Once you reach your 30s, you've probably already figured out that your career is not likely to be an easy, clear cut path that just keeps going up. Yes, over time, your growing knowledge and experience will help you climb that professional ladder, but there will always be setbacks, unexpected—often uncontrollable—circumstances, or in some cases, burnout, that could lead to a total career change.

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When faced with a career choice, such as a promotion with added responsibilities, a job offer abroad, or even a business opportunity where you can finally become your own boss, it always helps to take a step back and look at the big picture. Don't get caught up in the moment and say yes without giving the offer a second glance. Otherwise, you could be signing up for something you're not ready for—or worse, something that won't be able to sustain your life.

"Salary is one part of it, money is part of it… but I think it’s a more pragmatic decision whether you want to take it or not," said P&G Brand Manager for APAC Nicole Villarojo during a panel discussion on "Negotiating Your Worth" at the recently concluded She Talks Asia: We Are Enough Summit held at the Globe Tower on March 16. "Because you decide if it makes sense for you in terms of maintaining your standard of living, making sure that you’re able to pay for all your commitments [like] if you’re loaning a house or if you’re paying for a car… The bigger part I look at when things are offered to me are the opportunities around that and if it matches with what I know is important for me.”

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The panel was moderated by She Talks Asia co-founder and December 2018 #FNLifePeg, Lynn Pinugu. Also among the panelists were Hong Kong-based account and project director Jane Deefounder and CEO of Status Media Group Rosario Herreraand actress-turned-manager Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan. Here are a few other things we learned:

Think of your personal prorities when making a long-term decision.

Don't be blinded by a huge paycheck, especially if you're looking for longevity. Think about this: If you have tons of money, but the quality of your work life is toxic and you won't even have time to have a life outside work, is it really worth it?

Likewise, a smaller pay but with a company that provides good benefits and lots of room for growth in your career could be the better option. Either way, no one else can make this decision for you. When it doubt, it always helps to write a list of pros and cons, and to gain insight from real people who have experienced working with your potential employer.

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Put in the work, and know how to use experience as leverage. 

"You have to have work [experience] before you can negotiate an offer... If you’re a millennial… get your foot in whatever door," advises Jane Dee. 

Jane then goes on to reveal she was fired from her first job after seven months, but without that job, she wouldn’t have landed her second one with Pernod Ricard, a company she stayed with for 10 years. “Without that first job, I wouldn’t have been able to talk to this second company.”

Learn to assert yourself.

"Women tend not to negotiate because women are guilty talking about money," narrates Lynn.  

Nicole also added that generally, Filipinos aren't as direct at work. She shares she even made the same mistake once before; working her butt off, thinking "hopefully someone will notice me," instead of telling her superiors what she wanted out of her stay in the company.

Remember, the worst someone can say is no. It also helps to already establish the lowest you can go in your mind, so you can be ready to walk away if they won't meet your standards. Of course, this doesn't mean you can't compromise. Look over your offer and see where there's room for adjustment—it could be your scope of responsibilities, your vacation leaves, or a work from home setup.

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Don't let your relationship get in the way of the success you deserve—however you choose to define it.

As Maricel Laxa shares based on personal experience, "What’s important for women is to be surrounded by men who are secure with themselves.

"If you are with a man who is not secure with himself, you will always want to be subservient to him.

"We have to shine, if it makes him happy to see you shine, you’re with the right person."

Find a mentor you can trust. 

Jane advises that one way to help maneuver your way through these major career decisions is to find a mentor who can be honest with you. 

This is supported by J. Walter Thompson’s “FilipinaNext: A study on Filipinas and where they are headed next” where it was revealed that 94 percent of Filipinas are looking for women to step up as role models.

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"Talk to a mentor... it’s really important you find someone you trust," adds Jane.

Watch part two of the panel and a Q&A in the video below:

Following last year’s #TheBodyLoveRevolution campaign, this one-day summit was meant to be "a safe space for speakers and participants to discuss important issues and insights on empowerment and self-worth."

Watch the highlight reel below:

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