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Unsure How to Explain Why You Left Your Last Job? Here’s the Perfect Answer.

Unsure How to Explain Why You Left Your Last Job? Here’s the Perfect Answer.

This would be an inevitable question which you can’t ignore at any cost. There can be several reasons why you want to leave your current job or why you had left your previous job – and not all reasons can be rosy.

The most important thing is – are you sure about why you want to leave your job? In many cases, people take whimsical decisions to quit and later regret about leaving a place that could have added more values to their career graph. But if you know that your reasons are sorted enough, then you’ll be more confident in approaching you future/ prospective employer and answer his/ her questions in a more convincing manner.

Try to be honest while responding, because one irrelevant answer can lead to another tricky question. If you are honest and stick to your opinions, you’ll have a better image in the interviewer’s eyes. In today’s world of extreme competition in the job market, know that you are your toughest competitor and only you can surprise yourself.

Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question?

When an interviewer asks you this question, it means that he/she wants to understand the degree of your efficiency and commitment that you’ll have towards your work once you be a part of their company.

The interviewer usually tries to find a certain flow in your response, trying to figure out whether his company will get affected in anyway because of you. It is important for him/her to know whether you left your previous job on a good note or not. You can provide the reference of your ex-boss in order to make things simple and smooth – this will easily convince your interviewer that you were not kicked out on some apprehensive note. Did you leave the job because of some personal reason or because you felt you were unappreciated? – If so, then back your reply with proper reasons.

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Express your reasons skillfully and don’t act overconfident. Leave a space for the interviewer to make a positive opinion about you.

To put it more precisely, career expert Duncan Mathison, author of Unlock the Hidden Job Market: 6 Steps to a Successful Search When Times are Tough,[1] says that interviewers ask this question to “understand your motives and gain insight as to how [you] handle work relationships.”

How Should You Answer?

I had also left my previous job which wasn’t actually bad – I had a nice work environment with a super cool boss, but the work wasn’t something that really intrigued me. I wanted something else from life – and I had a very clear idea of what I was looking for.

I realized that the cubicle and the desktop with long hours of editing work wasn’t my cup of tea! I wanted to travel and write about places and people – in a way, I wanted to break out of the shackles of editing and give wings to my words that can reach out to millions of people and inspire them in some way or the other, to look deeper into their lives and to set themselves free.

Before I took to the step of resigning, I went for trek to the Himalayas, and amidst that solitude and eerie silence of nature, I fixated my mind and drew the strength of letting go of a well paying stable job in a skyscraper that looked extremely fancy from outside.

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After a sabbatical of 6 months when I explored the mountains and the beaches of India and spend a month in Bhutan, I came across my present company, which at once caught my attention with its volunteer and travel opportunities and aim of touching underprivileged lives in certain corners of the world. Quite evidently, my current boss also threw the question regarding my earlier job – I guess my views about my life and where I see myself to be, convinced him enough to offer me the job.

How A Well-Structured Answer Looks Like and Why It Is Good

Start replying with a similar statement and slowly built your answer on what type of growth you are looking for and what skills you possess to deal with the challenges that might come your way. If you can, then briefly narrate a couple of situations that you’ve tactfully handled at your previous workplace.

“I’ve worked in the company for quite some time, and at this point I was feeling that my growth has stopped. I am looking for something that will help me inculcate some new skills and values.”

Explain about the project that you’ve finished and how it has benefited you company. Slowly drift to the context of role change and what role exactly you are looking for. Do you feel that this company will be able to provide you with what you are seeking? – If yes, then how? Be clear with the answers, so that it doesn’t create any doubt on the interviewer’s mind.

“I wrapped up a very important project for the company and now I feel it is the perfect time for me to step out of the comfort zone and explore something new. I want to shift my job role, and my company doesn’t have a vacancy to offer what I’m looking for.”

Your honesty will surely be appreciated, and if you can demonstrate your skills and competency through your ideas and strategies, then you’ll essentially make a mark on the interviewer’s mind. Admit that you didn’t get a scope you were looking for and you are expecting to get it in this company.

“The company suffered a huge loss and they are planning to fire few of the newly employed staffs. Since I haven’t got a chance to prove myself yet, I am skeptic about my position. Therefore, I’m looking for a better option to put my skills at use, before I get laid off.”

While apparently it might seem very snobbish to quit a job for traveling, but if you know how much your journeys have taught you and what values it added to your life, then you’ll surely be able to convince the interviewer. Also, you can share some experiences that you’ve had while on the go – for example, some volunteering work that you’ve done, some random situation that posed a challenge etc. This will help him/her to know you better and assess your skills and vigor.

“I wanted to take a break and explore my passion of traveling and photography, something I had wished to do since a long time. I wasn’t very confident initially about doing away with a job, but I later realized that if I’m not happy in my shoes, I can’t help the company move forward. So I decided to quit and pursue my passion. Now I feel that my energy had doubled and my journeys have made me stronger than I’ve ever been. I feel I’m ready to work in a much better manner and fetch a win-win level for both your company and myself.”

Not getting proper appreciation can actually suck and your interviewer will be able to understand your point if you can successfully narrate your stance. Express that you are ready to take up challenges for growth and you don’t mind stretching your limits, if that fetches you good results. After all, a little appreciation is something we all deserve.

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“I feel that your company can provide me with better opportunities that I’m looking for. I realized that I wasn’t properly appreciated for the tasks I performed and the opportunity to grow wasn’t available to me in my previous company and that in order to continue to improve myself professionally, it was time to move on.”

Practice Your Answer Until You’re Confident About What You Say

No matter what, this question is difficult to be avoided at a job interview, and it’ll be better if you prepare the answer on your mind and keep repeating it until you are absolutely confident about what you are going to say. Remember that the key to success is to stay honest, clear and positive. Your mannerisms and body language will also compliment what you are saying – so make sure everything is in a sync.

Avoid speaking negatively about your erstwhile employer. Don’t try to make up stories on points that are irrelevant or unbelievable or may sound extremely gibberish to your interviewer.

Even he/she understands that nobody can stick to a job for an entire lifetime, it’s just that your reasons need to be good enough for quitting your previous job and convincing enough that you are the best candidate for the company!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

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Reference

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Riyanka Roy

Travel Writer and Blogger

Unsure How to Explain Why You Left Your Last Job? Here’s the Perfect Answer. 17 Little Things You Can Do To Be A Better Person in 2017

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

There is a great deal of advice in the world telling us how to succeed in life, but often we are given advice that isn’t tailored to our needs, desires and priorities. Success means different things to each of us, and living a life that feels genuinely successful to me might be very different to your idea of a successful life.

Naturally, when we follow the advice of someone else, which is tailored to their life goals and personality, we can end up with something that doesn’t deliver on the promise. We don’t get rewarded with our vision of success: we get theirs.

This is why I’m a proponent of self-discovery, introspection and personal sovereignty. So how to succeed on your own terms?

These 7 essential steps are not going to tell you exactly what to do, but they will provide you with the tools and the questions to ask so that you can discover your own path, so you know how to succeed in life on your own terms.

1. Know Thyself

One of Socrates’ most well-known quotes is,

An unexamined life is not worth living.

I argue that an unexamined life is not a successful one. Self-knowledge is something we could dedicate our lives to, but I’m not suggesting you sit around and navel-gaze in order to find happiness and meaning.

Thankfully, there are people who have created techniques and systems that less us fast-forward through a lot of personal philosophizing, and quickly identify some key aspects of what makes us, us.

You might want to find out what your ideal daily schedule is,[1] and you can take tests that reveal just that. Or you might want to figure out what you need to get things done – and yes, there’s a quiz for that too.

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None of these tests are infallible, and some are more scientific than others, but the process of asking yourself questions about your behaviors and traits is invaluable when it comes to determining your path to succeed in life.

For example, if you know you are an introvert and are unhappy in your current workplace, it might be worth considering why that is (an open plan office space perhaps) and what you would prefer.

It’s these little questions that will provoke answers in you that can guide the decisions that truly improve your life now and in the future.

2. Figure out What Matters to You

What lights you up? This is a question that often gets forgotten as we age. A fortunate child will be given the stimulation they desire in the form of bright toys, affection and entertainment. Little by little, the things that bring a child joy get replaced by what society demands on their behalf.

When we return to that question, and ask ourselves what really matters and what brings us joy, we can move closer towards a successful life. It can help to think back to your childhood, and the times in your life when you were in what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a flow state.[2]

In a state of flow, time slows and our focus is directed like a laser. We are fully present.

Whilst not everything in life that matters to you will conjure up a flow state, it’s a good indication of the kind of activities and experiences you can try to incorporate into your life on a regular basis.

A successful life is made up of moments like this, and when you know what matters to you and brings you a sense of joy and purpose, you can go about creating more of that.

3. Play to Your Strengths

Why spend your time only on mitigating your weaknesses, only to feel average? Instead, playing to your strengths and amplifying those skills and qualities you already have will help you go from average to extraordinary.

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If you’re great at big picture thinking and love dreaming up new ideas, but often lack attention to detail, acknowledge that. Then instead of trying to improve your analytical skills, focus instead on developing your existing skills of imagination and insight. When you need someone with a keen eye for detail, you can collaborate with those people.

Jackson Pollock was an extreme introvert, with no real desire to get his artwork in front of people. Fortunately, he had Clement Greenberg, who was much further towards the extrovert end of the spectrum, to popularize his work and get Pollock the publicity he needed.[3]

Start by identifying your strengths and what comes naturally to you. Then work on developing those and becoming known for those strengths. You can always find someone who will help you in fill in the gaps.

4. Listen to Yourself

It isn’t always clear to us that we’re on a path that leads us to failure or to success. People can spends decades in a job that is unfulfilling and slowly breaking their spirit, without even realizing it – until it’s too late. This is usually because they haven’t learned how to truly listen to themselves.

The challenge we face is that we’re listening to so many other sources of information; whether it’s the news, television, social media, family, friends or colleagues. Many may want to help, but that doesn’t mean they know what’s best for us. Only you know what success means for you, and working this out begins with listening to yourself.

Listening to yourself requires practice. It’s a daily effort, which over time, does get easier. That inner voice of wisdom will get clearer, and the decisions you make will feel more convincing.

To start, you could try to set aside 10 to 15 minutes when you first wake up, in silence. Rather than look at your phone, checking emails or social media, simply sit in silence, listening.

Ask yourself a simple question like, what am I feeling right now, in this moment? Notice the answer that bubbles up, without getting lost in the story. Starting an inner dialogue, without judgment is one of the key tools you can use to start making better decisions in your life.

Learn more about listening to your true self in this guide: How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment

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5. Listen to Others (But Not Everyone)

Listening to yourself is one thing, but listening to others is crucial in order to learn, empathize and be of benefit to your community.

Truly listening to others is not just waiting patiently until it’s your turn to speak. Active listening requires focused attention, and the intention to understand where the other person is coming from.

When you do this, you can ask better questions and discover more about the world and everyone in it, as well as learn how to interact with others in order to succeed in life on your own terms.

However, this doesn’t mean you have to listen to everyone you come across. Trolls on the internet may come into the category of people not to listen to. Some people’s opinions will do more harm than good, as not everyone has your best interest in mind.

It’s worth identifying a shortlist of people whose opinions you will listen to. Brené Brown, author of the New York Times best-seller Daring Greatly, recommends taking a 1-inch x 1-inch square of paper and make a list of people whose opinions matter to you. These are the people who love you and will genuinely support and help you. According to Brown,

“If you need more paper, you need to edit.”

6. Make Time for Reflection

It’s easy to go through life without taking inventory of what you’re actually accomplishing. Missing this crucial step means we end up jumping from one goal to the next, without feeling like we’re getting anywhere.

Make time, ideally each day to reflect. You might keep a paper journal, or an online document. Either way, jot down:

  • What went well today
  • Something you’re grateful for
  • What would make tomorrow even better

Doing this can have measurable benefits to our overall sense of well-being, as well as keeping us focused for more success in the future.[4]

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It also helps combat feelings of lack and doubt, that arise when we compare ourselves to others. When we look at someone who appears to be more successful than us in an area of life, we can forget how far we’ve come and how much we have to be grateful for.

Making time to reflect on what you have accomplished is critical to keep you on track, and just not looking at what others are doing.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind

Arguably the most important step of all:

Remember that there’s nothing wrong in changing your mind and correcting course.

The path to a successful life is not straight and narrow. It meanders and there’s no harm in going back and picking a different (and better) route.

“I think our life is a journey, and we make mistakes, and it’s how we learn from those mistakes and rebound from those mistakes that sets us on the path that we’re meant to be on.” — Jay Ellis

Be willing to make mistakes, learn from them and change your mind. Ultimately, there’s no better way to succeed in life on your own terms.

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Featured photo credit: Shirly Niv Marton via unsplash.com

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