Career Advice: Choose, Don’t Settle

The best advice I ever received from my mentor, a seasoned CEO with decades of corporate storytelling under his belt, was “choose, don’t settle.”  At the time, I was trying to decide between accepting an “okay” job offer or continuing to pursue a more intimidating management position that nevertheless, I was qualified.  By taking his advice and choosing not settling, not only did I find the perfect leadership opportunity, but I felt confident enough to negotiate a package that topped any of the previous offers I had received.   

If you feel that you are only settling, maybe now, in this killer job climate, is an excellent time to ask yourself, which of these reasons is holding me back from choosing my dream job?

1. Have you outgrown your current position but are just settling because it is easier than looking for a new job?  

Choosing change takes effort.  One must prepare, do research, and evaluate whether seizing a new opportunity now is the right move.  Often the path of least resistance  ̶ in other words, settling  ̶ is more comfortable than figuring out what hurdles keep you from moving forward.  Sometimes our inertia is supported by shifting market dynamics that rattle our confidence.  If this is the case, don’t wait too long to make a move!  Technologies like artificial intelligence are rapidly replacing data-driven jobs like bookkeeping, computer support, and market research analysis.  While some jobs might disappear, others will replace them, and many companies are willing to train on these new skills.  So reach out today to a mentor or professional recruiter like those at Partnership Employment to help you match your skills up with your industry’s future so you can be prepared to choose, not settle.  

2. Are you turning down opportunities for learning and development because you feel you do not measure up?  

Insecurity and fear are real emotional triggers that can happen when we think about taking significant steps toward achieving our potential.  Study after study finds that it is a lack of confidence that holds people back from reaching their full potential.  And consistently, studies based on social cognitive career theory point to the importance of self-efficacy, or a person’s self-confidence and ability to express their personal goals and ambitions.  Women, in particular, underestimate their abilities, one of the key factors attributed to the pay gap.  Some women do not raise their hands, while men typically do not have as much trouble voicing confidence about capabilities.  Fortunately, with awareness and mentoring, women and men can overcome a lack of confidence, speak up, and jumpstart their path forward.

3. Does your company recognize your talents and abilities, but fear keeps you from advancing into higher-level leadership?

Many experts in their fields know that feeling of: “When are they going to figure out that I’m a fraud?”  Believe it or not, this is a widespread feeling, even among top leaders and public figures.  It is known as “Imposter Syndrome.”  For some, it can feel awkward to verbalize or acknowledge personal accomplishments.  Sometimes it is the way we were raised.  Self-promotion may equate to “pride” for those brought up in the tradition of avoiding this one of “seven deadly sins.”  And many of the best business leaders are humble by nature.  But unpretentiously highlighting real achievements is not bragging, especially when you are working your way up.  Citing your successes, mentioning supporting associates when appropriate, and volunteering for new tasks is often the only way your boss will be able to evaluate your deeds.  Communication, initiative, and sharp negotiation skills are all characteristics that business leaders look for when promoting, so begin with yourself as an example!  

So how do you get to a place where you are choosing your next opportunity, not settling for offers that don’t inspire, challenge, or grow your future?  Start by asking yourself if you are settling because the road ahead seems too hard?  Because you have concerns that you will not measure up?  Or that you somehow do not deserve that top position?   If you factually meet the requirements but emotionally are finding excuses, then do not look back, make a decision, and choose your new future today.

If you need a mental boost, career guidance, or are looking for new opportunities to consider, your best bet is to meet with a career expert like those at Partnership Employment.  Not only will we assess your current skills and abilities, but there is a friendly expert in providing career guidance and matching your interests with the jobs and companies that are hiring.  We will also give you an idea of which careers may be vulnerable to changes in developing technologies like AI and provide you with advice to help you be prepared.  Visit Jobs at Partnership Employment or give us a call today!