Frugal Living: How Do You Find Your Dream Job? (Part 2)

Frugal Living: How Do You Find Your Dream Job? (Part 2)

In this week’s episode, Jim continues his conversation with Juliana Rabbi, a career coach about crafting her dream job. Listen to the latest episode of  Frugal Living on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsAnchor.fmiHeartRadio, 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. We talked with Juliana Rabbi, a career coach and former recruiter for multinational corporations, to learn from her expertise.

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. 

To hear the full conversation, check out Frugal Living on Apple Podcasts.

Read a Transcript From This Episode

Jim (00:03):
This is Frugal Living. <music> We’re back with part two of our conversation with the career coach of the century, Juliana. Our conversation last week talked a lot about negotiating, a work that you love. And that conversation continues today. Here it is. <music>

Jim (00:33):
One thing specifically that you mentioned that I think our frugal listeners will really appreciate is the idea that you can learn a skill, a very specific skill, on YouTube for free. One example might be if you’ve ever seen a job post and it says, “Have you worked with this piece of software?” That’s a perfect opportunity to go to YouTube. And if it’s, you know, if it’s Adobe or if it’s, you know, a big name brand, oftentimes you can get a free 30-day trial of that software, follow a YouTube tutorial, and now you have experience with that specific skill. And you can apply and be honest in the interview. Not only have you taken the plan, looked at where you were and where you wanted to be, but you can say, and maybe be the only candidate to say, “I’ve taken these specific steps for your role, for this job.” And that will potentially make you stand out.

Juliana (01:23):
I had clients who have done a very similar thing. She was doing a job interview and there was this specific program that she had never heard about. And then that’s exactly what I told her. “Did you search on YouTube?” “No, but…” “No but, just go and search.” And then there were some tutorials and all of that. So I remember she spent, like, the whole weekend. It was, like, on Friday they mentioned that the interview was on Monday. And they send the job description and they were mentioned this program. So she spent the whole weekend watching as many videos that she could, you know, find. And it was hard and she was tired and all of that, but she made it. She made it. And I, I told her the same thing. Like, “You can even bring it up.” Like, “I didn’t know by Friday. Now I’m not an expert, but I understand what it works for. I saw the screens, so I, I have a visual idea, also, of how it works. I use the similar program.” Because once you understand the program from inside, you can say, “I use the similar one that was for the same functionalities.” And all of that. So long story short: She not only got the job–And she’s a friend of mine, so I really follow up close later what happened. Right?–she ended up being the only person in the company who knows the program.

There was another one, but the person left. So she ended up being the only person. And then she was training others about the program. And now she got promoted and she was, like, feeling sorry to leave because the program ended up being, like, her baby. So I was like, “Oh my goodness.” For so many, for, like, two or three years, she was the only one who could use the program. Right? People from other offices were calling her and like, “Oh, can you teach me? Where do I click?” And all of that. So she went from “I have never heard about it literally on a Friday and I have an interview on Monday that includes this program” to “I was training people when being a reference into their organization for other offices in case people had questions about it.” So it is possible.

Also LinkedIn Learning. It’s a great way to learn those things. There is also the free version that you can take. I think it’s one month per year you can take the free version of LinkedIn Learning. And there are hundreds, thousands. I don’t know how many courses about any kind of topic, pretty much. Just type on the search bar. Even, like, I don’t know, how to land the remote job, how to perform well on a job interview, SAP, or programming, whatever. There are several. Or some are, like, two minutes, which I think it’s not that helpful. But you have, like, eight-hours course, six-hours course, all of that from different respected professionals. So it’s also another way. I’m very pro using the free resource that is available out there as a first option. And then you decide if you wanna pay. Then you pay people who are specialists and all of that, but try to learn what is available. It’s all legal, it’s there. So just make the most of LinkedIn Learning, free trial version for 30 days. It’s also an option.

Jim (04:11):
Perfect. And I love that too. Again, with a frugal audience in mind, sometimes frugal does mean paying. If a small investment will get you a large salary increase, maybe that’s worth it. Maybe that’s worth the expense. And it’s something, again, to go back to one of the main themes of our conversation, that goes back to planning. Sit down, figure out where you are and where you wanna be. Is this a worthwhile investment? You will know when you sit down and evaluate your situation.

Juliana (04:38):
Yeah. I wanna bring a, a different topic. Sometimes it’s about learning one skill that you’re missing, one program, one thing. And then once you learn that, you can go for the job you want to apply for. But another thing that I’ve seen a lot happen is that people assume that they need something to go for the job that they want or to make the next career step that makes sense to them. So they assume, I think, I guess, probably, and they never check and then they stop themselves before even trying. So I have another real example, a client who hired me. She was a project manager. She had experience already as a project manager, but she didn’t have a ScrumMaster certification. She didn’t have the formal certification.

And then when she hired me, the first meeting, I remember she said, “Yeah, I don’t think I will be able to land a remote job because I don’t have a ScrumMaster certification.” I was like, “Okay.” And then she mentioned that a few times again, I was like, “Okay. So how do you know that? Like, who told you that?” “No, probably is like that.” I was like, “OK.” So she went from “I want” to “probably.” I was like, “Okay.” So what we did, among other things, was, like, “Let’s check real job offers for companies that you would like.” So we started from defining her dream companies and then connect with people in the organization and then finding the job. So it was, like, a whole funnel. But to make it shorter when she was finding jobs she would like to work for, to apply for, I told her, “Check at least 10 of those jobs and see how many requires a ScrumMaster certification as mandatory. And also take note in case it is optional or variable.”

Juliana (06:16):
And then in the next meeting, she was like, “Twenty percent of the jobs, they require that.” Right? So she starts seeing that in her mind, she was creating a story and excuses in one way. Right? She don’t give it a try or she stop herself from trying. And then she was like, “Yeah, actually it looks like the market is not requiring that.” And then that gave her motivation and confidence to say, “Hey, maybe I do meet the requirements. Maybe I’m ready to make this step and start applying for remote jobs.” So she landed her first fully remote job–that was before the pandemic–in only one month. And I think up to now, she never did this ScrumMaster. That was, like, before the pandemic. So she was hired by an outsourcing company. Six months later, she was hired directly by the company. As far as I know, she never got this ScrumMaster certification. And she, you know, changed contract, got better conditions, and she works directly for the company now.

So sometimes we create excuses. And it might be in a, not very conscious level, but it’s normal. There, you know, “Oh, no, no. I’m not that good. Oh, I don’t have that many years of experience. Oh, I’m missing that thing.” Maybe you’re not, maybe you’re not. So instead of stopping yourself, it’s interesting to check the reality of the job market. And you do that by checking job description, reading carefully, and seeing if, you know, what you think it’s a requirement, it is a requirement. And talking to people. Sometimes you’ll see people who change careers from a completely different area and they are working there and they don’t have the certification. You’re like, “Wow, I have five years experience. That person has six months and is in the company”. Well, that’s a good sign, right? The company’s very open to hire people with lower experience. So probably you have opportunity. So check the reality instead of creating those stories that human beings like to do very often.

Jim (08:10):
I haven’t really thought about that, but you’re absolutely right. Sometimes the barriers are just our own mental barriers. You know, we’ve seen certifications that some of our peers have, and maybe we just assume. Or where you’re working. Maybe you can’t. You know, it, sometimes it just takes realizing where you’re working isn’t the whole world. Everyone has different expectations for their employees.

Juliana (08:31):
And when it comes to remote work, I mean, obviously sometimes you must have a certification in a certain degree, obviously. And if it is a requirement, a mandatory requirement, well, it is what it is. You might even decide to, “I won’t apply now for the job because I don’t wanna close doors. So I’m gonna take the certification. And then I come back so that this would be a smart decision.” But sometimes it’s about, “Are you capable to do the job? Do you have the skills? Do you know how to do this? Can you show me? Like, I’ll send you an assessment, you do it within 24 hours, and then if I like the results, it demonstrates that you’re able to do that.” So not all remote companies are all about titles and certifications and, and all of that because they need the work to be done. If you can do that, if you’re proactive, if you can find solutions for problems, if you can, you know, manage your time, well those things probably will be more important than, “Oh, you don’t have the certification.” But you know how to do the stuff.

Jim (09:29):
No, you’re right. Like, what is the most valuable thing? And spend time doing that.

Juliana (09:34):
And if the company does require an MBA in something that you don’t have. And you don’t have the money, you don’t have the two years to do the MBA, well, maybe that’s not the organization for you right now. Right? So check other options. Or, like, do you have the money and the time to invest in the MBA because it’s a requirement? “Yes, and I wanna do that.” Well, so go for it. That’s perfect. And then once you’re finished, you can apply for the company. But in the meantime, maybe you get another job that could be like a bridge job, you know? So it’s taking you closer to what you want. It’s giving you more experience. The conditions are good. You like what you’re doing. It’s not the job yet. It’s like, “Oh, I’m super happy. I’m completely fulfilled.” No. But it’s, “I don’t hate my job. And it’s one step closer to the next job that I wanna have.”

So those intermediate moves also, they are important ’cause sometimes the, the jump we wanna make is too big. Imagine you never worked remotely, right? During the pandemic, you’re still going to the office because of whatever circumstances you’re doing that. And now you wanna go remote and you wanna be a manager and you wanna have an amazing salary and you wanna have all the perks. Is it possible? Yes. Is it easy? No. Is there something intermediate that you can do? Yeah. Maybe a job with a little bit lower responsibility or maybe a hybrid job to start, maybe a fully remote job in a different area in a company that you know you can grow because you do have the background. It’s just that they haven’t seen you work remotely yet.

So maybe you take a job that, you know, you know, in six months, one year you can get promoted within the company because you like the organization. So it’s like, “I would love to keep developing my career in that organization. So I don’t mind starting a different position because I’m gonna do my best and I know I’m good at what I do, so I’m gonna grow.” So there are different ways to get there instead of just, “Oh, it is the senior manager position or I don’t apply for that company.” Maybe there are intermediate options that make sense for you and will bring you closer to your goals.

Jim (11:42):
I like that because it’s realistic. You have options. It doesn’t have to be the end goal right away. What steps do you need to take to get there? I like it. I’ve done it myself. And I totally recommend it. To go back to your experience specifically, how did you get started with, you know, being a digital nomad, working where you wanna work?

Juliana (12:02):
It was a process. So very few things in life happen just like that. Normally there is a long work and a process that people don’t see. They don’t talk much about it. So it’s nice to be able to share that. So I started working remotely in 2014. I was still living in, in Spain. And it was not my choice at the first moment. So there was some internal changes in the company. It was a group of companies. And then there was, like, a big dismissal and they said, “Look, the, we have two options for you. Or can you change your contract to another company in the group, within the group. Or we’re gonna fire you.” And I said, “OK, let’s go for the first option. I will change contract.” But then I was physically based in Madrid at the time. And the other company, the, their office was based in Barcelona. So from literally one day from the other, it’s like, “Well, you cannot enter at the office anymore.” I was like, “Oh, how does it work?” They said, “We don’t know, we are gonna have to figure it out.” And then I start working remote. I was already, like, traveling a lot because of work. I was a recruiter at the time. So I was already traveling internationally to interview people. So I was already away from the office, but I was not officially not allowed to go to the office. So it was a kind of change.

And then we started experimenting how I was working from the office. Some of my team was still in Madrid. Some of the team was in Barcelona. I was from home at the time. So very early in the journey, I figured out that I loved that. It worked out for me. I had to make adjustments like how to organize my time. Where am I gonna work? Like, a proper working table. And I had dogs at the time. So I don’t wanna be playing with the dog. I was tempted to be playing with the dogs all the time, but I knew I couldn’t because I was working. So those small adjustments, right? But I very soon figured out that it was great for me. And I could do the job and the company was happy and all of that. I ended up even moving to Barcelona where the office was located.

And I went back to the office for, like, a month and I was like, “Oh no, no. What am I doing there? Like, no.” Because it was just logical as I was living in the city where the office is. “Okay, I’m gonna go to the– No, definitely not.” So anyways, there was no way back for me. So I went from working from home to, uh, I start traveling from time to time, a little bit. And then I changed jobs, but then my requirement was already I’m just going for remote jobs. So yeah. And then at some point I was like, “I wanna travel more.” There was the thing. I was traveling from time to time, but it was not enough. So there were steps. At some point working from home was already, “Whoa, that’s amazing. Wow. I never thought about it.” And then after it was like, “Yeah, I also wanna travel.” And then the small travels. And then like, “I wanna live traveling. I wanna travel full time. I wanna make this my lifestyle. And not business travel. I wanna decide where I go, how long I go, where I stay, and all of that.”

So I started, it was, like, 2018. I started creating this new reality for me. So I call it my life and career transition because I already still had my full-time job as a recruiter. At the same time, I was doing two freelancer gigs and I was start having my own clients. So I had, like, four jobs at the time. I was working, like, 11, 12 hours per day. It was a crazy time. Yeah, it was very intense, but it was the way I chose to create another source of income before removing the income I had from my nine-to-five remote job. And I didn’t wanna touch my savings. So I know that it doesn’t work for everybody, but that was, like, the choice I made. I was like, “I wanna create this without touching my savings. So I need to pay the price.” And I did pay working, like, 11, 12 hours per day until October, 2019.

Then I quit my full-time job. Remote already, but still, like, contract. I still had to be most of the time in, in Spain. And then I start traveling and working with all the flexibility. But it looks amazing from the outside. It looks like, “Wow, that’s cool.” It is cool. But there is a journey to get there. And once you are there, it’s like, “Okay, now I am my own boss. Now I need to make this thing work.” And then it’s not only I’m being a career coach, which I’m very good at, but it also comes with the accounting part, the marketing part, the sales, and handling the team, and define about the business strategy. So there are so many things that come with that. So it’s intense journey, I would say, but I’m enjoying the process.

Jim (16:34):
It seems like you’re well-suited for it. It seems like you were willing to put in the long hours during the tough transition period. But you also seem like the kind of person who likes a challenge.

Juliana (16:44):
I like new challenge. Yeah. I always say that it’s not the easiest choice because when you travel on holiday, it’s one approach. It’s one mindset. But when traveling is your lifestyle, it changes the way you relate to the city. You are, the way you organize your time, your priorities, your work agenda, all of that change. So yeah, every, every choice has pros and cons. Working remotely for a company, you have way more stability. You know that money’s coming at the end of the month. You have less freedom. You can create plans. You have to follow more rules. Now I’m way more flexible to create the way I work. My agenda and all of that. But everything comes with a price. <music>

Jim (17:38):
That was part two of our two-part conversation on finding a job you love. Thanks to this week’s guest, Juliana Rabbi. Today’s episode was edited by Genny Blauvelt, and I’m Jim Markus. Remember to check out if you wanna see the show notes or transcript from today’s episode or any episode from all of our history. All of it’s there at And Frugal Living is brought to you by Brad’s Deals. B R A D S D E A L If you like finding deals, if you want to work at Brad’s Deals, check out the career section of that site, submit your resume on Brad’s Deals. Scroll down to the bottom, check out the career site, and let ’em know Frugal Living sent you. Thanks again for listening. <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.