Wisdom//

The Career Advice That Changed My Life

It's all about taking things in small steps.

SchulteProductions/Getty Images
SchulteProductions/Getty Images

By Natasha Terensky

I lost my first full-time job when I was 23. Despite experiencing a triple-combo of anxiety, insomnia, and an existential crisis, I somehow managed to get an offer for another job two months later. Despite the relief I felt, I didn’t know if I should accept the offer. Keep in mind that my self-esteem was way down and I was also struggling to do everyday things at this point (e.g. having a panic attack in the movie theater while watching a Tom Hanks movie with my mom.) I was in a rough spot mentally, and I wasn’t sure if I could handle the new responsibilities of the job in my current state.

While contemplating my next step, my dad sat me down to share his thoughts. He is not one to get emotional or discuss feelings, so I was expecting more of a lecture about how I should ‘buck up’ and just do it. Instead, he gave me advice that I ended up applying to several other aspects of my life.

The Career Advice That Changed My Life

He said something like, “You’re clearly upset. But you can’t let nerves get in the way of making big decisions. This job scares you, but that’s a good thing. Give it one year with everything you have and see where you end up. Just take it day by day for one year and see if you don’t surprise yourself.”

Whoa.

When I was psyching myself up about this job, my mind was framing the question as, “Do I want to do this for the rest of my life?” But if you frame most things that way, it always sounds scary and terrible. With my dad’s advice, I changed the question to “Can I do this job for the next year or two and learn something from it?” That’s definitely a smaller bite to chew on, turning the job into a trial period instead of a life-sentence.

Fast-forward to the present. I accepted the offer and have been working there for over two years. It’s definitely a challenging job, but I can honestly say I’m so glad I took it. I learned more about myself and about the industry I’m in than I could have ever imagined.

I’ve also applied this to other chances I wanted to take.

I had been wanting to start a YouTube channel for a couple years. I decided to start it, despite any filming or editing knowledge. The reason I finally got myself to start was because I remembered my dad’s advice. Instead of a year, I decided to give it 6 months. I would give everything I could to the channel and see if I don’t surprise myself. I’ve been running the channel for a year and a half and I have learned so much and still enjoy everything about it.

Now, with every daunting change I want to make in my life or challenge I want to try, I remember to keep the timeline bit-sized. No more ‘rest of my life’ thoughts. Such a small adjustment in mindset has changed everything for me.

Disclaimer: This advice shouldn’t be applied to decisions like having children or something that is very long-term. Life-long decisions are different, but I find that I psych myself up for every decision as if it’s long-term. The advice has helped me understand that not every single decision I make is permanent.

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Originally published on GenTwenty.

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