remote work

The Paradox of Self-Acceptance and Perfectionism by Michelle Sander

I often have conversations where I gently encourage a growth mindset and self-acceptance. Being OK with trying new things, doing things you aren’t great at (yet), and daring to “ship it” and put it out there even when you just might fail.

Perhaps 1 out of every 10 conversations — yep, I don’t shut up about this stuff — I run into someone who at the end of the conversation says, “Well, I’m a perfectionist. It’s just the way I am.”

I’m here to tell you, that’s the same as saying, “I’m a racist. It’s just the way I am.” I’m not saying that to be provocative, rather, I’m saying that to illustrate an idea. Like racism, perfectionism is learned and it can be overcome through reasoning and changes in judgement and decision-making frameworks. It’s a tendency toward specific assumptions about yourself and the world around you.

Perfectionism is a framework for understanding yourself, your behavior and performance, and where you fit in this big, oft-confusing the world.

Brene Brown likens perfectionism is a 20-ton shield. (Watch the talk about it.) It protects us, sure, but it also it makes it difficult to connect with others and is exhausting to carry around all the time. I like to think of it as a security blanket. I was so close to taking that worn-down square to college (the University of Utah’s selective Modern Dance program). I didn’t, however, but I did take my perfectionism and I wore it like a badge of honor.

The badge held me back more often than not from auditioning when I thought I wasn’t ______ enough. The blank was filled in with an endless supply of adjectives. Over time, the blank disappeared and what perfectionism left me with was simply, “I’m not enough.”

It took years for me to realize that I didn’t treat myself with the same regard that I treated strangers on the street, let alone friends. For others I would chime, “It’s the journey. It’s the trying. The bravery is in the speaking up, the pressing Send, the reaching out for the hand come what may.” But for me it was different. For me, I: “needed to know better,” “should’ve seen it coming,” “made the mistake yet again,” “would never learn.”

My inner dialogue was filled with black-and-white thinking — also called all-or-nothing thinking or dichotomous thinking — “should” statements, and frankly a lack of compassion for myself and my story: the hallmarks of a fixed mindset and a lack of self-compassion.

So, (and maybe you’ve been waiting for this part) how did I change it?

Practice, lots of practice. Seeing yourself as a WIP (work in-progress) means everything is practice. It’s all learning. It’s all growing. With practice and with a lot of help from friends, and from family, and from my therapist, Diana, I learned that while perfectionism is saying, I’m not enough today and tomorrow will never come; self-acceptance is saying, I tried my best today and I’m going to try my best to practice on x and y for tomorrow and that’s enough. I’m enough.

Marketing Stuff Ninja and Communications Rockstar by Michelle Sander

Job titles aren’t just a matter of semantics. They can tell you a lot about what a company values and what it might be like to work with them.

After working on my own startup for a while, the build-measure-learn framework for iterative decision making lodged itself deep into my overall thought processes. Not too many things in my life are left unmeasured or analyzed and now that I have a nice sampling of Job Hunt data, I decided to take a deeper look.

Job titles aren’t just a matter of semantics. They can tell you a lot about what a company values and what it might be like to work with them.

Since I embarked on my Job Hunt in the marketing and branding space, I have applied for about 50 jobs with various titles to fit my skills and ambitions. Here is the list of job titles as they appeared in alphabetical order.

Associate Manager, Social Content
Communication Manager
Content Marketer and Writer
Content Writer
Creative Digital Designer
Developer / Marketing Manager
Digital Marketing & Project Manager
Digital Marketing Manager
Digital Product Manager
Director of Growth (remote)
Director of Marketing
Director, Product Management
Executive Marketing Assistant
Growth Hacker
Growth Marketer
Head of Digital Team
Internal Communications Manager
Learning Consultant
Marketing Automation Consultant
Marketing Designer
Marketing Director
Marketing Director Position
Marketing Generalist
Marketing Position
Marketing Product Specialist
Marketing Product Specialist
Marketing Product Specialist Position
Marketing Stuff Creator
Online Marketing Manager
Partner Marketing Manager
Product Designer
Product Marketing and Communications Manager
Product Marketing Manager
Senior Manager Channel Marketing Operations
Senior Product Marketing Manager
Senior UX Designer
Social Editor
Social Media Campaign Assoc
Sr. Marketing Manager
Travel Writer
UX/UI Designer
Web Developer and Technical Marketer

I’m not interested in working for a company that employs ninjas, rockstars, or evangelists. (I’m a writer so of course I take myself far too seriously for that.) And, while I’m still trying to sort this out, it also seems to strike me as coded language that says “startup,” or “we hire only millennials.” While I am a millennial, I’m at the far end of that classification and jobs like these may also be encoded subconsciously as “low paying.” Either way, I always seem to find a reason not to apply.

The jobs that I find myself most excited about and usually interview with are the positions that:

Are titled Director of Marketing or Marketing Director

This is the same title as my previous title.
60% of the interviews I’ve had are for jobs with this title.

Include emphasis in communications, branding, marketing strategy, or product management in the job description

Include a social good aim/connection

It’s important to me. Like one company said during an interview, “We don’t just build websites that sell deodorant anymore. They have to make the world better.” (I suppose you could argue that deodorant makes the world better.)

Allow for remote work

I’ve been a remote worker for a year now and I’ve decided the modern office is where the wifi is.

Some use the term digital nomad to describe this, but for me I really love the freedom to walk my dog when I take breaks.

Remote work is also about balance, so I utilize a coworking space as well.


The companies that are the most impressive to me incorporate job titles into their overall business strategy. It’s not merely semantics, it’s starting with why and knowing that something as seemingly trivial as a job title, might attract the right candidate.