The Career Counter
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Career reinvention for moms

I had an anxiety attack on the first day on the job. My pulse was racing and I had heart palpitations. At the time, I thought it was because it was a brand-new job, and it was just a case of the “new job jitters.” Looking back now, I realize my anxiety was probably due to the fact that I just accepted a job I hated.

Here are four things I wish I did before accepting a job I hated.

1. I wish I had been honest with myself.

One reason I knew I would likely hate the job so early on was because 80% of what I was hired to do involved using skills I am good at: organization and scheduling. Unfortunately, I know from prior work experience that I do not enjoy using these skills in a work setting.

It just so happened that the pandemic hit the US four days after I started this position, and long story, I wound up quitting due to homeschooling my two children.

But had the pandemic not occurred, I’d likely have stayed for a while in the position. And my health probably would have suffered.

2. I wish I had paid more attention to red flags.

During the interview, one of the hiring managers asked me in a roundabout way if I was planning to have more kids. They also seemed very oddly disturbed by the fact that I applied for a part-time position. This was confusing to me because the job was listed as part-time.

The questions around my part-time availability and the family stuff really didn’t sit well with me. But I ignored my gut feeling and my hesitations and accepted the job anyway.

3. I wish I hadn’t been a martyr.

Nobody forced me to take this job. I accepted of my own free will. But at the time I felt like this job was my only option. I was being strong for my family.

I took the job because I felt desperate. It was the only job that appeared to have the flexibility I needed to allow me to pick up my kids from school. So, I told myself I could just grin and bear it and take one for the team, so to speak.

Sometimes there are circumstances when you do need to take a job because you have to put food on the table. It might be less than ideal. You might have to make some sacrifices. 

But before I accept the next job, I will take pause and ask myself the following questions: How much am I willing to sacrifice? Can I wait another month or two to hold out for a job that will make me happier and healthier in the long run?

4. I wish I had thought more about the long term for my career.

I was thinking short-term about my career when I accepted the position. I ignored the fact that it was not really related to my industry of career coaching. I figured that eventually, I could make my way back to my field.

Hindsight is 20/20. I now realize staying in this position longer-term could have really derailed the career I have worked for nearly 20 years to build.

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Lee Cristina Beaser is a career coach and certified professional resume writer (CPRW). She is the founder of The Career Counter, where she empowers women to find happiness and fulfillment in their careers. For tips and tools to help you change careers or jobs or return to work after a career pause, click here

Have you ever accepted a job you hated? What did you do? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!