Posts Tagged “career”

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A job title is a nicely packaged label, but we’re more than just a title.

Your background and experiences provide a wide array of knowledge, skills, and strengths that you can transfer over to any job.

 

Instead of searching by title, I’d start by researching the responsibilities that excite and energize you. That means instead of confining yourself to a job title, start describing what’s involved with your ideal role instead.

Here’s How to Do That

I recommend starting with an exercise that resembles digging for career gold, where you’ll evaluate all of the positions you have held throughout your career and ask yourself things like:

  • What did I love about this job?
  • When did I lose track of time?
  • When was I most excited?

As you go through this process, jot down all of the responsibilities you enjoyed and skills you liked using.

Next, I want you to take a look at this list and start identifying common threads and patterns. Were you happiest when crunching data? Interacting with clients? Problem solving in a team? Building something from nothing? Working on one long-term project vs. multiple short ones?

As you start to understand your skills and interests, you can lead your job search by sharing the story of what you’re looking for. Each time you share your dream role including the skills and interests you align with, two things will happen:

You’ll open up closed doors as more people hear you stating what you’re looking for. It’s amazing what connections and opportunities crop up once we share our goals with the world.

You’ll hear recommendations from people that often sound like, “Have you ever considered [blank]?” or “Have you talked to [blank]?” Whether you’re talking to career experts, recruiters, friends, or strangers, everyone in the world has unique perspectives, contacts, and experiences that they are able to share with you in turn.

Once you figure out what types of roles really intrigue you, then you can craft your personal brand and ensure you’re highlighting a cohesive and consistent story in all of your online and offline marketing materials.

More importantly, you can start a targeted networking campaign to spark conversations with people who will be able to share more about the career paths you’re truly interested in. These informational interviews can lead into informal job interviews… which can lead to offers.

It’s easy to feel welded to your title in your job search, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Turn your attention to your skills and experiences instead, and I’m confident that you’ll find job opportunities that are way better suited to what you’re looking for. Good luck!

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-job-search-with-vague-job-title

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Making a career change is scary. It may seem easier to stay in a job that you’re comfortable with and good at, rather than taking the plunge into a totally different career. But, those who do take that plunge often end up happier.

That proverbial leap requires more preparation than simply closing your eyes and jumping, though. To be sure that you don’t end up at another job that leaves you unfulfilled, you need to have a plan of action.

Catherine Morgan, Career Transition Expert at Point A to Point B Transitions, sees clients take a variety of different career journeys—doing the same job in a different industry, doing a different job in the same industry, or finding a job that is completely different in both skill set and industry.

And while some people know deep down that making the transition is the right thing all along, others come to the realization after a major life event. Regardless of the catalyst, Catherine advises taking calculated steps once you’ve decided to change industries.

So if you’re ready to take the leap, here’s our best advice on how to set yourself up for a successful career change.
Follow Your Passion, Purpose, or Side Hustle.

If you’re considering a career change, you’re probably not fulfilled with your current role. But, before jumping into another unsatisfying job, take the time to figure out what would make you happy. 1 out of 5 people don’t feel engaged with their job, and we know you don’t want to remain one of them.

Finding your passion can seem daunting, but if you examine the things you enjoy most, it gets easier. When thinking about changing jobs, “people often pull from life experience or something they’ve been doing on the side,” says Catherine.

Think about your hobbies—do you love to cook, or read, or sew? What activities are you best at and bring you the most joy? While not every hobby can be turned into a full-time job, examining your interests outside of work is a great way to discover what type of career might make you happy.

Have a Strategy and Take Steps to Implement It
In most cases, a career change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes work and preparation—but don’t get overwhelmed. Once you have your big picture figured out, do the following:

1. Research
We know you know how to do some internet sleuthing. So, instead of stalking your ex online, use those detective skills to start researching potential employers. Check out their social media, website, and any other info you can find so that you can make an informed decision on whether a company is the right fit for you.

2. Network
Make a list of people you know who work in the field that you’re interested in. If you don’t know anyone personally that’s okay. Utilize LinkedIn to expand your search, and don’t forget to ask friends and family for their connections. You can even craft an email to friends explaining that you’re looking to change careers and would love to be connected with anyone they think could help.

Once you have contact information, look them up before reaching out. You’ll want to sound informed so people know their time won’t be wasted connecting with you. Request a coffee, informational interview, or even to shadow someone after you’ve made the first move.

3. Know What You’re Willing to Sacrifice
Before making a big shift, Catherine says, consider whether there is an opportunity to rework your current job situation. “Look at what you want and what would make you happier—less travel, working from home more, boundaries to disconnect,” she says.

If you are set on changing careers, there’s a lot to consider before leaving your current job. Before quitting evaluate what sacrifices you are willing to make in order to find a role that you love—can you take a pay cut, start in a lower position, do you have leverage to leave your job without having your next one lined up?

Knowing the answers to these questions beforehand will set you up for success and help narrow down potential jobs and employers.

The Results
Catherine says “the people I work with tend to be happy with their decisions, they are going into it with the right mindset and finding something valuable to them.” We spend the bulk of our time at work, so being happy with your job can make a huge difference.

So, if you think it’s time for a career change, follow the steps above—do your research, create a plan of action, and take the leap. You may just end up happier than you ever imagined.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/why-a-career-change-may-make-you-happier?ref=recently-published-1

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Being stuck in a rut sucks. If there’s one thing I could wish for you, it’s that you never have to deal with a situation that holds you back from being happy, successful, or fulfilled.

That, unfortunately, is an unrealistic wish (even more unrealistic than wishing I could turn everything I touch into chocolate). Because like failure, ruts are inevitable. And the good news about that not-so-fun fact is that they ultimately help make us stronger, smarter, and more successful individuals.

Just look at a few people in your life who you admire—how many of them went through a struggle that forced them to reevaluate their goals or path?

Since I’m someone who doesn’t love surprises (except the birthday kind), I’m going to tell you right now exactly which ruts you’ll find yourself in throughout your career.

1. Being Bored
No matter how much you love your job, how many hours you work, or how large the pile of to-dos is on your desk, there will come a time when you will find yourself suddenly underwhelmed, unmotivated, or unstimulated at your job for days on end.

It could be for a number of reasons. Maybe your boss has stopped challenging you. Or, maybe you’re making the mistake of not seeking out challenges, or looking for exciting projects. Or, maybe you’ve found yourself in a new role that isn’t as exciting as you thought it would be.

Whatever the reason, boredom is usually pretty fixable. You can ask your boss for better projects, or see if you can chip in on what other teams are working on, or find ways to keep learning, like taking online classes or attending conferences related to your industry. If that still leaves you no better than you were before, it may be time to move on and find a role that’s more engaging.

2. Feeling Unhappy
Unhappiness is a more serious sign to keep an eye on.

Why is it so much more common than we realize? Because for one, we’re fickle beings—we’re always changing our minds and shifting our priorities. Which means the things we want in our careers now may change one, two, five years from now. That’s OK!

The other reason is because sometimes we’re really bad at recognizing when we’re miserable. We’ll place the blame on other things (woke up on the wrong side of the bed, had a bad commute, a crazy boss) rather than accept that something bigger is affecting us.Figure out what is making you unhappy and use that information to decide what your next steps will be.

Maybe it means transferring roles internally, changing companies, or switching industries entirely. Or maybe it’s even more simple than that. Maybe it’s talking to your boss about an overwhelming workload. Or asking your co-worker to stop talking to you when you’re working at your desk.

Whatever the cause, take the time to identify it and start making moves to solve it.

3. Doubting Your Career Path
Unless you’re very lucky, you won’t find yourself satisfied in the same role in the same industry throughout your entire career.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re unsure about what you want to do next—even if you’ve spent 10 years in your role and are now doubting everything. The good news is that it’s never too late to make a change, whatever that means for you. The even better news is that you don’t have to have it all figured out when you’re 30, 40, 50.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “When you are finished changing, you’re finished.” Don’t be finished.

4. Feeling Like Nothing’s Going Right
Ever have those months when nothing’s going right? You keep messing up basic tasks, your manager keeps sending your work back with heavy revisions, your co-workers keep shutting down your ideas?

It could be your fault—if you’re job searching, for example, and getting nowhere, it might be worth reconsidering you’re approach.

But it could also be due to external forces, like a company restructuring or a bad boss. If so, it’s worth figuring out whether these can be fixed, and if not, what steps you can take to better set yourself up for success.

5. Having to Deal With a (Big) Change
Your company just went through a huge merger, half your department got laid off, you got laid off, they brought in a new boss, or oyou’ve moved to an entirely new city for a job.

One day, something major will happen that will shake up how you do things and think about your career. While it’s practically impossible to prepare for something like this, remember that it’s common. And, that it’s salvageable. And, that the feelings of loss and doubt and frustration and sadness won’t last forever. And, that you’ll come out stronger and more equipped to handle anything that comes your way. If you don’t believe me, read this.

The last thing I want to emphasize is that it’s easy to feel alone when you’re in these ruts, or that no one understands what you’re going through. But I can confidently tell you that everyone experiences these. Why else would I write this article?

So, don’t be afraid to admit when you’re in one—if you don’t, you’ll regret not making a change sooner. And if you still feel like the only one, chat with people just like you (and get some reassuring advice) on our Stuck in a Rut discussions platform.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/career-ruts-everyone-will-get-into-some-point?ref=recently-published-1

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Can you get me a job at your company, please?

Do you know the CEO—and can I talk to her?

Want to see my resume? It’s awesome, I swear.

These are the things we’d like to say to people when we’re networking, but for obvious reasons can’t.

So, the question always becomes, what can we ask?

I recently read Molly Beck’s book Reach Out: The Simple Strategy You Need to Expand Your Network and Increase Your Influence. And in it, she breaks down the art of networking into bite-sized steps—one of which talks about good versus bad favours.

The concept is simple: Some things you choose to ask your network are better than others. And this means the difference between someone wanting to help you out and someone wanting nothing to do with your request.

If you read the quotes above and cringed at the thought of saying them to someone you knew, you already know what a bad favour is.

So, what makes a good favour?

“The key to a great favour is to ask a particular, definable question whose answer cannot be found on Google and can be answered easily in a paragraph or so via email,” says Beck in the book.

Let’s break that down a bit more:

 

It Should Be Specific

Your ask should be tailored to the person and not super open-ended. Beck gives the example “Can I pick your brain?” as both being way too vague and asking too much of someone (and for free, mind you). You’re better off saying something like, “What advice do you have for someone who wants to break into finance like yourself?”

 

It Should Be Non-Googleable

Don’t ask someone a question that you can look up yourself. Beck uses “What open jobs does your company have?” as an example that you could easily search on your own time.

 

It Should Be Short

Many of your requests will be sent over email to someone who’s already pretty busy, Beck points out, so they should be able to answer it without spending hours crafting a response.

 

Now of course, if the person seems excited to chat with you, you can ask to meet in person. But, Beck suggests, “If and when people say yes, keep in mind that you are working around their schedule, not yours, and you should be traveling to go to a place that’s easy for them to get to. Additionally, when you do meet for coffee or even a meal, you should be paying for them.”

Finally, the author says, every favour should come with a gift. Because this person is going out of their way for you, you should do the same—meaning you should include at least two beneficial things in your initial reach-out. Now, before you worry that you have to send a fruit basket and a bottle of wine every time you ask someone to grab coffee, don’t. It can be as simple as a compliment, a book recommendation, or an introduction to someone you think they would benefit from knowing.

(But if they end up helping you out in a big way, you might want to send them one of these thank you items.)

One of the most memorable favours I’ve ever gotten asked was when a reader of my blog emailed me to say that her friend was a big fan of my writing, and would I consider doing a birthday shout-out on the blog to her? It made my day that she and her friend thought so highly of my blog, and it was such a cool way to make someone feel special on their birthday. Of course I said yes. That super-unique favour opened up a great line of communication between all three of us.

Your request may be simpler (or, even more complicated) than this, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth asking. If you follow the guidelines above, you’ll make it that much easier for someone to say yes—and be excited about it, too.
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/a-networking-expert-on-how-to-ask-people-for-career-favors-and-get-a-yes?ref=carousel-slide-3

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My career over the past seven years hasn’t been perfect—in fact, we could all agree that if we had the chance, we’d probably turn back time and do certain things a little bit differently.

Alas, this isn’t possible (otherwise someone please tell me where can I get one of those time machines). However, I have learned several valuable lessons throughout my experience that might help you as you navigate your own career.

Pst—you’re not too late to do any of these things!

1. Invest Less in Materials, More in Your Mind

The trajectory of your career will be largely based on how you decide to spend your initial paychecks. You’ll be tempted to spend it on getting a nicer apartment, upgrading your clothes, and going out to fancier restaurants.

While these aren’t necessarily bad things—you deserve to treat yourself every once in a while—you might want to think about spending your money on knowledge instead. It’ll not only give you the greatest return on investment, but also be the one thing that lasts over time.

There are certain skills that are applicable to any job, such as communication, knowing how to effectively read and write, building strong relationships, networking, and time management, while there are obviously others that are more specific to your industry.

To expand on any of these, you have several options for investing your money (instead of having a luxurious weekend away)—you can take an online class, or buy a career-boosting book, or even hire a career coach.

2. Make Health a Number One Priority

Health is the foundation that accelerates everything in your life, including your career. It elevates your creativity, energy, and grit to get through the inevitable ups and downs you’ll experience.

For far too long, I struggled to find breakthroughs in my career because I was neglecting my health, both mental and physical. This led to having less willpower and discipline during my day, and thus being less productive over time.

Prioritizing your health isn’t just a one-time task. It actually has to take priority over everything you do. That means scheduling it into your calendar, making investments to buy the right food and exercise regularly, and even giving up other bad habits.

It’s true: Once you have your health together, everything else comes easier.

3. Learn How to Best Manage Your Time (Whatever That Means for You)

How we spend our time ultimately determines how much we accomplish in our lifetime. While 30 minutes here or there getting sucked into Facebook or taking one too many coffee breaks doesn’t feel like much, it can start to add up in a bad way.

The thing is, how you manage your time is something only you can figure out—everyone works through their to-dos in different ways.

The best time management tactics I’ve learned over time—that might help you get started—are usually the simplest. For example, you can try scheduling everything into your calendar so each task has a specific time frame for completion.

Or, you can try the “One Thing” strategy of asking yourself, “What’s the onetask I can complete that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?”

Or, you can try one of these six better productivity hacks for people who don’t love the “famous” ones.

We can’t control how time passes, but we can maximize it to be, do, and achieve more.

4. Treat Every Relationship as Life-Long

The person you meet today may be someone you work with two, five, or 10 years from now. He or she could be an employee you want to hire, a potential business partner, or even your future boss.

When you treat every relationship as a lifelong relationship, you’ll be more giving, more patient, and more pleasant to be around.

To practice this daily, you need to focus on giving first without expecting anything in return. This might mean checking in with someone you met at a networking event via social media or over email every few months to see what’s new with them. Or, setting aside time in your calendar to regularly have lunch with team members.

And, you never know how even the most insignificant relationships will help you down the road. For example, because she stayed in contact with a networking connection, Ann Shoket, author and former Editor-in-Chief at Seventeen Magazine, turned a one-time meetup into the job that launched her career.

5. Think Bigger

One of the most common regrets I hear from successful people I interviewis that they “didn’t think big enough.”

Many of the things we want in our lives will come to us as long as we give ourselves the permission to receive them. I’m sure there are things you have in your life today that five years ago you only dreamed about.

Whether you’re looking for a promotion, a new career opportunity, or a better life overall, it starts by thinking 10X bigger and raising your standards.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-things-i-would-do-differently-if-i-could-start-my-career-again

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It’s pretty much a given that you’ll change careers at least a few times during your life. According to research, 35% of all U.S. workers have changed careers in the past three years while millennials average four positions before hitting 32).

With each new job comes the opportunity to build skills and expertise, which Peter Roper, Google’s Head of Mobile Brand Strategy, says is the most important priority when considering the responsibilities of new positions.

Roper advises that it’s best “to think about what skill sets you want to get at your next job,” rather than look at surface level features such as location and salary. When you think of each move as building on your prior experience, you’ll have a better chance choosing the positions that’ll grow your expertise.

And as Roper says, “You don’t have to have your career perfectly mapped out,” but it helps to think of each subsequent job as a building block, not as a blank page.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/a-much-smarter-way-to-think-about-your-next-career-move?ref=recently-published-0

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Much like groundbreaking design, the best creative careers rarely adhere to a pre-determined template.

Nobody knows this better than Debbie Millman. An author, artist, illustrator, educator, and brand consultant, Millman’s career path looks much more like a winding road than it does a straightforward climb.

What’s more, it wasn’t always smooth. In fact, she describes the first 10 years of her professional life as, “experiments in rejection and failure.”

If you’re familiar with her work, this statement might surprise you—Millman is, after all, the author of six books on design; she chairs the School of Visual Arts’ Masters in Branding program; and her popular podcast, Design Matters, has accrued numerous accolades.

But arguably, those experiments, combined with a set of serendipitous curveballs, are what led to her success.

Whether you’re still contemplating the shape of your creative career or you’re looking for a bit of inspiration in your day job, take a page from Millman’s playbook on finding fulfilling work, navigating tough decisions, and defining success in a way that matters to you.

Follow Your Interests

Millman’s initial goal was to design magazine covers for a proper glossy in New York City, but despite being the editor of her college newspaper, her attempts fell short.

It wasn’t until her early thirties that she “fell into” a role in branding; the field was a perfect fit for her skill set, interests, and passions. At Sterling Brands, Millman began exploring the relationships between people and the brands they choose to integrate into their lives.

Then, in 2005, she started Design Matters—the world’s first (and now longest running) podcast about design—in which she converses with notable figures in the design space. It was the first thing that put her on the map, especially after garnering the People’s Choice Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in 2011; in 2012, Millman was invited to the White House and personally congratulated by former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Today, Millman dedicates a significant portion of her time to educating others about design. She finds her day job exceptionally fulfilling—a key litmus test for career success.

“I think that any time you are doing work that fulfills your soul, it has the opportunity to become much more universal—because chances are there are other people out in the world who it will fulfill, as well,” she says.

Look Beyond the Beaten Path

Recently, Millman found herself at a career crossroads: She was offered the position of CEO at Sterling, where she’d served as President for years. For many, it would have been the logical next step, but she wasn’t sure it was the right one for her.

“It was a really exciting opportunity, and one that I know I would have enjoyed—but it would have meant putting my own artistic and creative aspirations aside. It took me four months to decide to turn down the job. It was the hardest decision I have ever made,” she says.

The decision ultimately aligns with one of Millman’s core beliefs about careers: Financial and creative fulfilment aren’t mutually exclusive. Seeking the proper balance of both is key.

Plus, “if anything takes you four months to decide, you probably don’t want it,” she says.

Difficult choices aren’t the only element of Millman’s career that have led her off the beaten path—she’s also had the opportunity to travel to some of the most obscure corners of the country for her work.

“Travel has really impacted my career. As much as I am a homebody, I love seeing new places,” she says, adding that she’s always prepared for a spur-of-the-moment trip or opportunity. “I have a bag that’s always packed with the day-to-day things that I need when I travel. I keep everything that I need in that bag—all my toiletries, technology, cords… all of the things that make me feel comfortable when I’m not home. All I need to do is pack the clothes that I’m going to wear,” she says.

The Lowest Moments Can Reap the Highest Rewards

When Millman talks about the early rejections and hurdles, it’s easy to dismiss her protestations as humility. But, she insists, at one point in her career, she actually thought she might be “the most hated woman in design.” The low blow occurred when she read a piece in a blog called “Speak Up” criticizing the work she’d done for a major brand, as well as for a major film franchise.

Instead of folding when she faced criticism, she decided to actively join the conversation.
She connected with the blog’s founder, Armin Vit, and began contributing to the site, persuading the design community about the merits of her work. Millman and Vit went on to form a long-term professional relationship. Today, she’s the godmother of his oldest daughter.

“I look back on it now and think, ‘I’m so glad that happened,’” Millman says. “Almost every major [accomplishment of mine]—the kernels and the seeds—came out of that experience. Ultimately, that turned into one of the most profound, life-affirming, life-changing things. So, sometimes the worst moment of your life can be a catalyst for the best life you could possibly imagine.”

If You Can Dream it, You Can Be It

As an accomplished writer, it’s perhaps no surprise that Millman’s most emphatic piece of advice for young creatives is to turn to the power of the pen.

“Write an essay about the life you’d like to have five or 10 years from now,” she says. “Write it with as much detail as you can muster. What does your day look like? Where do you go? How do you get there? What does one perfect day in that life look like? Write it down, savor it, save it, reread it every year, and I will guarantee that the life you envision is one that you’ll get closer to.”

As for Millman’s perfect life?

“I’m living it,” she says.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-design-the-career-of-your-dreams-advice-from-creative-genius-debbie-millman?ref=carousel-slide-0

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Have you ever desperately wanted to quit your job and find something you love, but then—fear. Desperate, overwhelming, soul-crushing, stop-you-in-your-tracks fear.

Maybe you’re ready to quit or maybe you’re just thinking about it. Maybe you’re thinking of putting in your name for a promotion at work or maybe you’re trying to work up the guts to tell your boss you want to change your role. Regardless, your stomach’s a pit of despair, and your mind’s screaming at you to stop trying to change the status quo.

Feel like I’m reading your mind? Well, good news, I’m not! Rather, you’re going through something very common. In fact I don’t know anyone, including myself, who didn’t freak out before making a leap.

So first things first. Let’s get over the idea that fear is a bad thing.

It’s not—it’s a biological reaction that tells you when things are changing so you stay alert and react. Or, if you prefer explanations that sound less textbook-y, think of it this way: It’s also a tool to help you on your journey.

Think about the last time you were on a roller coaster. Were you screaming your head off wanting to get the heck off of it as you inched towards that first big drop? But then as soon as it ended, wanted to get ride back on and live the thrill again?

That’s the roller coaster effect.

So, if you let of of of the idea that fear is a bad thing and instead think of it as a useful indicator that you’re about to do something amazing, what would you do differently?

For starters, you’d probably follow through more on things that scare you because you knew that getting through to the other side would be worth it. Maybe you’d finally make the first move to change careers because the initial discomfort would lead you down a path that you truly love. Or maybe you’d set up that meeting with HR to talk about an internal transfer. Or perhaps you’d sign up to give a presentation  at the company meeting.

Whatever it is that’s currently getting you excited, yet also making you want to curl up in the corner, do it! Really. Whenever you feel afraid I want you to acknowledge your fear, and recognize that it’s giving you a choice: Stay stuck and make no progress—or push through it and get to the top of that roller coaster ride.

Yes, it’s scary, but it’s also thrilling and exciting and in both cases—the roller coaster and your life—the only way to get to the fun part is to push through that fear.

 Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/being-scared-is-a-great-sign-youre-about-to-do-something-amazing-in-your-career?ref=carousel-slide-0
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Have you ever set out a clear career plan with specific goals for yourself?

When I first started out in consulting, my plan was simple: Get a big raise. Get a promotion. Start getting bonuses. Then break six-figures. Finally score an even bigger promotion (with a really nice title).

Years later I had all of the above, and yet—I was miserable. It took me a while to figure out that my career milestones weren’t making me happy, and moreover, I had spent years chasing the wrong goals.

Ugh.

I’d love for that to not happen to you.

So let’s break it down, shall we?

1. Standard Milestone: Get Promoted Early

Have you ever started at an entry-level or mid-level position at a company, met a few people higher in the ranks, and then thought to yourself: “Wow, I’d love to have their jobs?”

At my first few big corporate jobs, I was obsessed with getting promoted. I felt like it was a small stretch to go from where I was to the next rung on the ladder, and that getting promoted would make me happy. I’d get paid more, I’d get recognition for my work, and I’d be a bigger fish in a smaller pond.

Who doesn’t want that?

Except—it didn’t make me happy. Stretched over a year, the raise didn’t make a significant impact in my daily life, and the work I was doing didn’t really change.

What I Wish I’d Focused on Instead

Figuring out what kind of work would help me begin to tap into my potential as a person (and even lead to some real happiness!). That first promotion is a rush, but instead of focusing just on that, I could’ve read more books, attended interesting events, developed a few more skills, and spent that time learning and growing my network inside and outside of my company so I’d have plenty of options at my fingertips, and mentors to help me grow.

2. Standard Milestone: Getting That Fancy Office

Have you ever had office envy? I 100% did in my first big corporate gig. Everyone had their own office, but I was stuck in an inside windowless cell, while my more senior co-workers had lovely views and beautiful desks.

I lusted after their offices.

I spent an embarrassing amount of time thinking about and campaigning to get one. I thought it would give me recognition, I thought I’d feel better about my job, and I thought my work day would be nicer. The office would save me!

I knew I needed to get promoted first, but I also knew that if I campaigned hard, I could sway my boss on which of the empty and lovely offices would be mine.

After less than a year, I finally got my fancy office—complete with a view of the river. I thought it would immediately confer recognition and gravitas to my career—I’d be taken seriously. I have a window!

But, it of course, did none of those things. And even more surprisingly—I was so lonely.

What I Wish I’d Focused on Instead

I was so caught up in the prestige of a fancy office, I lost sight of two milestones that are hugely important: working with people who motivate you and loving your workspace

When I changed jobs down the road, I ended up in a desk in the middle of 30 other people—and I loved it. The people around me motivated me to do better, entertained me when I needed a break, and made coming to work fun.

And I even liked my desk-in-the-middle-of-the room. Sure, it wasn’t fancy wood and didn’t have a view of the river, but it was way more comfortable and I felt good working there.

Both these things lead me to be a better leader and better version of myself—which is a way better milestone than the fake prestige of a fancy office. So think about that: Are you working with people who motivate and support you? And are you working in a space that allows you to feel comfortable and good at what you do?

3. Standard Milestone: Making a Certain Amount of Money per Year

After I changed jobs and got promoted a couple of times my new obsession became to break six figures in income before I hit age 30.

I felt like that salary would be an external recognition of how good I was at my job, that I was on the right path in my career, and that I was worth something. Obviously, they were paying me, right?

Yeah—are you seeing the theme here?

Chasing the money was a distraction from the fact that I didn’t really love my chosen career, and I couldn’t imagine doing it for the rest of my life. But, I kept telling myself that I needed a fancy lifestyle, and the money was an important piece of maintaining my makeup addiction (and therefore my happiness).

I feel into the trap of thinking that money is happiness, which we all know is so not the case. Not only is money not equal to happiness, but my focus on it also kept me stuck, because it made it easy to justify staying stuck in the wrong career.

What I Wish I’d Focused on Instead

I wish I had worried less about spending the money that I had (and making a certain figure) and more about the question: “Is this career fueling the life that I want?”

Sure, having some money is good! But if all you focus on is the money, it doesn’t lead to happiness. For me, the hard truth was that I was buying a lot of things I didn’t need because I wasn’t getting my happiness through work.

Don’t get me wrong, I like nice things. I’m a fan of shoes, and vacations, and being comfortable. But not if it comes 100% at the expense of myself and my career.

When I started my coaching practice I cut back on everything that was unnecessary, like vacations and trips to Nordstroms. And you know what was weird? I didn’t miss those things at all.

Why? Because the work kept me happy, and it allowed me flexibility, creativity, autonomy and freedom. Basically, it fueled the lifestyle I wanted, and that made all the difference.

To sum up: I think a better career milestone that a certain amount of money is asking yourself: “Do I love my life?” And then focus on the kind of work that helps you love all parts of your life.

4. Standard Milestone: Getting a High-Level Title Like Director or VP

I thought that I’d be happier if I had a really fancy title. Other people would instantly respect me, I’d obviously have achieved a certain level of success, yada yada. You’ve read this far, you know the drill!

But when I got the tapped to be made Director of my Business Unit, my internal monologue was just the sound of someone screaming.

Did I take the job? Of course! I thought I’d be crazy not to. Also, my business card would be even more stately!

But, after getting the title and shoving 400 new business cards into a corner, I found my soul died a little bit more each day. I had even more on my to-do list that I didn’t love. And, I felt like I was doing work I wasn’t even great at anymore—and that was pretty soul crushing.

Here’s the thing: A title is great, but not if it means you lose a piece of yourself or what you actually like to do.

What I Wish I’d Focused on Instead

One of the cool things about getting more experienced and recognized is the chance to increase your level of impact on the world.

Instead of chasing the title and being focused on a few words on a business card, think about: “What’s the next step to serve more people?” or “How can I make a bigger impact?” Or “What am I doing right now that helps the world in some way—big or small?”

Now I have one of the biggest titles around—that of CEO. But I honestly don’t even think about it, because what matters to me are the emails I get every week from someone in my community telling me how I helped them change their career (and change their lives!).

And that beats a fancy business card any day!

A lot of us look for career milestones that carry external recognition, like promotions or titles. But, if you aren’t happy on the inside, no title is going to solve that problem. Instead, try and map your milestones to things that bring you actual happiness, like doing work you love, working with people who support you, having a workspace or place that makes you feel good, having an impact (no matter how big or small), and really reaching your potential as a human being.

You are a pretty awesome person with tons to offer—now get out there and do it!

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-career-milestones-you-think-will-make-you-happy-and-what-actually-will?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-2

1

Success means different things to different people.

For many, accumulating wealth or power are definitive signs of achievement. For you, it may be as simple (or complex) as being happy.

And although an attitude of continuous self-improvement reaps great rewards, it’s beneficial to stop every now and then and appreciate what we’ve already accomplished.

With that in mind, here are seven unexpected signs that you’re more successful than you think:

1. You’ve Made Tons of Progress

When I was struggling to learn a language, a wise person once told me: “Don’t think about how far you’ve got to go. Look back, and consider how far you’ve already come.”

This principle applies across our lives. Think about the version of yourself from five years ago. What experience have you collected? What lessons have you learned?

The truth: You’ve come a long way.

2. You Set Your Own Priorities

Your business may not be making millions, but you love what you do. Or, you’ve learned the invaluable lesson that money can’t buy more time—so you spend as much of that time as you can with family and friends (or doing what’s important to you).

Establishing priorities is half the recipe for success. The other half is sticking to them.

3. You Love to Learn

You’re a voracious reader. You love to try new things. You don’t mind making mistakes.

Why? Because every new journey broadens your horizons and helps you to better understand yourself, others, and the world around you. Mistakes aren’t failures—they’re only more opportunities to learn.

4. You Use Goals as Stepping Stones

We tend to measure success with the big things—graduating from school, earning our first promotion, even getting married.

But it’s the small, behind-the-scenes goals that lead to the bigger accomplishments: every passed test, every productive work assignment, getting past that horrid first date.

All great successes begin with smaller ones.

5. You Cultivate Good Habits

It’s been famously said by Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

You know how you get up early every morning? How about that fitness routine you stick to? Or the fact that you work hard to always arrive a little bit early?

Reaching goals requires hard work and perseverance. But regardless of where you’re trying to go, the right habits are helping you get there.

6. You Strive to Be Emotionally Intelligent

None of us can perfectly control our emotions.

But by working to identify your emotions, realizing the major role they play in your life, and using that understanding to inform your decision making, you’re vastly more successful than you would be otherwise.

7. You Haven’t Given Up

One of the biggest keys to success is persistence.

So many people give up right before crossing the finish line, or just before reaching the goal they’ve invested so much time and effort to achieve.

But that’s not you. You’re still here—day in, day out, moving forward, determined to leave it all on the table.

And that’s what makes you a success.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/7-clear-signs-that-your-careers-going-well-that-have-nothing-to-do-with-your-salary