Happen To Your Career Podcast

In this Episode:

  • A common symptom of people that get burned out
  • How to overcome the perpetual sense of failure
  • How to remove tunnel vision in your career
  • How to let go of limiting beliefs (i.e. “I have to stay in the same industry”)

What to do when you feel burned out in your career

Michael had been an executive at Sony entertainment for many years. It was a great career for him.

Until it wasn’t.

The absolutely crazy thing is that in all his years working for Sony, even though he enjoyed lots of pieces of it, he’d never realized that work could be something that was fun.

He was able to get unstuck and find a new career path that did fit him.

As I talked with Michael, it was evident how much life had changed for him in the last two years.

Full Transcript

I never had a vision of my career. Let's just say I just want to start there. Yeah, right. My career, just this is how I got to kind of where I found you guys. finished high school plan to go to college, family issues, put that on hold. I was very lucky that a friend of mine in town said, Hey, if you're not going to college, you should work full time at a real job come work, where I work. It was a warehouse shipping company catalog company. So I went and signed up and ended up working there full time for two years. And I think the great thing about that was I took very well to the structure, the schedule, and I was kind of like fascinated by operations. And yeah, learning about shipping and receiving and paperwork. And you know, it's sustained me, right. So after a couple of years of that, I went back to I always thought that I would get a degree. I grew up, you know, around a lot of people in business and lawyers and architects. And so I went to the local college, because I was paying my own way signed up for night class. Loved it. Loved creative writing was the first class I took just as a general after work. After one semester that I said, I'm doing this, I told them, I was quitting to go to school, and they said, Well, are you going to work during school? And I said, Yeah, I'm gonna have to pay bills are probably on campus and they said, you know, what, why don't you stay part time? Keep benefits, you know, and I said, oh, wow, that's a great offer. So For the next four years, I did full time school lived on campus. And then every day in the afternoon, four to eight went to work at this company. And it's I can get into a lot of detail about that all but I've always been up good with structure. So long story, but I finished my degree. And, oh, I decided, during school, I didn't, I still didn't know what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted a college degree, but I didn't know what I wanted to do. But in my mind, I said, I want something practical, and something that's going to allow me to pay the bills and be independent, right? So I started down the economics path, I loved macro economics micro, again, all the business instructor stuff, and then switched to accounting. Because I really got into the bookkeeping, of the numbers. I love math, I like math, I'm just not good at the Advanced Math. Like, I wanted to be an architect, but the math was like, forget it, I wanted to be an engineer, math, forget it. Accounting was like, Oh, it's math, but just enough,

Scott Anthony Barlow
right, right level of math, the

Michael Fagone
right level of math. So you know, ended up with an accounting degree. And then I started looking for jobs in where I was in Boston, and fun, mutual fund accounting was a big thing, there. And luckily, I had a very close friend refer me to his company Fidelity Investments. And I got hired as a fund accountant there as my first job out of school. And I loved it, again, very structured, lots of training, great company. Then, you know, for personal reasons, I ended up leaving that job and moving with my partner at the time to Philadelphia, and for his school. And I got a job at a corporate like a corporate accounting job at a consulting firm. And there, I was encouraged by my boss to take the CPA exam, he said, Look, if even if you're not going to be a public accountant, just take the exam, it means a lot. It shows that you know how to study you care, you have the ability. So I spent two years doing that pass the exam was really hard. It was two full days in a warehouse at a table, eight hours, you know, four hours a section. But I did it. And I was very proud of myself. And at the end of the two years, we moved to Los Angeles again for my partner's job. But I was happy to do that, because I wanted to try working in entertainment, I thought the best setup for me would be be an accountant for a movie studio. Because I love movies, I love TV. And if you're going to do accounting, I always recommend to people do it for a product that you have interest in. Because then you'll be excited about the sales, you'll be excited about the marketing, you'll be engaged in the company, right? And and it helps you be a business partner, as opposed to something that you just have no interest in at all right, if you can. So that led me to Sony Pictures.

Scott Anthony Barlow
And later today, like, I'm super curious about that, because I think that's a great bit of advice. And I'm also curious when you made that change? What was as you thought it would be? And what was different than you thought it would be in working for working in entertainment, working for Sony Pictures?

Michael Fagone
So the first question, I guess is, you know, accounting is accounting everywhere, right? bookkeeping is bookkeeping, it's all the same rules. I mean, the rules change depending on the business you're in, right? each business has specific accounting rules, right? So if one thing is, you, it's better if you're interested in the product, it makes it easier to research, right, the accounting standards that apply to that particular business. It also depends on the product can be you know, the product a company is making has an effect on the culture of that company and the environment. So for me entertainment is I assumed is going to be creative, exciting. It's flashy, it's, I mean, especially in Los Angeles. This was something that was really we're really surprised. Yeah, was you know, again, I was with I moved here with my partner who, you know, had was incredibly smart and and super successful and got a great job with a very well regarded company in Los Angeles. Yeah, you know if you're a top MBA type person, but we would like go out and about in town and people would say, what do you do? And he would say this, and they would go, oh, I've never heard of them. And then they would say, what do you do? And I would say, I'm an accountant at Sony. And they would be like, Oh, my God. So there is a thing in LA, where, yeah, if you work for a mate, one of the studios, it just you get a lot of like, reaction that sort of, you know, it gives you a boost, right? Yeah. But the different part is that entertainments super exciting, and it's super flashy. It's also absolutely insane. And the way in. So imagine that, okay, if you're a, if you're a consumer products company, so you're like Neutrogena, I'm yeah, I'm out of the blue. You launch new products once in a while. But generally, you know, you have the same product lines, you're getting them into stores, you're you're doing marketing. And it's sort of like happens on a regular schedule. And entertainment, you're launching a new product a couple times a month, every new movie is like, what is it going to do? Waiting, waiting, waiting, it opens. And then it's going to do better than expected, as expected or worse. And let me tell you, if it does worse, it is pandemonium for the next month, as you are revising forecasts and profit plans and figuring out where you're going to cut expenses to make up for the difference that goes on over and over and over multiple times a month. So entertainment is a very unique animal in that way. And yeah, it has a number, it has a couple of areas that are very, very challenging. And because they're unique to that business, there aren't a lot of good, like industry solutions, right? Another one is like assets keeping track of film assets. Right? No one else does. No other industry has this problem where you need to keep master copies of movies and television shows and the audio tracks that go with them. And all the subtitles, and imagine subtitles for 50 different languages, dubs for 50 different languages, right? All this stuff has to be warehouse and accessible as you sell it down the road. And that is that is the area that I started in with Sony was it was basically asset management. It is fascinating, incredibly challenging. And still to this day, 20 years later, doesn't have any good solutions. It is just a monster of a problem for the studios to manage those pieces of every piece of content. And it's only getting harder with the way that we're now doing YouTube. Short Form, right? So if you're an accountant, and you want a lot of challenges, I highly recommend entertainment. it's it's a it's a unique animal. So So I got into I got a job at Sony, again, you know, very lucky that a guy from Boston where I grew up was there. And he, I guess, you know, keyed in on my Boston background. And he liked my he liked the fact that I was from the east coast and I had, you know, pass the CPA exam, right. So I landed at Sony, again, no plan, other than get an accounting job at a studio.

I then was there for 18 years. So started out as a senior financial analyst in September of 2001. And I left as a vice president of worldwide distribution finance in the beginning of 2019. And like I said, I never planned on any of this. But once I started at Sony, I could see that the more you could handle, the more they would throw at you. And I had I was very fortunate to have some great, like bosses that really knew how to challenge you. And it just sustained me it's sustained me for you know, almost 20 years. But at the end, it got to this point where, you know, the demands of the job were felt like 20 473 65 and for someone like me that is a perfectionist and didn't really realize that it it just didn't work anymore. It just got to this point and I you know, it got to the point where I physically couldn't keep myself going and and mentally I was just overwhelmed. All the time, and just worried constantly about too many things, and not able to fix anything perfectly or make anything work perfectly, was not a good combination.

Scott Anthony Barlow
What kind of a impact did that have on, like your health and wellness.

Michael Fagone
So I think from the big for the beginning time that I was there, I, it was good for me. Because Yeah, being at a job where you had to be, you know, in a regular schedule, and you were always busy. And, and it was very structured, you had that structure, I have the structure, and then I would go like, I'm going to work out three days a week after work. And then I'm going to, you know, weekends I have off and or, you know, as I got busier and took on more responsibility, I would I would get up at you know, 5am and workout in the morning. And then you know, leave my evenings open if work up busier. And but I always was able to make it work, right, I could always fit. Like I was swimming for a long time, that was my thing, like, get out of work, hit the pool, do laps for 45 minutes. And it, it just I loved being so busy, I felt really important. I felt I mean, obviously, the money was really good and was getting better every year. And I was just on this like constant sort of routine of keep it going get the next big raise, keep it going get another big bonus. And I had a great team of people under me. And I can't even I mean, that sustained me for years. And I felt like it was my duty to suffer for this job. Because I wanted to see my team advance, I wanted to see them get promoted take on more responsibility, right. I think the last probably three years I was there. I was doing it out of a sense of duty to the people that worked for me. But I also have this sense of, and I think this is common for people who get burnt out is you have this irrational sense of importance of the work like I felt like if I'm not there, stuff is going to fall apart. If I'm not there, no one else is going to be able to do these things. And they won't be perfect, and they won't be right and they won't be on time I have to keep going. And I did that until I physically couldn't do physically couldn't do it anymore. I lost 20 pounds in the last. In the final year I was there didn't really sleep much that entire year obviously wasn't eating wasn't exercising at all. And it just got to the point where I would I would get out of there on Friday and just go into a coma for the weekend and drag myself in on Monday. And I did that for the last year. I kept saying it'll get better. It'll get better. It'll get better. I had I had taken a promotion to a notoriously difficult group. And I believed that because the company wanted me to do this, that I must be able to handle it, you know, and I wasn't thinking that. They're not necessarily and this isn't in a bad way. They're not necessarily thinking about my well being like I'm the one that has to be watching out for my health and well being the company isn't always going to no company is going to do that for you. Yeah, I mean, you can't expect that really. They looked at it and said, we have a need for this big thing to get fix. And here's a person we think can do it. And they're expecting that I'm going to have boundaries and no one to raise my hand. And I learned the hard way that I definitely did not. I said I will. I'm going to get over the hump. We're going to get this done. It'll get better, it'll get better. But after six months of that, I was like I don't see it all I see his bigger problems on her on the horizon and things I can't get fixed fast enough. And I can't live in this world of just

barely getting it done and poorly. Right. It just took its toll on me. But I think the overall the bigger picture of that was that I never I never intentionally chose any of this. It was like I stayed in the job because it was well I'm lucky to be working for a big name company. I'm lucky to be vice president of Finance. That is a movie studio. I was like wow, I get to go to meetings with like, the head of the studio and he's like Famous people that are in the news all the time, I'm sitting at a conference table with them. It's like, I mean, that is intoxicating, right? Yeah. And and I have this sense of who am I to deserve all this and and couldn't visualize anything better or, or better for me. So I just kind of lived in this, like, I'm lucky to have what I have suffer and deal with, because other people have a lot less and other people can't get here. And I'm very humble that way, I think, probably too humble. And that all of that led me to this burnout place, which ultimately led me to leave, I gave I gave my notice, with no backup plan. I just had a point where I said, If I don't, if I don't tell my boss that I'm leaving in two weeks, I'm just not going to show up one morning, and that would be a horrible way to end 18 years of investment in this job, my colleagues, my reputation, and everything. So I gave my notice. And they were incredibly graceful. And said, Don't make that decision yet, take a break. Come back, talk to us when you've had some time to thank. And I did, I took a couple months off to get my health back. And having that space allowed me to go going back into that environment is not going to serve me, it's not going to work. It's not going to work for them. Because I'm not going to do better the second time around, right? expecting that environment to change for me was ludicrous. It was never going to happen. And then I had to take the decision to say it is what it is in that particular situation doesn't work. So I ultimately decided it's not for me, I'm I'm not going to come back. And I am very happy that I did.

Scott Anthony Barlow
So I think this is first of all, I really appreciate you sharing that journey that led up to that. And I think a few things, in particular stand out is I am hearing you tell this story. I've actually heard pieces of it for Yeah, several times over since you and I have had numerous conversations, I guess, at this point. But the part that really stands out to me now that I don't know that I connected together and before this is that, you know, at one point, it was a great thing for you. It was you called it sustaining you.

Unknown Speaker
Yeah,

Scott Anthony Barlow
right variety of different ways. Not just one way, but a variety of different

Michael Fagone
challenging me learning opportunities, a lot of fun, a lot of really fun people and honestly wonderful people that I met along the way, and growth opportunities like crazy. I mean, yeah, for the right person, it offers tremendous opportunities for for great work and challenging work. Yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow
And then at some point along the way, you started shifting into more of these. I'm just gonna say opportunities to use the word word loosely, where it in some ways no longer fit all of what I would say your strengths are you talked about that perfectionism earlier. But I think that that is even though we're calling it perfectionism. I think that that stems from a place of some of your strengths as I've gotten to know you over the last year or so. And you when you put someone like you in an environment like that, it is like perpetually setting you up for what feels like perpetual flight failure, which then had those huge impacts on everything else. Yeah, I don't think I quite connected that in that exact same way until I heard you tell the entire story from the beginning end, but

Unknown Speaker
okay. That's,

Scott Anthony Barlow
that's really, really interesting. And

Michael Fagone
yeah, it kind of dovetails with this whole happened to your career. The way you say that, right, when I when I found your podcast, it when I understood what you meant by that. I said, Yeah, I've I've never happened to my career. I have let I have cut. I can't I got to this place without any intentional decisions, right. I mean, there were some on the way like I obviously decided to move and change jobs and I decided to go for this or that or the other thing. But I never once I was in Sony, it was sort of like take whatever is offered to you and be happy about it. Right? Be thankful be grateful that they're offering you this this new role, or whatever. And I never was intentional Really designing what I wanted or thinking about, like, I want this in my workday and not this or right. And we'll get to this as we, you know, as we go through the story. But yeah, it was a great job for a long time. But as the roles changed, and the responsibilities got bigger and managing more people, and complexity, and and then there was a whole component of organizational change that had nothing to do with me, it was just the way the market was going, and, and the way the world is turning, it all culminated in just an untenable situation that I, I tried my best to do for almost a year. But it ultimately wasn't so.

Scott Anthony Barlow
So before we talk about what happened from there, I'm curious, you know, for somebody who's been in that situation, where it was a good thing, and then turned into over a course of years, I no longer great thing. You know, what, what advice would you have for somebody who is finding themselves in that situation? Right now,

Michael Fagone
right now, um, I would say, to the extent you can, try to build a little safety net for yourself, right? financially, try to have a little room and your budget and some savings, so that you can take time off if you need to, right, because it's very hard to focus on making big changes like this, if you're, you know, working all the time, and you're, and you're tired. Not everyone can do that. I know. But it's just, you know, if you can, I would also say, I, when I was in that place, I could not envision that anything could be better, I could not imagine any other job that would pay the bills, I could not imagine any going to another workplace. I was very nervous about giving up after so many years of the company. So I had that fear. So I guess I would say to someone who is in my shoes from back then is, it can be a lot better. I mean, I'm blown away by how different My life is, now. And how I will never go back to that kind of a situation. Again, as luck. I mean, for the rest of my career, I will never approach a job the way that I did before. And it's just, you have to take a leap of faith, that it can be different, you're not going to be able to see it from where you are, but hopefully listening to people like me or other people on this podcast or other career change sites, you know, just believe that there's enough people out there that have done it, that you know, the proof is there, you just have to take that that leap.

Scott Anthony Barlow
There's a paradox, I could totally forget the name. I wish I could remember it off the top of my head. However, it's the something paradox. And the the idea behind it is that when you're in the situation, you cannot actually see what a different situation could fully be like. And because of that, it becomes difficult to believe that there could be a different situation. And we convince ourselves as human beings, the way that we're wired, we convince ourselves, we fill in the gaps, that well, there must not be a different situation out there. So it's especially hard when you're in that situation that you described for that reason.

Michael Fagone
Yep, it is. And you also can't open your blinders up, right? You have you have tunnel vision, or I did have what I need, I can't be in this role anymore. But I need to go find something exactly the same in a different place, which it wasn't going to be any better. Right? So, you know, again, you have to kind of get out of that headspace in order to envision what might be a better fit, right. And that's where I learned so much going through the kind of skills investigation and and learning about my strengths and kind of thinking about a better work life and a better way to put my strengths to use. Because once I learned about my strengths, I was like, oh, wow, this is crazy. Like, I can see exactly why I was successful there. Right. And I can see exactly why it was miserable for so long,

Scott Anthony Barlow
with a couple examples of that because that's that's a great point.

Michael Fagone
So once I kind of went through the Strengths Finder, that piqued my interest, right, just taking that and seeing what my my fight I mean, I look at it now. old job I had taken so many profiles of Myers Briggs and emergent attics. And, you know, I had gone through all those trainings. And they were good, but it just never, it never opened up my eyes to anything, right. And then when I did the strengthsfinder one, and I saw what my top five were, and I did the work with a coach to really kind of dig in and understand them. You know, my top, my number one strength is harmony, which is crazy, right? So on the good side, it served me in that job, because I was always looking to make things work and get people working together and systems working. And I wanted things to be handled and covered, and no surprises. But in that environment, we didn't have harmony in anything, everything was impossible. And so I was just, uh, it just drove me crazy. Because you could never get anything working right? Or anybody on the same page. You know what I mean? So my number one strength was not being used, it was being used, but it wasn't in a way that like, made me happy. My in my top five is analytical, right? super important for an accounting job. And I got to work on analytical stuff all day long. That was amazing. that kept me going. I'm looking at them right now, responsibility, relator and deliberative, right,

Scott Anthony Barlow
their responsibility to is especially big one, because you're the one to take on everything. And if you don't know, the strength finder, definitions of strengths that don't worry about that here. And the most important part is that if you're ever, you know, trying to identify your strengths, if you're listening to this now and trying to try and identify your strengths, that you have an understanding and can articulate what those are, Michael, in your case, you know that that responsibility, one, the fact that you you're going to take on the responsibility for everything that's going on, in a near impossible situation. Just creates? Yep, yeah. No, do all that not good,

Michael Fagone
good. Great for the company, because I am like, I, you know, I will try my hardest to never drop the ball and always deliver on my commitments. And I and I take that extremely seriously. Yeah. And again, this is why I was successful in that role. It's also why I was miserable, because there was just no end and no side to the same coin. Exactly. And deliberative is another good one. I like making decisions, right? I take pride and making good decisions with data and carefully you need to do you need to have that in accounting, right? You just, that's critical. And this is why I like that kind of work. So that one served me and it it hit my buttons, it let me use that strength, and it was needed for the job. So that was good, analytical, same thing. relator I don't know. It's interesting. I'm an introvert. And it's in everyone's always surprised by that. But I can turn it on and be sociable in the service of work. But then I need like downtime to recover. And I really liked my quiet time. So in the relator, strength, being part of a big company, it felt like I was almost out of college campus every day. You were eating at the commissary, you saw people, there was lots of, you know, things to do happy hours. Like, it was cool. Like it was a cool place to go to work every day, right? You would see you would see stars every once in a while there was filming going on. But I I did hit my relator thing because I felt connected. I felt I didn't feel alone, right. But then I realized that all of these relationships are first and foremost work relationships, and could go away at any moment. Because people leave people get laid off, like, things change. And they weren't true. Like personal connections. And it's so it kind of it was pretending to serve that strength, but it really wasn't. So, so those getting clarity on those things. Again, it showed me why I got to where I was. And it also showed me why I wasn't happy. So that was amazing. And I think that's what led me to call you and go okay, I want to like talk to somebody about what this really is about and how this works. And is it Am I just signing up for a bunch of like online classes, or is this actually going to do something for me? And that's what I think led me to call you or email you guys and get on the phone with you. Fill up. Because I was like, I can see this, this, there is a path here. I don't know how to use it. I don't know where it's gonna lead me I need a lot of help. And and pushing to believe that this will work. And yeah, that's how I got to where I signed up with you guys.

Scott Anthony Barlow
So tell me a little bit about it, trying to identify what was going to be a great next step for you. What was some of the hardest parts of that process?

Michael Fagone
Well, I think the hardest thing for me was like, again, breaking out of the tunnel vision of thinking that I had to go back to an a Monday through Friday, corporately, accounting finance job. And I every time I tried to lift my head up and go, I'm going to start putting my resume together and start applying the stuff. I just couldn't do it. If I because it felt so it felt so wrong. So I just needed, I needed someone to open my open my vision, I keep thinking of tunnel vision and someone opening up the blinders. Like where

Scott Anthony Barlow
you're going, you're on a train, if you've ever been in a train, and it goes through a tunnel. And then at the end all of a sudden, like everything is super like,

Michael Fagone
yep, pause I needed I needed coaching, I needed help on possibilities. I kept asking my coach, okay, I took the strength test. So now you should be able to punch those five into a computer and tell me the perfect job that I should be applying for. And you guys were like now does not work, though. And I kept saying, but why? Come on? I want the easy. I just want the easy answer. But it kind of did work that way over time. Right? Because it led me to look at other things like, you know, other career paths, right. And so it took me it took me a year to decide. But I finally did, and I and I'm very, very excited about where we're at potentially is going. And along the way I did some fun jobs too. Just to play

Scott Anthony Barlow
right over some of those. I know some of them, but we're

Michael Fagone
just so so I took a look I had I was I was fortunate in that I was able to take a sabbatical, right? Yeah, so I decided 2019 or sorry, was it 2019? Yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow
20 1920 2020 the year that? Yeah,

Michael Fagone
yeah, I decided 2019 I am not applying for any work. I'm taking a year off. I'm going on road trips that I've never been able to do. Seeing family catching up with friends. Okay, I lasted about six weeks. And I said, Okay, I need some I need to do stuff I need. I cannot just be chilling out. Right? That's it sounded like a great idea. But I got my fill of it pretty quickly. I decided to take care of some health stuff. I had a shoulder surgery to correct an injury that had been painful. And I figured do that do that while I have time before I go back to work. But once I was out of that, I got my roadtrips done, you know, saw the West Coast saw a bunch of national parks. It was awesome. But I was getting I was getting antsy. And so I always I'm a car fanatic, right? I'm just a car enthusiast. I don't want to sell cars for a living. It's not I kind of thought about it. But it just I'm not super into sales. But I want to do some car related. So I googled car related jobs Los Angeles, and this test driver job came up. And I just for fun sent him like a super thin resume. And they called me back. And yeah, the job was driving cars, eight hours a day on a test route to collect data, and you just like fill out a report. And so I did that for six months. And I loved it. It was I mean, the pay wasn't sustainable. It's not a job for like a full timer. It's good for retirees, or like students who need you know, spending money. But I loved it. I like I was like, seeing all of La driving nice cars.

I had my camera with me all the time. So on my breaks, I would take pictures of you know, San Diego, the ocean like whatever, right? I listened to podcasts. So in that time, I love driving. I love being behind the wheel. So I was able to get paid to be behind the wheel. And I had eight hours of time to myself and that's when I found your podcast. I would listen to news in the morning. And then career change podcasts or meditation podcasts or true crime. I was having a blast, it was like, you know, I love, it's nice to just do work for fun and not for money or because it looks good on your resume or right. It's just forget about it all. Just do something interesting. So I learned a lot, I met some cool people, I learned all of La driving. I got to listen to great inspirational media, right. So I guess, long way to say, you know, play around with it a little bit. The other job I did was a Lyft driver, if you can believe it. And my friend said to me, he goes, boy, Michael, one thing I can say about you is you have no pride are no no pride, or no shame about taking different kinds of work. And that's amazing. And I said, you can learn. And I don't know where I heard this. But somebody may There's a famous person that explained this. Yeah, you can learn from any job you do. It doesn't matter how entry level doesn't matter how unglamorous you can take pride in it, you can learn how to do it, well, what's required, you can then train people how to do that job teach people, you can learn how to improve that process, right? So I kind of looked at it as I'm going to just, I'm gonna forget that I was a studio, a studio executive technically, for 18 years, blah, blah, blah, and I need to stay on that path. And I'm just going to go play around in the automotive world. Right. So I did the driving job. And then I did Lyft driver. And that was just for fun. Because I had read an article on a blog about a guy who said he just did this part time to, honestly to cure boredom. He's like, I love being in the car. I don't like just driving around aimlessly. And for doing doing lift gives you like a purpose, right? You're, you're picking up a ride, you're taking them to your destination, I learned that I'm a I'm an ambassador for LA, I can pick up a lot of tourists and and, you know, they would tell me what they were going to do. And I would say if I've been there or not. And I loved it for the fact that, again, I'm an introvert, but I not totally, I loved the interactions of like, you're going to get in my car, we're going to talk for 15 or 20 or 30 minutes, and then our relationship is over. Right? It's It was perfect for me, because I felt connected to people. But there were like really short interactions. And I took a lot of pride and being you know, polite, safe, offering good information. Knowing my way around, and I just honestly, it was fun, because I was getting to explore the city. And I had rides all the way down to Laguna Beach, San Diego. I mean, I had like some long haul trips. And and then I would end that trip. And I'd be like, Okay, well, I'm in San Diego, I'm gonna, I'm gonna hang out down here and see what's going on. And then I'm gonna do rides all the way home. It was awesome. But I also learned that you it's really hard to make a living doing that. And we could have another whole podcast in my opinions about rideshare. And I

Scott Anthony Barlow
didn't ask you about that when we got to have a few weeks back.

Michael Fagone
Oh, but again, amazing experience six months working for Lyft I learned a ton. I have very strong opinions about that industry. And and the fact that you know, it is not sustainable for drivers. You know, it's a fun like, it's a fun pocket money job. But it is really not sustainable for a real like full time thing. It ends up I think costing you more money in wear and tear on your vehicle, then it's really

Scott Anthony Barlow
fascinating in many wonderful in many terrible ways at the same time. Michael quick check in here, because we're just about at time that we had scheduled done. I have about 15 minutes where I can go longer, but didn't want to assume that you do. Do you have to stop?

Michael Fagone
Okay, No, I'm fine. All right,

Scott Anthony Barlow
let's so and then for 15 minutes. So here's what I'm super curious about then for you and your story where you know when you think about the transition, and when you think about, you know what worked really well, for you to identify your next step, an amazing next step for you a step that I don't think you probably would have thought about if we would ask you three years ago or so, at all, you know what worked really well for you.

Michael Fagone
So, I would say, I let me think about that one for a second. Yeah. So I think the first thing, the first step for me was letting go of, I have to stay on the path I was on, I have to stay in entertainment, I have to stay in finance. Because I've spent so much time there. If I don't do that, I'm throwing everything away. And I'm starting from the beginning, I had to I had to let go of that belief. That was really, really hard to do. The second, I think thing that helped me was doing those kind of fun, fun jobs and air quotes. Yeah, because it just helped me just have a little like, it helped me get out of the rut that I was in, or the tunnel vision again, and go, you know, here's, I'm learning how to do other things, even though they're not like career things. It just helped me feel excited about working again, and curious. And then I think the other other thing was, well, it was really, once I did the strengthsfinder, it was spending the time to go through the exercises that you guys explained to me through coaching, and then having my coaching sessions with Moe, to really drill down on the value of stepping back and doing the in I don't know what you I can't remember what you call them. But the assignments basically, right? where it was so hard for me to believe it, but it's before you start looking for your next role. Decide what you want your life to look like, lay out, pick how you want your life to be structured before you start looking for a job in a company first, and I was like, Whoa, like, Who does that? Why would you do that? Why would you do that? Like who? And then I was like, oh, maybe this is how successful people are so happy as they do that. But boy, did it take me a long time to come around. belief. But once we got through it, and it took me a good, probably two months of encouragement and pushing. That led me to the job that I'm doing now. Right, it led me to start looking for work that would fit what I wanted and company culture and I I'm still I'm blown away and stunned that I am where I am because I found a company that is so helpful, encouraging nice people. I have a flexible schedule, I work when I feel like it pretty much. It's crazy. I never would have believed that if I if you talk to me three years ago,

Scott Anthony Barlow
one of the things that stood out to me when and I wish I could meet like every single person we worked with, in person, over, you know, over the entire world and everything however, you and I got to meet in person, you and Alyssa and I had breakfast together just a few weeks back and not that long ago in San Diego. And you were kind enough to drive down from LA, which was super fun. But one of the things that stood out to me during that conversation that we had is we were like overlooking the beach at this little, you know, kind of funky little breakfast place. Yeah. Would you said something along the lines of you know, I still find that I am struggling with the fact that like work can also be enjoyable.

Michael Fagone
That's so true. Oh my god. I don't know why. I don't know. I think it's like Catholic guilt or something. I don't know where this comes from. But it's so true. I always had a belief that work needs to be hard. You're not if you're not suffering at work, then you're not working hard enough. Right. I don't know where this comes from. But I had to let that boy that I have to let that go. And, and that's critical. I think that's really, really important for for people to just think about, think about your attitude towards work. And do you do you have that belief, right? Because if work is fun, like what I'm doing now, I find these moments when I'm like, you know, it's eight o'clock on a Tuesday night and I'm like, should I watch a movie? I'm like, No, I actually really feel like working because I'm not it's not work. It's fun. I'm having fun with it. You know, and I'm like it still feels weird. Wait, I'm not watching TV every night because I'd rather be doing my you know my job.

Scott Anthony Barlow
Well, let's be crazy. This is weird, but it's good. Weird.

Michael Fagone
Yeah, it's good, weird. So what?

Scott Anthony Barlow
So that is, that's awesome. First of all, let's just acknowledge that right there. And, you know, when you think about other people that are getting ready to make a change, like if we're going back to where we had talked about you were at before where you had decided that you were going to make this change in one way or another. You know,

Michael Fagone
what,

Scott Anthony Barlow
what else would you advise people to think about or what other? What worked for you to let go of some of those beliefs that you talked about?

Unknown Speaker
I think

Michael Fagone
I think it was a lot of listening to career change. People who have gone through career change was super helpful, right? Talking to Moe, and sort of having that accountability partner of like, you know, I, we talked about I was going to do these things before next week, I don't want to let him down. responsibility, responsibility and accountability partners. I mean, I it's, that's always a good thing. it no matter what you're doing exercise programs, you know, dieting, like it's accountability partners are really powerful. But you asked about other things that people could do that were in my shoes, its focus on those strengths. And then again, do a lot of, you know, researching. What helped me a lot was some of the tools like I can't remember the name of the database, it's the government database of jobs. Oh, occupational? What is that thing, the OCC or something?

Scott Anthony Barlow
There's a, let's see nice ease. And then there is? Oh, my goodness, I used to when I used to work for the government, and what changes along the way? All the time, I think I put it out of my mind.

Michael Fagone
It's, it's, there's a there's a database, it's the federal government runs this database of job titles. Like for every industry, right, and you can kind of search around in there for different. I was looking for ideas to spark interest like spark areas for me to look at. So. And that's how I got to my current job, right, which was, if you have these, if you're looking for these skills, or to put these skills to use, these are some industries or jobs, you might consider

Scott Anthony Barlow
rethinking about Oh, net, oh, net one. Thank

Michael Fagone
you. Oh, no, yes, I love databases. And I love playing around with websites, right? So Oh, net was a little playground for me. And it actually helped me kind of generate that list of like, what I had asked earlier was, okay, take five strengths, put it into a thing and tell me the perfect job, right. So that doesn't exist. But oh, net was kind of like something you can sort of do that with, just to kind of break out of the tunnel vision and go, Okay, I don't need to be a corporate finance person anymore. These are like five other things that might work. And that's what led me to what I'm doing now. Right. So Reese, it's research, it's, it's it's research and sort of open mindedness about other ways you that you can, other careers that might work for you. You don't have to stay in, you don't have to stay where you were before, do what you were doing before for a different company. Right, which I think is what a lot of people end up doing is the default, it's either find the same job in a different company, or find the same job in a different industry. But that's probably not going to lead you much to a much different place. You You really want to take the time to just brainstorm a little bit, throw a bunch of ideas up at the wall, go to own that, and go, you know, don't be judgmental about every option. Right? Look at the thing, and then think about them and start marking them off and flagging the ones you want to kind of explore more. Yeah, that would that's that would be my advice.

Scott Anthony Barlow
That's fantastic. And one last question for you before we before we go before we wrap up. How has your life changed now? Like what is different for you now compared to two years ago, three years ago? How would you describe some of those changes, especially for going from what was no longer a great fit for you all the way to work in an organization that really lines up with much more of what you defined intentionally.

Michael Fagone
So I guess I would The big the shortest way to answer that is, prior to this change, I believed that I had a lot of security because I had invested so much time in this company in this role and had so much experience. But I think underneath that I always felt stressed and, and concerned, and it grew over time, that all of that could change in an instant, because management changes, business slows down layoffs happen, like, and I had heard this before working for a paycheck there. You know, there is no security on that, right? I mean, some people, very few. I mean, some people do make it all the way to retirement working for the same company. It's much rarer these days. But at the end of the day, if you're working for someone else, you're in their hands really right. Flash forward to today. I'm the money is not what it was at my old job. And I missed that regular paycheck, for sure. But the potential is there to be doing even better than I was before. But it's up to me. And only me to do that every day, right? to work on finding business to network, to make sure that I'm doing everything I can to on social media on phone calls, to find work, you know, and that I never envisioned myself doing it. But now that I'm doing it, I never want to go back to sitting somewhere and getting paid by the hour, you know, or an annual salary. Because I am in control of my time now I'm in control of my volume of business to some degree it I can take a break when I need to. I can. It's just I don't know, I'm just in love with it right now. Because I am learning so much that I never expected and I'm being challenged in sales and marketing in just discipline and I'm pretty disciplined. But this takes a whole nother level of discipline, like running your own business, I'm sure you know this, right. But I just I love it. And I I just have I have so much more energy now and hope and optimism. And like I said, I managed to find a company I know I'm an independent rep for this company. So I'm I'm not, you know, I'm not getting paid a salary by them. I'm getting paid by the deal. But the people are so great and the most helpful, supportive bunch, I'm like, how did this happened? I just love it, I'm loving it. So it is it is possible, but you got to break out of all the way back to you won't be able to see it from where you're sitting until you step back, get some help, you know, even if it's just listening to a podcast like yours, like routinely scheduling a couple coaching sessions what you know, whatever, just believe in it, give it a try, you know, break out of that break out of that rut, you know, how do I say this I want to say this more concisely just take a chance take a chance on doing something different than you've done before. And and don't just try to look for something similar to what you were doing right try to shake it up because because there's so much possibility out there if you can just give yourself that space to look

 

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