Do not settle in your career
Me: “So you’ve been offered the job – congrats! I am so thrilled you got this perfect job!”
Friend: “Well, not quite perfect, but it’ll do…”
Me: “Why the heck did you not discuss with them to make it fantastic??”
Friend: “Well, they might say “no” or worse, retract the offer!”
Me: [breaks into long rant about the absolute need for the company and you to work in your zone of genius, then slumps into chair at the thought of yet another missed opportunity to create good in the world]
I seriously have these conversations All. The. Damn. Time.
There is this belief that when we apply for jobs, we’re at the mercy of the company we’re applying to. That asking for better, asking for something different, discussing what REALLY needs doing (vs what they THINK they need) is somehow not done. That it jeopardises our chance to get the role, that we might upset them.
And here’s why that’s problematic:
When the job is not exactly right for you (when you’re not enjoying it and / or when it doesn’t leverage your magic) you won’t do your best work. When your tasks are just copy / pastes from the previous person who did it, without critical thought and discussion on what actually needs doing to lift the team or company to the next level, you won’t be doing work that makes a real difference.
And that means that the company misses out. And you do too, very much. You won’t have the impact you crave, so you get less enthusiastic, less inspired. And that means you won’t be doing your best work. Which sucks for you (life’s too short to feel meh, peeps!) and it sucks for the company (I don’t think I need to explain this one, do I?)
Worst case scenario: your career stalls or fizzles out.
What you need to do instead, my friends, is right at the start during the application process, have a CONVERSATION, not an interview. Work out what the company REALLY needs, figure out if that is what you want to do and what you’re really good at (ie if there’s a great match between their needs and your zone of genius). If you can create a amazing match between those two: wonderful! You’ve got your dream job! (Also, it will inherently pay a lot better than the original one, as it will be bigger, and better and more badass and they’ll use your full skillset) if there’s not a match: wonderful, too! Walk away, knowing you did what is best for all involved.
Let me give you an example of one of my wonderful clients who followed this advice to a T. When she first got in touch with this company, they hit if off, saw mutual benefits of working together, but ultimately it wasn’t the right opportunity for both of them. My client communicated that and confidently walked away, knowing she had made the right decision for the company and importantly; herself. Fast forward to a few months later, and the company reached out to her, asking her to talk to them about a perfect fitting role, based on the conversations they had had prior (and making 30-35% more than she originally thought she could get working there…).
This, my dears. This is how the world ends up being a bit better.
So let me take your face in my two hands and say this again: only take the role if you’ve been able to make it fit you PERFECTLY.
Do not settle for less.