TIME Business

Should You Choose Your Passion as a Career?

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Answer "what do I want to do?" in terms of career

Answer by Charles Tips on Quora.

“What do I want to be?” is a different question from “What do I want to do?”

According to Carol Dweck and some other psychologists, there are two kinds of people in this world–the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. For Virginia Postrel this was the stasists and the dynamists. The first mindset represents the be-ers. They say things like, “I’ve got to be true to myself,” “I’ve got to be me.” Naturally, these are the people who know and follow the passion that is their true calling, right? Wrong. Well, they may follow their inclinations but seldom to a higher level.

It is the growth/dynamist mindset who are the becomers. “I’ve got to be all I can be” or “the best I can be,” is their mode in life. You’ve got to follow your inclinations to higher and higher and higher levels to turn them into your passion. You’ve got to imbue your passion with a spirit and mastery easily recognized by others in order to turn it into a career. And then you can enjoy a quite lovely career. It is about self-actualization (The Five Levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs).

Recognize that “what do I want to do?” poses a less threatening question than “what do I want to be?” Answer it first and let things fall into place. Answer “what do I want to do?” in terms of career, and then you are free to turn “what do I want to be?” into a more meaningful question… what do I want to be in terms of know-how, skills, morals, relationships with others and so on.

I hope my youngest son Keaton Tips will not mind me using him as an example. What did he want to do as a child? Watch TV. This actually caused me a good deal of anguish as I’d had a younger brother who escaped into a TV set every day after school. I barely got to know him. I personally don’t much care for TV. But Keaton watched it with a difference. The second time he’d watch a show, he’d recite the dialog ahead of the actors. Pretty soon his knowledge of children’s cartoons was encyclopedic. At 10 and 11 he’d say things like, “Oh, that’s the music playing in the background in that scene of Brave Little Toasterwhere…” or “Hey, they stole that line from The Simpsons in the episode where…”

As a kid, Keaton would try to tell us stories. But he was legendarily bad, the butt of many family jokes. Then, in his teens he learned to animate, and what a storyteller he was! It turned out his mind was so choked with details that he could not simply tell a story; he needed to lay out the whole sound and imagery for you.

And so now, just turned 26, he’s been a partner and creative director for three years in a San Francisco animation and motion graphics studio. He graduated college with six credits as special effects supervisor on feature films, including the Oscar-nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012). He has met many of the most famous animators and graphic artists around, who are flattered at his thorough familiarity with their work and who recognize him as a peer.

All this because he watched TV like a sponge. Figure out what you love to do, and then do it with passion. You’ll be better for it.

This question originally appeared on Quora: Should someone choose their passion as a career?

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

5 Ways Your Thank You Note Could Lose You the Job

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You might think that going through the motions and sending a generic thank you note is better than sending nothing, but you’d be wrong

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

Let’s be honest: When it comes to applying for jobs, the “it can’t hurt” benchmark is often the deciding factor over whether or not to do something. Sending a cover letter? It can’t hurt. Finding your interviewer on LinkedIn? It can’t hurt. Sending a thank you note? It can’t hurt.

Or can it?

Actually, yes, it absolutely can. Here are just a few scenarios in which sending a thank you note might hurt your chances of landing the job.

1. It’s Full of Typos

If you’re really serious about a job, you probably had your resume and cover letter reviewed by a couple other people before you hit submit. But, even the most careful job seeker can make mistakes during the high that comes after a successful interview. Don’t blow your carefully crafted image, and double check to make sure that your thank you note is typo-free. (Here are a few tips for editing your own work.)

2. It’s a Week Late

Another good impression killer is sending your note in late. Thank you notes are the most effective when you send them ASAP or at least within 48 hours of your interview. If you want to leave the impression that you’re only mildly interested in the position, then go ahead and take your time. If not, then send it immediately. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

3. It’s Generic

You might think that going through the motions and sending a generic thank you note is better than sending nothing, but you’d be wrong. Hiring managers get excited when they find exceptional candidates who are really excited about the job. And sending a boring thank you note that could have been addressed to anyone? That’s an easy way to shatter your image.

Oh, and don’t think you can just write one spectacular thank you note and send it to all the different people you interacted with during the interview. Many companies request that thank you notes get forwarded to HR so they can be attached to a candidate’s file. Having the same five notes on file probably won’t help you land the job, so take the time to actually personalize some aspects of your message. It’s worth it.

(For a truly exceptional thank you note, check out communication expert Alexandra Franzen’s method.)

4. It’s Just a Way to Talk About Yourself More

Did you forget to mention that one time you did something that was extremely relevant to the job you’re interviewing for now? Think the thank you note is the right place to share this relevant experience? It might be okay to mention it briefly, but it’s definitely a mistake for you to transform your thank you note into a take two of your interview. Thank you notes shouldn’t be long, so you don’t really have a lot of space to, you know, thank your interviewer—let alone share another story. If you must do it, make it brief.

5. It’s Inappropriate

You don’t have the job yet, so don’t get too chummy in your note. No matter how sure you are that you nailed the interview, your best bet is to remain professional throughout the process. (That means no nicknames, no sarcasm, and definitely no cursing.)

I’ve gone on and on about the various ways sending a thank you note can hurt your chances of getting the job offer, but naturally the biggest thank you note blunder would be to not send one. So, please send a thank you note after your interview—just make it great.

TIME Careers & Workplace

How a Little Gratitude Can Help You Get Ahead at Work

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I don’t know anyone who doesn’t appreciate a donut or a cup of coffee

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

Thanksgiving is just days away—and in between thoughts of casserole recipes and how to navigate your annual family dinner, you’re probably also thinking about all you have to be grateful for.

According to Alison Green from Ask a Manager, this is the perfect time to let your co-workers know how much you appreciate them—and why. “Showing gratitude to colleagues can build stronger relationships and help you get better results in your work,” Green writes.

Just think: When a co-worker has shown appreciation for something you’ve done to help him or her, you’ve probably been more likely to help that person again in the future. And when he or she hasn’t shown that gratitude, you probably haven’t gone out of your way to lend a hand again.

Plus, showing thankfulness helps improve the quality of the relationship as a whole. “People tend to feel warmly and positively toward people who appreciate them,” Green says, which can have a positive effect on future networking, references, and your interactions at work in general.

Feeling thankful for your cube mate or project partner? Try these four ideas to show your appreciation.

1. Give a Straightforward (and Specific) Compliment

A standard thank you may not be extraordinarily creative, but it works—and that’s the important thing.

You want to make sure your co-worker knows you appreciate her? Walk up to her desk or office and give her a genuine, straightforward thank you. To make the most impact, mention what you’re specifically grateful for (“Christine, thank you so much for jumping in and helping me with my presentation yesterday. I know it was a late night; I really appreciate you taking the extra time to make sure it was perfect. I couldn’t have done it without you!”).

Face-to-face, specific, and full of appreciation—it’s a thank you that anyone would want to hear.

2. Speak Up in a Team Meeting

An individual, face-to-face thank you is personal and effective, but there’s also room for more public appreciation—and a team meeting is the perfect place to recognize someone who’s helped you out recently.

It doesn’t have to be big and flashy. Try working it in naturally, like as part of a project update that you were going to give anyway: “The project is right on track, thanks to Joe, who reviewed it and helped me adjust the intro and conclusion—and I think it really hits the nail on the head now.”

The public (but not over-the-top) recognition will make your colleague feel extra special—and it’ll help boost his or her value within the team.

3. Bring in a Treat

I know. It seems a little silly—and perhaps a tad reminiscent of your elementary school birthdays when you brought in cupcakes for the class.

But then again, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t appreciate a donut or a cup of coffee that’s not from the lukewarm pot that’s been sitting idly on the break room counter for the past two hours. Simple as it may seem, a treat with a quick “Just wanted to say thanks for your help with the Smith account. I couldn’t have done it without you!” goes a long way to make a co-worker feel appreciated.

If that still seems a little awkward, swing for enough for the entire team, then throw in a personal note: “Hey everyone, I brought in some doughnuts to say thanks for your hard work this past week—especially Sarah, who really came through in the 11th hour for me on a big client account.”

4. Email the Boss

Part of your job as an employee is to make sure your boss knows how awesome you are—but it’s even better if your co-workers do that for you.

One of the most meaningful thank yous I’ve ever received came when a co-worker emailed my boss (and copied me), explaining how I’d been a huge help to him with a client situation over the past couple days and that he wanted to extend his gratitude. He forwarded it to his supervisor, and all of a sudden, my good dead was known throughout the department without me having to say a word.

So if you want to thank a co-worker, consider sending an email to his or her boss. The compliment on its own will make your colleague feel appreciated—but knowing that the boss also knows what he or she has done makes the gratitude even more meaningful.

A thank you to your colleagues doesn’t have to be a big show—but displaying your appreciation will help your relationships, your quality of life at the office, and your ability to continue receiving your co-workers’ help in the future.

TIME Careers & Workplace

4 Ways to Rock the Intro Call With a Recruiter

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You absolutely must show—early on—that you’re a strong cultural fit

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

Congratulations. Your resume (or LinkedIn profile) just captured the attention of a recruiter. Take a moment to high-five yourself, for real. You done good.

Now what?

Now, you will likely be invited to participate in a screening interview—via phone, Skype, or Google Hangout or in-person—with the HR person or recruiter who just found you. Wowing this person is very important, because if you fail to, you’re not going to have the chance to dazzle the hiring manager with your mad skills at all. Your goose, as they say, will be cooked.

So, how do you stack the odds in your favor and ensure that you sail through this critical stage in the hiring process? By understanding what the recruiter’s role is, what he’s looking for, and what he stands to gain by finding the right candidate, and then strategizing accordingly.

Here are four ways to rock the screening call with a recruiter.

1. Demonstrate Quickly That You Cover the Basics

More often than not, HR people or recruiters aren’t going to be looking for nitty-gritty details about your technical aptitude. They’re more trying to see if you meet the baseline requirements for the job. That said, you should study the job description closely or talk with people working in the department, and then (before the interview) list out the things you think are the most important deliverables for the role. Be sure and touch on your strengths in these specific areas during the conversation.

2. Show That You’re Truly Interested (Assuming You Are)

Recruiters love when they realize a candidate is a strong match skills-wise for the role they’re attempting to fill. However, being a skills match means little if you give off the impression that you’re only so-so interested in the company or role. If they pass you through to the next stage of the interview process, recruiters want to feel confident that you’re enthusiastic and eager to learn more, not just wasting everyone’s time. And so, assuming you are reasonably interested in the opportunity, you’ve got to make that instantly clear to the recruiter during the screening call.

(Hint: Here are three steps to answering, “Why do you want this job?”)

3. Exude an Air of “Strong Culture Fit”

Companies hire candidates based on three things, not just one. Number one is the obvious, “Can she do the job?” This must be a “yes,” no matter what. But what typically clinches it for the candidate who lands the job is that she’s also a “yes” to these questions: “Do we like her?” and “Do we think she’s going to fit in around here?”

You absolutely must show—early on—that you’re a strong cultural fit. Thus, if you’re interviewing for a role within a company you know little about, you should study the organization’s online presence—the company website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, you get the picture—and figure out its brand personality, its tone, its vibe. And then, assuming you line up with that? Make it clear throughout the screening call.

4. Understand the Recruiter’s Role and Stake in This Process

By understanding the role of the recruiter in the hiring process, you will likely be better able to strategize this first interview. Most of these people are compensated—either entirely or partially—based on their ability to find and place people into open positions. That said, when they call you, they already want you to win. They want you to sail through the screening call because, if you win? They win. And if they fill this position quickly, they can also move on to another position (and make more money).

So, never be afraid to ask for the interviewer’s input on how you can put your best foot forward with the hiring manager or for clarification on any questions you don’t understand. Again, this person wants to send you through to the hiring manager. Make it easy to do so.

Interviewing is part art, part science. The art part requires you to bring forth your personality, enthusiasm, and interest. The science part? Requires you to study the process and the players and then strategize.

This article? Well, consider it your cheat sheet for getting to the “real interview.”

TIME Careers & Workplace

35 Things to Do for Your Career by 35

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Get comfortable with getting feedback

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

We’re all for flexibility. Going your own way. Paving your own path. Doing what works for you (and not doing what doesn’t).

We’re also big fans of not putting a timeline on things. We’ve even said that there are plenty of things you don’t have to have by 30 (or 40, or 50, or ever…).

But when it comes to your career, there are some things that we do recommend getting started on sooner rather than later. Not because some all-knowing career god out there says you have to, but because you’ll make your professional future—not to mention day-to-day work life—a whole lot easier.

So, do you need to check every box off this list by the time you’re 35? Definitely not. But, consider it a list of suggestions that, if taken, can have a really big impact on your career.

1. Really Refine Your Elevator Pitch

While it will obviously change from time to time, you should never have a hard time answering, “What do you do?” In fact, you should be so good at it that people will never forget. So, really spend some time figuring out what message you want to get across when people ask about your career. Communication expert Alexandra Franzen has an exercise to help.

2. Know Your Superpower

Or, in other words, know the one thing that you’re truly amazing at. Serial entrepreneur Tina Roth Eisenberg says that all the most successful people she’s met know exactly what they’re best at: John Maeda, who led the MIT Media Lab and Rhode Island School of Design, responded with “curiosity.” Maria Popova, who curates the popular Brain Pickings blog, said “doggedness.” Eisenberg’s own superpower is enthusiasm. See how to find your own super power, here.

3. Know Your Weakness

On the other end of the spectrum, it’s key to know what you’re not so great at. Not to make you feel bad—not in the least!—but to help you know who you should hire and work with to complement your skill set and what tasks you should delegate (so you can spend more time on what you’re great at). On that note:

4. Learn How to Delegate

No one can do it all, and especially as you climb the career ladder, you’re going to need to know the difference between the things you should be spending your time on and the things you shouldn’t. And, perhaps more importantly, be able to effectively and comfortably delegate to others—interns, staff members, your partner, your childcare provider, you get the picture. These 10 rules of successful delegation will help you do it right.

5. Know Your Career Non-Negotiables

You’re going to have a lot of opportunities come your way in life, and you don’t want to waste energy agreeing to things that really don’t line up with what you want to be doing. So, really be honest about what you want and need out of your career, and then come up with a list of non-negotiables that you can use as a guide next time you’re making a career decision. Writer Andrea Shields Nunez has some tips on creating them—and then actually enforcing them.

6. Do Something You’re Really, Really Proud Of

Whether or not it’s something you’ll be known for forever, something you get paid for doing, or even something you really want to do with your life, make sure you have something on your resume that, deep down, you’re really proud of.

7. Learn From Something You’re Not So Proud Of

We were going to add “fail at something” to this list, but that’s silly. Because, let’s face it, we’ve all failed miserably at one point or another. What’s more important? Learning from that blunder and taking that lesson with you productively into the next stage of your career.

8. Stretch Your Limits

You know you can manage a 30-person meeting, but a 100-person multi-day travel conference? That might be stretching the limits of your skills. Actually—this is exactly the type of stuff that you should try once in a while. After all, you’ll never really know how good you are until you step a bit outside of what you know.

9. Do Something That Really Scares You

This takes stretching your limits a bit further—we’re talking going way out of your comfort zone here. Whether it’s speaking at a conference, going for a (big) promotion, or finally writing that memoir, why not try something that terrifies you at least once in the early stages of your career? As they say, big risks can lead to big-time rewards.

10. Get Comfortable With Getting Feedback

Hillary Clinton once said that her biggest piece of advice to young professionals is: “It’s important to take criticism seriously—not personally.” Meaning: Knowing where you’re not meeting expectations is the only way you’ll learn and grow as a professional, but taking every harsh word to heart is a fast way to make your confidence crumble. So, take it from Hillz, and start taking feedback like a pro. Here are a few tips that’ll help.

11. Get Comfortable With Giving Feedback

Whether it’s telling your boss that his hourly drop-bys are really killing the team’s mojo or letting your direct report know that arriving to meetings on time is, in fact, required, giving feedback is a necessary part of getting what you need and being a happy professional. Learn how to give it well, ideally sooner rather than later. Career expert Jennifer Winter offers some pointers.

12. Get Comfortable With Saying No

For just being two measly letters long, “no” seems to be one of the hardest words in the English language for many of us to say. But it’s actually incredibly important for our careers (and our sanity!) that we learn to use it and stand behind it. Here’s how to say it to your boss, a friend, and everyone else.

13. Have a Broad Network of People You Can Trust

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again (probably at least twice a week for as long as we’re in business), the greatest asset you have in your career is your network. And building relationships takes time, so start now. Our free, seven-day email class is here to help.

14. Have a Couple of Specific Career Advisors

We’re not saying mentor here—because finding the right mentor shouldn’t have a timeline on it and because there are plenty of ways to succeed without one—but having a couple of people in your corner who can advise you on everything from a terrible boss to a career 180 is incredibly valuable. And yes, this group of people can include your mom.

15. Scrub Your Online Presence

Increasingly, what shows up in Google and on your social media profiles is the first impression someone has of you. So, take some time to clean ’em up! Change the privacy on any old or questionable photos. Use SimpleWash to delete any Facebook or Twitter posts that could be incriminating. Game your Google resultsto make sure the things you want showing up at the top do.

16. Perfect Your LinkedIn Profile

Speaking of those things you want showing up at the top, your LinkedIn profile is perhaps your most prime piece of online real estate. When a client, future employer, vendor, or professional contact is looking for you, guess where he or she will turn? Yup, LinkedIn. So make sure your profile tells the story you want it to tell (our complete guide to a perfect LinkedIn profile walks you through the process).

17. Have a Portfolio of Your Best Work

Whether it’s a printed collection of articles, marketing campaigns, or annual reports you’ve worked on or a personal website showcasing your skills, having a portfolio ready to go will make it easy for you to show your boss (or future boss) what you’ve got. Here’s more on why you need one, plus some easy ways to get started today.

18. Know How to Sell (Yourself or Something Else)

Yes, even if you never envision a career in cold calling. The truth is, whether you’re pitching an idea to your boss or writing a cover letter about why you’re the perfect candidate, you’re going to be selling something to someone at some point. Get started on your own personal sales education with these tips.

19. Know How to Negotiate

Because, in most cases, it’s the only way you’re going to get what you want and deserve. If you’ve never done it before, we recommend starting small (asking your boss to, say, pay for a pricey upcoming conference), and checking out this hour-long webinar that’s jam-packed with actionable advice (and motivation).

20. Know How to Manage Up

It’s a common misconception that you have to grin and bear it through a superior’s assignments, working style, or way of doing things, paying no regard to whether his or her demands are reasonable. In fact, being able to manage up—or, communicate with your boss and advocate for what you need to do your job best—is a crucial job skill. Molly Donovan offers some tips for doing it well.

21. Know How to Send a Killer Email

You should never send an email that you’re not proud of (or wouldn’t be proud of if your boss saw) again. So make sure you’re really putting care into the professional messages you send! Erin Greenawald has some tips from an editor’s perspective on how to write ones that are flawless. It may sound like a lot of effort, but we promise it’s worth it (and will get easier the more you do it).

22. Master Your Handshake

This sounds small, but a handshake is the quickest way to make (or break) an impression. (Fact: A Fortune 500 CEO once said that when he had to choose between two candidates with similar qualifications, he gave the position to the candidate with the better handshake.) Learn how to do it right from an expert.

23. Find a To-Do List System That Works for You

Whether you need your list synced across all of your devices or you’re more of a pen-and-paper kind of guy or gal, commit to finding a to-do list that helps you manage your workflow in the best way possible. Yes, you might change methods as you switch jobs or new apps are launched over time, but knowing what works, what doesn’t, and what you like and don’t will make sure that you always have what you need to be your most productive self.

24. Know Your Energy Levels—and Use Them

There’s nothing worse (or less productive) than trying to work when you’re not at your best. You shouldn’t spend any more time wasting your peak mental hours—or forcing yourself to work when you’re in an energy slump. So, really understand and accept when you work best, and then use productivity expert Alex Cavoulacos’ advice to map out your ideal day.

25. Know How Much Sleep You Need—and Commit to Getting It

We hope you learned this lesson in college, but if not: Sleep is important. Whether you need seven or nine hours, know your number, and get it regularly. Your health and career depend on it—take it from Arianna Huffington.

26. Know How to Manage Stress

Stress can really rule and ruin your life, something you don’t want to let it do for long. If stress is an issue for you, nip it in the bud as early as possible. Career coach Lea McLeod has some advice for how to start mitigating your stress, but if it’s really becoming overwhelming, consider talking to a professional who can give you strategies.

27. Stop Over-Apologizing

You may think you’re being polite or strengthening your reputation, but apologizing too much, especially for small things or things out of your control, could inadvertently instill doubt in your abilities and undercut your professionalism. Make sure you’re saving your apologies for when you really messed up—not when your co-worker asks you to go back a slide in your presentation. Check out Lily Herman’s tips for making sure you’re saying what you really mean.

28. Get Over Impostor Syndrome

Whether you’re just getting started in a new field or you’ve been climbing the promotion ladder at your company since graduation, impostor syndrome can plague any professional. But the truth is, it’s hurting your career (not to mention your self-esteem). Here’s why—and here are a few ways to get over feeling like a fraud and start feeling like the badass you are.

29. Have a Career Emergency Plan

What would you do if you got laid off tomorrow? If you don’t have an answer (or your answer is “Freak out! Panic!”), it’s time to come up with a career emergency plan. A crisis, like being let go or having your company go under, isn’t something you ever want to think about, but if it happened, wouldn’t you rather have a ready-to-go action plan than be running around like a crazy person trying to get anyone to hire you? Here’s how to get yours started ASAP.

30. Pick Up a Side Project

Ever wondered how you’d do at consulting? Thought about opening up an Etsy store or restoring and selling old cars? Try it out. At best, you’ll find a new career or source of income, and at the very least you’ll have some variety in your day to day.

31. Invest in Your Retirement

We know: In the early stages of your career, it can be hard to fork over any of that precious paycheck. But savings compounds over time, so starting early means you’ll have exponentially more in your later years (to, you know, live it up on a boat sipping mai tais all day). Here’s everything you need to know to get started.

32. Invest in Yourself

Today’s working world is changing faster than ever, and to stay on top of your professional game, it’s important to continue to grow your skills. Oh, and this doesn’t have to mean going to grad school. Here are 50 totally cheap and doable ways to add some professional development into your routine.

33. Invest in the World

Whether it’s volunteering your skills to a nonprofit in need or mentoring a junior employee, little feels better than giving back to the world. Here are a few ideas you may not have considered.

34. Know What You Don’t Want

You don’t have to know what you want to be when you grow up by 35 (or, hey, 95). But, assuming you want to have a job and career you love, it’s important to at least keep thinking about it—if not actively chasing it. And, often, the first step to knowing what you do want is ruling out what you don’t want. Don’t want a dictator for a boss? A sales role? A management position? Great. Whittle away some options, and you’re at least getting closer.

35. Give Yourself Permission to Go After What You Do

Oh, and if you do know what you want? Start taking steps to go after it. Yes, careers are long, but why spend one more day than you have to not doing what you want? You have our permission. We hope you have yours, too.

MONEY first jobs

Millennials, the Best Time to Quit Your Terrible Job is Now

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If you're not on the right career path, act quickly. Oscar Wong—Getty Images/Flickr Select

Hating a first job out of college can make anyone feel like a failure. But your early twenties are the best time to take a mulligan.

An irony in my career, given that I write about money, is that my first job at age 22 paid more than my current job, at 29.

Yet I love my job today, just as I am certain that quitting that first job—a financial management consultant position I grew to hate after only a couple of months—was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I was lucky: The reason I disliked my job wasn’t an unsafe workplace, unkind boss, or unfair pay. I was simply bored by a position that turned out to be less interesting and meaningful than advertised.

But the thing about boredom is it can really eat away at you—at your sense of worth and your enthusiasm to get up in the morning. When I found myself constantly looking at the clock, daydreaming about the weekend, and, eventually, crying in the bathroom at the very thought of coming in the next day, I knew I needed a change. So I lined up a teaching job in China and gave my notice, after only two months at the consultancy.

As short a stint as that was, recent research suggests that an increasing number of millennials are in the same boat. That is, they are spending less time at their first jobs after graduation than young people have in the past. That trend has accelerated even within the last year, with fewer graduates staying at jobs past the one-year mark—and a growing number leaving after three months (or less):

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Source: Express Employment Professionals survey of employer estimates.

Why might that be? Well, for one, research shows that only 38% of young adults under age 30 express deep satisfaction with their jobs—compared with 63% for people age 65 and up. This might seem unsurprising at first glance, since older people have had more time to build confidence and get established in their careers.

But millennials aren’t just feeling unfulfilled because they are low on the totem pole; the current job market is also to blame. More than 40% of recent college graduates say they weren’t able to find a job in their desired field, according to a recent McKinsey study. The survey also found that almost half of graduates from four-year colleges report being in jobs that don’t require a four-year degree.

“Many in the millennial generation are taking jobs that they are over-qualified for and thus are eager to move on when something better appears,” says Bob Funk, CEO of Express, the firm that conducted the job duration survey. Plus, he adds, “we’ve seen a decrease in employees’ commitment to employers as a higher value is placed on personal advancement.”

All of this is to say that if you’re unhappy at your first job and are contemplating quitting, you’re not alone.

Still, figuring out when and how to make a move is tricky. Here are three tips on making a smooth switch, from former hiring manager Alison Green, author of askamanager.org.

1. Be honest with yourself. Green has spoken with workers who have stuck around in bad jobs, despite serious problems at work like sexual harassment, because of fears about money, security, and student loans. “If you are truly miserable, you should trust your gut and not be too afraid to lean on savings, a spouse, family, or part-time work instead,” says Green. “For those who don’t have that luxury, keep your eye on the light at the end of the tunnel and direct your energy into finding a better job in the meantime.”

It’s also worth doing a little soul searching as soon as you start to feel unhappy, to see whether the problem truly lies with your boss or the position—or if the real culprit is your attitude. One litmus test is to try to behave differently for a week and figure out if that makes you happier. For example, if you normally sit back and wait for assignments, speak up and volunteer. Conversely, if you’re typically too willing to please, try to dial back on how much responsibility you’re taking on at once.

2. Line up another job before you quit—but not just any job. When you quit a first job out of college, says Green, very few future employers are going to hold that against you, especially if you’re able to articulate what you learned from the experience. The danger, however, is that when you’re desperate to leave a job, you might be tempted to take the first new offer you get, even if it’s wrong for you, too.

“It’s okay to quit once, ” Green says. “You kind of get one freebie. But you can’t let it become a pattern.”

3. Leave gracefully. It’s important to be upfront with your employer and give the company time to prepare for your departure. If you are respectful and help out with the transition, you should be fine. “A good employer shouldn’t want you to stay if you’re unhappy with the fit,” says Green.

As for questions from future prospective bosses, post-college jobs of six months or less need not to be added to your resume, says Green. More than that and employers might wonder about the gap.

Watch real people talk about their best and worst bosses in the video below:

 

TIME Careers & Workplace

Watch the 5 Most Popular TED Talks of All Time

Whether you’re looking for outstanding orators to emulate for an upcoming speaking engagement, or whether you’re in the mood for Crossfit crunches for your brain

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

Happiness, vulnerability and orgasms. These are few of the TED Talks themes that people love most.

Add to that viral mix soul-stirring speeches about education, inspiration, and revelation, and you have the stuff of the most-watched TED speeches of all time, the cream of the presentation crop with millions upon millions of views and growing.

Related: 5 TED Talks That May Change Your View on Life

Whether you’re looking for outstanding orators to emulate for an upcoming speaking engagement, or whether you’re in the mood for Crossfit crunches for your brain just because, here are the top five TED Talks of all time. Feast your mind.


1. Ken Robinson: How Schools Kill Creativity

Children are naturally creative, right up until we educate the raw spark of wonder out of them. In his witty, 18-minute takedown of the talent-squandering treadmill that is the traditional public education system, Sir Kenneth Robinson challenges us to “radically rethink” the way we teach our children. He invites educators to encourage kids to dance, experiment and make mistakes.

Related: 7 Public Speaking Tips From One of the Most-Watched TED Speakers

Business leaders can apply Robinson’s outlier theories to inspire their teams in much the same way. Start by allowing your employees to make mistakes. They’re not bad. They’re gateways to innovation.


2. Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

If you’re a habitual arm crosser, watching Amy Cuddy’s body language 101 might convince you to drop the habit — and your arms — right away. The social scientist, who kicks off her speech with a “free no-tech life hack” that will probably turn your frown upside down, says our body language speaks loud and clear to those around us. And it might just have a lot to do with our success. One thing’s for sure: You’ll walk a little taller and sit up a little straighter after you take Cuddy’s 20-minute “power posing” crash course. Remember, “Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes.”

Related: Inspiring TED Talks Every Entrepreneur Should Watch


3. Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Extolling the trailblazing, renegade spirit of iconic historical figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Wright brothers, ethnographer Simon Sinek dares people be rebels, to “think, act and communicate” in ways that are “the complete opposite of everyone else.” In his talk, the author of the motivational classic Start With Why (Portfolio Trade, 2011) describes what he calls the “golden circle.” It’s a means of communicating “from the outside in,” a way to passionately talk about what you care about and believe. He says Apple does it — obviously to great success — and your company can, too.

Related: Why TED Talks Are Impossible to Resist


4. Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

Humiliation, embarrassment and shame are the fields of study that Brené Brown specializes in. Not many people talk openly about thosekinds of feelings, let alone in front of thousands. In her touching, often funny speech, the University of Houston research professor and author of five bestselling self-empowerment books, reminds us to be true to ourselves. How? By embracing our imperfections, something society pressures us not to do, at home and at work. Instead, Brown asks you to be you, to be real and really vulnerable. When you are, you’re kinder to yourself and to others. It’s not easy, but once you accept who you are — not who you think should be — flaws and all, Brown says you’ll connect with others in deeper, more meaningful ways. And P.S. — Stop beating yourself up already. You are enough.

Related: An Oft Unspoken Key to Success: Put Aside Your Ego and Be Vulnerable


5. Jill Bolte Taylor: My Stroke of Insight

When Harvard-trained brain researcher Dr. Jill Bolte says she had a stroke of insight, she means it literally. One morning, at the age of 37, she suffered a devastating cerebrovascular accident. A blood vessel in her brain suddenly burst. She could only speak “like a Golden Retriever” when calling for help. Her right arm “went totally paralyzed” and her world came crashing down.

You won’t believe Taylor’s first thoughts upon realizing she was suffering a stroke: “Wow! This is so cool! How many brain scientists have the opportunity to study their own brain from the inside out?” Amazing, right?

Related: 4 Motivating TED Talks to Help You Bounce Back From Failure

In her deeply personal talk, Taylor pulls us into her eight-year recovery journey. She describes learning to walk, talk and think again — from scratch. And, of course, she also reveals her biggest “stroke of insight” as a brain hemorrhage survivor. It’s simple but so complex: our right minds can be gateways to nirvana, but only if we choose to step out of them.

Related: 3 TED Talks That Will Convince You to Get More Sleep

TIME Careers & Workplace

How to Turn Life’s Disappointments Into Success Stories

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In work and in life, disappointment is often inevitable. Turn life’s curveballs into your success stories

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This story was originally published on StartupCollective.

Life is full of surprises that aren’t always the kind we would wish for. What makes these unwanted surprises even harder to accept is our attachment to the way we expected things to go. This particular brand of discomfort — the kind fueled by a life drunk with expectations and the resulting crash from failing to meet them — is profoundly sobering and uncomfortable. I call it an Expectation Hangover®, which I define in my latest book, “Expectation Hangover: Overcoming Disappointment in Work, Love and Life,” as:

The myriad undesirable feelings or thoughts present when one or a combination of the following things occurs:

  • A desired outcome does not occur.
  • A desired outcome does occur but does not produce the feelings or results we expected.
  • Our personal and/or professional expectations are unmet by ourselves or another.
  • An undesired, unexpected event occurs that is in conflict with what we wanted or planned.

The symptoms are similar, but far more miserable and lasting, to those caused by a hangover from alcohol: lethargy, depression, lack of motivation, confusion, denial, anger, poor work performance, diminished creativity, strained relationships, social withdrawal, low self-esteem, regret and a disconnection from a higher power. But when our expectations are met, we feel a sense of accomplishment and pride. Often risking little, we feel safe, in control and on-track. Achieving our goals is intoxicating. We are compelled toward them, sometimes disregarding the underlying motivations that come from our ego. While striving for goals has value, holding expectations and attachment to the way life “should” go sets the stage for disappointment.

Most of us don’t like it when our life seems to miss the memo on how we think things should be. But the truth is that the universe doesn’t miss anything. When we keep fighting for what we think we want, never slowing down enough to actually learn the lesson that our expectation hangover is attempting to teach, we’re too drunk with expectations to notice when we are headed in the wrong direction. The result? We continue to wake up with expectation hangovers.

So how do you treat them? It takes a lot more than two aspirin, some greasy food and staying inside with the lights low. Because we don’t like not feeling good, and so we look for an external way to ease the discomfort: rebound relationships, abrupt career changes or miscalculated risks, and addictions (drinking, gambling, sex, drugs, work, shopping) are common. We lose faith and sink into the quicksand of victim-hood and hopelessness.

Instead of thinking about how to rid yourself of an expectation hangover, consider how you can leverage it. Ask, “What am I learning?” rather than “Why is this happening?” Keep your mind out of judgment, regret and shoulda-coulda-woulda thinking. Think about some of the most inspirational people you know. I guarantee that part of what makes them so inspirational is how they leveraged their hangovers for growth and learning. Instead of perceiving something as a failure, they used what they learned to to create their next success. Your expectation hangovers are gifts. Each one has been an opportunity to let go of something external that you have clung to for worth, safety or love. If you learn how to respond to expectation hangovers from the perspective of a student rather than a victim, I guarantee you will walk through doorways of transformation.

TIME Careers & Workplace

You’ll Never Guess the Most Affordable City for Young People

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Mexico City, Mumbai and Rome are all contenders

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

You’re a young person with big entrepreneurial dreams and plans to change the world. Good for you! But you need to pay the rent while you build up your skills or get your fledgling enterprise off the ground. So where should you move?

There’s no shortage of advice for young people on which cities make the best launching pads for post-collegiate life. One recent study looked at which metro areas were more popular with mobile well-educated young people to indicate the best destination for your U-Haul, for example. Other sources of advice have crowdsourced community opinion to rank the best locales for digital nomads.

But another recent index of possible new homes for recent grads takes a different approach. Rather than just solicit the opinions of the group or look at standard cost of living measures, the Youthful Cities Index from consultancy Decode takes into account not only how much you spend on essentials like rent and food (though that’s weighed too) but also how much entry-level workers will bring home if they make minimum wage, as well as other less-often-used but more youth-relevant indicators of a city’s costs like the price of attending a live gig, going to a movie, and taking public transit.

So what was the result of the global ranking after all these unusual numbers were crunched. Here are the results (bet you didn’t see number one coming):

  1. Paris
  2. Toronto
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Chicago
  5. Berlin
  6. Dallas
  7. Rome
  8. New York
  9. Tokyo
  10. London
  11. Seoul
  12. Buenos Aires
  13. Istanbul
  14. Cairo
  15. Johannesburg
  16. Bogota
  17. Lima
  18. Mumbai
  19. Lagos
  20. Sao Paulo
  21. Manila
  22. Shanghai
  23. Mexico City
  24. Nairobi
  25. Kinshasa

Of course, as Quartz writer Zainab Mudallal points out in her writeup of the index, affordability and opportunity are two totally separate things. “France has also recently been called a “sick” economy by its own economy minister, with its high unemployment rate and reputation for worker inefficiency. The high cost of doing business in France means that some employers consider it a risk to take on young people. So it may not be easy to find a job,” she notes.

It’s a valid point. No matter how affordable a city is theoretically, if you can’t get even one of those relatively well-paid minimum wage gigs, a promising budget on paper isn’t going to mean a thing. So take the results with a grain of salt before you rush off to brush up on your French. The rankings, however, do serve as a reminder that a lot more goes into making a city attractive to young people than sensible-sounding basics and cheap housing.

TIME Business

The Road Not Taken: How Getting Fired Boosted My Career

TV host Mika Brzezinski attends Children Roots of Resilience Gala on Sept. 9, 2014 in New York City.
TV host Mika Brzezinski attends Children Roots of Resilience Gala on Sept. 9, 2014 in New York City. Paul Morigi—2014 Getty Images

Mika Brzezinski is the Co-Host of MSNBC's Morning Joe.

"Each job interview set me deeper back; deeper into knowing it was over"

This Influencer post originally appeared on LinkedIn. In this series of posts, Influencers explain how their career paths might have changed. Read all the stories here and write your own (please include the hashtag #RoadNotTaken in the body of your post).

The road I took was set in stone for me at a very early age, influenced by two dynamic parents. My father exposed me to the medium of television — tagging me along on his interviews at “Nightline” and “Charlie Rose.” I got the TV bug immediately as a preteen. I loved how news stories were put together and presented on air.

My mother, a sculptor, tells stories as well — she has a 50-year career of using an axe and a chainsaw to reveal the “stories” inside massive tree trunks. Twelve pieces are on display right now at the Kreeger Museum in Washington, D.C., including my all-time favorite, “Lament.”

So the road started early for me. Telling stories. Communicating a message. Developing my voice in this evolving medium over the course of more than two decades. Sometimes there is no way to take a different path when it is what you love — even when it doesn’t love you back.

I trudged through 10 years in local news, worked overnights at CBS News for four years, hosted a cable show for women for two years after that until finally settling into what I thought would be a life-long career as a correspondent for CBS News. My first week on the job was 9/11. I traveled America finding stories for “The CBS Evening News,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” even “60 Minutes.” Anchoring the CBS Evening News Sunday edition felt like a feather in my cap.

Just shy of my 40th birthday, the road ended. I was called down to the office of the President of CBS News and was told, “They were moving in a different direction.” I was being fired. I. Was. Fired. They liked my work… but didn’t like it anymore… or just had other people coming in… Whatever it was, my days at CBS News had abruptly come to an end.

Being fired is an out-of-body experience. I remember it like it was yesterday. A mixture of anger, feeling victimized, feeling exhilarated and free, and feeling scared shitless all at once. But then the time starts to pass, and if you are like I was, the NEXT job couldn’t come soon enough.

I sent my work to other networks and the response was… crickets. I went from everything to everyone to nothing to no one. If I did get an interview, the first question was: Why were you fired? I didn’t have an answer because I didn’t really know. Each job interview set me deeper back; deeper into knowing it was over. It’s hard to fight nothing. No phone ringing. No calls back. Just “No thank you,” from everywhere I applied. I would re-apply six months later. Nothing.

I did get an audition to anchor the local news at the ABC affiliate in Washington. I was told I was close… down to three. I went for the audition and was desperate for the job. So desperate it was written all over my face. They gave it to the talented Alison Starling who is still there to this day.

At about nine months of nothing, with severance running out, I knew I had to find another road. I began the task of applying for any job anywhere. I was overqualified for many jobs I applied for online, but still got no calls. Slowly… ever so slowly, I got responses from a few major PR firms. One, just one, called me in for an interview. I had the skills and the experience to do PR well.

It was at this time that a good friend — a talented producer at CBS News — was in the process of getter fired too (or “released from her contract”). The turnover was continuing there and this time, it was my friend’s turn. Since I had been through it, I was coaching her through the process — the hurt, the anger, the loss, the fear. I was reliving it all with her. Knowing the place and the players, it really was like my loss all over again. She was one of the best producers there and had taught me everything I know about voice control, studio tracking and storytelling.

My job interview turned into another one until it was down to a final round. A job as a VP at a major PR firm. Real money. It was the kind of money that would keep the family moving forward. We were at a dead stop with no hope in sight. This job was a potential lifeline… right there for the taking.

I was waiting for the call to line up the last round. I’ll never forget the moment. Driving my pickup up the hill near my house, the ’93 Ford 150 with roll-up windows just stopped… Stalled out and died. I knew that meant another $500 at the shop. $500 that I did not have. Then my cell phone rings. It’s the PR firm. Wanting to know if I can come in this week…

I put the truck in park in the middle of the road and listened to myself as I said, “I’d love to come in but I have to be honest; I know someone better for the job. Perfect actually.” I then began to sing the praises of my soon-to-be fired friend. It came out of my mouth as if I had been practicing it forever… So easy to say, because it was true. She was perfect for the job, and I was not. I knew this road, as much as I needed one, would not be taken by me.

I remember clunking my head on the steering wheel after I hung up asking myself: “Why, WHY?? You need a job so badly!” But I knew it even then. There was still only one road for me… and that this one wasn’t it. I knew even then I would have to find my way back to that road I chose at 13 years old. Somehow.

It took many more months, but I called every network known to man and begged for ANY job they had available. I found myself LEAPING at the opportunity to work a day rate, part-time, freelance job at MSNBC reading 30 second news cut-ins — a job I probably would have scoffed at 15 years prior.

Eight weeks into working the “cut-in shift” at MSNBC, Don Imus was knocked off the air for making unfortunate comments. MSNBC was on the hunt for a new morning show…

I was back on the road again.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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