This week, My Perfect Resume provides a little career support Q and A for a very common topic in the working world: Mistakes. Specifically, how to accept them, process them, deal with them, and move on.
“I just spent two years and 11,000 dollars working toward my master’s degree in a field I thought I loved. But I have a problem: The thought of stepping into a full-time job in this field and showing up every day until I retire is NOT appealing to me anymore. What now?”
First, you’re not alone. Every year, countless people complete their degrees and then realize they don’t want to spend their lives in their field of study. Don’t fight this. The sooner you realize you’d rather do something else and start searching for a position in that “something else,” the better. If you decide to slog though three, five, eight, or twenty years in a field you don’t like, then when you finally step out, you’ll only wonder why you waited so long. And you’ll wonder who you thought you were impressing by doing this.
“I said something stupid in a meeting. I mean really, really stupid. I opened my mouth and it just came out. A week later, I was “laid off.” I feel like crawling into bed and never coming out. How can I undo the past and put myself back where I was a week ago?”
You can’t. “At-will” working arrangements mean your employers can let you go at any time, for any reason (as long as the decision wasn’t based on illegal discrimination). So when it comes to finding a new job and moving on, whether you were actually “laid off” or “fired” is a matter of perception, framing, and attitude. When you’re ready to start looking for a position elsewhere, you’ll have to find a way to discuss this incident with both confidence and humility, accepting your mistake but also focusing your conversation on the positives, like the important lessons you learned from this experience.
I just submitted a resume, completed several rounds of interviews, and received an offer for a position I thought I wanted. But my very first day on the job, things started to fall apart. My supervisor wasn’t expecting me and had no workstation prepared, HR was completely disorganized with my papers, my coworkers seem incompetent, and even the smell of the office bugs me. I have officially changed my mind. What now?”
Resume your job search. Reopen your resume file, get back to work, and restart your search for open positions. Don’t tell your current employers that you’re doing this. When you receive a better offer, provide your current employers with two week’s notice. Then move on. If you’re asked to provide a reason for leaving, or an exit interview, be as honest as you can without sacrificing diplomacy.
Always Keep your Resume Close & Up to Date
Any long career path will be marked by surprises, victories, defeats, sudden changes of fortune, and of course, occasional mistakes. But a twist in the road doesn’t mean the end of the road, and a streamlined, updated resume and template cover letter can help you stay on your feet as you make your way through the professional world. Even if you’re currently employed, it doesn’t hurt to have a strong resume on file. Visit My Perfect Resume for templates and formatting tools that can keep your career on track, no matter what.