Postponing a Decision

Deciding not to decide (with caution and deliberation only!)
Some AmeriCorps or VISTA members postpone their decision altogether. It might be helpful to look at some of the reasons members find themselves not making a decision. Here are seven of the most common:
  1. If they lack experience with transitions, members may be intimidated by the planning and work needed to change.
  2. Members who lack support from family and friends for their next steps may have too little confidence to move on. People need a lot of support during change; without it, the process becomes much harder.
  3. AmeriCorps or VISTA members who had a great service experience may be sad about leaving and unable to think about next steps.
  4. Those who had a bad service experience may be avoiding the next step, fearing that another bad experience will follow.
  5. Members may have worked so hard that they cannot raise the energy and spirit needed to gather information and make decisions about the next steps.
  6. Some members, believing they have few skills, may feel hopeless about their prospects after service.
  7. AmeriCorps or VISTA members may fear that what they want for the future and what they can actually achieve are very far apart. These members may be afraid of failing, have unrealistic expectations or lack confidence in their ability to succeed.

Whatever their reason, some members will find themselves doing nothing after their service ends. The important thing to remember is that doing nothing is a choice, just as seeking employment, starting a business, or going back to school are choices.

Carl makes the tough decision NOT to decide.
When Carl moved home from New York, it was because a family member was ill. He joined AmeriCorps mostly so he would have something to do while waiting a year to start a teaching program at the university and get going with his second career as a teacher. As it turned out, it was a tough year. While he felt like he thrived in tutoring children in an after-school program, he didn't have the extra energy to complete his college application by the deadline, meaning now he'll need to wait another year to start the program, if that's even what he still wants to do.
The end of his service year is approaching, and he hasn't made any plans for what to do afterward. He'll sit down with a piece of paper, reflect on his values and responsibilities, write down a number of ideas to pursue, and begin the process of deciding what to do next.

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