Before You Agree to Take on New Work, Ask Three Questions

by Regan Walsh

During the 2009 recession, I took a high-profile job with a marketing agency. On the surface, it looked like a dream opportunity. The clients were big, the pay was excellent, and given the economic climate at the time, I considered myself lucky. No, the work didn’t excite me, but what would people think if I turned it down? I started on a Monday, and every morning that week I felt myself growing more and more uncomfortable. By Friday, while I was sitting in on a four-hour conference call in a windowless meeting room, I couldn’t pretend that I wasn’t miserable. I ended up quitting that day, just 4.25 days after I started and without a plan B—yet I felt instant relief. ...

Get HBR Guides to Managing Your Career Collection (6 Books) now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.