How to Use Jealousy to Your Advantage

For most of my life, I thought I knew what I wanted and I thought I was going after that.

  • The job promotion,

  • Job title,

  • 6 figure salary,

  • Pension plan,

  • Penthouse apartment in the city,

  • Luxury car, and

  • 5 star vacations.

The only problem was, once I got those things I still wasn't happy. Sometimes I was even jealous of people who had more than me, which made me forget how fortunate I was for the things I did have.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.


One of the most pivotal moments in my life was a few years ago when I realized what I really wanted and I realized I could give myself permission to go after it no matter how selfish, silly, or illogical it may have seemed to everyone else. I found myself in a job that I didn't enjoy, in a city that I didn't want to live in, and living a life that was not fulfilling.

I knew I needed help getting to where the grass would be greener, but I didn't know which way that was. The answer in my mind was, "Anywhere but here." That was when I called my dad and said, "Dad, I need help, but I don't want you to send me money and I don't want to move home. I want to quit my job and move, but I don't know where to go." My dad and I have been through a lot in our relationship and he knows better than to tell me what to do (more on that in this article about why father-daughter relationships are so important) and because of that he gave me the best advice he ever could have given me. He said, "The Tara I know doesn't let anyone tell her what she can or can't do. You have lived all over the world, so pull out a map and pick a place. If you could go anywhere in the worldwhere would you go?"

I blurted out, "New York City."

This was the first time in my life that someone had asked me what I wanted and it was the first time in my life that I made a decision based solely on me.

If you think about it, we all do this. Our friends ask us for advice and we tell them what we would do if we were in their shoes, and vice versa. Eventually we learn that we shouldn't take advice from someone we wouldn't want to trade places with and we get a little more particular about who we reach out to when we need help.

I had never felt brave enough to say I wanted to live in New York because people told me it was dirty, expensive, and that everyone was mean. It didn't matter what everyone thought anymore. Well, it mattered enough for me to keep my plans a secret, but I stopped letting it hold me back from doing what I wanted to do.

I quit my job and within 30 days I had a plan. I was going to:

  • take a temp job with no job title,

  • sleep on an IKEA couch at my friends place,

  • make less money than I had ever made,

  • get no benefits except a temporary health insurance plan,

  • and sell my car.

I didn't tell anyone I was doing this though, just in case they judged me for leaving behind my seemingly "green grass" for something that might sound crazy.

Albert Einstein said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Well, this was different alright. At least I had that going for me.

I couldn't keep it a secret for long though. People started noticing that I was doing something differently (thank you social media for making it hard to hide) and instead of judging me they asked me, "What's your secret?" They thought I was so brave for leaving everything behind. The truth was, I didn't feel brave. I felt like I was running away because the fear of everything staying the same was worse than the fear of the unknown.

I started helping a few friends by sharing advice about what I was doing. (Here's an article in ThriveGlobal I wrote about my bucket list I made after I got to New York City.) Each of them said the same thing, "Tara, you can't keep this stuff a secret because everyone needs to know this!" That's what led to me starting a business, because "everyone needs to know this stuff." It is also when I realized that playing small doesn't do anyone any favors (more on that in this article).

One of the things I started doing differently was shifting my perception of "the grass is greener on the other side":

  • I stopped hanging out with people who used jealousy to complain about other people

  • I started using jealousy as a clue for where I wanted to be

You see, for a long time I lived my life thinking, "I don't know what I want, but I definitely know what I don't want." So my strategy was to run away from the don'ts in whatever direction "away" was, sort of like pulling your hand away from a fire that you get too close to. You don't have time to think about the best direction to pull away in so you don't knock anything over or make a mess or spread the fire. You just know you have to get away.

When I started using jealousy as a clue for the direction I wanted to go on my path, everything changed.

  • I was hanging out with more interesting people who were doing extraordinary things.

  • I knew what I wanted.

  • I had people in my life who wanted to mentor me and help me get there.

And the other thing I could do was send so much love, happiness, well wishes, and air hugs to that person I envied for showing me the way just by being who they are and achieving what they had achieved.

Now I hardly notice that jealous feeling, but when I do it makes me giggle because I know I just found a clue as to where I want to go next. That clue keeps me trying to be better today than I was yesterday and I know I am luckier to be scaling the side of the mountain than I ever was sitting at the top.

For more information on how you can work with Tara to align your core values with your business practices, click here.

How to Improve Communication At Work

The Artful Worker Podcast Interview with Sim Saini:
Pay Rises, Networking, NLP, and More | Episode 005

It was an honor to be interviewed on The Artful Worker Podcast! In Episode 005, Sim and I got to talk about how to communicate more effectively in your professional life whether you're working in a leadership role or entry-level position we touched on a lot of scenarios where you might feel uncomfortable expressing yourself.

During the interview, we touched on:

  • How to negotiate your salary when you apply for a new job
  • How to give negative feedback without making people feel defensive
  • The one thing you should avoid so you don't create a toxic work environment
  • How to trust someone again after they let you down at work
  • What is NLP and Hypnotherapy and how did I get involved in it?
  • How to manage your energy during a work conference or networking event (as an introvert)
  • And much more...

Click here to listen to Episode 005 and you can follow along with these show notes:

[2:15] Background information on how I became an entrepreneur.

[6:20] How to negotiate your salary and apply for a job that is going to level up your career.

[18:48] Sim asks, "Is it too risky to be up front about any limitations you might have when you are in a job interview?" Listen in to hear my response!

[20:10] How to stand out in a job interview and differentiate yourself from the other candidates.

[21:10] Sim asks, "What percentage of increase were you looking at when you negotiated your salary?"

[22:49] I share how I felt the moment I said the salary I wanted out loud and the reaction I got on the other end of the phone.

[23:40] Sim and I discuss how to trust colleagues after they have made mistakes as well as performance management and corporate culture.

[24:50] Sim and I discuss both sides of negative feedback - being the person who has to deliver the feedback as well as being the person receiving the feedback. 

[26:08] Bonus Tip: What negative feedback that doesn't upset someone sounds like in action (and how you can do it too!)

[28:40] Sim and I step into the shoes of the person receiving feedback and how to give them the opportunity to ask for what they need help with.

[29:50] Sim asks, "What happens if I put myself on the line and recommended someone, but they let me down. How can I build trust again?"

[31:45] I share the one thing you should never do as a leader when someone disappoints you if you want to have a positive corporate culture.

[33:19] Bonus Tip: I share the 2 words you can use to redirect your employee to thinking about solutions or productive thoughts rather than complaining, blaming, or being defensive.

[34:00] Sim and I talk more about NLP and Hypnotherapy. What is it? How does it work?

[39:39] How did I get involved in Hypnotherapy?

[42:20] Sim and I discuss networking fatigue and exhaustion. I share how to make yourself magnetic so you don’t have to go after people to network and meet them.

[49:40] I share an alternative to large scale networking that offers a more focused and intentional approach to building relationships.

[52:00] Networking in larger cities (comparing London to New York City)

Subscribe to The Artful Worker Podcast and leave a review to help more people find this interview.

How I Negotiated a 40% Increase in Salary

...and was offered a job doing something I had never done before.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Photo Credit: Pexels

When I found myself living in a city I no longer wanted to live in, ending a relationship I no longer wanted to be in, and wanting to quit a job that no longer fulfilled me, I chose to give it all up and start fresh. While I wouldn’t recommend hitting rock bottom in your love life, career, and home life all at once, it was the push I needed to be honest with myself about what I wanted. I put all of my belongings into a storage unit and moved to New York City with a temporary job, a three month plan, and a few suitcases.

My first week at my new job, I made sure I told my manager that I would be okay with extending my contract from three months to six months because that was the amount of time I wanted to stay in the city. I remember the Brooklyn native looking at me and saying, “Let’s just see how the next three months go.” Challenge accepted! I made a point to be the most helpful, punctual, efficient employee he had ever seen and halfway through my contract he offered to extend my time working for him.

My three month plan had now turned into a six month plan.

It was about two weeks before my contract was ending that I started to feel a pit in my stomach. I was dreading leaving New York. Friends were reaching out to me asking if I was going to be sad to leave, my recruiter was asking me where he could place me next and my employer had already found someone to replace me at the end of my current contract. Not to mention, I was staying with a generous friend who had offered me up her couch during this time and I needed to find a new place to live.

I started looking for apartments first because I had no idea what my salary needed to be in order for me to be able to afford to stay in the city. Once I knew where I wanted to live, I started looking for jobs where I could make enough money to be able to afford to live here. I found one job with my current employer in a management role doing things I had never done before.

"That's the one!" I said to myself.

The next day I went and spoke to my current manager and told him I was planning to stay. I said I knew he had already replaced me in my current role and I wanted to apply for a different job. I showed him the job description and asked him if he knew the hiring manager. He said he might be able to find out who it was. So I asked him if I could send him my resume and cover letter to forward along just in case. He said he would be happy to help me.

That afternoon I sent him my cover letter and resume and, to my surprise, he wrote back and said he was hiring for an assistant manager role and he would love to have me apply for it. He also said he would send my information along to the hiring manager for the original position I wanted to apply for.

I ended up interviewing for both roles through three rounds of interviews each. The first interview was with human resources, the second interview was with the hiring manager and the third interview was a panel interview.

I was offered both positions and, in the end, had them in a salary bidding war over who would win me over.

Here are 5 things you can do to prepare for your next job interview so you can manage expectations of your salary from the beginning:

1.     Research what the salary range is for the position you are applying for. If it is not available online, ask! I asked the recruiter at the company what the typical range was for the role. She didn't want to tell me and replied, "It varies based on years of experience." I did know how much similar positions paid in other major cities where the cost of living was lower so I threw those numbers out there as an example, and prefaced my response with the fact that the cost of living is different and I am new to New York.

2.     Know your bottom line. I wrote myself a fake job offer letter on the letterhead for the company I wanted to work for congratulating me on accepting the position for the exact amount of money I wanted to make and I carried it around in my purse. I was so clear about what I wanted before I actually had to ask so that when it came time to say it out loud I sounded pretty confident.

3.     Be vocal about your expectation for your salary. In my first interview with the recruiters, they both asked me the salary I was expecting. I added 25% to what my bottom line was and they both sounded surprised by the number I told them. By the time I got to my job offer phone call, I ended up getting the exact amount of money I had written on my job offer letter. Knowing I had told them a higher number, I made sure to ask about incentive bonuses or other benefits that were important to me to bridge the gap between my inflated initial request and the salary they had offered me just to be sure I was getting the best possible offer.

4.     Justify the salary you want by listing your transferable skills from other jobs you’ve highlighted on your resume. While I may have told them my expectation for my salary, I also had specific examples of relevant transferable skills I had used in previous jobs that were highlighted on my resume that I could also apply to the new role I was applying for. I hinted at these in my cover letter and was prepared to explain them in my interview.

5.     Be able to explain gaps in employment or frequent job changes. While switching jobs is a nice transition to a higher salary, it can also look negative to a hiring manager. I was not an ideal employee for them because they were looking for someone who was going to stay with the company for a long time. I have changed jobs every 8 months to three years since I graduated from college, plus I was not originally from New York City so they didn’t have a lot of faith that I would stay with the company. I told them I was interested in growth and I wanted to use this role as a stepping stone to a bigger role in the future. I also mentioned the possibility of going back to school for my MBA and if an opportunity was available when I graduated to advance with this company I would definitely be interested.

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Navigating Toxic and Difficult Situations At Work

The Career Passport Podcast Interview with Jill Ozovek
Not Feeling Yourself At Work? A Guide For The New Year | Episode #032

I had the pleasure of speaking with Jill Ozovek on The Career Passport podcast this week about bringing your whole self to work and navigating toxic and difficult situations.

Tara Bradford The Career Podcast Interview.jpg

In this episode we discuss: 

1. What are the short term and long term effects of not ‘bringing your whole self’ to work? What’s the upside to ‘bringing your whole self to work”?

2.     If you like your job, but you don’t like what it’s doing to do you- in other words, you don’t want to quit, how can you navigate the transition back to ‘being you’? What are some concrete steps someone can take?

3.     If the environment is toxic and you’re realizing you need to get out, but know it won’t be an immediate process, how can you stay sane and get back to being ‘you’ while you’re still there?

Plus if you stick around until the end, we get into fun lifestyle & travel tips along with my most recent favorite place to get away to.

Get more info and a listen here: 

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