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To keep the pros and cons in perspective, she recommends regularly taking the pulse on your job satisfaction. You’re just not that into the position—but you need a job.

If it’s at 80%, you’re doing pretty well—but if it dips to 40%, it may be time to move on. Whatever the reason, not knowing enough about a company, a role or the person interviewing you leaves an equally poor impression. At 21 she felt overqualified for a telemarketing job but needed the income.

That’s the situation Golda Manuel found herself in when, at 28, she scored a pharmacist position at a health care company in San Francisco.

“My attraction to the job was the breadth of impact I thought I could have, but there was no time to focus on one customer—it was very impersonal,” recalls Manuel.

Boy, was I wrong.” The Silver Lining Lesson: This kind of career reality check can inspire soul-searching—and ultimately lead you in an unexpected, more satisfying direction.Some of the most important lessons you learn during your first decade working in “the real world” come from one source: The school of hard knocks.There are professional failures you can’t predict, opportunities that end up being too good to be true, and moments when you don’t live up to your potential.“It’s perfectly acceptable to say to someone that you will check or look into something before assuring them it can be done,” Toffolo says.Understanding why a project left you unprepared can also highlight professional areas of improvement.“It’s a skill that has served me very well.” In fact, Toffolo graciously apologized for her error and, years later, that same man gave her a job. ” attitude can build a reputation as a team player—until you find yourself in danger of seriously dropping the ball.

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