How to Shop for the Perfect Job

You go into a shoe store hoping for a perfect fit – a shoe that won’t blister your heels, won’t pinch your toes and somehow supports your arches. But imagine you’ve never tried on a shoe in your entire life. (Say you grew up on a beach and never needed footwear.) Where do you start? Strappy sandals, stilettos, sneakers, loafers, pumps? Soon enough, you’ll have tried on the entire store.


But you’ll also have a far better idea of what suits your taste and exact needs. Forget six inch heels, you want one inch pumps. Forget matt leather, you want a glossy finish. Forget yellow or red, you are looking for a midnight blue.

Goodness knows Lisa Millar, our recent Woman in Business feature, has had her fair share of workplace changes, but all the while she’s been building toward that perfect shoe. Or more literally, a job that fits her strengths and taste.

“It was a progression. When an office job came available through a connection of my mother’s, I leapt at it. I was working as a receptionist when I first got there, and I shortly moved over into accounting, and it was really good, I liked it.”

From there she began to grow within her career, all the while changing workplaces. “I was in high tech for so long […] companies either go out of business or they get sold, so I’ve had many jobs, like fourteen jobs.”

But while some would view all those changes as a drain – Lisa was experimenting with every new position. “Change is pretty simple for me. As a result, I ended up in some interesting positions with a lot of variety.”  Essentially she “got to really get a taste of different sides of companies.”

Here’s a few ideas on how you can navigate the process of change and benefit rather than deflate.

  • Get yourself a career coach: You are not flipping a house. You’ve got to stick with your life for the long-term, and that can mean investing in a personal coach. Lisa landed a perfect-fit job not long after engaging in her coaching. Together with her coach, they “zeroed in on the things that bring more juice into life.” And ta-da! She loves her current job.
  • Look for signs of déjà vu: If your new situation feels very much like the previous, reflect upon how you felt at that previous location, what you learned, and how you could apply that knowledge to move ahead in this next role.
  • Don’t stay knocked down: being laid off can feel like a physical assault. It’s okay to feel the blow, but you need to realize that once you get back on your feet, anything becomes possible. And chances are, the more you love your job, the more you’ll contribute to the team, the more successful the company. Why not get involved in a healthy cycle as opposed to a vicious one?

Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, bringing herknowledge of resilience, perseverance, and changing perception to others. She aspires to  help women explode their success. For more posts and experiences, join Camille at her Sister Leadership page, connect on Twitter, and follow on Facebook. Welcome to the Sister Leadership community!


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