571: Avoiding Desperation and Making a Career Change with Purpose



Cheri Thom, Business Systems Manager

on this episode

When your job begins negatively affecting other aspects of your life—your family, your health, your self-worth—those are usually red flags signaling you to make a career change. But then comes a huge dilemma we see all the time — in desperation to escape your current situation, you jump into a new role that’s just as bad as the one before.

So, how do you avoid desperation in your job search and find a new role that adds to your life instead of draining it?

That’s where Cheri found herself. You’ll hear how she went from trying to get out of a job that was making her miserable, to being so sure about what she wanted as the next step of her career that she turned down roles that seemed great but didn’t align with her ideal career… until she found it!

What you’ll learn

  • How to recognize when a job is negatively impacting your life.
  • Strategies for making thoughtful and intentional career decisions.
  • The importance of aligning job opportunities with your long-term goals
  • Tips for avoiding desperation in your job search

Cheri 00:01

It was impacting not only my work life but my personal life. Like, I was snarky with my husband and with my son. And that's not fair to them. I mean, they had nothing to do with it. So I knew something needed to change.

Introduction 00:18

This is the Happen To Your Career podcast with Scott Anthony Barlow. We hope you stop doing work that doesn't fit you. Figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that is unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you feel like you were meant for more, and you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:43

When your job begins negatively affecting other aspects of your life, like, your family or your health or self-worth, those are usually red flags signaling to you that it's time to make a career change. But then comes a huge dilemma. And we see this all the time. In desperation to escape your current situation, you end up jumping into a new role, a new situation, another job that's just as bad as the one before. Maybe the names have changed, but the situation is not any better, right? So how do you avoid this desperation in your job search and find a new role that adds to your life instead of draining it?

Cheri 01:22

I knew what I wanted to do and what I was working towards, and this opportunity came up, and as much as I wanted to say yes, because I wanted out of my current situation, that would have been me running away. Because it was not in line with what I wanted to do going forward.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:36

That's Cheri Thom. Cheri had been a software product analyst for 12 years, and she really enjoyed what she did. But when her family relocated and she had to find a new job, she realized almost immediately that this new one was not a good fit for her. So she searched on her own for almost a year, she was feeling pretty lost and doubting herself, and that's when she began working with us here at HTYC. Last week on the podcast, you heard me and Cheri in a live coaching session discussing how to find organizations that fit what she had defined as her ideal. That's episode 570 if you want to go back and listen. She did an amazing job at getting really detailed on exactly what would make an amazing next step for her. You'll hear how Cheri went from desperately trying to get out of a job that was making her miserable to being so sure about what she wanted in the next step of her career that she turned down roles that seemed great but didn't actually align with what we call the ideal career profile. If we fast forward quite a bit, Cheri ended up in a role that she really loves, working as a product owner and still a business analyst. But wait, there's so much more to the story. Cheri's role was such a great fit that about a year into that job, her boss offered her a promotion to lead the team. We're going to include some of my conversation with her about that promotion and her considerations that went into accepting it at the end of this episode. And then next week on the podcast, we'll have another episode with Cheri now that she's been in this role for approximately two years. But before all that, let's rewind quite a bit here. Let's go to the part of the conversation where Cheri tells me about where her career first began.

Cheri 03:24

When I was in college, I went to school to be a software developer, and I don't know, it's probably my last year at school, and I'm like, "Okay, so I can't sit in a cube and write code all the time", because that was my vision of what a developer did. So I didn't. And I started working in healthcare and software development, but I was a business analyst, or actually I was a software product analyst, so I was responsible for the analysis of solutions and the testing and the support, and I loved it. And it was really a perfect fit because it was the technological side of things, but also kind of the business side, the personal side, the social side of it. So I did that for 12 years, and then the company I was working for just went through a lot of change, and it wasn't the same place that it had been. So I switched jobs, and that job was great, but then we moved so I switched jobs again, and the job that I took, what I was told during the interview, isn't what the job ended up being. So whether that was me not having a full understanding of what to expect, or there was a seat in the interview, I don't know, but it wasn't what I was expecting, and I was really, really unhappy. Really unhappy. So I was there for, oh gosh, I probably started looking for jobs within a month of starting. But doing it, you know, the going on, Indeed, or Flexjobs, or any number of other tools looking for jobs, and I just was not getting any hits, like no emails, no interviews, nothing. And that went on for a little over a year, and then I decided I need to do something different because I needed to get out of that job. And so that's when I contacted you guys. And I started by talking with Phillip, and I remember I started crying on the phone with him because during that interview I felt like I been lied to, like, to start my new job. And so I said that I don't trust myself. I don't trust myself to make the right decision going forward, like, I don't know if that's what I want to do. And he said to me, "Well, you can't help that you weren't given the full picture, like, you can't hold yourself accountable to that. So it's not that you don't trust yourself, it's just, you know, you just need to change the way you're doing things." So that was great. So then I started working with Jennifer, and she's fantastic, and we worked on my ideal career profile, and we worked on my strengths and all of the things after that, and that was kind of how it started.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:43

That is so cool. And it also makes me wonder, what were some of the pieces of that role that were so different for you? Because it was, clearly, in every interaction you and I have ever had in any way, it seemed that it was a clear misfit, and it was a clear, I don't know, bait and switch is the wrong word, because that's not really what I mean, but it was completely different compared to what you believed was going to be versus what it actually was, by a long shot, not by... So help me understand, what were some of those pieces? What's a couple examples that were so different?

Cheri 06:17

So I had been a business analyst for quite a long time prior to starting there. And I spent time with the customers, I worked with them to figure out what they wanted to do with their tools, to make their jobs more efficient or add functionality, or whatever it was. So when going into this role, that was what I expected, and that's kind of what I told it was going to be. So they were taking all of these existing tools and condensing them because they needed just a more streamlined process. Well, that is what they were doing, but that wasn't what I was doing. So I spent most of my time reading documentation. I had some interaction with users, but minimal at best. And I mean, I told you that the reason I didn't want to be a developer is because I didn't want to sit in a cubicle and write code. And so that's what this was to me, like, I was missing the entire social aspect of why I got into business analysis in the first place. So that was a huge mess. I didn't like their management style, but I don't know that I would have known that during the interview. I think that's just something you kind of learn. Well, maybe not. I guess as you work with different managers, you kind of learn what styles you like and don't like. But I didn't like the management style. And I mean, those were two, I guess, really substantial things for me, those are such a huge part of the role that you're in– to be unhappy with those two things makes it hard.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:42

I don't know if I ever told you this before, but I can definitely identify with not wanting to sit in the cubicle and write code. So I actually changed majors. I think it was like 9 or 10 times through college, but the most substantial portion of time I was in one major before I changed, I was in computer science. So I was like, getting deep into C# and C++, and I don't know, name a programming language at that particular time. And I loved some of what you could make, but I hated, just despised sitting and writing code for hours and hours and hours. And it's like, "well, this is what you do." So I can fully appreciate what you're talking about. And I have friends that just love doing that. They get so much out of doing that. And that is not me at all.

Cheri 08:29

And I love the challenge of it, like, it's not like walking this challenge to it, and that's the part about it that I loved, but I just needed to have more interaction with people than what my vision as a developer was.

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:41

That makes a ton of sense. Okay, so you got to this point where, shortly after you were in the role, realized that it was not a great fit, and it was different than what you perceived it was going to be. What made you decide to start doing something about it right away? Because it sounded like you started taking action pretty early on in one way or another. What caused you, what led up to, you know, during that first month or two months, what caused you to say, "Oh, I have to do something about this."?

Cheri 09:13

I'm a firm believer in that if you're going to complain about something, you need to do something to change it. And so I was complaining every day. I literally cried every single day. I was miserable. And it was impacting not only my work life, but my personal life, like, I was snarky with my husband and with my son, and that's not fair to them. I mean, they had nothing to do with it. So I knew something needed to change. I gave it. I feel like I should have given it more than a month before I started looking, like, just to get into the kind of the meat of the job, but I'm really glad that I didn't, because, I mean, I was there for over two years, and it didn't get better. So...

Scott Anthony Barlow 09:51

You knew early on. So that's interesting. But I think what you said there is, I feel like I should have given it more time. When it was pretty clear, I'm sure from an intuitive level and maybe other evidence that you had in front of you, that wasn't the case. But I think so many people feel that it's like, "Well, I should just weigh it out. I should just give it some time. I should just..." But there's only so much time. So I think what you did is right because two years, that's a substantial chunk of time here on Earth, right?

Cheri 10:22

Yeah. And I think that with any new job, there's a learning curve, and sometimes those first weeks, months are more challenging, maybe, than what it is going to be longer term. Simply because you don't know the business, or you don't know exactly what you're going to be doing, and you're meeting all those new people. And so I think that's why I feel like I should have given it more time before I started looking though, again, I'm glad I didn't.

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:47

I'm glad you didn't, too. But you know what, that raises such a good point, though, because if it's about purely the learning curve, then what you said is very true. There's going to be a learning curve anytime you're in a new situation. However, the issues that you were experiencing that didn't line up, it doesn't sound like had much to do with the learning curve. It sounded like it had to do with other areas. So I think that's a really great lesson to be able to pull out of that for everyone. When you get into that new situation, it has to do with the learning curve, it has to do with something else that is going to make it more of a challenge or more overwhelming or more something at the beginning, then that's okay, and those are great things. However, if it doesn't fit into those categories, then you can't ignore that. That's cool.

Cheri 11:35

A solid point.

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:37

Well, you made it and you did it. So kudos to you. I just get to come in here and have a conversation with you afterwards, and then say, "Oh yeah, here's what you did. Good job." Well, so once you started working through this, and once you began to realize, "No, clearly this is wrong for me. I must make this change." What was the most difficult piece for you? Or what challenges did you experience along the way?

Cheri 12:06

I started hunting for jobs on all of the normal things, I guess, Indeed, and LinkedIn and Flexjobs, and Dice, and all of the different places. And I had what I thought was a really good resume, and you know, I would submit it with my cover letter, and I would just hear nothing. I applied for, oh my god, it felt like hundreds of jobs. I don't know if it actually was, but it felt like a lot, and I heard nothing. Like, not a peep for over a year, which was really, really devastating. It was hard to continue to be motivated to find something new when I was not getting any interviews. And I think that was probably the most challenging part in the beginning,

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:43

interesting. So what did you find helped with that for you personally?

Cheri 12:48

Well, when I started working with you guys, I was talking with Jennifer, and she said that I needed to kind of cater my resume to every job that I was applying for. And I had never done that before. So it was going in and, you know, picking the keywords out of the job description and sticking into my resume because so many companies are using the applicant tracking systems now. I think that one was huge for me. But then also making sure that I was applying for the right things or things that I was going to want to be doing. I think for a long time I was applying for anything that fit within the realm of possibility because I wanted out, and that obviously wasn't probably going to work out in my favor long term. But yeah, so those are the things I think were kind of key takeaways for me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:34

But I think it can be fascinating because most people don't have the privilege of sitting on the other side where those applications are coming in, and seeing large amounts of applications. And one of the things that would happen is you could see the people that felt a little desperate and the people who are applying for a wide variety of things, sometimes because you might have one organization that is a head organization but has a lot of sub-organizations, and you saw people that were applying to different roles in different sub-organizations, or you'd have people that are applying to a variety of things in the same organization too. And just never crosses most people's minds, and it probably didn't until I saw it as well that that might not come off particularly well, but there's all these little, tiny cues that people on the other end respond to, whether they know they are consciously or whether they are doing it unconsciously, and those are so difficult to watch for. So that's super cool that we were able to take that and work with Jennifer to be able to identify what was going to create the right situation. And one of the things I heard from you before we hit the record button was that, you said, "Now that I've been here for four weeks or so, one of my co-workers colleagues had said, 'it really feels like you fit in here. You've only been here how many weeks? Like, I can't believe it because it really feels like you fit in here.'" And I think that's one of the examples of a massive difference when you have done your homework, you've identified a great fit, and then you're showing up, that can create a different feeling coming into. So here's my question for you, what were the pieces when you look back and this took you about 12 months or so in total to make this change once you started really actively working with us on it, what were those pieces looking backwards that really led up to this particular opportunity?

Cheri 15:32

I mean, as I said, going in, I felt like I couldn't trust myself, and I didn't know what I wanted to do. I had been happy in my previous role, but the previous previous role. But I got to the point where I just didn't know if that was what I wanted to do because the experience I was having was so bad. So working with Jennifer, and we did the exercise where you write down all of your previous jobs and what you liked about them, what you didn't like about them, and there was a lot of similarities between the jobs and what I liked and what I didn't like. So knowing that was really helpful. Also, we went through and figured out what my strengths were and how they show up, both positively and negatively, which has helped me in all of my life, not just work-related. But from that, there was a lot of takeaways, like I learned that I wanted to... Jennifer said I wanted to be an advocate. So I wanted to advocate for people. So whether that meant just pulling for them on the software side, like, being the person who is going to stick up for my customers, or whether it meant something else, but I wanted to be an advocate, and 100% that's true, like I never had put that together prior to working with her, but absolutely and I wanted to be a product owner. I have found that I really like that idea of kind of being the subject matter expert and kind of owning a process or a product. And I hadn't been looking for that when I was looking for jobs because I didn't feel like I was qualified for it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:58

Tell me about that for just a second. So when you say, "I didn't feel like I was qualified for it", what was it about those types of opportunities or roles where it made you feel like, "Hey, I couldn't go after this."?

Cheri 17:11

Because I felt like it was something you needed to grow into in an organization, not that you could just come in and inherently do. I felt like you would start as a business analyst or developer or whatever, and then kind of grow into that role once you had learned enough about the business, about those tools, in order to be a product owner. I think differently now. I think it's a skill set. I don't think that you necessarily have that skill set because you've been a business analyst or a developer and grew into it. I think it's a different skill set altogether, and it's just something I think that I've always enjoyed doing. So, you know, it's one of my strengths.

Scott Anthony Barlow 17:47

Yeah, so I heard you say that, "my strengths have helped me in all areas of life, not necessarily just work." What's an example of that?

Cheri 17:54

I'm an achiever. I like to check things off my list, and my son is not at all. And so recognizing about myself, why things he does irritates me has helped tremendously. So when I'm trying to get him to do something around my house, I try not to be like letting my achiever take over and getting him to kind of work the way I want him to work. That's been a huge one. Also being a learner. Learner is my number one. I've taken the strengths 2.0 thing twice, and learner came up both times. But knowing that about myself, and I think I have a lot of learner in the job that I'm in, but also knowing that about myself made me realize that I could do things outside of the job that I was in if it wasn't going to have that to kind of feed that part of my soul.

Scott Anthony Barlow 18:41

What's an example of that where you've now recognized that "Hey, here's a part I might not get from work, or here's a part that I need since I'm a learner" because it is a little bit different for each person who might consider themselves a learner might have learning as a strength. So what's an example of that for you?

Cheri 18:58

I always like to be... it's not for me, like, a learner, what I took away was kind of the learner and the teacher or the teacher, I guess. I'm not so much the teacher. I don't feel like that's a strength of mine, but very much the learner aspect. So in my previous job, I don't know if I wasn't getting it anymore, but I always want more. So I decided to do yoga teacher training. So for a year, I decided to be a yoga teacher. So now I have that. I read a ton of personal development books because I like learning, like how the brain works and how your mind functions, and things like that. So those are the things that I do to kind of feed that learner part of me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:37

That's awesome. So what were some of the other events then? If we keep going along this thread, what were some of the other events that led to you getting this opportunity?

Cheri 19:45

I'm gonna tell you a story. This is back in October. I had applied for this job with a company, and it was perfect. I had three interviews. So I had an interview with HR for about half an hour, and then I had another interview with the hiring manager, and it all seemed fantastic, and it was something I really wanted to do. Well, I had my third interview, which was supposed to have been the final interview, and the first question they asked me was, "Where are you located?" And I said, "I'm in central Wisconsin." I said, "Isn't the position remote?" And they said, "Only through covid." And I said, "Well, that's not gonna really work out for me, so I appreciate your time. I thank you so much for talking with me." And that was the end of it. And I was absolutely devastated because it just felt like such a perfect fit. And someone who I had met through Happen To Your Career, he had reached out to me earlier in the fall, just to ask me about being a business analyst and to learn more about it. And he had messaged me on LinkedIn and asked me how it was going. And I told him this story, and I told him I was feeling devastated, and I just haven't had the motivation to look for jobs to make a change. And he said, "I feel like these things had their way of self-filtering", and that was huge for me. It just kind of changed my attitude towards the whole thing. And I was like, you know what, he's right. This obviously wasn't the right fit, and it helped me kind of change my perspective and just go back to what I needed to do to find the right position. So I'm so grateful to him for just, you know, those little words of wisdom so that I could get back on track. And then shortly after, I started interviewing with my current company. So...

Scott Anthony Barlow 21:27

You know what so funny after doing this for, I guess, approaching a decade now? So many stories are like that, where it gets to the absolute hardest part, where it just feels like you want to give up the entire process. You're usually so close at that point. And we keep seeing that over and over and over again. And at first, I thought it was just a fluke, and now I realize that we have literally not had any person that we have ever worked with where they haven't experienced some version of that where they hit, we call it hitting the wall, and there's a couple different types of walls that people hit throughout the process, but you almost have to hit a wall in some way or another to be able to continue on throughout the process. And the really interesting part too is that I now recognize that that's a sign that people are so close in one way or another. And it's really interesting that, hey, as soon as you got back on the horse, it was just like right there in front of you. That is a great story. I appreciate you sharing that. And when you think about this entire transition, this entire change, and all of the events that have transpired over not just the last year, but the last two years for you, what advice would you give to someone who is way back start, or maybe someone who is in the middle of the transition? If we go back to that point in time where you realize, "Oh no, like I am in clearly the wrong fit, wrong fit company, wrong fit position. Don't know exactly how it happened, but I'm here. I've got to do something about this." What advice would you give that person in that place?

Cheri 23:12

Advice that I received a long time ago that I think has helped me through this, is to make sure that I'm running towards something, not running away from something. So knowing what I'm working for, knowing what my goal is, I think, has been huge. Because there was a job opportunity that came up probably shortly after I started this and I had done my ideal career profile. I knew what I wanted to do and what I was working towards. And this opportunity came up, and as much as I wanted to say "yes", because I wanted out of my current situation, that would have been me running away because it was not in line with what I wanted to do going forward. So I think making sure you know what you're running towards.

Scott Anthony Barlow 23:53

That's interesting. And I think that's fascinating too, and I think particularly powerful coming from you because that happened a short while after you started this transition. And once we started working with you, it still took almost 12 months, right? And what I heard from you, or at least I think I heard from you, is that it ended up turning out even better, versus just taking another position and moving along. So why is that?

Cheri 24:19

I feel like that position, and obviously I didn't take the job, so I don't know, but I feel like it would have been very much what I was trying to leave, and that's not what I wanted. I didn't just want the same job at a different company. I wanted a different job. I wanted something where I felt like the work I was doing was meaningful, and where I could have accountability, mastery, and all the things we need to be happy, and where I can work with a great team and work on things that I was passionate about and that just wouldn't have been it. So I'm really glad. I mean, as hard as it was, it was probably one of the hardest things I've done was turning down that job because I was so unhappy where I was. But I'm so glad that I did it. I'm so glad that I had done that ideal career profile so I knew that it wasn't what I wanted.

Scott Anthony Barlow 25:03

Do you feel like you might have taken it had you not intentionally identified some of those pieces?

Cheri 25:08


Scott Anthony Barlow 25:09

So ideal career profile for everyone listening, just a little bit of backstory, it's a tool that we create. It's a very simple tool, but the point of it is exactly what you said, Cheri, where we want everyone to be intentionally identifying what you're running towards, as you said, rather than accidentally accepting something that isn't really what you actually want, but that's hard work, to put it mildly, to identify exactly what you want and what is really so interesting. And you and I were chatting about this a little bit before we started. I went back and I looked at your ideal career profile, and you got so much of what you had intentionally upfront a year ago, identified. It always seems like craziness every single time, but it's not. I mean, there's a method to the madness. And it's not magic that it works out that way. It's hard work, mostly. But what are some examples of that, those pieces that way back when you said, "Hey, these are something that I really adamantly want. So much so that I will turn down another job offer that doesn't have that that's sitting right in front of me in order to pursue what I actually do want." What's a couple examples of those things that you were looking for?

Scott Anthony Barlow 27:26

Isn't that funny looking backwards? It's like, "Oh yeah, there's that and that and that. Oh yeah, I have all those things now." Strange. That is so very, very cool. One other thing that I wanted to ask you about, actually, I have two other things that I wanted to ask you about. One of those is we were chatting briefly about the negotiation process. And you got to a point during that process where it was uncomfortable enough for you that you felt like you wanted to just say, "I'm just going to take the offer." Is that fair to say?

Cheri 26:24

I wanted to work for a company that did good or put good out into the world. That was something that was really important to me for one reason or another. I don't know why, but something that made a positive impact on the world and the people the world. That's what I wanted to do. I wanted to work with a team of great people, and I really do. My team is fantastic. I wanted to have autonomy and mastery, which I mentioned. So as a product owner, I will eventually be kind of the subject matter expert in different areas of the business. And my boss is huge on letting you work the way you want to work, as long as you get the work done. Those are all things that were really important to me, and I'm sure they were my ideal career profile. So one time we were working with Jennifer as a group, we decided to make vision boards, and I don't have it up anymore, but it was hanging up right next to my desk for a long time, and all of those things are on it, and I still have it. It's sitting in my hallway right now, actually, but I was looking at it the other day thinking, "Yeah, that's exactly." I mean, it was really impactful, evidently, because it's exactly what I got was what I put on that board.

Cheri 28:04


Scott Anthony Barlow 28:04

What allowed you to move beyond that? Because you did something that was really, really hard, hard for almost everybody in the world, in many different ways, to be able to, after working for many, many months, to get this opportunity that was now in front you that was exactly what you wanted in so many different ways, and they're saying, "Oh, here's what we think that we want to offer you." And they were even surprised that you wanted to negotiate in the first place, if I remember correctly, right?

Cheri 28:36

Yes, they had called me with the offer, and I knew it was coming because they had called me. So this is early in a week, but on Friday, the recruiter had called me and said, "Assuming all goes well with your very last interview", I had seven interviews. "Assuming all goes well, you're going to get an offer early next week." I was literally jumping up and down in my living room. My family thought I was crazy. So I started to look at, you know, what I needed as far as salary goes and as far as benefits goes. And he had kind of given me a heads up what the salary, what the offer was going to be. So I wrote down what I was currently making. I looked at all of the benefits and what those were going to cost and vacation and all of the things that go along with the benefits package, and what they were offering was not quite what I needed. So he called back the following week to do the official offer, and as I learned in the videos and in the documentation, I said, "Can I have a few days to think about it?" So I took those couple of days and made sure that I had everything written down. I watched the videos again because I was going to negotiate and I was terrified to do it because I'd never done it before. I watched the videos again. I did all the worksheets that come along with it, and I had everything in front of me. I literally wrote a script for when I was going to call him back so that I could read it because I was so nervous. So I pulled out my script when I was ready to call him back. I had to post it with all of my numbers on it, and I called him back, and I said, whatever my script said, I don't remember. And. He said, "Oh, we just assumed you were going to take the offer as is." And I'm like, "Oh, okay." And he said, "I need to go because I have a meeting in two minutes, but I'll call you back." So oh my god, I'm, like, so nervous at this point. They called me back, and we went through the numbers that I had come up with, and I did have an error in my math. I, you know, came down on my ask a little bit, and he said, "Okay, I need to go back to this person and this person, then I'll get back to you." He said, "We already came up $5,000 for your salary, so I don't know if this is going to what's going to happen here." I'm like, okay, and that's the point where I was like, okay, maybe I should just take it as is and not worry about this because I really wanted this job. This was exactly what I wanted. So I think he called me back the next day or two days later and he said, "Okay, we can't do what you've requested, but we met in the middle." And I was more than happy with that. So it was terrifying.

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:59

But you did it.

Cheri 31:00

I did it. Yes.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:01

So having gone through that for the first time, and so here's what's so fascinating to me you and I had talked about, you're actually a really great negotiator. You had just never negotiated salary before. That's the one thing that you had never negotiated before. But in all other areas of life, you negotiate all the time. There's no big deal. So what advice would you give to someone who is going through salary negotiation for their first time?

Cheri 31:26

Know why you're asking for what you're asking for. Have the numbers laid out in front of you. If you're nervous, have a script. I think that level of preparation made it a little bit easier for me, just knowing that I had that there should I need to read it and stick to your guns. Don't sacrifice... If there's a certain salary you need, don't sacrifice what you need because you feel like it's the right fit. Because I think down the road, you're going to end up regretting that, and you're going to end up resenting the job, potentially. So just stick with your guns.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:55

Hey, you just heard how Cheri did some really great work to define her ideal career, which ultimately led to her finding a job that was incredible for her. Her version of extraordinary. Now about a year into that role, her boss offered her a promotion to a role where she would lead a team of people, but she didn't immediately say yes. Thanks to what she'd learned during her career change, she knew that it could be an amazing opportunity, but might still not fit her or what she had defined that she wanted for her career. So she went back to her ideal career profile to figure out if this promotion could be a good move. Here's Cheri talking through how she approached this opportunity.

Cheri 32:38

So I had been in my position a little bit over a year, and my boss approached me and asked me if I was interested in this promotion that would, essentially, I would be managing the product owners in the business or the data analysts on our team. And I spent a lot of time thinking about it because it wasn't something that I had envisioned for myself. I had decided long ago that that wasn't where my personality fit, that's not where my strengths lay. And so while I liked the idea of it, I was just not sure. So, you know, I kind of went back and I talked to you, I looked at the things that I had done, looked at my strengths, and my interest to figure out if it was going to be a good fit. And ultimately, I ended up accepting it because I love doing business analysis, and I was thinking about it like, this is just a different version of the same thing. My customer or my project is now my team, and I have their as is, and I have a place where I want them to be, and so it's helping them to grow to become that. And so it's just the same thing, just a different variety of it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 33:39

Very cool, very cool. And what have you found since you have been in role? What is that experience been like?

Cheri 33:48

I love it, but it is a lot more challenging. And in all the ways that I kind of expected it to be like, I think one of the things that you and I talked about is I don't feel like I'm a strong communicator, and I still feel that way, and so I spend a lot of time kind of thinking about how I'm communicating and how that's coming off. And I remember you told me one time to always lead with heart. And so I try to do that, I try to think about that when I'm having these conversations, and to be helpful, as opposed to critical, which has been super helpful, so different things like that. But it's challenging. It's a completely different ballgame than being an independent contributor.

Scott Anthony Barlow 34:25

What are the areas that you have loved as you've now been in role?

Cheri 34:29

I love the challenges, honestly. I am very much a learner, and I always want to continue to learn new things. And then this has given me an opportunity to learn all sorts of new things, learn new things about myself and kind of what I can achieve, and then also new ways to help my team and help them grow and find resources to help them and kind of better understand how different things work for different people. Because I definitely have one way of working, not to say I'm not open to other ways, but everybody works a little differently, and everybody learns a little bit differently. So just being able to kind of myself, focus on learning those things in order to help them, I've absolutely loved that.

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:07

That's super cool. That's super cool. Anything else?

Cheri 35:11

I think so... I don't know. I just go back to how I'm so glad I went through this program because had I been offered the promotion, I would have just taken it. Because like I said, I liked the idea without having really thought about it, and I think I still could have been successful. But I think that learning so much about myself has really helped me to actually be successful and to look back at, you know, my skills and my strengths and also my weaknesses, to kind of figure out how to be a better version for my team. So I just I'm so grateful that I did it right, that I took that step because I think it's been really beneficial for me, not just in finding a good fit initially, but continuing to find a good fit for myself.

Scott Anthony Barlow 36:00

Most of the episodes you've heard on Happen To Your Career showcase stories of people that have taken the steps to identify and land careers that they are absolutely enamored with, that match their strengths and are really what they want in their lives. If that's something that you're ready to begin taking steps towards, that's awesome. And we want to figure out how we can help. So here's what I would suggest. Take the next five seconds to open up your email app and email me directly. I'm gonna give you my personal email address, scott@happentoyourcareer.com. Just email me and put 'Conversation' in the subject line. And when you do that, I'll introduce you to someone on our team who can have a super informal conversation with and we'll figure out the very best type of health for you, whatever that looks like. And the very best way that we can support you to make it happen. So send me an email right now with 'Conversation' in the subject line.

Scott Anthony Barlow 36:52

Here's a sneak peek into what we have coming up in store for you next week.

Cheri 36:57

I'm not stressed out. I'm not frustrated. I'm not spending my evening dreading the morning. So I have the space in my brain to focus on life, like, making dinner and spending time with my family.

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:12

Maybe it sounds obvious, but making an intentional career change to work that fits you will change your entire life. Now, when I say intentional career change, I mean to change where we're optimizing for life fulfillment, inclusive of work. This means it's not just about finding out what's wrong with your current job, honing in on that one thing and then finding a new job. It's about completely shifting how you think about work and ensuring that it aligns with the life that you want to be living. Taking the time to make this drastic shift can change your stress level, it can improve your mood, give you energy, can make you happier overall on any given moment. It also tends to take longer than your typical job change. The question becomes, is it worth it for that extra time and energy you spent?

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:05

All that and plenty more next week right here on Happen To Your Career. Make sure that you don't miss it. And if you haven't already, click subscribe on your podcast player so that you can download this podcast in your sleep and you get it automatically. Even the bonus episodes every single week, sometimes multiple times a week. Until next week, adios. I'm out.

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