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In your career, was there any obstacles that almost drove you away?

There are always cons to a job, but was there anything bad enough that almost made you stop what you love to do?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Joe’s Answer

One of the biggest factors of a happy work life is "people and culture" you can love your job, but if the person sitting next to you rubs you the wrong way or tries to undermine you, it can make your experience just awful. Culture fit and expressed company values (as opposed to stated company values) are a huge contributor to happiness in a role. It is entirely plausible to go through an interview process and like what you see and love what the company and recruiters outwardly express and then find that the experience is far off the mark.

Keep in mind that you can change jobs without changing careers!
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Paul’s Answer

I think it was the environment of the workplace.

I have had positions where I had been progressing really well. I was taking courses to improve my job related skills and receiving training to help me to transfer into another job. I got along well with my fellow employees, and we had established and common goals we were attempting to achieve.

Then a new administration took over. Training and professional development vanished. I had to pay for my own education.and training. Goals and objectives became about who got the credit for successes. The uniformity within the organization disappeared and people started to leave.

So, for me it was the work environment that caused me to leave.
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Donna’s Answer

Being happy/satisfied with your job is decided by you. If your happiness is defined by your great coworkers, then you might not truly be happy in that role. What happens when those coworkers move on? Make sure you're happy with the work that you're doing and not just the people you're working with. They come and go.
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Shiri’s Answer

Hi Alyssa,

There are a few things that can be deterrants in people sticking with jobs that they enjoy. A bad manager, for instance, can temporarily ruin your experience until you change teams/companies. But if you learn to be adaptable and flexible, you can persevere through these temporary challenges.

Another obstacle is lack of noticable achievement. I have had a role where doing my job means nothing went wrong. This means that it is not often that I was able to feel like I accomplished something. This issue is a mental one though, because a lot of really important things can cause subtle changes short-term, but can be extremely helpful long-term.
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Martina’s Answer

Yes. I was working in a smaller company dominated by older men. And didn't always get to be heard in meetings, would often be interrupted and so would other women in the company. And on top of it, the company did nothing about it when behavior that was bordering on bullying was reported. Whilst many people will put this down to culture, this can greatly affect career and behavior. I left even though the job itself was challenging and I was working with some great people. But I realized that to fight that behavior, I was picking up bad habits too and this would negatively impact my career in more modern, diverse and inclusive companies.
To some degree, people become their environment, because to succeed in any environment, you need to adapt. I figured it would be better to adapt to something inspiring instead.
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Jayda’s Answer

What a great question! Some considerations to think through when deciding if you should change career paths, would be:

- There are no other skills in the field that you can, or want, to learn (most disciplines have a variety of different types of positions available, so you may not have to change careers, but rather explore the pathway to a different role/position within that same field)
- The career field is no longer something you are interested in or you desire to jump into a new field

I'm sure there are others, but this is what comes to mind.

As it relates to leaving jobs though:
I would say that the leadership of a company can set the tone and direction for what others in a company do, so the modeling of the right behaviors is important to someone's experience at work. This contributes to the formation of a healthy or toxic company culture. Like other responses, understanding how company values are lived out, and the behaviors people are exhibiting are quite important. I'd also emphasize that a feeling of mutual trust and respect amongst you, your peers, and leaders is important to how you view your job as well. If the trust and respect is lacking, you may feel some unhealthy anxiety and pressure that hinders you from giving your best in your job each day.
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Tracie’s Answer

I like both of these answers above, additionally, I want to be challenged, I find that if I am not challenged, things become stale and I do not do my best work. Having a manager that allows me to stretch, grow and learn new things has been helpful.
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Teresa’s Answer

Hi Alyssa,

I would say that the obstacles come from the type of company you are in (culture and leadership, as noted above) rather than an obstacle for my career. You can do the same career/job in a variety of different companies, so it's important that you are aligned with the company's purpose, mission and values. Every job has things that we don't like to do, but that's just life. These are generally the same in every company and not a reason to make a switch usually. An obstacle that I couldn't overcome at points in my career were times when I didn't believe in the value the company was offering. This is especially true in sales roles - at times I was asked to sell products/services that didn't deliver value to customers, and that was an obstacle I couldn't overcome. If I didn't believe in the product, I couldn't explain the value to someone else in good faith. That's when I started to look for another company, where I could be passionate about their vision and products/services. Good luck in your journey!
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Viswadhara’s Answer

The biggest con to any career is "Value Mismatch". You need to define and understand what your values are and what you are willing to bend. Sacrificing personal time to put in more time at work? After hours networking? Not taking stretch assignments? Taking it easy with the work load?
You set the boundaries. To do that you need to know the boundaries. If your values and the values of people being promoted mismatch, then you are going to get to where you think you would do. This is from my experience.
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Steph’s Answer

If I don't feel excited for my role every day, I know that my passion for the role is missing. When you feel passionate for the role, you will go above and beyond in your contributions, and you'll be noticed more. The passion for the role can come from a variety of sources, including the people you work with, the deliverables of the role, and the organization as a whole.

Apply for roles that you feel drawn to - it will make a huge difference. I love my current role as a solutions architect, and I rarely feel like I HAVE to work. Every day, I GET to work in an awesome role that makes a difference.
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Allana’s Answer

Hey Alyssa, I would say that getting thru engineering in college was a huge struggle and that almost drove me away from the industry. I struggled a lot in my classes and countless times questioned if this is what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. I made it thru the tough classes and passed everything and was able to get a great job. I would say after going thru college and being in the work force, it is much easier to be working then in college. After gaining my engineering degree it is much easier to find the type of engineering that I find fun and enjoyable and not as stressful.
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Brandy’s Answer

Yes, I relocated 2000 miles away from my family to attempt to progress my career. When I took the position, I noticed it was a very close knit group and the location was rather isolated. I found myself repeatedly applying for positions and being looked over for someone who had less experience but had been at the location for longer. After a few years, there was a main leadership change and that shift in staff allowed me to progress. The new management saw my talent and not just a name and tenure at the location. It was a frustrating situation and I almost gave up but Im glad I didnt and it helped me move up in the long run.
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Tobias’s Answer

Your career is like an evolving story, and each job is like a chapter in that story.

Things such as stressors (both internal and external) can push you away from your career. Certain people can also add to those stressors and potentially push you away from your career. People can be some of the most challenging parts of a career.

Sudden change in passions can also drive you away from what you thought was a desired career. Can you align your passions to your career?

Also life events can also change how you can approach or feel about a job/career.
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Jason’s Answer

I think some of the biggest challenges for me were the work hours and then being able to see a clear career path. Balancing work with personal life was a challenge when working nights, long hours and weekends early on. Some jobs had physical requirements like lifting or standing for hours, which made it tough some days. Also, when you're not in a job that has a clear path to the next role, it makes it harder to decide what to do next.
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Victoria’s Answer

Hi Alyssa!

When I was in college, I could not be more excited to start my career and finally get the opportunity to use my skills and knowledge I gained to make an impact in the real world. I started my career at a large accounting firm in fall 2018 and at first I was so excited and willing to work as much as I could in order to please my superiors and make a great impression. I graduated in the top of my class, passed the CPA exam with flying colors, successfully completed prestigious internships during college, and earned both my bachelors and masters degree in four years. I was so eager and excited to finally begin my career. After being with this team for just a few months, I started to experience some things that deep down did not sit well with me. For example, I often overheard team members saying poor things about each other behind each others backs, our team was pressured to work from 9am to past 1am each night for four months straight (plus Saturdays), and there was a culture of excessive micromanaging, lack of care for the well-being of team members, and unreasonable expectations for performance. One night at work, one team member at my same level asked to leave the office at 12am and the senior employee reluctantly told him he was free to leave. Upon him exiting, I overheard the senior employee say things like, "I can't believe he left...that is not a good look". This made me feel like I needed to work 16 hour days or else I would not be successful in my position. Team members eventually started to look at opportunities outside of the firm, flee the team, and I was one of the last team members standing by the time I had been with this team for a little over a year. I had gained about 20 pounds by this point, my relationships with friends and family were suffering, and I felt like each day was such a struggle to get through. After performance reviews came along, I found out that my immense amount of hard work was not taken into account when it came time for salary increases, and this was a huge wake up call for me. I finally realized that I needed to make a career change and I felt like a quitter. However, I looked for new opportunities and eventually accepted a position with my current employer during winter 2019. At this new company, I was treated with care, was staffed on a team that cared about well-being, and experienced a promotion/performance review system that rewarded employees based on their hard work and compensated employees reasonably.

I now think that it was a blessing in disguise that I was able to experience this toxic work culture during my first job out of college. I quickly learned the importance of knowing your worth, making sure your well-being is never compromised, and fostering a team culture that is merit-focused and sustainable.

To answer your question, the experience I had during my first job out of college stripped the passion I always had for the business world, working with a team to achieve a greater good, success, and career progression away from me. However, I had to take matters in my own hands to change companies in order to gain that passion back. I think as long as you go into your career knowing your worth and committed to your values, you will be able to stay loving what you do. But always remember that you are the owner of your own career, that you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness, and that it's okay to say no when your well-being is at risk. If you find yourself in a team that is not willing to allow you to have these things, please never let this destroy your self-esteem and instead go seek out a new opportunity that allows you to maintain the passion and drive that you deserve!

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Michael’s Answer

Your peers/colleagues - Sometimes you may be a good fit for a job, but not necessarily a good fit within a team. Everyone has different personalities and the ways they approach work, sometimes certain personalities don't mix well in the workplace.

Confidence level - If you don't have a high confidence level, this could drive you to move on before you really settle in

Career path/growth - Without growth and challenge, your job could become static and cause you to look elsewhere.

Manager support - If a manager doesn't support you or your growth, or if you don't have a positive relationship with a manager, this could cause tension and unwanted stress about your role
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Daniel’s Answer

Moral. Find a place that you like, and likes you. Both as a company and as individuals. When people do not get along, and do not want to work, it makes work life difficult and bleed into your personal life. When you find the right atmosphere, you will see growth in and out of work.
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