Written by Melissa Anzman

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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?

Here are some things to consider when you evaluating your next career move: try these lenses on for size.

1. Determine the skills you can gain in the opportunity

Starting with what you are going to get out of the experience, is a great place to start when evaluating any type of job opportunity. Ignore the money and title for now, and instead focus on the various ways you will grow as an employee and as an individual (or leader) in the role.

Is there a software program that you will get to interact with? A new cutting edge marketing tactic that you will get to employ? Will you be able to lead a small team for the first time?

Look for possible toolbox growth in all types of skills – interpersonal and job-specific, and evaluate how flexing those muscles will benefit your overall career package in the long-run. Consider the opportunities it could open the door on, five or ten years from now – then decide if it matches where you are today.

2. Understand the level of interaction with others that will be required

That sounds funny, I know. But one of the most critical things in your career, is knowing the right people at all different levels. When looking back at some of my horrible jobs, the only thing I came away from them with was a life-long mentor, one of my best friends, a career advocate, and so on.

I wish I could say I had the foresight to understand this earlier in my career, but I didn’t and probably missed out on opportunities to meet some great people and mentors.

For each new opportunity, determine who you will be working with closely and who will be in your sphere of interaction. You can look at levels or titles, but I would recommend looking at the people themselves. For example, if you interviewed with four different people, it’s safe to assume that they will be people that you will interact with often. Based on your interview interactions: can you learn from them; will you be able to collaborate and partner with them; did they seem like they would take the time to teach you; and so on?

Consider the players in a role and the potential friendships, partnerships and business connections you can create and foster for the rest of your career.

3. Get real about the money

This is the part where I tend to get in my own way, the most. When you get used to continuously making more and more money, your ego around money grows bigger too.

When evaluating an offer, get real about the money – quickly. Maybe the amount isn’t what you were making in your previous role, or perhaps it doesn’t come with a 15% increase over what you are used to, but is the number enough to cover your life expenses?

Not is the money ideal or more, but will it sufficiently cover what you need it to and have the type of life you want?

For some, it means being able to work remotely or having a flexible schedule or not having the kind of stress that comes with an “always on” job. Whatever that lifestyle is for you, do the money tradeoffs make it worthwhile? If the answer is yes, then forget about the number.

Overall, evaluating job opportunities is a difficult process. We think the next choice we make is our forever choice – it’s not. We consider where this choice will lead to for the next opportunity – it’s usually not a linear line. And we think that we can never get back “on track” if we make a choice that creates a detour – you can.

Jobs and roles are more than the money and title – even if the story we grew up with tends to leave that part out. Try putting on a different lens when you are evaluating your next opportunity, and see if you get better results.

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below:
What’s one thing you will do today, to change the lens of your career?


melissa anzman

About Melissa

Melissa Anzman is the creator of Launch Yourself where she helps high performers launch their career, business + brand to the next level, make an impact in the lives of others, and earn more income. She is the author of two books: How to Land a Job and Stop Hating Your Job, and the host of the Launch Yourself Podcast. Follow her @MelissaAnzman.

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Categories: CareerMelissa

Written by Paul Angone

The most dangerous job you can have in your 20s is a comfortable one. 

Comfortable is a quicksand — the job you never wanted becoming the job you can’t escape.

Worse than no-job, frustrating job or a demanding job, is a job that demands nothing.

Like taking basket weaving your senior year. Sure you’ll get an easy A, but what did you lose in return? There is a stark cost for time wasted on comfortable.

Because you don’t grow with comfortable. You don’t learn. You don’t refine who you are or what you’re capable of.

No, comfortable is the leading cause for R.E.A.SRapidly Expanding Ass Syndrome. Your body, mind, and soul turning to goo. Because challenges refine. Remove challenges, remove growth.

The crux of your 20s is not how much you make, but how much you learn, grow, and change. Those of us who refuse to change, as Robert Quinn writes in Deep Change, will enter into a “slow death.”

Wondering if your job is too comfortable and it’s time to escape? Here are three signs it’s time to run for your life.

3 Signs Your Job is Too Comfortable (and it’s time to leave)

1. Culture of Complacency

Need to know if your office suffers from complacency? Pretty simple. How are new ideas received? Are they explored or instantly exploded with a shotgun of “that’s not possible.” Have you been there for a few years and are still not able to voice an opinion?

Are the unspoken rules of the office to keep your mouth shut and not rock the boat?

Are you allowed to tackle projects outside your “job description?”

Does your boss want to work there? Does your boss’s boss want to be there?

Complacency is a disease. Extremely contagious and easily passed from one employee to another.

If your office permeates with a culture of complacency, especially from the top down – game over. Pack your bags. Time to leave.

I’m serious as a heart attack.

Because you, starry-eyed twentysomething, brimming with energy and ideas will be crushed over and over by tsunami waves of complacency. Until you shut your mouth, settle in, and catch the disease yourself.

In a culture of complacency there is a sick, perverted love affair with status-quo. And honestly, you’re probably not going to change it.

2. You Feel Drained By Doing Nothing

If you come home absolutely drained from work. If you need to watch 2-4 hours of TV a night to escape. Then you think back to your day and realize you really did nothing at work.  You’re really just drained because your mind wasn’t stimulated.

You’re drained because you spread one hour of actual work over a span of eight.

Being drained by comfortable is a scary way to start living. Because it’s incredibly hard to escape. Like a carousel ride that never stops spinning. Jump and roll. Now.

3. “We Want to Promote You” is the Phrase you Fear Most.

If the idea of being promoted makes you more nauseous than the time you ate cotton candy and three churros before jumping on the spinning teacups ride, then why are you freaking working there? I can hear lots of “but Paul you don’t understand...”

No, I do understand. Comfortable is your drug. I’m checking you into a clinic.

Comfortable Will Kill You

Comfortable is like smoking — addictive and killing you with every puff. Quit before it’s too late.

No one who has achieved great things and made a difference in this world has done so while remaining comfortable.

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below:

What do you think — is a comfortable job as dangerous as I’ve made it out to be?


Paul-Angone-All-Groan-UpAbout Paul

Paul Angone is the author of 101 Secrets for your Twenties and the creator of AllGroanUp.com, a place for those asking “what now?” Snag free chapters from his book and follow him at @PaulAngone.

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Categories: CareerPaul

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Longing for the Start of School…sort of

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How to Conquer Your Fear Of Public Speaking

We humans can be pretty funny, can’t we? Any species would have to have a sense of humor to evolve the way we did. Because could you actually guess that our number one fear is public speaking? In fact, surveys show that we fear it more than death. And yet public speaking and proper communication […]

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Don’t Read These Three Books If You’re Happy Being Mediocre

By Davis Nguyen I love being able to spend a Sunday afternoon with just a glass of lemonade and a book in my hand, but although a Sunday alone is my ideal, it doesn’t happen all that often. Luckily (or unluckily), between the 7-hour road trips, 5-hour delayed flights, and 2 hours waiting at the DMV […]

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