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Ask Ramit: “Should I change jobs or improve the one I have?”

34 Comments- Get free updates of new posts here

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It’s interesting when people let their barriers slip out in their actual language. Usually, they don’t even realize they’re doing it. But Detective Sethi is on the case:

Guy 1: “So you started going to the gym?”
Guy 2: “Yeah, I actually kinda like it now.”
Guy 1: “So you’re saying I’d have to go to the gym every day for the rest of my life to lose weight? I could never do that!”

Guy 1 is demonstrating an example of an “extreme-reach barrier” — the assumption that if you want to do something, you have to go to the COMPLETE EXTREME to do it at all.

This allows him to rationalize the fact that he doesn’t go, even though he could get benefits from going 2-3 times per week. I hate him.

Another way we do this is by creating false dichotomies. “Ramit, should I do X or Y?”

My answer is usually “Yes and yes.” This is the idea that top performers don’t do X or Y — they do both, and they’re better at it than everyone else.

If this is intimidating, go away. This site is about being the best, not about doing what’s easiest.

But if you want more details on how exactly to think about making tough choices, I recorded a new Ask Ramit video for you:

“I’m 52. Have I waited too long to try for a new or better career or should I focus on what I’m doing now better?”
-IWT reader Laura

Check out the video, where I dig in to highlight the barriers hidden in her question.

I take a lot of time to record these videos for you, so let me know what you think in the comments.

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34 Comments on "Ask Ramit: “Should I change jobs or improve the one I have?”"

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Mea
Mea
3 years 1 month ago

Thank you for this response. I having been considering whether it’s worth accepting an offer to start a work related 1-2 year post graduate level course since I am considering a career change to a completely different field. This video has made re think my stance, which has been that it’s not worth taking up the offer…..are there any exceptions to the yes and yes rule?

Aliotsy
3 years 1 month ago

Maybe you should reframe your question, to “How can I do A and B?”

There’s a bit of a false dichotomy here, in that taking the course is a concrete action, whereas “considering a career change” isn’t actionable. So perhaps you can identify what the first step in a career change is–maybe, take two or three people in the other field out to coffee to learn more about it–and ask yourself:

“Can I take this post-graduate course AND start networking in the new field I’m interested in?”

My guess is that the answer is “Yes and Yes.”

Greg
Greg
3 years 1 month ago

Mea – To answer your question…yes and yes!

Todd Douglas
3 years 1 month ago

Yes & Yes! Love it Ramit! Thanks for the video.

As you said, you put a lot of time in these videos but I’m one of the people that actually get excited when I see a new video from you. I read all of your emails and notes that I get through my email but I feel the videos reach a deeper level of interaction and thus, benefit me more that just text.

So thanks again for taking the time to put these out there!

Brian
Brian
3 years 1 month ago

Great video. Confirms that I’m on the right path – pursuing a career change with DJ techniques without taking my foot off the gas at my current job.

Meg Sylvia
3 years 1 month ago
This is a good mini wake-up call. It’s interesting to see pointed out, and I definitely can see in myself that I have a tendency to frame a question in a way that makes it likely to receive the response I want to hear. Will take a note to start thinking in terms of “how can I do a AND b” rather than “should I do a OR b”. I agree with Todd about the videos. I retain information best when I can hear and watch it being communicated in addition to reading it in a post or taking notes,… Read more »
Eric
Eric
3 years 1 month ago

I love the combination of a post with a video. You’ve got a brash writing style that I personally enjoy, but might be presumed cocky by some. The video provides the content and represents your personality by allowing you to use your sarcasm/humor more effectively.

Great job.

Michelle
Michelle
3 years 1 month ago
Thanks Ramit! Glad to know I’m on the right track. I’m still pushing forward with the school I need to pursue economics, earning A’s and retaking key classes where I don’t at least make a high B, and doing some deep research before natural networking. I’m also trying to excel in my job at the CG. Hopefully I’ll be sitting the competitive exam in November for advancement. (Meritocracies are stressful, because this test is extremely difficult.) I’ve been studying and making flashcards, which is about the only study aid I’m clear to bring into work with me. Yes, it is… Read more »
Bill
Bill
3 years 1 month ago
I would even go further and find out to make sure that the problem is identified properly. Why is she considering changing her career? Is it because her current career isn’t what she wants it to be? Is there something she is significantly more passionate about? How about finding ways to make her current career more appealing by exploring new avenues within the field? Perhaps she will get to the same questions, but not knowing if she has gone through the discipline of defining the problem accurately may lead to the same dissatisfaction she is experiencing now. I am using… Read more »
Julie
Julie
3 years 1 month ago
This is an AWESOME video Ramit. It is a topic I have been thinking a lot about lately. I am 43, and in process of creating a new career. I had always approached it in my head in a whiney, victim way of ‘ I don’t like my job, I have to get out, I want a better career’. What I realized months ago is that I need create that better career and also step up my game in my current career. I don’t think we can choose to give it our all in one area of our life, people… Read more »
Naren
Naren
3 years 1 month ago

Thanks Ramit. This shows that one need to work double time to say Yes and Yes. I wonder if it’s strategic to spend more time on the existing when you want to learn as much as you can about the DJ?
Folks who have children would find a challenge to do both at peak optimum level, maybe?

Lindsey
Lindsey
3 years 1 month ago
I’ve learned recently that life really is just all about how you frame it. For example, my self talk (the internal monologue in your head) tended to be overly critical of myself in work, sports, and life in general. I always thought that I just held high expectations for myself and nothing more. I never recognized how overly critical and negative I was to myself. Recently, I’ve desired to work toward increasing my self-esteem/confidence/worth, and to do that, I learned that I needed to consciously monitor my self talk. After consciously monitoring my self talk for a few months I… Read more »
Maria
3 years 1 month ago
Loved this! It has far wider applications than A or B questions. Take a look at this pain point: “I want to lose X pounds so I can finally feel good about myself.” What is implied is that “I cannot feel good about myself if I don’t lose those pounds.” It also implies that: “I should have already lost the weight, so I am punishing myself by not allowing myself to feel good”. Yet, the answer is yes & yes & yes. Should you have already lost the weight? Probably, yes. Feel good about yourself before you have lost all… Read more »
Susan
3 years 1 month ago

I like it – a way to say YES & YES – sometimes the simplest things are the best – Thanks!

Lisa Klow
3 years 1 month ago

Loved the video, very helpful. Appreciate all the videos and emails.

DSchulz
DSchulz
3 years 1 month ago

Yes and Yes. I’m definitely adding this one to my “inner dialog”.

Kerry
Kerry
3 years 1 month ago

The way we frame our questions is really important. By asking ” HOW can I do a and b”, it naturally drives us to think about finding the way, the solution. Whereas when asking ” should I do a or b” , I tend to compare the pros and cons for either the choice, but if it’s hard to make a decision, I will be in confusion and let alone to take action to do both and excel.
Thanks Ramit for sharing your ideas!

Tamar
Tamar
3 years 1 month ago

I’m a 52 year old lawyer, and I’m changing course with no questions asked. The secret absolutely lies in framing and reframing the question until you’ve removed the barriers.

The questioner had already set up a series of barriers to her thinking: I’m 52. My best years have passed me by. I don’t think I’m performing very well at my current job. I think I’m too old to change.

Thanks for a great video post!

Ben
Ben
3 years 1 month ago

Thanks Ramit,
My barrier was thinking I could only choose one area of science to follow so it was “do I follow physics OR mathematics Or chemistry”.
Well I searched around google for a bit and it turns out a field called Nanotecnology employs every field of science imaginable. Woohoo!
Now I can be a Physicist AND Mathematician AND Chemist.

Also one word: Hyperstealth

Eric
Eric
3 years 1 month ago

Sounds like top performers are the type who don’t settle for the old saying, “you can’t have your cake and eat it to.”

Timothy Moser | ACE Productivity

Yeah, “yes and yes” answers so many questions in life. I’m recently graduated and pursuing 4 different career opportunities at once right now, but it’s good to be reminded that I should strive to be a top performer in every area that’s important to me.

Also, I like the insight about finding out what it actually means to be a top performer. You have to be proactive. What values, realistically, are the most important for you to be providing? Identify those values and focus on them, and excellence will be yours.

Vincent
Vincent
3 years 1 month ago
Even before watching the video, I noticed an interesting issue with Laura’s question: both parts of it give an excuse for why she shouldn’t step out of her comfort zone. She doesn’t say “Am I too old, or should I go for it and try something new?” She says, “Am I too old, or should I just keep doing what I’ve been doing.”…see the difference? The second one doesn’t have an option to change anything. It gives the impression that she wants to change, but it’s really just two excuses to keep doing the same thing. She’s already rationalizing why… Read more »
Eric James
Eric James
3 years 1 month ago
I’m going to take the negative view and say that I found Ramit’s answer a bit of a cop-out. “Yes and yes” sounds like an exhortation to do everything, which usually means you end up doing nothing particularly well. Ultimately, you have to set priorities. An hour spent on a class to improve job skills in your current career is an hour not spent networking with people to explore the new one. And as Ramit’s own classwork points out, energy, attention and willpower are all finite resources — the more you divide them, the less effective you will be. I… Read more »
Renee Lindsay
Renee Lindsay
3 years 1 month ago
Ramit, I really appreciate the way you dissected the language and structure of Laura’s question as being leading, framed in a way that will get her the answer that she wants. Your attention to language is one of the key reasons I value your material. But I’m confused as to what you’re trying to achieve when you introduce your video with language like “I hate him” and “If you’re intimidated, go away.” What are your motives for using this kind of language? I feel dismissed when I read it, especially the latter remark. Am I intimidated? Of course I am.… Read more »
Renee Lindsay
Renee Lindsay
3 years 1 month ago

To clarify: The reason I brought up your introduction is because I was so turned off by it I almost didn’t watch the video, which had valuable material. Instead of drawing me in to something you put a lot of work into, your intro left me with a feeling that I had to pass some sort of test before I could access your video. Just wondering what you meant by it.

Mary Catherine George
Mary Catherine George
3 years 1 month ago

Ramit! Loved your breaking down language use!! Yes!! Recognizing that sometimes how I frame a question is more about leading for the response I think I want to hear. LOVE IT!!

Keep the video facts coming!

Thanks – MC

Michael | The Student Loan Sherpa

I like the idea of removing the OR from many of the perceived options we have in life. This applies to so many different aspects of daily living.

Adam | Track Training
3 years 1 month ago

what a wake up call, I always thought you should just put your efforts into one thing. just because you want to do something else doesn’t mean you can’t be the best at what you are doing right now. thank you ramit.

Chris Edenbo
Chris Edenbo
3 years 1 month ago

This video works as a good prompt. For me it comes at a good time to receive this prompt. Thanks.

Khaled
3 years 1 month ago

“If this is intimidating, go away. This site is about being the best, not about doing what’s easiest.”

a man after my own heart 🙂

Paul Gibson
3 years 1 month ago

Many of us have this false illusion that we might be late for so and so thing, while on the other hand one is never late for trying out greener pastures. All one need is some common sense and practical perspective of real-life scenarios.

Raphael Soares
Raphael Soares
3 years 1 month ago

Great perspective.

Keep the good work

Nelson C.
Nelson C.
3 years 1 month ago

Ramit,

It was recently brought to my attention that my employer offers a roth 401(k) option. Where would you rank this option on the Ladder of Investing?

Emma
3 years 1 month ago

Love this video, makes me re-think some of the own questions I’m asking in my life right now.

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