Frugal Living: How Do You Find Your Dream Job? (Part 1)
In this week’s episode, we talked with Juliana Rabbi, a career coach and former recruiter for multinational corporations, to learn from her expertise. Listen to the latest episode of Frugal Living on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Anchor.fm, iHeartRadio, or anywhere you go to find podcasts.
Frugal Living means more than spending less. It also means maximizing your income. The more you make (and the less you spend), the more you’ll be able to save for retirement. That’s why it’s important to consider career options.
In part one of the interview, Rabbi shares her advice on negotiating a remote work environment. Many office workers found themselves working remotely during the start of the pandemic in 2020. They developed new habits and skills, and some were rushed back into the office more quickly than they would have liked.
Rabbi’s advice? Build a serious case. Consider your audience. Don’t focus on why you want to work remotely. Focus on why remote work benefits your employer. This could mean lower costs for office space or more productivity.
Read a Transcript From This Episode
This is Frugal Living. <music> How do you find a career doing what you love? This week I talked with a career coach about exactly that. She knows so much about this. It’s what she does for a living. So I don’t want to take any more time with the intro. Let’s just jump into it. This is part one of a two-part conversation. <music>
I’m Juliana. I’m a career coach and I help professionals to land a remote job.
You have a history, not just of working remotely yourself, but, you know, you’re a career coach now, but you came from recruiting and from multinational corporations. You know this business inside and out. And so I wanted to just hear every thought you have about this.
So nine years ago, when I was not working remotely yet, I was at this point of my life that it was okay. It was not terrible. Like, I had a good job, good salary. I was living in Spain in Barcelona. It was fine. So even my friends were like, “Wow, you have a perfect life.” But for me, it was like I want more. So there was something missing for me. Although people, they would say my life was perfect. So I never really settled for what others were saying. It was, I should be happy with that. I always wanted more. And then remote work was a way that allowed me to do that. And I think especially now after the pandemic, that so many people could experience that. And not only see themself in the situation, people that maybe never thought about it. They never consider work remotely. They not only had to do that, they had no choice at some point. But they also saw it worked for them. So they were like, “Okay, it can be done. I enjoy that. The work is done, but I have more flexibility. I am more in charge of my time.” So what is happening now is that people don’t wanna go back to the office when companies are saying, “Well, it’s time to go back to the office.” And then that’s when they come talk to me because they wanna find options to keep working remotely. And I always tell my clients and people in general that the first option should be try to negotiate to go remote with your current manager, if you’re working obviously. And also obviously, if you like the corporation, if you like the kind of job you’re doing. If you’re, like, decided to change careers or if you’re not happy with the company or the job you’re doing, you need to change jobs. And then you go for something different. But if you’re happy with your company, if you enjoyed working remotely during the pandemic or if you didn’t work remotely but would like to give it a try ’cause it’s worth it–that company, that team, that manager–then the easiest thing is to talk to your current manager because trust is already there. They know you, they have been seeing the results that you bring to the table. You have a big knowledge about the corporation, the process, the clients, and all of that. There is a real cost of replacing an employee, hiring someone, and all the training. So it’s, like, they wanna keep you there probably, right? So how to make the most of that if you’re happy with the job. So the first thing I tell my clients to do when they wanna talk about going remote in their current companies, that they don’t improvise this kind of conversation. It’s a really serious topic, a really serious situation. So it’s not about improvising. And it requires preparation from the employee. So the first thing would be write it down, like, literally write it down a list of why you want to go remote. Why do you wanna keep working, working remotely or go remote for the first time? So have clarity about why do I wanna go for that? And also how it’ll impact the company if I start working remotely or if I keep working remotely. So see the situation from your perspective but also from the company’s perspective. It’s always interesting to bring their perspective instead of being selfish and just say “because I’m gonna save money with transportation” or “because I wanna play with my dog at lunch break.” So don’t make it like this. It’s gonna make you look silly and probably won’t achieve the results you want. So make a solid list of arguments of why you wanna go remote and how it would impact the company.
Can you give us a couple examples? What might be some things to consider from the company’s point of view? Like, obviously we all know why we might wanna be remote. But what are some things you might wanna consider from the company’s perspective?
If the company rents a place, for example, or working space or they have a big office and you don’t go there, they can save money with that. Which is what some companies did during the pandemic ’cause people were not going there. So if they had, like, four floors, they reduced to one floor and now they are, you know, considering paying again to rent the other three floors. So it’s like, “Well, you’re gonna save money. I won’t be there. I don’t need my table there,” for example. Yeah, anything related to, I don’t know, maybe they have some extra benefits. Like, you go to the office and there you have lunch. They pay your lunch or they pay for something. It’s like, “Look, I, I don’t need you to pay my lunch. I can have lunch at home as far as I can keep working remotely.” Also to not only material things, but bring to the table, like, “Look, the clients are happy with my results during all this time that I have been working remotely. My performance didn’t go down. So the fact that I’m not physically in the office already confirmed that it doesn’t affect the fact that I’m not here.” So if you work remotely during the pandemic, of course you’re gonna have way more arguments. And sometimes we take for granted that your manager will remember all of them when you’re having this conversation. But, hey, the manager has other things. It’s your movement to ask to go remote. So it’s your responsibility to bring the list and say, “Look, that client, I was able to handle that even if he was the most difficult client.” Or, “I could meet that deadline even working from home.” Or, “When we had that problem, I could figure out how to find information even if we didn’t have all the systems in process.” So yeah, try to go as deep as you can from the saving cost point of view. But also from, “I was delivering. I know the client. I can keep doing the thing. Uh, what we are doing in person, like visiting clients, I have been doing over Zoom for, like, two years. And the results are even better than they were before.” So it’s kind of remind yourself first and then be able to remind your manager about that just to make sure you’re on the same page. And also understand which is the worst thing that can happen after this conversation. Because I mean, we wanna be optimistic and ideally your manager is gonna say yes. But eventually you could, you know, maybe get fired. Maybe you could hear a no. And then are you willing to keep working in the office even after having this conversation? Or do you have a plan B in case they say no? So from your side, what is the worst-case scenario and how do you wanna deal with that? So it’s not about being pessimistic but instead being realistic and prepare for the consequences. Have options for you, um, and for the company also. And then obviously also think about the best thing that can happen, which is probably they say no, but maybe there is also an intermediate step. “Look, you cannot keep working fully remote. Maybe you can work remotely every Monday and Friday,” for example. So like a plan B, something intermediate. You’re still waiting for fully remote if this is your goal. But understand which other options could be also good for you and make sense for the company. And then once you have clarity about what you need to prepare before this conversation, then you decide about the conditions for the conversation itself. So it’s not something you wanna talk over coffee on the kitchen, running between one meeting or the other. Or the day that you know that your manager is angry because you lost a big project. You need to be smart and try as much as possible to choose the best moment because it is a delicate conversation. So try to put together the best condition. Like, schedule a formal meeting with anticipation. So there is no rush. “It’s not like I didn’t tell you.” “I just have five minutes.” Or– No, plan that. Book the time in the agenda. And then create a script for that three or four main topics that you wanna cover. How are you gonna introduce the topic? Which is the data that you wanna present? Some achievements that you did while you were working remotely? Or if you haven’t worked remotely before, what you think you can achieve? Or what you have learned during the pandemic that maybe you can implement? So bring the important topics. The less you improvise the better cause it’s a serious conversation. And also you don’t need to memorize all of that. You can easily even do, like, a PowerPoint presentation. Or print a document, one copy for you, one copy for them. So just bring it written down because the nerves in the moment might make you forget about it. So just write it down and it’s easier because you’re just following the script that you created before. I spoke to so many people that they say, “Yeah, yeah, I should have this conversation with my manager.” And then three months later, I’m like, “How did it go?” “Well, I did not find the time because we are very busy at work ’cause it’s (?). It’s always busy at work. There is always something important going on. So again, because this is your priority, you need to define a deadline. Your manager won’t say, “Hey, do you wanna talk about that talk?” He doesn’t know that you wanna have this conversation. So define a deadline. Try as much as possible. Maybe not the last day of the month, if you need to close stuff. But pick up a date and stick to it because otherwise you’re gonna keep postponing. And there is, like, a fear component because it’s a challenging conversation, right? There’s a lot of things on the table. So it’s easy to keep postponing. So to break this pattern down, just pick up a date. And then this is the date for the conversation. Then you need to organize the script and all of that. And then when you’re finally talking to the manager, be sincere with the person, with yourself about, yeah, why that is so important for you. So it is a professional conversation, but also show, like, “This matters for me. Like, I will be happier if I’m working like that. I wanna keep working for the company. I like my job. I know I have results to deliver. But this matters to me.” Because not everybody’s willing to keep working remotely or to work remotely. Some people are dying to go back to the office for a different reason. Maybe they feel lonely. Maybe they are not productive working from home. Or they don’t have a proper space at home and they cannot travel. So it’s like, “Why am I gonna keep working from home?” Some people have food in the office, snacks, and, like, a brand-new office. They’re like, “I just enjoy meeting people, having lunch with people. Uh, I separate, like, work and my personal life because at home I’m replying emails until 11 PM.” So not everybody wanna keep working remotely. So if you do, just show why it is that important for you. Show the results. Again, if you worked during the pandemic, you have, like, I don’t know, maybe 60% of the situation on your side because you have data to demonstrate that. Obviously if you worked well, right? Also share what you learned about yourself, about the work, about the client, things that improved, and new skills that you develop. So bring all those things to the conversation. And again, put yourself on the company’s shoes. So if you go for this important meeting and say “Look, I wanna work in my pajamas ’cause it’s more comfy” or “I want to save money,” that’s not the way you go for this kind of that. So think what is on it for the company. Like, “I’m gonna keep doing my job. It won’t really change much or anything for you. It’s just that physically I won’t be here, but you have ways to reach me out. I’m gonna keep doing the work as I have been doing. So my performance should not change.” So guarantee that to the company. Another thing that can help is suggest, like, a trial period. Instead of saying, “Yes, whatever,” just say, like, “Maybe for a month, two months, or three months and then we talk again. We review my goals and my performance and the client’s feedback.” That could be good especially if it’s the first time you’re going remotely. If you have been working remote for a year and a half, two years, maybe you can skip that. But some managers would say, “No, everybody’s going back. I don’t know how it’s gonna be only you being from home.” “Okay. So let’s give it a try.” And you play a bit this flexibility. But again, if you have done that during the pandemic, the chances that it work are really high. But you give your manager the possibility to review and talk again after a few months. It’s easier to say yes to small thing than to say “yes, whatever” especially if people are going back to the office. Just offer this one-month trial, two months, something like that. And then you talk again. This is kind of the guideline I tell people. But basically I would summarize: Prepare for this conversation. Don’t take for granted it’s gonna happen or “I’m gonna improvise something” or “I’m just gonna talk to my manager over the coffee machine.” No, this is a serious conversation. And the more you show that you’re ready to do that and committed to the company and the results, the higher the chance that they will say yes to you.
It sounds like one of the biggest issues people have with this conversation is they’re not taking it seriously. It sounds like the people you’re talking to, some of them are looking at this as more of a conversation to be had between meetings or, like you said, you know, in the lunchroom. Rather than the serious time of scheduling time, sitting down in an office, and having your notes prepared. It sounds like that makes a big difference.
Yeah, because probably if you need to have this conversation, you’re going against the movement that is happening in your company, right? So if you’re already remote, you don’t need this conversation. But if you wanna go be different than what other people are doing, then you need to have a solid argument to show why. If it makes sense to the company, how it won’t affect your performance, the service you deliver to the client. So yeah, it shouldn’t be improvised. Even if you’re very confident about yourself and your skills, I still suggest that you take at least, like, 20, 30 minutes to write down a few things, to prepare the script, to schedule the meeting, to… Yeah, like, when you’re in front of your manager, what are you gonna say? How are you gonna bring this topic up? So it does require preparation. The chances that you’re gonna get a better results will increase as much as you prepare for that.
I totally agree. And I really like the idea too… One of the first things you mentioned was consider the costs to a company. Worst-case scenario, if you lose your job, if you bring this up and they fire you, it costs money to hire a new employee. That is a cost for the company. And I think a lot of us forget. A lot of us are very focused on, “This is my job. I need an in income and losing my job would be bad.” But a lot of us forget that replacing an employee, especially a skilled or technical employee, can be very expensive and very time consuming. Walking into a meeting like this with that knowledge can give you an extra boost of confidence.
But also be prepared for, “Okay, what if they fire me? Am I willing to risk that?” Because remember, if you’re having this conversation, probably you are happy with your job. You are happy with the company, the clients, the work you do. So in a certain level, you are also risking that. But then it’s like, “Yeah, I definitely don’t wanna go back to the office. I would prefer to work remotely for the same company in the same job. But if I have to go back to the office, I’m gonna look for another job.” So in this case, well you have actually nothing to lose. You’re giving it a try in a safer environment. But if it doesn’t work, you know you’re gonna look for something else. So it’s valid also. But it’s important to reflect about those things to avoid surprises, right? If you know all the options, all the possible scenarios that can happen, well you’re more prepared to handle that.
Very good advice. There’s another aspect to this conversation: The idea that negotiating with a current employer is one challenge. But how do you find a job that you’re really passionate about if it means leaving where you are? Do you have any advice in that situation?
Yeah. When we talk about passionate job, it’s also important to understand that the perfect job doesn’t exist. So when people say my dream job, I use this term sometimes because people understand it. But personally, I don’t believe there is a perfect job because jobs are not perfect. Like, there will be always a small thing that you don’t like or that you like less or that colleague that, you know, bothers you a little bit. So I am completely pro going for a job that makes you happy. That brings your best version. That fulfills you. That you’re happy to do that, but it still, it won’t be perfect. So being passionate is different than finding the perfect job that I like 100% of the things that I do every single day of the month, every single day of the year. No, we are adults. So that’s not how things work. So it’s more like choosing a job that you like most of the things that you do. Like, most of the time I’m happy, I’m motivated, I enjoy what I do. And then there is a, probably still, a small part that you don’t enjoy. But I consider that you can call it a passionate job because you like most of it. You are happy about most of that. And that keeps you going. So just to say that the dream job or a perfect job doesn’t exist. But that said, once you have clarity about your life goals and your career goals, it’s a bit easier to find a job that aligns with that. If you’re just looking for money or “I just need a job because, yeah, everybody works,” then pretty much anything you get will do the work. But if you really wanna find something that you’re passionate about, that you enjoy, it’s important to align that with where I am in my life, in my career right now. Where do I wanna be in the short term, maybe in one year or two years? Where do I wanna be in five or 10 years? And I know it’s hard to think that far away, but when we think about which kind of life I wanna live. Maybe I don’t know the job exactly, but I know that I wanna have people reporting to me because I like to be a leader. I like to train people. Or I wanna make an impact in something related to the environment because this is something that I care about. Or I wanna be able to take my kids to school in the morning and then pick them up in the middle of the afternoon. Or I wanna be respected as a specialist in this area because I like people to recognize my… So all those things, they are mix of personal and professional thing. But once we have this clarity, you start eliminating jobs that are definitely not gonna give you that. And then you have a smaller list of jobs that you can play a bit and then start talking to people maybe that do a similar job because sometimes we imagine, “Oh, it would be cool to work in this job.” It seems perfect from the outside. And then when you talk to someone, it’s like, “Well, you know, it’s tiring. You know that, uh, you know, you have to study a lot or it gets very boring. You have to–” And then maybe you’re like, “Wow, I had no idea about that.” So yeah, once you eliminated some options, you start talking to people who are doing the job. And it could be, like, a 15-minutes, 20-minutes conversation. So obviously you won’t spend five hours asking the person everything. But maybe one question that we already give you a hint of “Oh, I like that” or, you know, “This is not exactly what I were thinking about.” Also understanding that every person is different. So you might have the same or a similar conversation with different people to get different perspectives. And then you, you make your own choice. But talking to people who are doing the job will bring you closer to the reality and give you more elements to go back to the clarity point of view and find is it bringing me closer to my short term-goals, to my long-term goals, and all of that. So you open up possibilities. Sometimes it’s as easy as, “I need to study something specifically. Learn one specific skill. That is the gap that I have between now and the job I’m passionate about. I just don’t know how to get there.” Maybe it’s a matter of a online course or a six-month course or one-year– Which is not that long if you’re thinking about a long-term game, right? So today you’d think you would like to try something, but you never try because you don’t have the skill and then you get stuck and then you’re not happy. Well, if you wanna give it a try to it, just learn something. And sometimes even, like, with YouTube tutorials, you can learn one specific skill or a program. So it doesn’t need to be like a formal education. But yeah, I would say clarity about where you are, where you wanna get professionally but also personally, and then which kind of job supports that. Not the other way around, “I’m gonna land a job and then I’m gonna structure my life all around the job.” That’s what most people do. But I believe we can do the other way around. <music>
That’s part one of our conversation. Thanks a lot for listening. And thank you to our guest, Juliana Rabbi. Today’s episode was edited by Genny Blauvelt. And I’m Jim Markus. Don’t forget to check out frugallivingpod on all the social media. That’s frugallivingpod, all one word. Frugallivingpod is on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, all over the place. And Frugal.fm. That’s where you can go to get show notes and transcripts. Anything we talk about in these episodes, anything we need to link to, more information about our guests, all of that is at Frugal.fm. And today’s show is brought to you, of course, by Brad’s Deals. That’s B R A D S D E A L S.com. Brad’s Deals has a team of editors who scour the internet for the best deals on everything. I’ve worked at Brad’s Deals for more than five years and I’ve never seen anything quite like it. All of my coworkers here love finding a deal. And it’s an incredible thing. When we talk about finding a job that you love, that’s what this career is. That’s what this company is. It’s a bunch of people who like to find deals and to share them with you. And it’s free to use. Go to BradsDeals.com. That’s B R A D S D E A L S.com. <music>
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Frugal Living is a podcast for smart consumers. How do you spend less and get more? The show, sponsored by Brad’s Deals, features interviews, stories, tips, and tricks. Jim Markus hosts season five, out now.