- Wise Words -
If I could take a mulligan,
here's what I would do...
by jane ashen turkewitz
As an executive recruiter aged 40-something, I’ve learned a thing or two in terms of career trajectory and growth that I’d love to share with those who are just planting their feet.
If I could go backwards in time, here’s what I’d change in how I approached my own path forward.
Take a Gap Year
Save up. Even if it’s $5 a day that you put in a can, do it. For most of us, there are two times in your life when you are untethered and have the flexibility to explore the world. One is when you are single and without kids. The other is when you are not so young and your kids are grown. But, by then, you may have limits in your physical mobility, or perhaps your spouse won’t want to explore the world as you do. If you have ANY desire to explore different cultures, take a gap year and travel or imbed yourself in a different locale. Work while you are on the road to support yourself – but just not in an office. Bartend, serve food, sell fruit at a beach stand, teach yoga. Live. Breathe. Eat. Drink. Talk. Learn thru your experiences. Trust me when I tell you that you will get that office job when you return home.
Realize that EVERY Interview Goes Both Ways
Yes, you are the one being evaluated for a job when you go in for a series of interviews. But, guess what? You are also evaluating the companies you are meeting with. You need to sell them and they need to sell you. If my younger self had realized that, I would have never walked into an interview nervous. I would have felt more in control of the situation.
Come prepared, though, so you can hold your head high in confidence. Here are some ways to conduct your due diligence.
If you come in armed with information and confident, you won’t feel like you are the one in the hot seat.
Trust Your Gut
If you are offered a job that seems great on paper, provides a step forward in your career and a boost in salary, and yet, it just doesn’t feel like it’s the right job? Go with your gut. In my 20’s, I had a company woo me to take a Marketing Director position that I just knew was wrong for me. BUT, I was swayed by the salesmanship of the Publisher, the title and the money. Three weeks into the job, I quit. From day one, I was miserable and knew I had made the biggest mistake of my life. Trust your gut. Sometimes your spidey senses are what you’ve got to follow, vs. the money.
Take a Mulligan
And, this brings me to number four. Notice, in the point I made above, that I mentioned I lasted three weeks in a miserable job and then quit? If you know you made the wrong move, don’t stick with it just to follow some made up etiquette rule that says “you need to stay in a job for at least a year.” Get the heck out. Don’t waste a year of your life working on something and for someone you are not going to get anything out of just so your resume looks decent.
Case in point… a young woman I was mentoring had taken a job in NYC in which she was put in a position that had zero relevance to the work she wanted to perform. She was conducting customer service with small businesses when she wanted to be working in social media and social strategy for major brands. This job was taking her down a different path than her desired trajectory but she was scared to leave after only 6 months because of how it would “look” on her resume. I told her that staying for another 6 months was going to do nothing to help her get on track and to not waste her time being stuck in a role that made her feel as though she was stagnating. She put her resume together and went out and got that job in social media, which is where she was meant to be. If you know you are in the wrong place, pull yourself up by your bootstraps and make the necessary change – not tomorrow, or next week or month. Today.
Jane Ashen Turkewitz is Founder and President of .comRecruiting which specializes in placing executive level talent with digital media and emerging technology companies. She has also worked as an executive at major media companies, including Disney and The New York Times.
Jane is an avid writer with 5MM+ readers and has been featured in the Business Insider, MediaBistro, TheLadders and now EarlyStageProfessional.com!