Three years ago, I decided to ‘take a leap’ of faith: I said goodbye to my career in media and advertising and said hello to a new world of executive recruiting. I celebrated my work anniversary by posting a reflection of my accomplishments over the last few years on Linkedin. My post went viral with over 5.5 million views and now 50,000 people want to know how I did it. Instead I’m going to share it with you.

Most of us have experienced a time in our lives where we are paralyzed by fear, literally standing in our own way, bounded by fear of the unknown, fear of instability, fear of losing. But for me, many life-changing experiences taught me to focus not on the fear, but on what has to be done in the moment — taking things step by step.

My first experience with change was at the age of 5 when my parents separated and I bounced back and forth between two houses. As a teenager, I watched my father go from a fifth-degree black belt martial arts instructor to a man battling Multiple Sclerosis, a disabling disease of the central nervous system, who needed a cane to walk down the street. In college, my family lost our house, our car and soon my dad passed. Life forced me to embrace change.

Three years out of college, I was working as a media strategist for one of the largest advertising and marketing agencies in the world, OmnicomGroup. I was responsible for developing media campaigns for huge companies like Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. My days consisted of doing tasks such as identifying target audiences, brainstorming media stunts, negotiating with vendors and submitting and revising (and revising again) proposals to WB executives.

Anyone who’s worked in an advertisement agency knows that the fast-paced, high-volume, deadline after deadline driven workload can make two years easily feel like double. Tired, but also in forever search of growth, I began opening myself up for new opportunities. I considered moving over to the studio side or working for an online publisher, pitching proposals to media strategists like myself.

After quite a few interviews in the industry, I somehow found myself sitting inside Green Hasson Janks, a top ranked regional public accounting firm, interviewing for an executive recruiting role. Not what I expected! A sales position in the accounting and finance sector, which included business development, understanding accounting/finance functions, providing hiring and career consultation, negotiating fees, salaries and compensation packages – this position was completely out of my wheelhouse.

There I was, facing another huge change — but this one was voluntary. I weighed the pros and cons and did all that I could to make sure I fully thought it through. As much as I wanted to predict the future, I couldn’t. I had to trust that everything would work out, just like it always had. At worst, if I took the position and completely tanked, I could always go back to media planning. I had excellent references and strong relationships with quite a few people still in the industry, which I thought of as a safety net.

I leapt. With work ethic and drive, I was determined to make change work in my favor. Nevertheless, I couldn’t have imagined that after my first year of working as an executive recruiter that I would be nominated for Rookie of the Year and inducted into the President’s Club. Nor could I have ever imagined that I would be promoted to director in my second year.

How did I do it? Media planning prepared me for executive recruiting in ways I didn’t expect. I was accustomed to working long hours, which came in handy as I tried to play catch up, learning a new job and industry. For a long time, I was the first one in my office and the last one to leave. I was also used to multitasking and working on multiple projects. I was able to keep calm when I had multiple searches running simultaneously, and I didn’t let much slip through the cracks. I was comfortable with learning new technology platforms, and I quickly learned the recruiting database tracking system for all of our client/candidate information and activity. By my third month of recruiting, I became the go-to person for all things database and technology related. Simply put, I realized many of my skills were transferable.

Most importantly, I was a “sponge.” I wasn’t afraid to ask for help from my peers and my managing director. I asked lots of questions and made sure that I understood not only what I was doing but also why. I involved myself on projects that weren’t mine to gain the experience. I volunteered to sit in on meetings, screen resumes, send emails and so many other tasks. Additionally, I found a mentor in my managing director. It started by keeping him clued into everything I worked on and by providing him with frequent updates, sometimes multiples a day. Later, we became partners on many searches and learned to leverage each other’s strong suits, which yielded higher productivity and more business.

Last but not least, I gave my new career a fair chance. Within my first year of recruiting, my friends and family would ask me, “So, how do you like it?” My response was always the same, “I haven’t quite decided.” I was careful not to decide too quickly. I have been working since I was 15 and out of all the jobs I’ve had, recruiting had the largest learning curve. There were days I felt lost, and it was difficult for me to measure if I was succeeding. While I was hitting my goal metrics, there were a lot of ups and downs beyond my control. I later learned to ride the wave and recover quickly from disappointment. Most importantly, in my toughest moments, I didn’t submit to any defeating thoughts.

For anyone who relates to my story, here’s my Top 11 list, with a bonus:

1. Don’t let the unknown scare you. Try your best to be adaptable and have a positive attitude towards change – voluntary or involuntary.

2. Ask yourself, “What can I happily see myself doing?” Sometimes, we can be so unhappy in our current situation that the grass easily looks greener on the other side. Be selective and take into consideration your interests and your strengths.

3. Make an honest list of the pros & cons of your current and your prospective careers. Think about what you’re going into as you move forward, and what will you leave behind. And don’t take for granted the little things that can be important, like the office environment, office location, company/industry perks, etc.

4. Take a look at all your career options inside and outside your industry.

5. Get a second opinion from someone who truly knows you. Talk out your options, your concerns and your game plan with someone you trust (friend, family, colleague, mentor).

6. Network – reach out to someone who is doing the job you want. Find out what their day is like, what they enjoy most about their job and what challenges they face.

7. Make sure your next move will put you closer to your end goal.

8. Look for people not just for jobs. Who you are working with is just as important as what you are doing for work.

9. Make a plan and consider a timeline. Is there a particular time of year that would be best to make the switch? Is there a way you can slowly transition from your current career to your new one? Map out your career change.

10. Understand that when you change careers, sometimes that means you’re starting over. Be prepared to put in the extra work and effort to understand your new job and industry. Focus on your strengths and the transferrable skills you can use to help get ahead while you’re in the process of building new ones.

11. Allow yourself time to adjust. Some transitions take longer than others. Be patient and try to avoid jumping to any defeating conclusions.

Bonus: Finally and perhaps most importantly:


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How will you know when it’s time to change jobs? It is easy to miss the signs that your job no longer suits you.

It’s so easy to fall into a stupor when your job meets your basic needs. A job search seems like such an undertaking that we think “I’m fine. I can hang out in this job for a while yet.”

We say to ourselves “Maybe my job isn’t the greatest job of all time but at least I have a job. I can think about changing jobs in 2018. I don’t have to think about it now.”

It’s true that if you have a decent job that pays a reasonable salary and uses your brain even a little bit, you are doing well relative to lots of people — but is that enough?

All you have to sell to employers throughout your career is your story. Your triumphs, your accomplishments and your “Aha!s” are the only things that will get you a new and better job when you need one or when you want one.

The same stories and triumphs will boost your salary over time, but only if you’re always collecting new stories to tell!

If you aren’t collecting accomplishments, triumphs and Dragon-Slaying Storiesat your current job, then your paycheck is not enough. Your paycheck sustains you for two weeks, if that.

You need a bigger platform, and you’ll build that platform by seeking out new challenges and learning opportunities whenever the previous  source of challenges and learning opportunities gets stale.

If you are not constantly learning and growing your resume, your network and your confidence, then your job is ripping you off. You are putting more into the job than you are getting out of it.

When you do the same things day in and day out for years, you may as well be locked away in a cave or living in a bubble. The real world outside your office walls is constantly changing.

We need to stay in step with those real-world changes!

Here are five unmistakable signs it’s time to change jobs — maybe not today or tomorrow, but before you fall back into slumber and let another year pass you by.

Five Unmistakable Signs It’s Time To Change Jobs

1. You’re working on a big project at work and it’s stressful, but you’ve had the same stress a million times before. You wake up in the middle of the night worried about the work on your desk. When you finish this big, gnarly project another one will be right behind it. These projects stress you out but they don’t grow your flame. Are they really the best use of your time and talents?

2. You see no opportunity for advancement in your company, no matter how you try to stretch your job description and show your managers what you’re capable of.

3. When you walk into your workplace every day, you adopt a persona that you would never take on when you’re with your real friends. You can’t be yourself at work — they wouldn’t like it if you did.

4. You look forward to weekends but on the weekends, you stress about work and even go into the office to get a few things done before Monday.

5. You dread going to work…..


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When Sunday evening rolls around, how are you feeling about work the next day? Are you indifferent, or does the idea of sitting down in that office fill you with feelings of stress or dread? When is the last time you felt valued for what you contribute? Do you find yourself complaining regularly to co-workers or friends about job frustrations?

While you know that some weeks on the job are easier than others, you may find yourself wondering whether what you’re doing is right or if it’s time to find something else to do. Of course, changing jobs carries its own risks and hassles. So how do you distinguish between when you just need a little time to unwind and when it’s time to start seriously looking for other positions?

1. Are You Learning, Adding Value And Having Fun? 

There are three questions I ask clients when they wonder if it is time for change. Are you learning? Are you adding value? Are you having fun? If the answer to just one of these questions is no, your brain and heart are telling you that now is the opportune time to stop and think about why, as well as what actions you need to take get back to “yes” again. Change.  

2. You Don’t Feel Valued

When you don’t feel your input is valued, then your work can become less fulfilling. These two issues are clear signs it’s time to make a change in your present situation. One of the underlying components of healthy relationships is about being appreciated. If you do not feel your contributions at work are important, recognized, and respected, you might want to consider moving on.  

3. Look At Your ROI 

There is a curve we get on when we start a particular job or career: our contribution over time. It should continue to trend up. There is a point in every job and career when that contribution can start to trend downward. It can be a loss of passion, interest or engagement. Whether it occurs at year one or at 20 years, if it continues to trend downward, it is time to transition. – Maureen CunninghamUp Until Now Inc. 

4. Negative Feelings Are Becoming More Common 

If you find yourself complaining, feeling negative or most often focused on what’s not working, then it’s a sure sign it’s time to consider a change. Here’s why: If you stay, feel underappreciated, underpaid and undervalued, those negative feelings will expand and impact your performance, relationships and reputation. Get clear on your next move, take steps towards it and focus on your future. – Gina GomezGina Gomez, Business & Life Coach 

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?

5. You Find You’re Asking ‘Is This All There Is?’ 

At midlife, many ask “Is this all there is?” If you’re always dreaming about that “thing,” it might be time to explore it. There may be negatives that push you out of your career — being undervalued, hating your work — but there is also a pull towards something else. This is the anticipation of regret. If there’s something out there you’ll regret never exploring, it’s time to think about it. – Jessica SweetWishingwell Coaching 

6. Your Health Is Suffering 

If you are dealing with a health issue and it is clearly not because of work stress, I get that. However, I coach executives in career shifts and changes, and it is shocking how often after they transition to a better opportunity that their physical and mental health improve. So watch the signs and try to connect your health to your job. Know when it is time for a change before your health suffers. – John M. O’ConnorCareer Pro Inc. 

7. It Feels Like ‘Work’ 

If it no longer brings you joy, and you often find yourself thinking about making a change, then it may be time to make a transition. Those who enjoy their careers don’t dwell on the fact that it’s “work.” They enjoy the challenge it brings and are satisfied to a point where most days it doesn’t feel like work. – Kimberly BuchananThe Buchanan Group – Professional Coaching and Project Management 

8. Advancement Doesn’t Seem Likely

If you have been in the same position with no sign of advancement for three or more years, it may be time to take a look at available positions elsewhere. First, evaluate your current position accomplishments and any contract obligations that may restrict a transition. Then, check the marketplace for positions. Even if you don’t make a move now, it’s a good thing to know what options are available. – Deborah HightowerDeborah Hightower, Inc. 

9. You Feel Like You’re Wasting Your Time 

It’s time to move on if you find yourself feeling that you are not operating at your fullest potential and that your life is passing you by. Also, if you are indifferent to your job, then it’s time to reinvigorate your passions to find a way to marry what you have to do and what you want to do. It will take time, effort, and execution of a sound strategy to make the transition a reality. – Niya AllenResume Newbie 

10. You’re More Often Unhappy Than Satisfied

It’s tough to find someone who loves their career 100% of the time. Everyone knows there are ups and downs, good days and bad days. When your unhappiness tips the scales, and you find you are dissatisfied more than not — then its time to consider a career pivot. – Virginia FrancoVirginia Franco Resumes 

11. You Have A Toxic Boss Or Environment


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How to Ace Your New Job in the First 90 Days

LearnVestFormer Contributor

Personal Finance

Former Contributor

By Jane Bianchi

This post originally appeared on LearnVest.

As the saying goes, change is the only constant in life—and in your career too. (Well, we added the last part.)

But the truth is that you may experience all sorts of workplace change when you get a promotion, land a new gig at a different company, and even when your own organization downsizes or merges with another one.

“I view all of those as transitions,” says Michael D. Watkins, co-founder of leadership development company Genesis Advisers and author of “The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter.”

And when you’re in transition, your role is likely to shift too—whether it means tackling new job responsibilities, working in a different environment or reporting to a new boss. Sometimes it can even be all of the above!

Regardless of your particular situation, it’s a crucial time. In fact, Watkins argues that impressing your manager and colleagues within the first 90 days is not only essential to your success in your current role but also for your overall career.

No pressure, right?

Fortunately, it’s not as difficult as it sounds—if you know how to make the right impression by following these tips from Watkins.

LearnVest: Why are the first 90 days on the job so important?

Michael D. Watkins: Lots of my research shows that what you do early on during a job transition is what matters most. Your colleagues and your boss form opinions about you based on limited information, and those opinions are sticky—it’s hard to change their minds. So shape their impressions of you to the best of your ability.

Why 90 days, specifically? It’s a quarter, which is a recognized time frame in the business world. Companies often track how they’re doing based on how much progress they make each quarter—and you should too.

RELATED: 8 Ultimate Opening Lines for Fearless Networking

What’s a key way to make a good impression from the get-go?

I see people focus too much on the technical job skills and not enough on the company’s politics. Build key relationships early. Ask your boss, “Who is it critical that I get to know?” And then invite those people to coffee or lunch and pick their brains. Don’t just focus “vertically” on managers above you—also create “horizontal” alliances with colleagues. You want to have support at all levels.

You’ve mentioned that people can quickly fall into vicious cycles if they’re not careful. What does that mean—and how does it happen?

Once the die is cast in one direction or the other, it tends to be self-perpetuating—and it can turn into a negative feedback loop if you’re not careful. For example, if you make early mistakes, people will look at you as ineffective going forward because they’ll be looking at you through a darkened lens. If you’re late your first week, you may be seen as lazy or irresponsible—and that reputation can be tough to shake. And if you make a bad call and the company loses money, your judgment may be called into question when it comes to future decisions.

RELATED: 5 Career Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

Given that there’s usually a learning curve during a transition, how can you be extra careful to prevent mistakes?

Take time to observe the office culture, and try your best to blend in. And always listen before you speak. Sometimes people feel a need to prove themselves early on, so they form an opinion before they really know what they’re talking about.

Also, don’t talk about the last company you were at or put awards that you won at your previous employer on your office wall. Nobody wants to hear or see that, especially if your old company is considered a competitor.

Lastly, follow up. If you promise someone something, make sure you deliver what you said you would on time. That builds trust.

Is there a way to speed up the learning process?

Throw work-life balance out the window for a little while. There’s no substitute for logging the time and digging in. This can be especially challenging if you have a family, so see if your spouse or a grandparent can help out more during this time. Or perhaps you can hire someone to help temporarily with child care.

Also seek a mentor. Is there someone at the company who has done what you’re doing before? Enlist that person’s help and offer help in return. For instance, maybe a colleague can show you how to master the internal computer system and, in return, you can teach that person how to craft an effective tweet. Every networking relationship is an exchange.

You’ve talked about assessing your vulnerabilities within the first 90 days. Why is this important?

There’s always a risk you’ll gravitate toward the parts of the job that you enjoy and feel you’re good at—and ignore the parts of the job that you dislike or aren’t as good at. It’s like a right-handed person who favors her right arm—the muscles in her right arm will grow, but the muscles in her left arm won’t. Try to become more ambidextrous, so to speak, so you’re well-rounded.

The first step is to identify your strengths and weaknesses, so make a list. The second step is to force yourself to prioritize job responsibilities in terms of importance, rather than preference. For example, maybe you love giving presentations, but you hate building spreadsheet models. Yet building spreadsheet models is what’s likely to get you a promotion. The concern is that you’ll schedule too many presentations and either put off or outsource building spreadsheet models.

This strategy won’t help you become more well-rounded or get ahead, so create a rule that you can’t schedule a presentation until you’ve spent a certain number of hours building spreadsheet models. By forcing yourself to do this, you might become faster at it and perhaps even learn to enjoy it.

What can you do to make your boss like, respect and trust you from the start?

Be proactive because it’s your responsibility to make the relationship work. If your boss doesn’t reach out much, you make it a point to check in regularly. Ask how your boss prefers to be contacted—in person, via phone, by email—and how often.

And manage expectations—bosses don’t like surprises. If something is taking a turn for the worse, let your boss know there’s a problem and have a plan for how to solve it. These strategies will help your boss get up to speed and realize you’re reliable.

What are some common pitfalls when dealing with a new boss?


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