My first job was as an administrative assistant. Yet I decided I would try to excel as an account executive in the insurance field after my first job ended.

The assistant job was okay for what it was. Yet an intelligent, quirky young girl like me wouldn’t really succeed typing letters all day and processing expense reports.

Nor would it turn out that becoming a corporate superstar was a better goal.

Environment is everything when it comes to succeeding on the job. I’ve also worked in a law firm as well as offices.

If you ask me any artist should steer clear of a buttoned-up mentality in the workplace.

By all means work in an office if that’s what suits you. Set career goals for yourself wherever you work.

Yet jumping out of the boxes others place you in is imperative. Coco Chanel the legendary fashion designer is quoted: “To be irreplaceable you must be different.”

When your fate is in the hands of your boss or your employer it makes more sense than ever to acquire skills you can use in a solo gig to earn income in addition to your day job.

My prime beef has been when mental health or vocational staff tell patients or clients what they think we should do without asking us what we’d like to do.

A job like an administrative assistant can be a good job in its own right or it can be a stepping stone to a different or better job.

I just think any career exploration should take into account a person’s gifts and strengths and personality.

Wherever you go you will have to deal with co-workers.

I’m going to talk in the next blog entry about why disclosing your MH challenge on the job can backfire. Then I’ll talk about getting secret accommodations that no one else has to know about.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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