Views & News

Resist the Pressure to Land ANY Full-Time Job


Searching for your next great job can be stressful, and the stress is only compounded when you’re worried about your money running out. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you have to find a full-time job that’s the right professional fit AND that you have to do it in time to cover your next rent check.

From my years spent guiding job seekers, I know that it is rare for personal and work situations to align so that two challenges are solved at exactly the same moment with exactly the same solution. So conflating your longer-term career goals with your need for immediate cash is a mistake.

This is not to say that separating earning cash from job searching is easy. For many of us, identity is tangled in how we earn our money. And you may fall into the trap of thinking you're a failure if you need to take a short-term paying gig. But the alternative – rushing to take a full-time professional position that is wrong for you – can have long-lasting and detrimental career effects.

The right full-time job for you is out there, but it may take longer to find than you hope or plan. Finding alternative ways to make money to sustain yourself while you search will alleviate the pressure to move too fast. Earning cash will also help you avoid making the wrong professional decisions because you need to eat and keep a roof over your head. Finding a job shouldn't take that many hours (we encourage our clients to spend up to 8 hours a week to land their jobs), so most people in search mode have time to work too. 

Fortunately, there are many options for earning immediate cash – several offer non-traditional schedules that can provide you with the flexibility you need to continue your job search, interview during business hours, and still exercise, volunteer, and spend time with family and friends. Some examples include dog walking, food service, delivery services (PostMates, DoorDash, etc.), retail, and temporary office work. 

Remember, working just to earn cash is temporary - it's part of your strategy to reach your professional goals. Relieving unnecessary pressure (either self-imposed or from others) supports your overall self-care and wellness. By covering your basic needs, you will be mentally ready to shine when you do identify the job that’s right for you. 

At ArcVida we guide our clients to find the right professional, full-time fit. If you are actively job-hunting, I invite you to experience this personalized service for yourself: Free Trial




Published on 2/20/2019

Does Your Career Spark Joy? Take the QUIZ….

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With the Netflix’s series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo streaming into living rooms across the country, many people have started asking which of their possessions spark joy and which do not. Whatever you may think of Kondo’s method of tidying up your physical surroundings, there is no question that her driving question can also be useful when considering the non-material aspects of your life, specifically your career.

Granted, some days, asking “Does my job spark joy?” may be too high a bar. Every role and every company come with frustrations, and it is neither wise nor realistic to expect round-the-clock joyfulness. But your job should bring you joy – or at least a thrill – much of the time. Even thinking about work on down days should elicit something positive – whether it’s excitement, challenge, long-term fulfillment, connection, growth, or something else that matters to you. If the work you’re doing now sparks only relief that you’re getting a paycheck, it’s likely time to start thinking about your next step. 

Here’s one thing I know for sure: if your job elicits a feeling of dread, then you need to start discovering a better fit. 

Many people’s thoughts about their careers fall somewhere in between utter joy and abject dread, which means it’s not always obvious whether finding new work is the right thing to do. Also, not everyone wants the same thing from a career, so cookie-cutter advice is rarely helpful. But questions that clarify your own thinking ARE usually helpful, so here’s a short quiz to help you determine whether it’s time to move on: 

1. Which word best describes how you feel on Sunday night when you think about going to work the next morning?

A. Excited

B. Happy

C. Bored

D. Tired

E. Anxious and/or depressed


2. When someone asks you about your work, how do you respond?

A. You talk so eagerly about your work that sometimes you worry you bore people.

B. You’re happy to talk about your work, but you’re more curious about what they do.

C. You tell them briefly what you do and then change the subject.

D. You give a two-word description and roll your eyes and shrug as if to say, “It’s work, what can you do?”

E. You launch into a rant about everything about your job that makes you miserable.


3. Which best describes how you feel when you check work email outside of normal working hours?

A. Eager

B. Mildly interested

C. Indifferent

D. Annoyed

E. Full of dread


4. How would you describe your relationship with your colleagues?

A. They are the best group of people you’ve ever worked with – competent, responsible, and respectful.

B. They do good work, but sometimes interactions are difficult.

C. They’re OK, but sometimes you feel like they have lower standards than you do.

D. You feel like you have to mask your personality at work – there’s a way of interacting and operating that doesn’t fit you.

E. You can’t stand the people you work with.


5. When was the last time you worked on a project that made you want to stay late because it was so much fun?

A. Within the last month

B. Between 2 - 6 months ago

C. Between 7 - 12 months ago

D. There are no “fun” projects

E. You run from work as fast as you can


6. How would you describe your relationship with your boss?

A. Your boss provides clear guidance, trusts your judgment, and supports your learning and development.

B. Pretty good. Your boss is generally supportive, but you don’t always know what is expected of you.

C. Your boss isn’t the worst you’ve ever had.

D. You try to avoid interacting with your boss as much as possible.

E. Your boss makes your life miserable.


7. In terms of challenge, how would you rate your current work?

A. You get to stretch yourself often.

B. You enjoy and are good at just about everything you do.

C. You’re on cruise control most of the time.

D. It’s a challenge to get motivated to do what you’re supposed to do.

E. You barely have the strength to show up every day.


8. When was the last time you had the chance to learn and practice a significant new skill at work?

A. Within the last month

B. Between 2 - 6 months ago

C. Between 7 - 12 months ago

D. You can’t remember

E. New skills would mean more work, and that’s the last thing you want


9. Why did you take your current position?

A. It was an exciting opportunity

B. You liked the people, the perks, and the reputation of the organization

C. They promoted you, and you accepted

D. You just sort of fell into it

E. It was the least bad choice you had


10. Overall, how would you describe how you feel about your work?

A. Jazzed

B. Content


D. Unhappy

E. You hate it


Scoring and Feedback

For each answer, add up the numbers associated with the letter:

  1. 4
  2. 3
  3. 2
  4. 1
  5. 0

If you scored…

35 – 40            Work is awesome. You get to learn and grow and be yourself at the office. What could be better? Take advantage of this enviable situation to learn as much about yourself as you can and develop new skills that seem like a good fit for your strengths, motivations, and preferences. If you use this time well, you will set yourself up to go anywhere you want. 

21 – 34            Work is fine, and it may even be enjoyable. However, it’s likely you’ve stopped growing. If comfort is what you want right now, then you may be in the right spot. But don’t stay too long. The world is changing too quickly for any of us to be complacent where we are. Now is an important time to start researching what your next chapter might be. 

7 – 20              Work falls somewhere between “eh” and “ugh.” While it may have felt right once upon a time, at this point, you’re either bored or unhappy. It’s highly likely that everyone around you senses your malaise, so it’s important to discover a new role before you damage your reputation. You don’t want to be the person everyone else wishes would leave.

0 – 6                Work is miserable. Coming up with an exit plan should be your chief priority right now, because your unhappiness at work is almost certainly affecting all areas of your life. A downward spiral can be very hard to reverse, so draw on all the resources you have to figure out how to get out of your current situation. Taking care of yourself physically during this time, by eating well and getting enough sleep and exercise, is very important. Seek the help of others – your friends, family, and a therapist – rather than trying to do this on your own.

If you know it's time to make a change but you aren't sure where to start, register for our free trial -

Published on 2/13/2019

Be Intentional about Your Career


Have you ever noticed how many people, when asked about their career path, will say they “just fell into” their current role? They may be happy where they are or unhappy, but the statement conveys a career that is at least somewhat accidental.

For years, that was how I told my story: “Well, I was doing this because it seemed like a good idea, and then I thought this might be cool, and then this opportunity came along…” It wasn’t that I was a passive actor in my own career – it’s just that for several years I wasn’t intentional about it.

What I experienced is common. Because comprehensive, personalized career guidance is rare, most people make professional decisions the only way they know how: using the limited information they have to make the best choice or least bad choice, depending on their situation.

For most job seekers, this approach means that if they’re figuring out what to do next, and they get offered a job that seems pretty good, they’re likely to take it. Alternately, there are some job seekers who go the opposite route and get so fixated on a specific position that anything else seems like the wrong choice (e.g. “I have to be a junior art director at an ad agency – nothing else will do.”)

The first job-seeking approach – going with the flow – takes as its starting position the availability of open roles without considering your internal motivation. The second approach – zeroing in on super-specific target you’re sure is the only right one for you – doesn’t consider whether the desired role is available.

The most effective path lies in between the two.

We have our clients begin by investigating themselves while analyzing and their likes and dislikes. “I hate my current job” is an opportunity to take careful note about all the aspects you dislike, as well as what you may enjoy. For instance, is it the tasks, the people, or the company’s values you don’t like? Another way to ask this is, if you could change any of those three things, would you want to stay?

Similarly, “I really want to work in strategic planning, but no one is hiring at the my experience level” is an opportunity to examine what attributes appeal to you about strategic planning.

Once you have a clear picture of what your skills are, what kind of projects makes you feel both competent and challenged, and what kind of environment and colleagues will allow you to do your best work, then you can begin to methodically research which companies and roles will be a good professional fit for you.

And, if you’ve had a very specific job as your target, you may discover that there are lots of other opportunities for you to do your best work in the right environment – opportunities you never would have discovered without the right framework.

Taking the steps of 1) getting clear about what you want and 2) being methodical about researching possibilities allows you to be both true to your values and needs AND have more opportunities than you might have imagined or considered.

On Wednesday, February 13, my co-founder Elissa Kuykendall Unton will be speaking about intentional careers on a moderated panel at The Riveter in West Los Angeles, and I will be offering on-the-spot coaching to anyone with career questions.

If you’re in town, we hope you can join us. Here’s a link to more information.


Published on 2/6/2019

Announcing ArcVida's Free Trial

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Are you searching for your next great job? If so, we’ve got great news.

We’re very aware that our From Here to Hired service is significantly different from the university career services, job placements, recruiters, and career coaches that college graduates are used to. In fact, we are so different that it has sometimes been hard for job seekers to clearly understand what we are all about. So, if you have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher in the last several years, we would like to show you.

We invite you to begin our service and complete the first three modules for free. Specifically, you can complete the entire Discovery phase of our service – including private client work, social network peer support, daily answers to your specific questions, and weekly live coaching.

We start with the Discovery phase so you can tune out what everyone else has told you about careers and discover what is important to you. The first three modules set the foundation for everything that comes after by deepening your understanding of:

• Tasks and projects that are so engaging you lose all sense of time

• How you approach your work and interact with others

• Those skills and abilities that make you stand out from the crowd

• Your decision-making style and the impact it has had on your life to date

The first three modules that make up the Discovery phase will provide you with the self-awareness and direction you need to begin accurately assessing which careers will be a good fit for you. It will help to better inform your direction and sharpen your focus as you explore options and research opportunities.

Are you ready to see why we are so different from the rest? We would be honored to help you find and land a fulfilling job that will launch you into a professional career you’ll love.

Register to start your free trial today - click here: Register

Published on 12/10/2018

Stop Applying for Jobs! Wait to Be Invited

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When you’re looking for a job, it seems like it would make sense to keep applying for them, right? After all, as hockey great Wayne Gretzky said, you miss 100% of shots you don’t take. So that must be true for job applications as well, right?

Wrong. In fact, one of the best things you can do when you’re in the process of trying to get hired is to stop filling out and submitting online applications and waiting for the company to HOPEFULLY get back to you.

You’re probably thinking - this contradicts everything anyone has told me about looking for a job.  And you’re right.  But that advice is not serving you well.  There are several reasons you should stop doing this:

1 - It’s demoralizing. Everyone knows that applying for jobs anonymously rarely leads to an offer, but they do it anyway because they don’t know what else to do. If they’re lucky, they get an interview. But most people get zero response. Which is a huge bummer and can make you start to feel like a reject.

2 - Even if you do get called in for an interview, you’re still at a disadvantage compared to people who already have a relationship with the company. It’s human nature; we all would rather go with the familiar than the unknown.

3 - It can give the impression that you’re unfocused. People want to know that you’re interested in their company or position in particular, and not just because it offers a paycheck. If you apply all over town, even you won’t know what you’re looking for. 

So, what should you be doing instead? Simply put, you should be having conversations – lots of them, with people who are in a position to offer guidance and help you. Talking to people is the best way to explore your options, figure out what you want to do and where you want to do it, and what you need to do to get there. 

We’ve seen time and again that people who focus their energy on building relationships and doing their research actually end up getting invited by target companies to apply for positions. This is the absolute best way to make sure your resume rises to the top of the pile.

If you want to learn more about the ways ArcVida helps our clients meet the right people and have the kinds of conversations that result in invitations to apply, Learn More

Published on 12/9/2018

The Worst Thing to Say When You’re Networking for a New Job


When you’re looking for a job, it’s easy to feel desperate, and your first instinct may be to announce this to the world, to let as many people as possible know in the hopes that one of them will lead you to your dream job. Or at least a job.

But “I’m looking for a job” is the worst thing you can say when you’re networking. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking for a job, just that you don’t want to use those words.

“I’m looking for a job” has a negative tone, which affects both you and whomever you’re talking to. And in order for a networking conversation to be effective, both people need to have a positive mindset.

Here’s why saying “I’m looking for a job” brings the conversation down:

1 - You’ll be flooded with suggestions. Although advice is almost always offered with good intentions, too much of it can really mess you up if you’re not crystal clear on exactly what you want to do. When you’re bombarded with advice before you have a direction, you can start to doubt everything you’re doing or not doing, which will likely lead to paralysis.   What you need when you’re in search mode is clarity and focus. And if you already have both clarity and focus, then you shouldn’t be broadcasting your search; you should be carefully choosing who you talk to.

2 - It puts a burden on the other person, especially if you think you want to work where they work. If you say, “I’m looking for a job” to someone who might be in a position to hire you or recommend you, it makes the other person feel awkward really fast. They have to start evaluating whether or not they could hire or recommend you and feel pressure to make a fast decision based on limited information, all without saying something rude to you. When there’s a place or a position you’re interested in, always, always start the conversation by saying, “I’m interested in learning more about” whatever it is you think might be a fit.

3 - It makes you less attractive to employers. Most recruiters and hiring managers want to hire people who are already employed. That may sound like it’s an unfair stigma, but it’s true in practice: the easiest way to find a job is when you have a job. Obviously, you don’t want to pretend to be employed when you’re not, because lying rarely works out well.

However, what you can and should do is start thinking about yourself not as someone who just wants a job but someone who’s looking for the right one. This is why we encourage our clients to volunteer or take on passion projects when they’re exploring their options. The phrase “looking for a job,” implies desperation about something you don’t have. Being able to talk enthusiastically about what you do have going on, what you’re engaged in, and why you’re taking the time to find the right position will draw people to you, including potential employers.

4 - It makes you less attractive to yourself. Saying those words puts you in a supplicant mode and casts you as someone who’s relying on others to help them. Re-frame it – you’re exploring opportunities so that you can make sure you find the right match. Changing the way you talk about it will change the way you think about it.

Changing the way you think about this process is critical if you truly want to find the right fit. First, get clear on what matters to you when it comes to your next step. Then, when you do begin talking to people, be sure that you let them know you’re exploring your options and doing your research before you start applying for positions. If the conversation goes well and they think you might be a good fit, you won’t have to ask about open positions, because they will invite you to apply. And once you’re invited to apply, you already have an advantage over the other candidates. 

If you (or someone you know) have recently graduated from college and are trying to launch or pivot your professional career, ArcVida can help.  Register for our free trial today.  

Published on 12/8/2018

Don’t Fall in Love with a Job Before You Know It


When you’re in the middle of a job search, it’s natural to be drawn to companies with big names or those that you are enjoy as a consumer. In fact, many people determine up front a short list of companies they would be “willing” to work for. 

We refer to this as the “Disney Prince” pitfall: a job (or person) you see from a distance seems to have all the qualities that would make you happy and fulfilled. Before you know it, you start imagining a job offer (or a proposal), with the two of you living happily ever after.

It is natural to do this, but it’s not the right approach if you are looking for the right professional and personal fit. (It’s also not the right approach to falling in love, but we’ll leave that advice to the dating experts.) 

Why? Because until you get at the underlying factors of what’s going to make you happy at work, your reasons for being attracted to certain companies might be off-track. Most of us experience companies from the perspective of a consumer, so we might think that SnapChat would be a great place to work because we use it. Or Amazon. Or Netflix. But our experience as consumers is 1) limited and 2) may bear little to no relation to what it’s actually like to work at a place or how much we would enjoy the day-to-day.

OK, but what if you’ve read an article about a company’s culture and decided it’s perfect for you? That’s still not a good reason for applying before you’ve done some foundational work first. Culture is extremely important – don’t get us wrong – but it’s not the first step in evaluating what you should do.

So then where do you start?  With the big picture – Industry and Fields. 

Industry = the major source of revenue for a company, such as entertainment, healthcare, or transportation.

Field = the umbrella that holds several specific functions together: for example, accounting contains public accountants, auditors, forensic accountants; marketing includes market research, brand management, advertising, promotions, and public relations. In other words, field describes very broadly the kind of work you’ll do and industry whom you’ll do it for.

Exactly how you do this kind of research is a longer discussion – and something on which we spend a lot of time working with our clients. But in a nutshell, the majority of your research should involve talking to people in these industries and fields.

When you’ve narrowed down your options, you should then focus on function. If working in the field of marketing in the transportation industry is one of the possibilities, what might you want to do: brand management? Advertising? Public relations? 

Once you’ve decided on the function you’re interested in and a few industries you’re open to working in, that’s when you should you begin researching companies and find out what it’s actually like to work for them. 

At this point you may very well find that some of those Disney Prince companies still make the list – that’s fine. You may also find that some of those companies that first attracted your interest are no longer on your list. And you may also find that some surprise companies you weren’t aware of have also joined the list.  

To learn more about how we can help you through this process and more, go  Learn More

Published on 12/7/2018

Instead of Following Your Passion, Design Your Life

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Of all the career advice that floods airwaves, “Follow your passion” seems to have the most sticking power, so much so that it’s now accepted as a given. Two of the questions we hear most from people who are anxious about setting out on the right career path are, “But what if I can’t find my passion?” and “But what if my passion can’t support me?”

Feeling like you have to find the thing you love more than anything and hoping it will lead to a self-sustaining career puts a huge amount of pressure on anyone who’s trying to figure out what to do next.

But don’t worry. You can find and do what you’re passionate about and make a living doing something meaningful without assuming they all have to be wrapped up in one.

Here are a few reasons why focusing on “following your passion” can do more harm than good when it comes to careers:

1 - It implies that our passion is something waiting to be uncovered deep within each of us, as if it’s something we’ve had since birth. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Passions develop over time, and sometimes we discover them outside ourselves. For example, have you ever taken a class you didn’t want to but ended up finding it to be fascinating? Or have you ever had to work on something new that you were dreading but then found you were actually very good at it and really enjoyed it?

2 - Just because we’re passionate about doing something, doesn’t mean we would like the day-to-day of doing it for a living. Your passion isn’t going to lead to career happiness if you hate how you’re actually spending your time or how it impacts your personal life. For instance, our co-founder Elissa loves to cook and tried working in a restaurant for that very reason. But…she hated it. Long hours on her feet and providing meals for other people while not spending time with her own family wasn’t a good fit for her.

3 - It may not be a financially sustainable career path. Many people we know love to read, but no one gets paid to read what they like unless they also write reports or reviews, which is a completely different activity.

One common trait of people who are happy and fulfilled is that they are focused on many things and not just one. Everyone should have a job that’s a great fit for them, no question. And everyone should absolutely enjoy doing it and look forward to getting up every morning. But no one should rely completely on a job to bring meaning to all aspects of their life. 

In a nutshell, “follow your passion” is limiting advice – you may focus on one thing (if you even know what it is) but miss out on all sorts of other things that you would find very fulfilling.

At ArcVida, we guide clients through an exercise called Design Your Life in which they look at all the hours they have in a week and consider how they want to spend them. We ask them to consider what matters to them and then find ways to incorporate those things into their lives.

Instead of worrying about following your passion, design your life instead.   Do you need guidance doing that?  Learn More


Published on 12/6/2018

Before You Get Your Heart Set on a Job, Research the Market Need

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Once upon a time, as recently as the 90s, people thought journalism was a good career. They studied it, they edited campus newspapers, they went to journalism school or took jobs in small towns to work their way up to a big paper in a major city.

We all know how that turned out once the Internet exploded. Is journalism still a career? Yes. Is it a good career for a new professional? No, for the simple reason that the market doesn’t need very many entry-level journalists.

It’s easy to get your heart set on a certain career. But that doesn’t mean the career has its heart set on you.

To succeed professionally, you need to understand the ebbs and flows of the market. You need to understand which industries are on the rise and which are on the way out. 

When ArcVida’s co-founder Elissa Unton graduated from the University of Southern California after earning her MBA, she really wanted to work in investment banking. Unfortunately, it was 2008, a year when there were many more jobs lost in investment banking than created. Had she graduated a few years earlier or five years later, she might have found just what she was looking for. But her graduation coincided with the precise point when post-graduate jobs in investment banking would remain almost nonexistent for several years.

So Elissa pivoted and pursued and landed a job in financial planning and analysis because it would allow her to use many of the same skills: strategy, analytics, and communication.

When I left politics, I had my heart set on working as a lobbyist and communications director for an agency that worked to combat domestic violence (DV), which was an issue I had been passionate about since college. The only problem? There were two of these positions in all of New York City, because most of the organizations focusing on DV provided direct service to families rather than lobbying for legislative change.

But I held out, and after 14 months of making connections with DV experts all over the country, taking steps to start my own lobbying organization, and serving on the board of a coalition of DV service providers, I was offered one of the two jobs in New York after my predecessor moved to Maine.

But after less than two years in that position, I realized that DV was a dead end in terms of my career and what I wanted to do in terms of lobbying and communications.

What I learned from the experience was this: while you can hold out for 14 months to land the job of your dreams, if there are only two positions in the entire city, the field will almost certainly offer zero room for growth.

Although I was less passionate about the issue of education, nonprofit education organizations were flourishing at the time, and there were lots of opportunities for me to put my lobbying and communication skills to work. So I pivoted, much as Elissa did.

Sometimes career coaching focuses so much on helping clients discover what makes them happy that they never take the time to investigate whether anyone is hiring for their dream job. Too much reflection on what someone wants can set up unrealistic expectations: “I should be able to live where I want to live, do what I want to do, make what I want to make, at the company I want to work for.”

That’s why we spend so much time having our clients focus on market need, so they can set realistic expectations and go after companies that are hiring for what they want to do. As our co-founder Elissa likes to say, “Don’t try to be a blacksmith in a town with no horses.”

How it Works

Published on 12/5/2018

Introducing Karen Cecilio, ArcVida Client Mentor


For more than 20 years, Karen Cecilio has been a corporate leader on strategic and integration initiatives. From her early days as an engineering student at Marquette University, to her first job as a computer programmer, her career has been a series of progressive steps with increased responsibility both in team and scope of efforts entrusted to her. 

Karen was recently promoted to Cetera Financial Group’s Head of Crisis Management, BCP and Corporate Real Estate. She was previously the Director of the Project Management office at Cetera for six years, leading teams located in six US locations and with matrix responsibility for project team members in India and Eastern Europe. Before Cetera, Karen was a telecommuting manager at Thomson Reuters with oversight of teams in multiple US locations responsible for technology and back office brokerage firm implementations.

Karen has mentored people of all ages and in different stages of their careers. She enjoys mentoring because it offers mentees perspective and direct insight into another person’s life and experience in a way that’s non-threatening. Although she has been very successful in her career, she wishes she’d had the benefit of a mentor when she was starting out, specifically someone with work experience in corporations who could have helped her understand the value of building her network intentionally.

Here’s what Karen says, “What I like best about mentoring is that it allows each individual to have direct insight into what another person’s life and experience in a way that’s non-threatening. A mentor has no vested interest, but the impact can be significant.“

Karen has lived in Southern California since November 2007 and is currently a resident of Marina Del Rey. She was born in Jamaica and moved to the Wisconsin as a teenager. In addition to Los Angeles she has lived in Milwaukee, Seattle, and Cincinnati. She has visited over 30 countries and more than 40 US States. She is an avid workout fan, mostly practicing Pilates and riding her Peloton Spin bike, and enjoys hiking the trails and paths around LA.   Learn More

Published on 12/4/2018

Banner Photo by Diz Play on Unsplash