When to say no to your dream job

Suddenly five years has gone by. You might have changed roles or maybe you stayed in the same one, but you motored along happy with what you had. Through those five years though, did you take time to sit back and think critically about what you were doing in your career and what you want out of it?

If you did – fantastic. If you didn’t, well don’t worry too much, you are certainly not alone in that. We have a vision of what we think we want our careers to be, but many of us don’t take action to make it happen. Why? Well…life happens and suddenly five years has gone by. I know you can relate.

When I entered the career development field I had goal of my dream job. It was a grand goal. It was a coveted role. For years I knocked on that door but it remained unanswered. Eventually I stopped trying and looked to other opportunities. Last year on a whim I applied to a position that was my dream job: a career advisor within a post secondary setting. You couldn’t imagine how excited I was to get an interview – my chance had finally come!

Shifting Priorities

The day following my interview I had an eye opening experience. As I sat there drinking my morning tea reflecting on the role it occurred to me that I didn’t want it anymore. That the position I had been coveting for years was no longer my dream job. It was a bit of a shocker to be honest.

What had changed?

So many aspects of my life had evolved over the previous five years, I didn’t pay attention to how they impacted my career goals and needs. I began to examine my life a little more closely to assess what my priorities were, what my needs were, and what brought me happiness. While the position itself was still as fantastic opportunity, I knew that it wasn’t the one I wanted – or needed – anymore.

Five Questions to Ask Yourself

Have you ever been in that spot? When the dream job you have been chasing finally presents itself and you step back in surprise and question if you want it? It’s an interesting place to be in, that’s for sure. How can you properly assess if you should pursue it or walk away?

There are five questions you can ask yourself:

  • How does this position fit into my current lifestyle?
  • How well do I align with the culture, values, and mission of this organization?
  • If I take this position, in one year from now do I think I will be happy in it?
  • What does my current ideal opportunity look like?
  • Will this role allow me to further develop my skills and talents in the ways I want?

The answers you come up with to these questions should help to guide you on that yes or no. Your career is YOURS afterall…you get to make the decisions on what is best for you.

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