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There are three forces, says author James Citrin (MBA 1986), that are “at fundamental war with one another” when people are trying to find a job: compensation, lifestyle, and job satisfaction. “So if you think about those three points and what I call the career triangle,” says Citrin in a piece at Big Think, “it's relatively easy to maximize one point on the triangle and it's often okay to maximize the second, but usually the third point slips.”

Citrin, partner at executive search firm Spencer Stuart, offers a few potential examples: A job in a law firm that offers satisfaction and money, but requires long hours. A role at an environmental nonprofit that meets interests and lifestyle needs, but doesn’t pay well. “At least recognizing that there are trade-offs is really powerful. And what I like to say is you can have it all those three dimensions, but not necessarily at the same time and certainly not in your first job or two or three coming out of college.”

His advice to new grads? Don't hunt perfection.

Now, you know that the first thing you do you will actually have massive downstream effects, because who you get exposed to, what brand you get affiliated with, who you meet and what you actually are working on—that will become kind of the basis of your next job and your next job and your next job. So yes it is very important, but at the same time it's too easy to get paralyzed looking for perfection versus just getting in there. And your story will evolve based on what you’re doing. And it's important to you to kind of control your career narrative. It's like, “Here's why I did this and here's therefore what I learned and here's what I'm looking for.”

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Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 1986, Section G
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