. & Kenny, M. E. (2011). Promoting emotional intelligence and career decision making among Italian high school students. Journal of Career Assessment, 19(1), 21-34.
Di Fabio, A., Palazzeschi, L., Asulin-Peretz, L., & Gati, I. (2013). Career indecision versus indecisiveness: Associations with personality traits and emotional intelligence. Journal of Career Assessment, 21(1), 42-56.

About the Author

Kristine Anthis, Ph.D.

Kristine Anthis, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at Southern Connecticut State University. She is the author of Lifespan Development, Sage Publications.

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