540: Career Change from Academia to Nonprofit

Anna details the highs and lows of quitting her job in academia, dropping out of her PhD program, and becoming an executive director for a nonprofit (in less than a year!)



Anna VanRemoortel, Executive Director of Roslindale Village Main Street

Anna graduated from Duke University with a Master’s in Sociology. She is currently the executive director of a Boston nonprofit that focuses on community and economic development.

on this episode

What happens when the career plan you’ve always had falls apart?

Anna VanRemoortel realized early on in her PhD program that she was not on a career path that would ultimately make her happy. Her identity was heavily tied to her academic job, so when she realized she was no longer excited about her work and questioned her career’s direction, she was left feeling like she was lacking in all areas of her life.

She is now (happily!) the executive director of a nonprofit organization that is focused on making a difference in its local Boston community. Learn how Anna doubled down on her strengths, found value in her transferable skills, gained confidence and made the most of networking opportunities.

What you’ll learn

  • Why you’re never really “starting over,” even when it feels like it
  • How to identify when it’s time to change your career direction
  • The importance of differentiating your skills from your strengths
  • How to dig deep and figure out what will make you happy & fill your cup
  • Ways to make the most of casual networking opportunities 

Success Stories

The transition was so much easier than the last and so much more gratifying because of all that I learned with HTYC

Michal Balass, Social Science Research Analyst, United States/Canada

That's one of the things I learned about in CCB is just the importance of, where are you coming from? Are you more trying to escape from or are you going to, but before that all before CCB, I was thinking very much in terms of I want to escape from. OR Starting with career change boot camp, I think one of the big things that realized is that you can't think your way there. You've got to kind of get out of yourself and, you know, go out and take action. And that definitely came through in terms of the experiments and just kind of the action steps are part of a career change boot camp.

Kevin McDevitt, Senior Research Analyst & Investment Analyst, United States/Canada

Anna VanRemoortel 00:01

The idea of stepping off that track felt like I was stepping into an abyss. And I didn't really know where I would go next.

Introduction 00:13

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 00:37

When I was a kid, I was often asked the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" You probably have been asked this too. And back then, I thought this was a pretty harmless question. So I was always ready for it. Architect, obviously. That's what I wanted to be, at least for a while, until studio recording, and then the next thing, and then the next thing. And again, I just thought it was a harmless question. But many years later, I started to realize that it wasn't. I've come to realize how useless this question is, and how all it really does is teach us from a really extremely young age that we have to pick the exact career we want, instead of figuring out what our strengths are, and what's really going to make us feel more fulfilled and gathering experiences and mastery and all the other things that actually helps with fulfillment, happiness, enjoyment, and often the result of this very normalized mindset of the, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" The perfect thing is that when we actually begin to study for or practice, that one career that we've always dreamed of, if it doesn't work out, we're left feeling like we failed.

Anna VanRemoortel 01:44

None of those things that I was skilled in, like, I wanted to continue. I don't want to write literature reviews anymore. I don't want to do that kind of research work. So the things that I was good at, I didn't want to continue. And so I felt like I was almost starting from nothing.

Scott Anthony Barlow 02:00

That's Anna VanRemoortel. Anna was a PhD student at Duke University when she first came to HTYC. She worked really hard to set herself up for success. But when she actually started the PhD program, she quickly realized "This isn't what I want to do for the rest of my life." And after having that realization, and later on, working with a coach, and really diving into her strengths, and what she actually wanted, Anna decided to go out on a limb and accept an internship at a nonprofit that she was super excited about. This led to a whirlwind of events. And thanks to a lot of intentional hard work from Anna, she ended up as an executive director of a nonprofit organization just a short 10 months later. Take a listen, as she tells what led up to her transition over this last year.

Anna VanRemoortel 02:49

So to give people listening a little bit of context of what the past few years looked like. So I was in the PhD program when I decided to leave. I left my PhD with my Master's, I was able to kind of... it took me so long to decide to leave the PhD that I ended up getting a Master's. That's kind of funny. I moved home and I ended up being unemployed for a little bit living with my family, which was my worst nightmare. At the time, I thought, like, that was like what failure looks like. And which was not. It was really great actually. And then I did a lot of volunteer work, which really helped set me up for this kind of job. So I reached out to a small organization in my hometown that was all about, like, supporting small businesses. And I just did some volunteer work with them. Then I applied for an entry-level job at an organization in Boston that has the programs in a public park, that I really admired them for years, and I ended up not getting that entry-level job. Instead, I got an internship, which was still really great, because I kind of viewed it as still like the experiment phase that is part of the career change process with you guys and that just allowed me to build some experience that wasn't academic and get my foot in the door with Boston nonprofits in general. And then I also was so lucky that during that experience, I had a supervisor that was just so amazing. And she helped me as I was applying for new jobs. And she was kind of another career coach. So that was super great. And then I threw all of this, I was really focusing on Main Streets organizations. So Main Streets are, it's kind of this umbrella term to describe organizations that focus on a commercial district and supporting local businesses and revitalizing that area. And I was really interested in that. And so Boston has 20 of them. And I started just reaching out to people on LinkedIn that were directors of these Main Streets. And I actually got to talk to a bunch of them. They're all super open to having me ask questions. And one of them was actually an alum of my undergrad University. And so we actually met up for coffee. And I just asked her about her job and everything and we really connected and she was like, "Oh. By the way, we're going to be hiring a program manager in a little bit. The job description isn't posted yet, but just let you know, this might be an opportunity." I'm like, "Oh, that's amazing." And so from that kind of casual conversation, which I wasn't even asking for a job, that she led me to a job to apply for. So I applied through them. And then during the process, I got into the manager position in November. But during that whole transition, the current E.D left, it wasn't a super great fit. So she moved on to do some other work. And so we were actually without an Executive Director for a little bit. One of our board members stepped in as interim E.D and I worked with her. And we actually started hiring for E.D. We put the job description out, I was part of the interview process. And we interviewed a few candidates. And we just didn't feel like it was a great fit. And actually one of the other managers in the organization, he was like, "What about Anna? Like, what if Anna just steps into the role?" And I was like, "I would be interested in that. I kind of imagined doing that in, maybe, like two or three years, but I'd be up for the challenge if it was offered to me, and if I had support from the board." And so throughout all of that, the board decided to offer me the job. And so then, about a month ago, I stepped into the E.D role. And so now I am the Executive Director of the organization. And it was definitely a lot of growth and transition. And I'm still, like, growing and getting used to this role. But it's so exciting now, like, I love doing this kind of work. I love managing the organization and just thinking about where I wanted to go in the future because it has such a rich history of impact in this community. And so it's been so great to now be in the position where I can help lead it into the next year.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:50

What led up to the point where you were wanting to make a change?

Anna VanRemoortel 06:55

Yeah. So I was at Duke University in their Sociology PhD program. And so for many years, pretty much throughout my late teens and early 20s, I really want to be a sociology professor. I love studying prosocial behavior, like what motivated people to take on certain actions and to intentionally do good things, intentionally build community. And I really liked researching that. I loved researching in my undergrad. And I had this goal in mind that I wanted to, like, be like my professors in undergrad, and go for that PhD. And so I spent the second half of my undergrad and a year between undergrad and grad school, really working towards this goal. I secured funding, I worked for professors with research assistant positions. And then I spent pretty much that year leading up to grad school applying for different programs and finding the best fit for me. And when I got there, I pretty quickly realized that it wasn't for me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:52

Okay, tell me about that. What took place that caused you to realize? It sounds like there were some specific events. What happened?

Anna VanRemoortel 08:00

Yeah, I think one big piece is it was really my first time researching full-time. So before when I was doing research, I had all these other things going on too, that really kept me engaged in my community, that were pretty social activities. And this was the first time I was doing research full time, like, 40-hour work week, of course, it was way more than 40 hours, as you could probably expect. And so that was like, the first time it, kind of, just became my everything. And I realized that the issues I really cared about, and I was researching, I didn't really feel that connected to. It kind of felt like the research process made me take a step back. And I felt pretty removed from it. And I think part of it is like, you kind of have to do that as a researcher to produce good research and to be objective. But I just felt like I wasn't connecting with issues in the way I wanted to be connecting with them.

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:52

That's fascinating, actually, because what you're saying is that, hey, I initially went in and thought I would be more connected with the issues but research, by definition, in many ways, you sort of have to take a removed more objective stance. Maybe not perfectly, but it was taking you further away from the ways that you wanted to be connected as opposed to closer. So that's really fascinating.

Anna VanRemoortel 09:19

Yeah. And I think I learned a lot about myself through this process because before I'd always kind of identified as an introvert. And so the idea of reading and researching my whole life, and that kind of sounded good. But I didn't factor in the fact that, like, I have been doing a lot of other social positions throughout my life as I've been doing researching before I took it on for a full-time job. And so my life became pretty isolating with research. And it was... I felt like I just couldn't really connect with people and I wasn't getting the energy that I wanted to from my research experience. I was missing that personal connection.

Scott Anthony Barlow 09:41

Let me ask you about the introvert piece. Do you still identify as more of an introvert or lean more towards introversion? Or how do you think about yourself now, after that set of experiences?

Anna VanRemoortel 10:10

Yeah, I don't think I'm an introvert anymore. I think I thought it was about, like, being shy, but I think I've, like, realized that it's really about more where I get energy. And I realized, like, throughout my life, like, stuff like this, this is what I get my energy from. It's meeting with people. When I was doing research, when I was interviewing people in a qualitative method, that's where I was getting my energy from. It wasn't really the work alone, like, combing through data and writing up a literature review that felt very draining for me after a while.

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:43

It wasn't about the research, it was about the interactions. It sounds like.

Anna VanRemoortel 10:47

Yeah. And that was kind of the big thing that I learned throughout this whole process. Like I'm pretty young, I'm 26. And so I think I was still very, like, influenced by my college career program where, you know, at that age, people are like, "Oh, what are you interested in? What do you want to do?" And your answer is kind of like, "Oh, I majored in Sociology and Economics. And my career path is kind of defined by these topics I was interested in, not actual tasks." So I kind of wish that someone asked the 20-year-old version of me, like, put aside what you're interested in, like, what's your favorite part of the day? Where do you get your energy? Like, what tasks do you most look forward to? And if it's having a meeting with someone, like, that says a lot. If it's reading, like, that also says a lot. And I think focusing on tasks versus big concepts, that was a mindset shift that helped me during the career change process that led me to a career that I actually enjoy.

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:42

So then it sounded like you were in the PhD program, recognizing that wasn't necessarily where you want it to be. What caused you to make the final decision that, "Hey, I need to do something about this. I cannot continue to be here in this place, and this way."?

Anna VanRemoortel 12:01

It was a long process. And honestly, like, so I started my PhD the fall of 2019. And a few months later, I found your podcast, because I was just like, I knew I wasn't happy. I didn't know if I wanted to leave the program, like I was thinking, "Oh, maybe I just need a new advisor, or I need to be at a different university, maybe I need to think about the methodology I'm using and find something that's more exciting." But there was like this little voice in the back of my head saying, like, "Maybe you can quit." But that was just such a scary thought for me. I've been pretty much, like, building up to this for many years, and I thought that leaving it would just be failure. And I didn't really see a lot of other people around me doing something like this, like, I saw my peers being, like, really enthusiastic about their work. And so it just felt, like, really wrong of me to not be excited about it and want to leave. And so I actually started listening to your podcast in 2019. I listened to it for maybe like, a year and a half or two years before I actually reached out to you guys. And that was just like, a way of normalizing leaving a career. Like I needed to hear experiences of people who left their careers, and it was fine. Like I needed to hear what it's like on the other side in order to just get out of my head and be able to talk about it out loud.

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:18

What do you think after going through that type of experience? I'm just curious about your opinion on this because I've been forming my own hypothesis for years and years and years and years. But why do you think it is so, whatever the opposite of normalized would be, the unnormalized in our society, that you could leave the PhD program, and that would be okay, or socially acceptable, or whatever word you'd throw in there. But why do you think it is so much the opposite way, or we feel it so much the opposite way?

Anna VanRemoortel 13:51

It's so interesting, because I knew in my mind, objectively, people who get PhDs, like, statistically don't end up in tenure track positions, like, that's a very small percentage of people that get that position that everyone's working towards. But I think this idea of, I think, I've just been, like, socialized to always want to pursue one thing in my career. And another big part was, I was told I had potential and I was like, people praise me like, "Oh, you're at Duke. That's awesome. You're gonna get your PhD from Duke. That's a great thing to have on your resume." And so I was really scared to let go of that, even though I knew the success rate of what I was going for was incredibly low. I wish I was worried of wasting my potential, or not living up to what people said I could live up to. And also, like, I knew the structure. I had been a student pretty much my entire life. And so being a professional student, I knew how to play the role of the student very well. And so the idea of stepping off that track felt like I was stepping into an abyss, and I didn't really know where I would go next.

Scott Anthony Barlow 14:58

You and I had talked, and I remember you saying something about that, like, that stepping off the abyss. Or you said, "I don't even really know what I'm stepping into." And that wasn't exactly how you put it. But what about that made it scary or uncomfortable or whatever at the time? And then tell me a little bit about what you ended up doing in order to move through that because I think it can be scary.

Anna VanRemoortel 15:26

Yeah, I think one big piece was that I just had my identity so tied up with academia, and I had like my resume and my skills so tied up in academia. And so when I looked at my skills, I thought they could only apply in an academic context. Like, I looked at my experience, I was like, "Oh, I have experience writing literature reviews, and like gathering data, and writing research reports and proposals." And I kind of thought that my resume that I built, I had to build off of that to find a new job. And it was frustrating, because none of those things that I was skilled in, I wanted to continue. I don't want to write literature reviews anymore. I don't want to do that kind of research work. So the things that I was good at, I didn't want to continue. And so I felt like I was almost starting from nothing, which now I realized wasn't true. And that's what was really helpful working with Alistair, like, we started off from the very broad strengths base kind of approach where we did StrengthsFinder. And I just was able to separate myself from the academic skills and focus more on, like, my broad strengths that I had been developing from, I guess, academia, but everything else I've done, like hobbies and volunteer opportunities. And once I was able to focus on that, and think about my strengths, versus my actual resume experience, that was what allowed me to kind of shift and think about new opportunities that I could be good at. Before I was like, only looking at research positions, I was like, "Oh, I've experienced the research. I should be looking at research positions, but I didn't want to be doing research." And so shifting to that strengths-based approach, that's what allowed me to look at new opportunities.

Scott Anthony Barlow 17:07

That's such a great point. And a little bit of context for everyone else listening because I found one of the biggest confusions around strengths is often we have a tendency to think about strengths as skills. Because skills are, as you pointed out, like, that's what we see, and that's what we're experienced in, and that's what we're doing. Like you're writing the papers, and you are like doing all the things, and then we can visibly see those, like, if we think about it sort of as an iceberg a little bit. Like that's the tip of the iceberg. However, strengths are not skills, they are the things that are lying under the surface that make you predisposed to be better at some things versus another. So the reason I wanted to point that out, though, is you made such a great point about the things that you were good at, were not the things you wanted to spend your time doing. And I think that's such a confusing thing because people are like, "These are my strengths." No, they're not. They're actually just the skills and skills are good, but that doesn't mean you have to spend the rest of your life doing it just because you happen to have the skill. So when you have that realization, how did that impact what you thought you might be looking for from there on out?

Anna VanRemoortel 18:23

I think when I realized that, I was able to look at my past experience and like the things I've done that I wasn't necessarily paid to do. So I took my volunteer experience more seriously. I took even like the things I did when I was a college student, I looked back at those experiences and I thought like, "What was my favorite thing I did when I was a college student?" And I remember working in ResLife, and I just loved connecting with people and building community and having those like in-person interactions, and that I was not getting that in grad school. And so I think the shift from skills and like a very resume focus, like this program is not about fixing your resume and cover letter, which is... if I signed up for those kinds of career change programs, like, I would not be where I am today. I needed a shift to strength and to take my unpaid experience. And just like my general interest and like how I presented myself with my friends and family, I needed to take that experience more seriously.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:22

Well, I think that you mentioned identity just a minute ago. So go back to something that you had said and that was a struggle for you to let go how you were thinking about yourself and what was wrapped in your identity. The thing that people don't realize about identity, most of us don't realize that your experiences regardless of whether they are volunteer, they're paid, they're at one type of role, they're at another type of role, they're out of a PhD program, whatever they are, like, it's much healthier to look at my identity and the combination of my experiences as opposed to I do this thing or only look at certain type of experiences because we really get wrapped up in that. But it's much healthier to say, okay, nobody can take away all my collective set of experiences, whatever they are. And that can be a portion of my identity. And that is so much more of an effective approach, I'll say, but also a healthier approach too, like, there's a lot of great evidence around that at this point.

Anna VanRemoortel 20:23

Yeah, I think that was so important when I was changing careers. Because if my identity was tied to my academic job, and I felt like I was just not excited about it, I didn't feel like I was doing good work, because I wasn't excited about it. So if I tied my identity too closely, but that I was not feeling good about who I was as a person or who I was as a professional. And so I really needed to just separate that and kind of see myself beyond an academic role, and then rebuild that confidence, because I definitely lost a lot of confidence in grad school, because I tie my identity so closely to that. And it's tough with a career change. Because when you're leaving one career, and you're like, untying your identity from that, you can feel really lost. And I spent some months unemployed. And so like, what am I going to tie my identity to now about experiences I actually enjoyed in my past and not my current job? Or my employment status?

Scott Anthony Barlow 21:18

Yeah. Absolutely. It makes me think of a totally different question. And I'm very curious, as you got into the actual transition, what would you say were the hardest parts for you?

Anna VanRemoortel 21:32

Yeah. I think the hardest part was everything that led up, maybe, like the first and second session with Alistair, like, I was very wishy-washy. I even met with him, and I was like, "I think I'm gonna leave." I'm kind of like, still testing the waters. And he was like, make a decision by the next session. And I was thinking, like, "Oh my God, I can't do that. I can't make a decision like this. This is too big." I thought I needed more time to gather more data, ask for more advice. But honestly, I didn't. Oh, my God. So I think the challenge was moving from a very passive role to a more active one, where I was actually taking a change and making something happen for myself, because I was so good at consuming career content. And I listened to you guys for like a year and a half before I did anything, and I read books on career change. If there's a book on leaving academia, I already own all of them. So I was very good at just consuming that content. And I think that kind of speaks for my experience being a grad student, too. So the most challenging part was in the first few sessions where Alistair was like, "Alright, this is the end of the passive part and the beginning of a more active role." So I made a decision to leave the program. And then I started telling my friends and family, like, I'm making a career change. And once I was out of my head, and it was out in the world, like, oh, I put this out there, everyone knows about it now, it was so much easier to just be honest with people. I felt like I was just hiding it for so long, and I was ashamed of wanting to leave a PhD. And it makes sense. Some people said, like, "No, don't leave. You're going to regret this." I had professors telling me that I would regret it. But then I also had people tell me, like, "No, you're not going to regret this." I had other people who have completed their PhD say, "I regret saying you should leave now." So it was really hard to step away from all the advice I was getting and to just focus on myself and actually just taking a step.

Scott Anthony Barlow 23:31

I think that's something we haven't really talked a lot about on the podcast, particularly the idea of, once you have made that decision and once you start interacting with other people in an active way, that it feels different in some way. So many wonderful ways, I would say, maybe there's some less wonderful ways. And certainly, it's harder to go and live what you actually want. However, I very much felt what you described that I sort of felt like when I was in... It's been quite a period of time ago. But you know, when I was in a role where I stayed about 18 months, it felt like I was living a double life. I felt like I was not honest with everyone else, like, my wife and my boss and my friends and everything else. I felt like I was having to hide this really terrible thing almost.

Anna VanRemoortel 24:27

Yeah. And I remember like, even before I met up with Alistair for those first few sessions, I was still doing, like, networking calls, like, I would often, like, reach out to people that I thought were doing interesting work. But I would always approach those conversations like, "I'm a grad student, and I'm interested in your work", and they were kind of confused, like, "My work is not what you would be doing in six years with a PhD, like, why are you interested in my job?" And I felt awkward and kind of ashamed and I felt like I couldn't tell them the truth. And then once I finally just kind of put it out in the world, and then I could approach those conversations. And I was like, "Hi, I'm a grad student, and I'm thinking about leaving my program, and I'm interested in the work you do." And then we're able to have an honest conversation. And it was just, I got so much more out of those conversations, because I was honest with them about where I was at in this whole process and I didn't feel like I was hiding anything.

Scott Anthony Barlow 25:22

That's really interesting. It shows up too in the real world, it shows up in interactions. And actually, before you and I had hit the record button, you said something to me about, like, yeah, even my, like family and friends have told me I seem happier. And then I had told you that, yeah, like you literally sound different, you literally sound happier. And you sound different compared to when you and I chatted all those months ago. So, that's just evidence of what you're saying. I think, like, if you can be more of yourself, and not have to feel like you're hiding something, or however that shows up for different people, then it changes those interactions.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:03

How did you adapt that into as you started doing interviews, as you started having other interactions? Functionally, how did you adapt that type of mindset or approach where you're willing to share more and have more authentic conversations? Was there anything that you did in order to make that easier for yourself?

Anna VanRemoortel 26:03

Yeah. And I think that kind of authenticity frame was present throughout all of the modules that I went through with Happen To Your Career, like, I remember, even with the networking, like the testing your career, those kinds of conversations, I felt like I could just approach it with more authenticity, and even like interviewing, I felt like, I just had better practice not hiding things throughout this whole career change process. I was able to go into an interview, and just be more authentic and connect with people and be like, "These are the strengths that I know I have. This is what I know your organization needs. And it just felt like more of a collaboration, like, let's work together. Like, let's see if this is a good fit." And I wasn't like, "just give me anything, I'll take any job. Like I'd be happy with anything." I was just much more open about where I was, what I needed from a job, and what they can offer. And if it was a good fit, great. If it wasn't, I was happy to learn that then instead of actually taking any job that they would give me.

Anna VanRemoortel 27:23

I think a few things. I think the first step was just rebuilding confidence and thinking of myself as a professional that was worthy of people's time. And honestly, like a lot of this happened before I went through coaching, like, grad school, it was a tough time. Like, my mental health wasn't great. And so I worked with a therapist for two and a half years. And that was really essential because I just needed to process a lot of things and figure out who I was outside of the student role. Because most of my life, I've kind of been a student, which has been very low on the totem pole of any organization. And so I felt like, I've kind of learned this behavior of acting like a student and coming into these conversations like, "Oh, well, I'll take whatever you can offer me, thanks for even talking to me." And I had to really separate that and regain some confidence again. And then with you guys, the scripts really helped a lot. Like I remember, even when I was negotiating my salary for the first job I had with my current organization, I was watching the videos that you've recorded about, like how to have these conversations. And I had never seen them framed that way. I always thought I'd be going into, like, an interview or a salary negotiation with this weird power dynamic. Like I was asking them for something and just hoping that they would give me anything. But the way your organization frames and all the modules and even the email templates, it's just framed as like a collaboration, where I have more confidence, which makes me look like a more attractive candidate too. And then even when I was negotiating my salary for my manager role a few months ago, like, I understand that nonprofits have limited budgets. I understand that they couldn't offer me, you know, a million dollars. And so I was upfront, I was like, "I understand that the budget is limited. But let's work together and see if we can make this an attractive offer by being a bit more creative with vacation days and professional development. Like, what are some other tools that we can use to make this a great opportunity for both of us?" And so that mindset shifts both from like, regaining confidence, and then also using those scripts. That is what has just, it's really changed the way I approach conversations today, too.

Scott Anthony Barlow 29:39

I've heard that feedback quite a bit where like, I was just having a conversation with another person who's been on the podcast in the past, Laura Morrison, and she had said something similar in that, "Hey, this actually, literally, changed how I..." Like, the approach that I was using to be more authentic and just try and work together and collaboratively and in a partnership to figure out how to create wonderful opportunities. Like, I've now found that over the last four years, I'm using that literally in my job every day with that same type of approach and mentality and some of the skill sets that she built during her change. And that was really interesting to hear it in that way. But it sounds like that was a little bit the case for you, too, or has been. You've done such a great job with this through doing things that many people in the rest of the world might not do, and are difficult, and it's created a different set of results for you, which is so wonderful. So I really appreciate you taking the time and coming and sharing your story and experiences. And I'm so excited that this transition led to even something better within a few short months too. It's so cool to see.

Anna VanRemoortel 30:53

Yeah, it's been a wild ride. And I'm so grateful to you and like your team and Alistair, it was so great to go through this process with a team. Grad school can be isolating. Leaving a career and starting something new can be really isolating and like this program, career changed, this is what I needed during this time. This is what allowed me to actually want something better. Like, if I hadn't reached out to you guys, I think I would still be, like, getting my PhD.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:20

In PhD land. Yes.

Anna VanRemoortel 31:22

Which, like, isn't bad. I mean, like, all my friends who are in the program, like they're having a good time. That's great, very happy for them. It's a great program. But yeah, it just wasn't a good fit for me. And I'm really happy I did something about it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:34

Hey, if you love this story where we talk through and walk you through step by step how someone got to more meaningful work, then you'll absolutely love our audiobook– Happen to Your Career: An Unconventional Approach to Career Change and Meaningful Work. I even got to narrate it, which was so fun. And something that I really enjoyed doing and will definitely do for future books as well. But it also contains firsthand accounts from career changers on how they made the move to more meaningful work, just like we include on the podcast here. And actually, it's been called the best audiobook experience ever by some reviewers. You can find those reviews, and the book itself on Audible, Amazon, or any other place where books are sold. Seriously, just pause this right now and go over to Amazon or Audible or wherever you want and download it. You can be reading it and started on your career change in literally seconds.

Scott Anthony Barlow 32:34

Now here's a sneak peek into what's coming up next week right here on Happen To Your Career.

Speaker 3 32:40

There comes a point in life where you have to decide, "Can I continue on this path? Or do I have to decide that it's time for me to do something different?"

Scott Anthony Barlow 32:47

When you're working in a career you once loved, it can be hard to come to terms with leaving, even if you're feeling burned out. Many times, it takes coming to a crossroads where you're forced to decide– should you stay or go?

Scott Anthony Barlow 33:03

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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