Changing the Lens on Job Opportunities

The stories that we grew up hearing, the advice that we listened to whether willingly or not, and the modeling our families showed us – create the fiber of who we are, for better and worse. We start seeing the world through various lens and viewpoints, with some biases and “shoulds.” And for most of us, it gets confusing when we look at our own career.

I was taught to get a good, stable job; make heaps of money so you never have to worry about it; work hard – it gets recognized; climb the ladder; and pick one path and stay on it. You probably have your own story about what your career should be about, where today’s world of work or your own personal work style/preferences, don’t even enter the equation.

That’s why it is so difficult for us to make career changes. It’s why other people sometimes can’t understand our perspective.

But it’s time to shift the lens in which we make career decisions, ever so slightly. Breaking free a little piece of our own stories, will open up opportunities you’ve never knew were possible.

On a daily basis, I hear clients pondering turning down a job offer because they weren’t going to make “enough” money or because it didn’t have the next-level title. And instead, they go back to their job search miserable trying to find their very own purple unicorn.

What if this is the place where we shift our lenses? What if the way we look at opportunities, overt and hidden, change – taking us on a slightly different than originally planned course, but much more satisfying in the long run?

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Being Able to Walk Away from an Offer

Earlier in my career, I always felt lucky to just have a job. That was before the economy turned to crap and jobs were harder to find. I never thought about the long-term trajectory of the skills that I wanted to use and leverage during my career, or what brought me joy. My goal was simple: be employed, earn a lot of money, and move up the ladder.

Let’s just say that I went through a LOT of jobs during those years. I was an apply and interview queen. If a company was a well-known name and they wanted me, then I said yes. Always.

At some point in 2010 when the idea of starting my own business, becoming my own boss, started to become a real possibility, my attitude to saying yes to companies shifted, dramatically. I can’t pinpoint what happened exactly, but perhaps for the first time I realized my own value to a company… not the other way around.

It’s Ok to Walk Away

I still applied and interviewed at what would be considered, for many, dream companies. Think: Silicon Valley’s biggest names and “cool places” to work. I applied, interviewed, and was offered a few awesome roles.

But I said no to all of them.

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Practical Tactical Thursday – It’s Your Fault You Didn’t Get the Job Offer

Note: Great week of features. Please be sure to go see some of my other posts around the web!

One of the most dreaded questions Human Resources gets is from candidates who are “seeking feedback” on why they did not land the job. Let me be clear with you – you are most likely never going to get a straight answer because it is not HR’s job to help you succeed elsewhere. You may receive general feedback or if you are lucky, a nugget of what the real problem is. But most likely, YOU are knocking yourself out of the candidate pool.

I wish that this were not the case, but there are so many ways to mess up the onsite interview process. As a whole, they are trying to weed people out, not nominate people in. I have explained several ways to help your cause above; but there are also sure-fire ways to be eliminated during the interview process. And no, these are not all-inclusive, but they are the most common reasons why I have seen candidates not be asked to continue in the process.

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Bridge Jobs – Create Your Own Destiny

When I was on my own path of exploring where I wanted my career to go and what my ultimate path was going to be, I was working in a high-paying, high-stress, 50%+ travel, high-powered position. Yes, everything was high. It was the crowning jewel of my career up until that point and I had worked incredibly hard throughout the years to be in that high position with all of the benefits that comes along with it.

But when I started my soul searching, I could never make any real headway. I would plan my creative time around my “real job” demands, leaving very late nights and sometimes weekends, to buckle down and focus on creating what’s next, for me.

It needed to bridge the gap from where I was, to where I knew I was going – with a stable safety net along the way.

So I quit – but I needed real income and the stability of a traditional job to tide me over until “it” was ready. The only way I was able to do this was through finding a bridge job. For me, I was very strategic in my job hunt to be sure that I landed a job that met these needs:

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