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  • Rachel Schofield

My Favourite Four Letter Word

The powerful letters that will shock your brain into better career ideas

I rather relish a well-placed swear word.

Nothing truly obscene, I stress.

And definitely not around children, my mother-in-law, or vicars.

But there's something I find liberating and energizing about a bit of gentle profanity now and again.

And plenty of scientists will tell you - contrary to what we've been told - cursing is not a sign of low intelligence but may be a marker for intelligence, honesty and creativity.

Through the ups and downs of a career shift, a few choice four-letter words can definitely be forgiven.

There will be moments when you're frustrated, disappointed, excited or surprised, that merit more than a genteel "bother!" or "wowsers!"

But there's one four-letter word that will fuel a career shift like no other, whether you're flying or flagging.

It's short, sweet and packs a cracking punch.

And the great news is you can use it in front of anyone.


"Crikey!" I hear you say. (Incidentally, crikey is ideal for use with vicars and mothers-in-law.)

"Else!!!! What an inoffensive little word."

But don't be deceived.

Those four letters can create shocking changes in your career journey.

Because progress depends on creative thinking and resourcefulness.

And sprinkling in the word "else" at every opportunity will help you find that.

So when you're exploring ideas for your next move - whether they're big or small - here are three ways to use that modest but mighty word to power you forwards.


You have an idea about a career move. You think of one obvious person who would be great to talk to. Never stop there.

Who else could you talk to?

Who else do they know?

(A client curious about working with writers recently went from thinking she had one person she could speak with, to a list of ten possible people, just because I didn't stop asking her "And who else?" and then waiting ... It was probably a bit annoying. It was also just what her brain needed to work a bit harder.)


You have a dream role in mind. Whilst you target that, keep digging and you'll discover all kinds of intriguing tangents.

What else happens in that company that might be interesting and suit you?

What else could this role look like - transposed into other sectors, a different industry, as a freelancer, running your own business, or packaged up with another of your skillsets?


You have an organization where you'd kill to work. But they aren't currently recruiting or it's 200 miles away and you can't move.

Where else has a similar mission, similar values, clients or services?

Where else could you look - where are the industry groups, conferences and events - to discover more?

It's time to make your brain work harder. It may tell you it doesn't know. Until you give it a bit of a rocket with those four-letter words.

Litter your sentences liberally with elses. Let their full impact sink in. And then wait for your imagination's shocked reaction.

Stay curious,


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