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What's Really Beneath Us?

This week I received an email that made my day. I think you’ll like it, too.

Very often we ask ourselves if we can “afford” to accept an opportunity. It could be a job offer, a project or even a new client. Sometimes, obviously, the answer is no. We can’t possibly say yes to everything—and there are definitely things that aren’t worth our time and talent.

But I meet people all the time who’ve been out of work for an extended period and are still turning down job offers they view as “beneath” them. They refuse to see any potential in these “dead ends.”

So when I connect with someone who decides to take a chance—and then deliberately chooses to work it to her advantage—I want to celebrate.

Take a look at this note I received. It’s long, but well worth a minute of your time—especially if you’re someone who has passed on a job opportunity because you felt it was beneath you or was bound to lead nowhere.


I wanted to thank you for all of your hard work and valuable information that you send out each and every week. I was an attendee at the Women For Hire event in Atlanta last year and got an opportunity to hear you speak. At that time I had recently gotten fired from a very aggressive, full commission, outside sales position. Needless to say, after hearing you speak and hearing how you felt when things did not work out with your “dream” job, it gave me a sense of peace and realization that my job was not what defined me. It was how I treated others, how well I kept in touch with my family, and how well I kept in touch with my friends. I am a VERY driven person and very career oriented, but at the time I had gotten fired, I was on a ME–only mentality: not able to look at the bigger picture.

Since I saw you speak in Atlanta, I was offered a job temporarily with a manufacturing company. I figured that any job was better than no job. I went from making about $84,000 per year to $15/hour plus a small commission on gross profit. It was extremely hard for me to accept that and not get hung up on the salary. I worked extremely hard, exceeded what was laid out for me and ended up signing on a permanent basis. (Still at this point I felt this was only a stop gap) Then something amazing happened. They created an entirely new division, and moved myself and another colleague in those roles. All of a sudden, I was given an amazing opportunity to grow a national territory and start from ground zero. In just 8 months, I am clearing almost what I made when I was let go at my previous company, have less stress and a ton more experience.

All because I took a $15/hour temp job that I felt was not going anywhere.

I wanted to share this with you because I have you to thank in terms of having the weekly motivation to keep going when things were tough. To have someone to relate to and to realize that we truly do have the opportunity to make our way. I could have chosen two paths: one, just showed up to my job, met my expectations of me, and go home sad because I wasn’t where I felt I needed to be—or, exceed on the task I was given. Again, I want to thank you for all of your weekly insights, letters and motivational tips. When I see them in my inbox I look forward to getting an opportunity to read them.

Take care, and love what you do!


I’m even more excited to receive Kim’s email than she is to get mine. She didn’t accept the opportunity and HOPE that it’d work out. She accepted and HUSTLED to ensure it did.

Let me be clear: the process isn’t always black or white when deciding whether to accept or decline an opportunity, but far too often we instantly assess why it won’t work, instead of investing time to figure out how to make it work.

What are you assuming is too expensive, too costly, or not enough money? What are you dismissing as a waste of time before truly exploring? And on the flip side, where are you spinning your wheels in a hopeless cycle instead of pausing and changing course? Is there more than meets the eye that you could discover – if only you committed to making it happen?

Enjoy the rest of your week. I’m rooting for your success.


  1. KMayer

    Well done. It’s not black and white ever. Take the job, and once established, you can become indispensable and create the environment that works for you. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens often enough! What’s the worse that can happen? You make more contacts for the next step. Thx for this post.

  2. Colleen Sible

    I had to write and comment on this article. This is the reality of the job market today. People have not been willing to take a step back in order to move ahead. Any potential employer is looking for those people with the attitude and work ethic to do whatever it takes not what’s in it for me. Employers are looking for people who make the best out of a bad situation. It’s better to make a strong impression with a new employer than wait for something to great to happen. The people getting hired these days are those who take risks and have the confidence that their qualifications will be recognized as long as they work hard and feel grateful for the opportunity…any opportunity. My advice, get out there, take risks, work hard and know good things come to those who wait.

  3. I am in the EXACT same boat!! I just interviewed for a $10/hour job (my target wage in 1998 when I moved to Utah) because it’s 10 bucks more an hour than I’m making now. During the interview, the CEO said he wanted me to view the position as only the starting point. He’s willing to up my wage on day 1, review again in 30 days, and he says the sky’s the limit if I’ll work hard and build the business with him.

    If I hadn’t checked my ego and applied for an Assistant Secretary position I wouldn’t be starting my dream job on Monday.

    Thanks for your encouragement and positive words.

  4. Diahann Boock

    It takes a strong woman to have the confidence and vision to create opportunity when the path there isn’t obvious. With a great attitude and positive self talk (that running monologue in your head) we can achieve our dreams and like what we do!

  5. Monique Eddleton

    This is a gentle reminder not to block our blessings. Great things happen when you open yourself to new options and make the best of every situation with which you are presented. Kudos to Kim and everyone else out there who stops complaining, rolls up their sleeves, creates their own opportunities in life!

  6. Debbie

    Good for her! I wish I could get that opportunity. I’ve been unemployed for 16 months and can’t get a job offer – high or low salary. Getting snubbed by everyone is more demeaning then taking a low paying job and working your way back up.

  7. Cheryl

    I did the same thing recently but its not really working out. But that’s okay, because I will be there until the end of the year and have learned some things that make it possibly not the right industry for me after all. And that’s also a good lesson to learn. I needed to be reminded of that because I have been very frustrated. I am eligible for unemployment but after being on unemployment for a year, I took a temp job making $12.50 an hour. (I previously made $26 an hour in my former job.) The opportunity came to me-I was recruited by a temp agency who found my resume on the unemployment website and it is a job in the field I said I wanted to work in on my resume. I figured, why not take it, treat it as an ‘internship’ where I would learn about the job and the industry. After 3 months, I have learned that perhaps this isn’t the job or industry for me. As for turning it into something else, it is a very structure educational institution and they don’t ‘create jobs or divisions’. The earning potential at this institution in this field is probably around $35,000 a year–only folks who have been there 8+ years are making in the mid $50/60,000 range (what I was making 5 years ago). I don’t mind starting over, starting at the bottom, filing or doing whatever work they dump on my desk as I consider it a learning experience and I do it gratefully and happily. But I feel as though I am spinning my wheels. I am keeping my eyes open and have offered suggestions at this job for improving processes/saving time & money but those have been met with ‘no thank you’s’ and ‘that’s not your concern’. There is an aura of ‘keeping you in your place’ at this particular organization and it does not seem to offer the growth potential that I am accustomed to in previous organizations I’ve worked with. So, all that to say, keep taking those opportunties because even if they don’t lead to anything, they sometimes tell you where you shouldn’t be and that is also valuable information.

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