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What Are Your Career "Deal Breakers"?

When it comes to our careers, most of us know what are capable of doing to ensure our success. But have you considered what you won’t do? It’s important to identify what your deal breakers are.

Years ago, I interviewed a video editor. I asked her what kind of videos she liked to work on. Her response: “Anything but porn.”

I’m not usually speechless but I was at that moment. Editing porn had never crossed my mind. But at that moment I realized someone had to do it. It just wasn’t going to be my editor . . .or me!

I do a lot of interview coaching. In addition to asking “what do you want” in a job/career, I ask “what won’t you do?” (which often results in a blank stare).

When you’re looking for a new job or career, you have to ask yourself: what are my deal breakers? What do I absolutely needand what am I totally unwilling to do? Work-life balance begins with identifying your personal deal breakers.

Do you have transportation? Can you build the required wardrobe? Will you wear heels? (I sure won’t) Are you able to work with people in different time zones? Are you willing to commute two hours each way? How much international travel are you willing to do? Can you work from home and still be productive? Do you need childcare? Will you sell a product you don’t believe in? Can you lie if necessary?

A colleague of mine put it this way: “You have 168 hours in a week. If you’re lucky, you may be able to sleep about 49 of them. That leaves 118 hours for everything else: family, job, friends, working out, and me time.”

Deal Breakers help you prioritize your time and energy. Here are a few to consider:

  1. What do I have now that I am unwilling to lose?

  2. What am I willing to change for the career I want?

  3. What do I want my 168 hours each week to look like?

  4. Who do I need in my life on a daily basis?

As for hours in a week, there will never be enough. Just don’t waste the ones you have. Identify your deal breakers today and achieve the life balance you’re looking for.

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