My roommate recently came home from a one week freelancing stint in California and announced she was moving.  She had a friend that moved out there a few years ago and there just happened to be an opening in her company’s creative department that was perfect for my friend.  The only problem is that they typically like to try a candidate’s skills out through freelancing projects prior to considering him or her for an internal position.  The conversation with the HR department happened on a Wednesday and the offer for freelance happened on a Friday.  Since my friend already had a week off from work, she accepted.  Now all she had to do was fly herself out.


Now if you are thinking, “what?!?  She had to fly herself out there to work for a week.  No way!  I wouldn’t do that!”  Well then, you would have been holding yourself back.  Opportunities only come around so often and if you don’t open the door, it will pass you by.  How many times have you not applied for a job that you were interested in, but felt like you weren’t 100% qualified for?  How many times have you decided not to interview with a company because you felt it wasn’t the perfect fit?  Imagine for just one moment that you did apply for that job or go on that interview.  What if they had potential growth opportunities that they weren’t announced, but you would be perfect for?  What if there was another job opening that they hadn’t yet posted?  How would you know if you don’t at least try?  I encourage you to have enough courage as my roommate did.

She accepted the opportunity, arranged her flight and flew out.  Leading up to this moment, she spent several stressful weeks working on her portfolio and resume after long work days and busy weekends.  It wasn’t exactly fun, but that’s what you have to do to get to where you want to be.  You have to put in the work and keep trying till you get it right.

Not once but thrice

This wasn’t the only chance she has taken.  She left a comfortable job for an opportunity to work at an agency with a heavy workload, and then took another chance by accepting the opportunity to teach.  Both were quite challenging and not quite right.  The lesson here is that through these choices, she learned what is right for her.

A few things that always help me to get started on my chance:

Make a list of likes and dislikes from your current opportunity to give you a basic framework.  Include benefits, commute, length of hours you are required to work each week, freedom to create, relationship with your supervisor and team, ability to collaborate with others, opportunity for growth or lack thereof, and work life balance.  Write down anything and everything you can think of before you go back and separate your list into non-negotiables and nice to haves.

If you are looking for a complete change of career: 

Try including a list of all the things that you enjoy doing outside of work.  Read “What Color is Your Parachute” and try some of the exercises in there.  They can help you get focused on what you like and what you are good at so that you will have a better framework to start your search for something new.

I invite you to share any helpful tips you might have used in the past to get you where you are today.