Sometimes we get caught up on what we don’t want out of our career that we’re saying “NO” a lot more than “YES.” I’ll never do this or I’ll never do that. As military spouses, we have to adapt our transient lifestyle with our careers. It’s very doable when we keep an open mind.
Consider these 5 “I’ll Never” statements when making any future career decisions.
You should never …
… turn down a job opportunity because of the pay.
Sounds crazy, but experience is key for career and skill development. After I announced that I would be freelancing to my former employer, one of the work-from-home senior associates came up to me separately. She gave me very sound advice to never say no to an opportunity that comes along, especially if it really sounds like it would be a good fit. One of her biggest regrets in her career was turning down some projects that would have helped her in the future. I’ve definitely taken her advice to heart because she’s been freelancing for more than 10 years. It also comes down to happiness. I originally accepted my job because it was what I wanted despite the pay. It was a perfect fit for me. We should all strive for a job that doesn’t even feel like work. As a seasoned military spouse shared with me, “sometimes we might have to take one step back to go two steps forward.”
… take internships for granted.
If you’re looking to break into a particular field, interning might be an appropriate route for you. The biggest turnoff is that most internships are unpaid or have low pay, but the experience is definitely invaluable. (See my first point.) Before I got into public relations, I thought about magazine journalism. I interned at the editorial and marketing departments of a handful of national and local magazines. Then a public relations opportunity for a small boutique firm opened up. I had never explored the field before and as soon as I started I realized I loved it! I got to ghost write for local New York City newspapers on behalf of nonprofit organizations as well as work with reporters on articles constantly. For me, public relations brought together what I loved about journalism and marketing in 1 job. My internship experiences gave me the edge I needed to get an entry-level job.
… hide your volunteer work.
Don’t even think about omitting your volunteer work from your resume. A lot of people think you should take off any kind of work that doesn’t apply directly to the career you’re pursuing. I think it’s beneficial to include any type of work, but be strategic on how you present and place it within your resume. Keep all your relevant work at the top and perhaps consider a separate section for your volunteer work. If you haven’t had the opportunity to be employed at a job, it really highlights your willingness to engage yourself in the community. Your volunteer coordinator or supervisor could be an excellent reference for your work ethic and character for any future jobs.
… keep quiet.
I’m guilty of this from time to time. It’s difficult to open up on certain subjects, especially on pay. When I first started out, I really didn’t negotiate my salary (actually I didn’t negotiate at all). Honestly I was afraid. I found my perfect job and I didn’t want to risk anything. As soon as the position was offered to me, I regretted not talking about my salary. I had student loans to pay and cost of living in New York City was INSANE. When my annual evaluation time came, I proposed a salary increase to reflect what I thought I deserved. Really, what did I have to lose when I was first offered the job? The worst that could have happened was not receiving the salary I asked, but I still had the job. Remember: the ball is in your court once a position is offered to you. Ask questions and discuss anything that comes to mind. Because, if the job is really what you want (going back to my first point), you should accept it. Just know you have a voice in your salary.
… think that you are only capable of 1 career path.
It’s OK to change your mind and pursue your dream job. If you’re drawn to another field and think it’s just too far off to pursue, throw out that ridiculous thought and go for it! A very close friend of mine decided that communications wasn’t right for her. After a nearly 10-year stint of it, she quit her job at a marketing firm to start a new career. She always felt a calling to help people and the medical field. She went back to school to get her science prerequisites and is currently shadowing at hospitals. She also received an EMT certification and is working as an EMT to save up for graduate school. As she’s going through this journey, she is happy again. Don’t be scared of the challenge because once you finally achieve your goal, it will be one of the most fulfilling moments ever.