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  • Writer's pictureNeža Krek

I just turned down my dream job

Here’s why.

There are moments in life when you dearly want something but you know it is not healthy if you accept it. No, not talking about greasy food here. The same principle applies to careers and our decisions what jobs we accept. I was offered what a year ago would have been my dream job. Today I turned it down.

If you have been reading my blogs for a while now, you know I love (and I mean LOVE) learning. Yup, I'm a sucker for discovery, depth and personal growth. More, my passion for bringing transformational learning techniques to a broader audience is what brought me to The Netherlands 6 years ago. You might also know that in the last 8 years I have been working as an entrepreneur, freelancer and an employee in different organisations that offer some type of deeper learning experience:

in Portugal I did my best to offer a different perspective on life to my students in a remote and underprivileged rural area

at Go Mad (my 1st company) and Women Entrepreneur Club Amsterdam we helped people who wanted to shape purpose-based companies

at Meaningful Meetings (my 2nd company) I helped teams make every day meetings into an opportunity to connect and learn about the company on a deeper level

at Knowmads Business School in Amsterdam I regularly teach how can you use transformational learning approaches to create workshops and curriculums that stick

and is becoming a hub for guiding women through a profoundly transformational learning experience to help them design a career that fits them and their dreams for life

The HOW through all these initiatives is using a non-conventional approach to teaching (=facilitation of transformational learning). A few weeks ago I was offered what a year ago would have been my dream job. A great educational organisation working with international students who want to become entrepreneurial changemakers invited me to develop their curriculum and facilitate young future entrepreneurs through the process of becoming the professionals they dream of with a smile on their faces :) I'd make sure the students felt safe, dared to go deeper in their exploration of what do they want to do in life, what is their goody box of talents, dreams and change they want to see happening in the world. I would be there to support them through the ordeals that soul based entrepreneurship comes with (=coaching). It boils down to "I'd get paid on a regular basis to do what I most love to do + know I am crazily good at." Imagine: no more financial insecurity of a business, no more being on my own for all the decisions as a solopreneur, no more learning about technology that comes along with choosing for the online biz world. Heck, this job would even check my professional mission of "filling the world with people who love their work".

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Now why on Earth did I turn down this shiny opportunity?

A few reasons really:

The job doesn't support the vision for the lifestyle I CHOSE FOR.

Saying yes to the position would mean I'd need to pause or stop my business - my vision for how to make change happen on this planet.

I chose to see it as a test for my commitment to my vision.

Here is my thought process for each of the points + questions for you to check with yourself and course correct if necessary.

"The job doesn't support the vision for the lifestyle I CHOSE FOR."

Did you see the big letters for I chose for? Creating a career that really makes you happy on the long run, nourishes your deepest values, brings up the best in you can only be one that supports the lifestyle you want to live right here, right now. Your life circumstances change and your lifestyle with it. Take my example, if you will. A little over a year ago we welcomed Svit into the world and our lifestyle changed drastically. Luckily, we were blessed with the possibility to choose for a child in the time in our lives that suited us. So, becoming parents at 36, moving to a city with practically no social net to help us, was a conscious decision. Maybe not the most elegant, stress-free one, but it was ours nonetheless. We were also aware of what it will bring: an agreement that my partner would find a job that fits with his innovation driven ideas and I would build a business on a slower pace, working max 3 days a week. Combining how we live our lives and the new routine the job I was offered would bring big clashes into our daily routine. Running home to pick up Svit from the kindergarden, stressing out about what's for dinner, having working times end smack in the peak traffic hours and leaving our kiddo at the creche way longer that I would be comfortable with etc. A minus point for the job. A plus point for sticking to what I do now.

Now a few questions to you, my dear:

What kind of a lifestyle do you want to live?

How do you envision to go through your week?

And, is your current career enabling you to live that vision?


"Saying yes to this position would mean I'd need to pause or stop my business."

Handy to know, the position required a 1-year minimal commitment of a 5 days/week presence. That meant, no possibility for me to squeeze in another day here or there, work with private clients that are knocking on my virtual door, no more cool side projects like helping a friend write a fun approachable book on climate change etc. I believe you are an active lady, full of ideas you want to see to fruition. Be it a trip around the world, be it speak on the next conference on the topic you love be it change the way client service is done in the company you work for. Whatever it is - you know that once you've put a lot of energy into an initiative, you feel its importance and you start seeing results, it's really hard to simply drop it and leave. My work is also my vision for how to make change happen on this planet. I believe that by helping women take charge of their own career change I am creating opportunities for families to live happier lives (happy mama = happy household), for good companies to thrive (relaxed employee = more flow and effectiveness for the company), for kids to believe anything is possible (trusting female caregivers = kiddos that fly). I could go on what is the ripple effect if a woman is feeling she contributes to this world for the better! Boiling it down: I can reach and help more women and thus impact more families, companies etc with my business than working with about 40 students in the 1 year I would by taking the job.

Now a few questions to you, my dear:

What is it that you are pursuing with your career?

What is the bigger calling you are answering with your work?

What is the one-liner that makes your decision making process an easy one?

A minus point for the job. A plus point for sticking to what I do now.


"I chose to see it as a test for my commitment to my vision."

As a conscious career designer I need to make decisions on a daily basis regarding what to say yes to and what to discard. This 'dream job' opportunity was a very big test for me. This is what went through my mind: "Well, maybe I can give myself a year of just building an audience and not offer anything, no courses, no 1 on 1 coaching possibilities, no webinars etc. Maybe I can use my work with the students as inspiration for writing kickass articles, reports etc. and then resume after a year." I asked myself: is this a really great opportunity or is it just another shiny object distracting me on my path? What if the universe is sending me this opportunity to test my commitment to the cause? This one was a difficult to answer. Distinguishing between an opportunity that needs your attention and a distracting shiny object is a daily dance for entrepreneurs and freelancers. Probably for employees a bit less, but it is still a good way to plough through other people's priorities. What gave me the answer I eventually stuck to was my intuition. I spoke to my inner mentor, that calm voice I can tap into at every given moment and ask for any kind of guidance. In my vision, it was the first time she didn't say anything but did something even better. She showed a marvellous view: a grassy meadow bustling with flowers, butterflies and fun bugs humming around. In the middle of the meadow two young heads were picking flowers. A blond one and a brown one. I got the message: I am also in a time that I want to see my kids grow, I want to be a mom again soon and I want to build a life where they know I am there for them if they need my support. That can currently only happen if I am present in their lives, if I am present in mine. That currently excludes commuting and entrusting my kids to daycare for over 10 hours a day. Another minus point for the job. Another plus point for sticking to what I do now.

Now a few questions to you, my dear:

What are the shiny objects currently on your path?

What are the pros & cons on a rational level?

What is your intuition whispering in your inner ear?


When I turned down the position with very light heart, I said one last thing to the person on the other side: "I want you to know I didn't say NO to the organisation. I said YES to myself." The reaction was: "Thank you for saying that. From what I heard, you made a good decision." And I did :) I am here, with you, determined to help you design the career you long for. One step at a time. Big hug, Neža and GluGlu


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