Career Tradeoffs: What Are You Willing To Give Up?

Yes, you can have it all. But can you have it all at once?

Robert was at a crossroads. After four years at the same company, he needed a change.  But, not just a job change, a career change. He had joined the company right after college, was making a great living in sales, came and went as he pleased, and his managers adored him. But, he despised cold calling, and he had no passion for the products he was selling. He really wanted to pursue his dream career: a job in the sports or entertainment industry. He also missed his family and wanted to move to be closer to them and, perhaps, eventually settle down and get married.

But, could he really leave? Would he be able to find his dream career, in a new city, that would pay him just as well (if not better), and offer him all of the same benefits and flexibilities that he earned at his current company? Could he have it all?

Yes, most likely. But I can’t reiterate it enough: nothing great comes without sacrifice.

The road to fulfilling your ultimate goals is an evolving negotiation of what you’re willing to let go of in order to get closer to what you want.

Know Your Deal-Breakers: Sit down and make a list of your make-or-breaks before you get too far into the process. What is the lowest salary that you can accept for an ideal job? Would you accept a lateral title? Would you pay to relocate yourself, or would you relocate without a job? Would you go back to working a 5-day work-week in an office if you’ve been working from home? How far can you commute? Knowing your limits and flexibilities before embarking on change will give you more clarity and confidence when you are faced with big decisions. But, remember to be reasonable about your demands and deal-breakers. Nobody wants to hire a prima donna.

Keep Your Eye On The Prize: Yes. That big pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is that job you’ve been dreaming about. You will face your share of gloomy days, cold streaks, heat waves, and even tornadoes, but don’t let a few shake-ups take you off course. There will come a time that you will do things you don’t want to do. You might have pull an all-nighter, work on the weekends, endure a terrible manager, fire a team member, or get yelled at by a client. Everyone experiences it.  It will make you stronger. And, one day, you will look back and be grateful for it.

Be Patient: If all of your goals were achieved at one time, what more would you have to live for? Good things come to those who wait, remember? Stay the course. Take pride in the baby steps. Embrace the challenges. Be open to new opportunities. Trust your gut. Accept when it’s time to make a change.  You never know when the next best thing will be on your doorstep.

Frankly speaking, no matter which way you cut it, something always has to give. It can be a tough pill to swallow, but sometimes we have to take a step back to make a giant leap forward, or forfeit a convenience to gain something even more fruitful or meaningful. It’s a personal negotiation. An evolving pros and cons list. But, it will pay off in the end.

What are you willing to sacrifice to achieve your next career goal?

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