When I was applying for my last job, which was outside of my field of study or any previous experience, a colleague gave me a great piece of advice that I’ll never forget. She said, “Never accept a job you know you can do.” Where’s the fun in that, anyway?
She was right, so I took the plunge and have learned more about a new field and myself than I ever anticipated. It’s tough at times, but with a supportive team and a willingness to learn, you can go a long way. Sometimes a little fear and uncertainty is good; it lets us know what we’re comfortable with and what we may need to push ourselves on.
To help job applicants with the process, here are 5 reasons to accept a job:
1) You don’t think you’re qualified enough. To be honest, you may not be. You might have just one year of work experience, when a company is looking for 5. But if you have a job offer, someone else thinks you’re qualified or at least a good fit with the company, and that counts for something.
Whether you’re transitioning careers or getting a promotion or new responsibility, you have been recognized as someone who can handle change, and are trusted to step up to the plate. Whoever is offering you the position may be just as uncertain as you are, but, if you want the opportunity, it’s up to you to prove to them and yourself that you can do it.
2) You think the people around you are smarter than you. Whether you went to an Ivy League school or not, or haven’t worked in your new field very long, there’s always going to be someone who knows more than you. But this is an opportunity; if you’re new to the space, you have so much to learn. Surrounding yourself with smarter people is the fastest way to grow as an individual and to discover new ideas and passions you may have never knew existed before.
Don’t be intimidated by those who are smarter or more experienced; they can act as a mentor or teach you to think in new ways.
3) You’re going to be proud of yourself. Diving into a new opportunity, even if you’re pretty terrified of failing, takes a lot of courage. If you’re able to make it work, and excel at what you’re doing, you’ll feel a personal sense of accomplishment that you were able to overcome your fears and meet a new challenge. I’m not saying you will surely succeed, but you should be proud that you were willing to try. If you do end up loving the position, you’ll have that much more courage to move on to the next opportunity, which may be equally or even more daunting.
4) What you already know how to do is boring. As someone who gets bored pretty quickly, I tire of doing the same thing over and over again. One way to spice things up is to jump at a new opportunity even if you have no idea how you’ll pull it off. What you’re good at already can get boring, and being siloed in one field could really limit your ability to come up with new ideas, innovations, and partnerships.
Step out and attempt something new, you can always come back to your old field if you realize you actually miss it, and you’ll be more capable and diversified when you return.
5) You can always go back, or try something else. While it’s great to challenge your fears and try a new opportunity, you could very well find that it’s not for you. If that’s the case, you may have a contract to fulfill or a project to finish before you can find another position, but in the long run you’re never obligated to stay if you can’t hack it.
If you do leave, don’t feel like you failed; rather realize that you can check one experience off your list and move forward to find the next one. You may even realize that your previous job was actually pretty awesome, or that you want to start your own project.