I made a big mistake recently.

And it all started out so well…

I’d arranged to visit my best mate, who lives in Kuala Lumpur.

I’d been feeling a bit out of it living in the country, and I was dreaming of being back in a CITY.

Easy childcare access! Affordable office spaces! Exciting food and culture!

I thought it’d be the ideal opportunity to make the most of my location-flexible lifestyle — mixing work with travel and combining getting stuff done in my business with catching up with a mate.

So I booked a nanny and rented an office in KL for six days. And off Isy and I went!

A couple of days later, I’d come down with a bad case of the flu, both Isy and my friend’s baby were sick, I didn’t like the food, and the city was driving me mad with its traffic, noise, pollution, and litter.

(I’m the kind of person who sees a plastic bottle lying in the street and just HAS to pick it up and recycle it, so you can imagine…)

I used the nanny for a grand total of half the time I paid her for.

I didn’t get any work done.

And I felt totally uninspired.

So while it was awesome to catch up with my mate, it was NOWHERE near the dream holiday/remote work experience I’d hoped for.

I feel like I actually just wasted a load of time and money. 😔

But it made me realise something important.

That I’ve changed.

That I’m not the same person I used to be when I lived in London or Melbourne or Sydney or Manchester…

That a lifestyle I used to enjoy doesn’t suit me now.

And that now I genuinely love an outdoorsy life, with fresh air, walks, and peace and quiet.

(This is coming from a girl who used to do PR for raves and nightclubs in Tenerife!!!)

But thank God, the whole experience was only three weeks long.

Because I’ve seen so many people launch themselves into new jobs because they were bored or desperate or eager for a change…

Only to end up stuck in a career where the culture and environment is totally wrong for them.

And a job that’s the wrong fit is a lot harder to move on from than a bad holiday.

But for some reason, many of us spend more time planning our two-week holidays than we do our next career moves…

Which is crazy, because when you think about it, your office is like your second home.

Your colleagues are the people you end up sitting next to day in, day out for YEARS.

So if you’re considering a job switch, you NEED to get clear on what you want first.

Because if you’re an artistic health nut who doesn’t even own a TV, and you end up in a workplace where all your colleagues care about is following football, and everyone’s always down the pub at lunchtime, eating crisps and watching the match…

Then, no matter how fulfilling you find the work, you’re probably going to be miserable.

Plus, remember that what works for someone else might not be a great fit for you.

For example, my best friend in KL — who I’m similar to in a lot of ways — loves the city, but what works for him in terms of where to live definitely wouldn’t work for me.  

Which means that, in your job search, even if people tell you that they did or didn’t enjoy working somewhere, ***you*** might not have the same experience.

Really, what it all boils down to is knowing your priorities.

Essentially, you want to know what company size, culture, environment, management style, team structure, kind of people, company and team values are important to you… and then pay close attention to those things in your applications and interviews.

Because maybe a big, corporate, highly-structured company will be best for you, or maybe a small, independent, free-flowing business will be what works.  

There’s no right or wrong.

But you do have to check in with yourself to figure out what will make you happy (and be aware that it might not be what you initially think… as I found out to my cost in KL!!!)

Once you know those things, you can develop some questions to find out more about the businesses you interview with.

To gain more insight into the company and team, try asking questions such as:

  • ‘What’s the team like?’
  • ‘Can you tell me how you’d describe the company culture?’
  • ‘How would you describe the management style here?’
  • ‘What are the company/team values?’
  • ‘What is it you like about working here?’
  • ‘What do you think makes someone fit in and be successful in this company?’

Don’t just say you want ‘a good company’ and ‘a fun team’ when in an interview or talking to a recruiter — pretty much everyone says that!

(After all, who’s going to want to join a bad company or boring team?!)

Aim to be more descriptive and really consider — what makes a fun team for you? What would make a good company for you?  

Because knowing your values will help you uncover more about what you actually want.

And if you want to speed up the process and achieve career happiness ASAP, schedule a time to hop on the phone with me simply email me at ‘, so we can talk about how career coaching could help you land exactly the kind of job you’ve been dreaming about.

Well, that’s all from this clean-living, outdoorsy gal for now (seriously, who knew I’d end up like this?! Not me!!!)

Here’s to a world where more people love what they do.


Photo by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash

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