From Work Nightmare to Dream Job: 3 Real-Life Success Stories

In my last post, we talked about starting the day with a key question and answering it. It’s what I call making a #DailyChoice. Sure, it may sound simple and a bit hippie-dippy, but stay with me. It actually has very pragmatic implications, even in those “I’m trapped in career hell!” situations. By making your daily choice a part of your morning ritual—by having an intention—you’re essentially reminding yourself to act in a way that brings you closer and closer to your professional goal.

It really works, and here’s proof! Read on for a few real-life examples experienced by my clients. Give this technique a try every day (no skipping!) and over time you’ll see a marked difference. It may take months or even more, depending on your goal, but I can promise you that you’ll find yourself in a better place a year from now than if you hadn’t tried this experiment at all

*All names are pseudonyms to protect privacy.

Case study #1: “Help! I hate my new job!”

Lauren* had an enviable position as an events planner at a prominent museum, but she really wanted a major change and set her sights on an agency job—which, with my help, she eventually landed. Within a few months, though, she wanted out. We agreed that she would give the job three months to make sure it wasn’t just the temporary stress everyone always feels when adjusting to a new job—but, it turned out the stress was real and long-lasting. The hours were endless, the pressure was high, and the morale was low. The new job just wasn’t a good fit– sometimes that happens despite our best efforts..

So here’s what I suggested she ask herself every morning: “What can I learn from this job so I can find a better one?” Her daily choice was to set boundaries so she wouldn’t get burnt out, and to zero in on projects that would lead her to her next job. With that in mind, she consciously chose to take lunch every day, leave by a certain hour, and set aside the late-night emails for the next morning. She also made an extra effort to get involved in tasks that would give her the skills to enhance her resume. All this not only freed up time to look for a job, it also gave her the energy and tools she needed to land a better one. Which is precisely what she did in less than a year. She’s now back in-house—this time, at WeWork—and loving it The best part? She is grateful for the previous experience, because it taught her what she really wanted and she never had to wonder “what if’?

Case study #2: “I want a change, but I’m too afraid to do anything about it.”

Sarah* had been working in marketing communications for the same company for three years. She’d been wanting to make a change but never made a move because she felt she somehow owed it to her boss and the employees she recruited to stay. She was also concerned—once we got below the surface—that she’d fail if she ever left.

When an opportunity to apply to a job at Google came up, she had a bunch of excuses not to apply—she had preconceived notions of what the people were like; she thought moving out to the west coast was too big of a move (though I reminded her that she actually did say she wanted to move out west at one point); she thought it would be hard to make friends and have the life she wanted.

I suggested that she ask herself when she wakes up every morning: “What do I want?” This became her daily reminder that she is ready for a change, and that she doesn’t always have to say yes even if it seems like a dream job; it’s about what her needs are.  As for Google, the exercise helped her realize that it never hurts to apply; she could always refuse an offer. Turns out, she got the job. When she felt that the moving stipend was too low, I reminded her that she didn’t have to say yes to that either, and that she could tell Google what she wanted. So she went back and asked for a bigger stipend. Guess what? When she asked for more, they also increased her salary to show her that they really wanted here. She took the job and so far it has turned out to be a great fit. All she had to do was stop assuming the worst–and know if it wasn’t what she really wanted, she could say no… even to Google.

Case study #3: “I keep thinking I’ll get fired.”

Alexis* held a high-powered marketing position but she suffered from a bad case of “imposter syndrome”—constantly feeling as if she wasn’t good enough to do her job. Every time someone had a closed-door meeting she questioned herself and started worrying about why she wasn’t invited. Did they think her ideas weren’t good enough?  Was she irrelevant to the company?

The truth is, though, she had many years of experience and just had to trust herself. So I had her ask herself: Do these negative feelings come from fear or reality, and what can I do to dissolve them? By asking this question daily she learned to trust her instincts and bring in her team or hire a consultant whenever she needed help instead of slogging it through on her own. This eventually enabled her to produce proposals and projects that her company truly regarded as great. She also learned that she does her best work by bouncing ideas off others, and that her anxiety over her performance had kept her from doing this because she felt she had to prove herself.

The exercise led her to tap into her own leadership style. In the end, she learned that her company wasn’t questioning her role at all—they just wanted her to lead and put the right team in place.

Do any of these situations sound familiar? If so, I hope you give this technique a try, and tell us how it works out!  In the meantime, if you’re looking for more advice on making a daily choice and taking Power Over Your CareerI am offering a few free discovery calls this summer. Click here to sign-up or drop us a note at

“Victoria’s coaching was spot on. She’s an excellent listener with a keen sense of the real world, Within our first few minutes she revealed fundamental questions for me to ask every recruiter, client, or potential employer to differentiate myself from other candidates—priceless advice. I would confidently recommend Victoria to anyone in the midst of a job hunt, career transition, or reinvention. She knows her stuff. –K. Citron

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