On the popular ABC series Scandal, Olivia Pope specializes in delicately managing her clients' serious problems. The inspiration for her character — crisis-management expert Judy Smith — offered some advice at Jezebel to a reader dealing with her own personal dilemma. It doesn't quite reach the level of a national scandal like the ones Smith is used to dealing with, but that didn't make it any less serious to the advice seeker.

Smith used some of the same principles she applies with her real-life clients to make recommendations about what to do when you've dedicated many years (and incurred tons of debt) to a career that ends up making you miserable. First off: If you've been in denial, get out.


From Smith's advice at Jezebel:

It seems as though you had a pretty good idea as to what you were signing up for and had spent time in internships that seemingly represented what you would one day be doing. So, I would first urge you to examine why there is such a large discrepancy between your actual experience and what you were led to believe based on your graduate school studies and related training experiences. Furthermore, what about the last five weeks has been unbearable — specifically?


Another thing I suggest you examine is whether or not denial has played an issue in your life when it comes to your career choice. What first led you to this career choice and what motivated you to keep pressing on in the past through difficult times? Most likely, this is not the first time you have doubted your life choices. What has changed this time where, instead of working through it, you are now deciding on whether you even want to continue?

I often asked my clients to examine the role that denial has played in their lives because that is a strong defense mechanism people often use in order to ignore the warning signs and continue down a path that is not right for them …

If you come to the conclusion that you were in denial then I urge you to confront what that means now. Don't be afraid to change course. You might have put a lot — financially and emotionally into your present position, but that toll will only rise (along with your dissatisfaction) if you stay somewhere you know in your gut you are not meant to be.

Read more at Jezebel.

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