For two years, Sarah Montana worked as an executive assistant at a Manhattan hedge fund where the coffee was good, the people were nice and the work wasn’t hard. She’d taken the job for two reasons: money and stability. And she had both in spades.
“I was doing something that came pretty easily, and I was better than most people at doing it,” she says. She was so good, in fact, that other similar job offers started coming in—for 30 percent above her salary.
There was just one problem: It wasn’t a job she wanted. Ultimately, she turned them all down, instead saving up enough to leave her job and pursue a career in writing.
Still, the job was harder to leave than you’d think. Being good at something, and having people depend on you, matters—especially when you’re getting paid well for it.
It’s easy to slip into that situation, staying in a job or on a project simply because we’re good at it, even though it’s not what we want to do. Here’s what to do if you’re already there—and how to avoid the trap if you’re not.