554: Escaping Career Crisis Mode And Finding Work That Fits You



Paul Stockhoff, Furniture Designer

Paul went from a miserable job that was negatively affecting his entire life to finding fulfillment by aligning his work with his values

on this episode

The irony of being stuck at a job you hate is that it seems to consume your every waking moment.

It begins to bleed into other areas of your life, and turn you into someone you’re not.

Some signs your job is affecting the rest of your life negatively

  • You’re not excited about your job anymore
  • You experience the Sunday Scaries every week (your family probably notices the shift!)
  • Your health is declining – You’re not eating as well as you used to, you’re not exercising as much, or maybe you even have some new aches and pains
  • You spend a lot of time outside of work complaining about work
  • You don’t have the time or interest for your hobbies
  • You feel like you’re always working – even when you’re away from work or off the clock, you feel like you can’t stop thinking about it when you’re meant to be enjoying time off.

If any of these seem true to you, you’ll want to hear Paul’s story.

Paul knew day one of his job that he didn’t want to stay, but he stuck with it because he felt like he would be bailing if he left too soon, and he thought he could figure out a way to make it better

It did not get any better.

It honestly got worse, and Paul entered crisis mode – he had to get out.

“I’d been there a year, and I’m thinking this is really not going well. To the point of blowing out my health. I was like not showing up as a good person. Because I was just consumed with ‘I need to get out of this. Work sucks.’ It was painful. Like no matter what I would do, it was just never going to be enough, and on top of it was a culture of ‘we work weekends & work late,’ all the stereotypical bad things about an office life that you hear people struggle with. And I was stuck in it too.”

He was feeling complete disengaged and misaligned with his organization, and ultimately misaligned with his career path.

Paul is a furniture designer, and a self-proclaimed problem solver, but his crappy job turned out to be one problem he could not solve… at least not on his own!

When Paul knew his job was not working out, he began updating his resume, reaching out to his network, applying to jobs— all of the things he thought he had to do to find a job.

But nothing worked.

He decided to set a deadline for himself. If he didn’t have a new job by the beginning of the year, he would reach out for help.

When the beginning of January came and went with no great job prospects in sight, he reached out to us.

“I come from the architecture construction world. You realize there are specialties, and I finally started going: Oh, I just need to get the right trade that knows how to do this, so I can get their expertise on this and do it. Like, we hire plumbers, we hire electricians, because they’re good at that stuff. Yeah, I’m gonna go hire the trade that’s good at career stuff. Once I kind of formulated it that way, I was just like, Oh, of course, I’m not good at this. This isn’t my background. And that’s okay.”

His weekly meetings with his coach gave him the accountability he needed to really focus on the work that had to be done to figure out what he wanted out of his career.

Going through his strengths was a big revelation because they gave him the vocabulary to talk about what he liked doing and where he could be beneficial in his career.

Paul did a great job defining the type of team and people he wanted to work with, the types of problems he wanted to solve and even how he wanted to use his strengths. This made it easy for him to weed through other companies, job interviews and even offers that weren’t a great fit.

He took time to really think about what needed and wanted out of the next iteration of his career and when a friend reached out with a job opportunity, and he learned about the role, he recognized it as the phenomenal fit that it was.

Paul is super stoked about his new career and feels like he’s “found his tribe.”

If you’re feeling like you’re in career crisis mode, and you need to find a way out, but you don’t know exactly what you want next… you can get there! Here is some advice from Paul:

“It’s okay to start over. And it’s okay to ask for help. There’s a group of people out there that are like dedicated to this kind of stuff to help kind of navigate this, and they can help you.”

What you’ll learn

  • How detrimental a misfit job can be to your professional and personal life
  • How to set boundaries to escape career crisis mode
  • Why accountability is often the difference between wanting to make a career change and actually making it happen
  • The elements Paul had to figure out to identify work that fit him

Success Stories

I convinced myself for many years, that I was very lucky to have that job, and I would be crazy to leave it. I convinced myself that the team needed me even though I was miserable. And ultimately, it took me getting physically sick to realize I needed to leave! One of the biggest things that I learned out of the signature coaching was on designing my life. And this is another thing that I had really never, it had, I don't know, if it had never occurred to me. I just never believed it was possible until now.

Michael Fagone, Mortgage Loan Officer and Finance Executive, United States/Canada

The role is meeting my expectations… totally owning the marketing function. And luckily the founder/president is always forward-looking – he just presented us a huge strategy doc for the next year. So there will be an opportunity for us to grow beyond our initial audience, which is great. I applied (against conventional wisdom!) and went through a lengthy interview process. I did use the resume/cover letter chapter quite a bit to customize what I used to respond to the ad. I also found that using the Interview chapter was super helpful in formulating “SBO” oriented responses, and I even used some of them in the interview. Having those “case study” type responses was really helpful and I believe cemented my candidacy. BTW – they hired me completely over Skype and phone! I never met anyone from my company (in person) until last week at a conference.

Erica Fourrette, Marketing Director

Paul Stockhoff 00:01

Do you even want to be at this place? Or is this just a job for you? If it's just a job, that's fine, but you're probably going to want a new one relatively quickly.

Introduction 00:17

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 00:42

When you're making a career transition, how will you recognize what is actually a great fit for you? We get many questions from Happeners all over the world, which we love, but I've never actually had anyone ask me that question. And in many ways, it is the question. The simple answer is, well, unless you've done some certain work, you probably won't. We've had so many clients that have had the same story over and over again. They take many months to define what they want, they experiment to validate that that's actually what they want in the real world. And then miraculously, it seems to appear out of nowhere. Here's what actually happens. The opportunities were there the whole time. But if you don't know what to look for, the same opportunity that might already be there just passes you by two ships in the night. And you never realized that it was so close to you.

Paul Stockhoff 01:38

I needed the initial, like, boost forward in just starting a career change. It wasn't the technical aspects. It was the "what do you want" aspect of it. And the deeper level of understanding what that was. I think everyone has the shortlist of, "I need to make this amount of money. I want a 401k. I need these benefits." Cool. That's really low-level stuff. What do you want?

Scott Anthony Barlow 02:05

That's Paul Stockhoff. Paul is a product and furniture designer, which is as cool of a career as it sounds like. But that doesn't mean every furniture design job is a great one. In fact, Paul had a previous job where he knew day one that he didn't want to stay. But he stuck with it because he felt like he would be bailing if he left too soon. And he thought he could figure out a way to make it better. Spoiler alert, it didn't get any better. Now if we fast forward to the end of Paul's career change story, you would see that his friend reached out to him. And that resulted in a job offer that was the perfect fit. But it's nowhere near as simple as it sounds. When Paul knew his job was not working out, he began doing all the things, updating his resume, reaching out to his network, applying to jobs, all the things that he thought he had to do to find a job, but nothing worked. So he decided to set a deadline for himself. If he didn't have a new job by the beginning of the year, he would reach out for help. And that's where we got to meet him because when the beginning of January came and went with no great job prospects in sight, he reached out to us. Working alongside a coach, Paul was able to define the type of team and people that he wanted to work with. With the types of problems he wanted to solve, and even how he wanted to use his strengths. He took the time to really think about what he needed and wanted in this next iteration of his career. And when that friend reached out, and he learned about the role, he recognized it as the phenomenal fit that it was. So let's go back to that question. Get that question in mind again, that question being, how will you recognize what is actually a great fit for you? Here's my conversation with Paul. I want you to hear exactly how he made it possible to recognize his fit when it came along.

Paul Stockhoff 03:56

I have a background in architecture, I went to architecture school, I always kind of knew I wanted to be in the related field of it. But very early in my graduate program, I knew I didn't want to be an architect. It's a cool process, I had mad respect for everyone who is a licensed architect, but it's just never what I wanted to do. I always loved the physical building of things and really the detailing of that. And that set me on this really amazing path of getting to figure out all the details of everything and not the huge concepts at a building scale. So I ended up narrowing down to kind of furniture and all the interior pieces of a building. So down to the exact poke that we're going to use, that's the stuff I'm choosing and picking. So that was I kind of always floated in architecture and next to it and allowed me to understand it and had to kind of figure out where I could go with that. And about that time, the job I had always wanted, post-grad school, they'd opened up a facility in Colorado. That's like, perfect. Everything is aligned. The place I always wanted to go, which they were back East has opened this Colorado facility, I get to use my full education. They do the coolest, weirdest stuff. This is exactly what I want. I applied. Got a job. And that was first day, I was like, "I've made a terrible decision." Remember just going, they've presented well. And this is not where I want to be. Maybe it's a bad first day, maybe they're just really swamped and gave like, thousand, well, it could be this, it could be that, like, gave too much benefit of doubt. And I think it was, in that point, people were always like, "How long do you think you'll be at this placement?" Going in I was like, "Oh, I want to be there at least five years." And then by like, the end of the month is like, one year, like, how fast can I get out of this? There was just like, I have the traditional HR onboarding, which was fine, made sense. But then it was just like, I didn't have any jobs lined up. There was no, "here's who your lead is." And I remember sitting in my office for about three hours by myself. And I was just like, I don't even know who to go to, to ask like, "What do I do?" Like you've hired me, but like, what project am I on? And the person who had met with me was in meetings all day, was very clearly I was not a priority. And for where that company has ended up, not a surprise. And just, there was no, everyone stayed in their office. It was like no one was excited that there was a new person, and come to find out that company had kind of purchased or kind of consumed an old company that had gone bankrupt. And that had not been made extremely clear. And it was like, "Oh, you're one of the new people. We used to do it this way. You use this other software. We don't like that. That's what the New Hampshire group does." And I was just like...

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:16

"You're not from around here, are you?"

Paul Stockhoff 07:19

Yeah. And I'm like, "Oh, god, okay." And it was just like, okay, I can navigate that. But it's just clearly, like, it didn't matter. You could have been a rock star, you could have just been anyone. And it just, no one was going to be happy. And like, most things started with this as a problem, not how are we going to solve it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:41

So that's interesting. What I'm hearing from you is that this was not just an organizational misfit and a cultural misfit compared to what you were looking for, and probably what many people are looking for. But also on top of that, it sounded like there was a very clear values difference. I just heard you mentioned, you know when people are coming to the meetings, we're talking about what are the problems as opposed to here's the problems, how are we going to solve them. And just in understanding more about what you're looking for, that seems to be the polar opposite of the way you value interacting.

Paul Stockhoff 08:20

Totally. And as I kind of got through the first week, I had realized I had interviewed mostly with the East Coast team, not the group out in Colorado, which had kind of been this consumed company. In back East, they were about solving problems. They were this really tight-knit group family of people. That was just not the case in the Colorado facility. And it became very clear that there was kind of this East Coast-West Coast situation. And I had oddly ended up being someone in the West Coast office that aligned with the East Coast team, which was not helpful, and made me stick out like a sore thumb. So this was going on, it was starting to be like, "Alright, this is happening. I don't know what I want to do." And it started just kind of questioning everything, like, "Do I even want to be in this industry? Do I like this? This just seems rough. Everyone's fighting. Like there's fighting within this group. There's fighting within the construction industry, it's always this finger-pointing game." And that was kind of the start of, "Okay, I have this background. I like my background. I feel like one of the things I love doing is just problem-solving." I'm like, "Cool, I kinda know this." And then it became the search of like, "Where can I problem solve? Everyone needs that." And then it was just the like, write resumes, applied jobs, searching everything. And it was this weird feeling of like, I want to do good work. I want to, like, solve problems for people and I just want to do a good job. I felt like I was in this position of I just want, like, I'll do anything. And I think that's when... that was probably in hindsight when I just like your... It was just being kind of desperate. And it was so unfocused that I think, I don't know if that had just come across, but it was also as working with this group of like, I didn't know what my strengths were yet, all I could say is I'm great at problem-solving. Great, everyone else is listening, you're not going to come across as unique. And kind of go into this process. And work is just, I'm just taking a beating. And it's the Sunday scaries. It's, you don't want to go to work on Monday. And luckily, I have a partner who loves her job. And it was just like, polar opposite of where I was. But I knew that these places existed, which was this like hopeful thing, I'm just okay, I know people actually like going to work. And I've had jobs that I was fine with. But I could see her really loving her job. And there was this situation where I was talking with someone and we've come up with this, kind of, we had our own scale of how we would rank jobs. And one was where we were and then 10 was like perfect. And we would rank all these job listings and stuff. And like, we were seeing a whole bunch of fives. And we're just like, "God, there's not finding it." And this is going on. And we're getting closer to, like, November's kind of been here, I've been there a year, and going this is really not going well. And to the point of just as blowing out my health, I was not showing up as a good person, because I was just consumed with like, "I need to get out of this. Work sucks", which just, it was painful. No matter what I would do, it was just never going to be enough. And on top of it was just, there was a culture of work weekends, work late, all the stereotypical bad things about an office life that you hear people struggle with. And I was stuck in it too. And I was stuck setting a boundary with it. And slowly started taking some of those steps of, like, I did my hours, that's the best I can do, this is not creeping into my weekend. And at that point, I had a couple interviews, but just complete lowball offers of like, yeah, I can go back to where I started. And like drop health insurance and all this stuff. And like, maybe worth it from a mental health standpoint, but I'm gonna just be starting the search all over again. And at that point, I gotten really frustrated one day at work. And I was just like, if I'm going to have my time wasted, and just made to feel really terrible, I'm gonna at least, I'm going to figure out how to get out of this. And I remember literally searching job changed podcasts on my phone. And it was like in the Spotify app. And that's how I found you guys. Started listening to it I was like, "Okay, that seems reasonable. That person sounded happy." And I think it was probably one of the other interviews with someone that seems reasonable. Next day, listen to a little bit more. And kind of start this like Monday morning routine. And I know the new episode will drop. And I'll listen to it. It was just like, it started getting my brain to like unstick and be like, "Well, did you think about this? Or did you think about that." And I think that was this really slow on ramp for me to be like, "Oh, there's a different way of doing this." And it was all stuff that had never been presented before. And coming from this architecture background, there's this really clear path. And I wasn't following that path. I wasn't in a firm. And also, no one really goes over career stuff at any point. And I was realizing I had to go like learn this. The advice from others was either a generation old, or eyes with a bunch of architects that were on there kind of their own path because that was kind of my tribe, or people that were just doing completely different things and they had their own system of getting jobs.

Scott Anthony Barlow 14:25

Yeah. So you realize that someplace, well, you realize day one, that this is not going to be the right fit. As you started realizing that there might be a different way to do career change or a different way to find and identify work that's more meaningful to you, what caused you to feel like you could start to move forward in a way that was, let's call it less desperate?

Paul Stockhoff 14:51

I think what started that was once I actually got into coaching, because it was, I hit this point of I was applying to jobs, I had gotten a couple interviews, and there was also the send the applications in any way here anything for three months. And it was always this game of, you would look at the institution or the company and they'd be like, sometimes it just, that's how long they take. And I was kind of running out the clock on some of those. But I think what it was, was just, the desperation stopped when we started having the conversations of, "It's gonna get worse if you just bail, and you're gonna put on this other stress of unknown, and you don't know what you want." And it was that kind of clear statement of like, so you're just redoing it again, like you're not improving the situation. And luckily, where I was, it was providing a comfortable enough financial position that was just like, so you're gonna give that up to be less stressed, which like reasonable, but you're gonna do it at a huge financial cost, do you want to put that burden on top of this situation? Because you least know what you have right now. You know, you don't want it. But you know what it is, and start getting that under control. Get that into, "this is how many hours you're contractually obligated to work", do that and stop. And it was starting to rain some of that in, I would say that was one of the harder points of just getting it to kind of calm down. And when I first started working with Ben, it caught me off guard, he was just like, "Your job this weekend is to do nothing, just don't do anything, just actually take a weekend off. Don't think about this. Don't think about work, just settle." In that, that was really hard. Because it was just, there was that push of, well if I work through it this weekend, I can figure it out. And I'll get out of this position. And traditionally, I was really used to just slam the gas and go. And I had to learn not to do that and just like back off. So there were multiple weekends of, "what did you do this weekend?" Well, "No, you weren't supposed to do that. You were supposed to be off." And then that started opening up a lot more of the mental space of being able to define what I want it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 17:26

So this is really interesting and little bit of context behind the scenes. The reason that we might do something like that with our clients is because we find that especially like in your case, Paul, what had worked for you in the past, and part of what hadn't made you successful in the past, had to sort of be unlearned, in some ways, so that you can begin changing behavior now that you had a different set of goals. And that's part of exactly what was going on here. So even though, I mean, it sounds unreasonable and illogical. But we're, you know, humans are not logical beings, that like, "Hey, I'm really, like, I'm gonna decide to do nothing over the weekend. And I literally can't do it in some ways." That doesn't make any sense. But that's what we have a tendency to do as human beings. So here's a question for you on that. Going through that, what did you see when you started to do more of that sort of to focus elsewhere beyond just like solving the problem, which is something you do very, very well and love to do, what did that do for you? What did that not do for you? What came from that?

Paul Stockhoff 18:42

I think the big thing was it got the current job to be up. It got put in its box of like, that's work back and live there. I did my hours, great done. So that gave me a lot of working. It started to give some working space. I think that started becoming a lot of other balance in just a lot of other places in life of just having time to do all the other little life stuff and also have fun. And like that was this thing that had gotten cut really early. I had to realize. Cut out the fun. In hindsight, I was just like, of course, I did that because it was just this, like, push through it. That's the first thing that you can cut is having those fun moments in life. And they were the thing I was really needing to kind of navigate some of this. So that just started this whole reworking of evaluation of everything of like, "Oh, let's look at everything here." So like it was career stuff. It was, "How I would engage with others. Was there stuff I needed to look at personally?" And it was a dive for a minute of just like first and pull everything out and just look at everything and really see. And that started this, like, "How did I even get into this design architecture field? Is this really what I want? Did we like these choices?" And there's a moment of time I was like, "Oh, I'm 18 again." I felt like I just come out of high school and everyone's like, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" And it's like, "I don't know." But it was not scary anymore. It was like, "Oh, I have a decision. And I get to drive it now." And that became really, that started to become exciting. And I also knew my current position was going to come to an end. It wasn't like, "Oh, when is it going to end?" I just knew is going to end and I can live with that. But I know there's progress. And I was also putting a dedicated time to solve it. It was the new priority in life. And I think that one of the very helpful things of coaching was, "Here is dedicated time. Every week, I got to do this." Like, I'm showing up for this. It's on my schedule. And I know, even if it's a gnarly week, there was an hour dedicated to it. And that, like when it was a rough week, I at least knew I had a conversation. Or, "Hey, are you ready?" I could leverage the, I want to show up and show that I did stuff. And it would be the "Hey, I need to be ready to have this conversation this afternoon. Did I do what I needed?" And I think that was the biggest thing for me, was just having consistent progress. I think everyone goes, "Oh, you have to have these cover letters and you need resume." I was okay with that kind of stuff. I needed the initial like boosts forward in just starting a career change. It wasn't the technical aspects. It was the, 'what do you want' aspects of it. And the deeper level of understanding what that was. I think everyone has the shortlist of like, "I need to make this amount of money. I want to 401k. I need these benefits." Cool. That's really low-level stuff. What do you want? And I think that weekly conversation was super helpful to get me to actually define that. And I think at one point, Ben literally was just like, "What do you want to do?" And I was just like, "Oh, I don't know." And then it started to be that conversation and working through that. And that was helpful with getting to work with you guys.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:35

Well, I appreciate those words. And also, I think that it's fun to see, I know, you talked about the progression. And you know, what keeps you moving forward earlier. But I think that's really fun. That's one of the most fun things for me is being able to see other people apply this stuff, and you've done a really nice job. And what I'm also curious about is, when you look back on this particular career change, what do you feel like were the hardest parts or most surprising parts to you?

Paul Stockhoff 23:08

I think the hardest parts were the moments of just kind of sit tight, and get comfortable with it. And that it was just going to take longer than I wanted. There was a pretty I wanted out. And I think really, finally just letting that go like it will get solved. It's going to take a sec, I think that was also just me rebinding a perspective back to normal of like, things aren't instantaneous. And I was in an environment of everything needed to be instantaneous. I think the surprising thing was just, it wasn't... Well, the goal was career change. It was also just like self-growth that I wasn't expecting along the way of just, it became this opportunity as an overall clearing house of just like, "Let's fix Paul's life. Let's make this better."

Scott Anthony Barlow 24:11

How do you did? I'm curious. So that is a thing that happens. That's actually one of my other favorite things that occurs from this. Even years later, I'll get so many emails and texts and stuff from people that have gone through this type of change, and then are applying it to all areas of their life in one way or another. But when you say that, well, how did that show up for you?

Paul Stockhoff 24:32

I think it was kind of looking at, it was this evaluation like where I was really focused on like this career change and like, "Hey, these things don't feel good. What else doesn't feel good in my life, and I haven't dealt with?" It was dealing with a death in the family that I hadn't resolved. It was, how do I be a better partner? How do I show up and do a better job there? How do I take care of myself better and constrain work to a normal work week and not let it bleed in? And I thought, I think this was the other thing but, I'm used to going... we're gonna solve this thing really aggressively once. And that is not how this worked at all. It was, "I'm gonna make a little progress over here. And we'll make a little progress over here." And it was much more of a snowballing of a lot of little things getting fixed, that eventually led to the like, "Oh, yeah, I have a new job now. Great." And that was a surprise. I think the other thing was getting comfortable asking for help. That was, I really didn't want to send the initial email of like, "I'm interested in getting career coaching." That felt like a failure to ask. I was like, "I should be able to do this." And I think starting with career coaching was just like, "Oh, that was okay to ask for help." That was a reasonable thing to do.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:00

When you think back, what made you feel like it was not okay that you couldn't do this or other things on your own?

Paul Stockhoff 26:10

I think it was the perspective of, I felt like I had enough experience and enough education in some places that I should be, to me, it was just another problem that could be solved. And therefore I should be able to do it. And we kind of talked about, I used to solve it by just throwing an effort at it. And I was throwing effort and just burning myself out. And it was like, it was the first time where I was really just running into a wall hard. And I wasn't getting around it. And I think previously, I was just going through it just through effort. And it was just total evaluation of like, "Oh, I gotta learn, because this isn't working everywhere." Everything is not working. And that took a sec to kind of get myself to okay to do it differently. And it was this big evaluation of like, "Oh, I got to figure this out." And that was scary. I had taken a system that kind of worked for 10 years, and go, "I gotta overhaul this." And that was uncomfortable. And also, realizing probably the system I had previously was not a good system.

Scott Anthony Barlow 27:25

But I mean, there was a point in time where it served you to some degree, whether it was good or not like it definitely served you for a time period.

Paul Stockhoff 27:32

It was functional, yes.

Scott Anthony Barlow 27:33

It was functional, at least.

Paul Stockhoff 27:35

Yeah. And I think that was this kind of weird spot of like, "Oh, this worked. It got me here. I'm not happy with where I am." And it was just like, almost like scraping, like, just scrape everything and start over. And that was then I think that's when I started getting a little uncomfortable with it. Because it's just like, "Oh, this is a pretty heavy reset." And I got to start from zero and come back up. But I think once I got comfortable with that, I was just like, "Oh, this is good. This is positive." Like, I get a lot more choice now and I get this second round of this. And it was the exciting version of being 18 and what do you want to go do. I was like, "Oh, I have 10 years of doing this incorrectly. And I have experienced now to make this choice. This is great. Like, I have skills, I have valuable things. I have all this other stuff. I start to know who I am through my strengths. This is great." And it started to finally become this really positive thing, not this just this utter teardown and negative thing. It's like, cool, that was a chapter of my life. Go do the thing I really want now. And that was great.

Scott Anthony Barlow 28:54

Let's kind of pull back here for a second and run me through kind of the bullet point version of what led up to you accepting this offer. So kind of run quickly through the career change process in terms of where you had decided, "Okay, I have some level of idea of what I'm looking for." And then how did that lead to accepted offer for this particular organization?

Paul Stockhoff 29:20

So the deal with this one was I ended up actually getting a message from someone who I've worked with previously. And I was like, "Yeah, interesting. The group seems great." And I was still kind of hesitant of like, "Do I really want to stay in this industry?" But also, like, maybe I just need a good group to work for and kind of made the decision to go up and have an interview. And I kind of framed it as the worst thing I do is I have a weekend up in Montana. That's the worst thing that happens. Flew up, had a great time, it was also the group I never sent a resume, never sent a cover letter. They had found all that stuff on their own, which was cool, gone up, had a conversation, kind of locations were a little bit of an issue, and worked out the details of that. And then went up for three weeks as an onboarding, or sorry, I skip this up, kind of finalized negotiations of the low level like, here's money, here's benefits stuff.

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:26

Did you get what you wanted out of this? Like when you think about total compensation and beyond just the normal stuff, did you feel like you got what you wanted when you came out of it?

Paul Stockhoff 30:38

Yes. And I also felt like I knew where I could flex on stuff and where I couldn't. And just, it was nice to be able to have a frank conversation and be like, "This is the number, take it or leave it." And not in this aggressive, but it's just like, this is the number that makes this work for me. If you can't do it, I would love to work for you guys. But now's not the time. And I think that took away the like, the desperation wasn't there. It wasn't like, "Oh, I'll drop 10 grand." It's like, that's the number I need to make my life work and be functional. Like, why should I give on my personal life to make this deal work?

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:20

It's not a great fit. Like it begins from "Hey, this is an amazing fit" to realm of, "Hey, this is no longer a fit." And yeah, that's awesome.

Paul Stockhoff 31:32

I think that was just really important going in, and just going, what's the bottom end of this? And just knowing it ahead of time, and being confident in that number. With that negotiation, it was, when I met everyone, I was like, "Oh, this is the tribe. This is the group that I've been looking for, for a long time."

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:54

How did you know that this was the group? Was that because of some of the work that you had done previously to define that? Was it because of something else? Clearly, you knew, what caused you to know?

Paul Stockhoff 32:07

Everyone was super low-key, everyone was super mellow. Everyone was excited. There's also just a ton of common interest of like, and I think that was helpful, just I knew there would be conversations about other things besides work. And you would be excited about other people's lives outside of work and just like the dorky stuff I would be excited about, they were also excited about. And like it was important to them, too. And I was just like, "Oh, I've just been looking in the wrong place. This group does exist." And that was great. They also had a clear mission of what they wanted, and what they were trying to do. And they could articulate that. It wasn't just like, "Oh, yeah, we're trying to grow." It was, "We're doing it this way. This is what we want to do. This is where we think you might fit. Do you think that's something you're interested in? Do you see something different?" I think them being able to say what they want, made it automatically way better.

Scott Anthony Barlow 33:17

That's interesting.

Paul Stockhoff 33:18

They weren't getting what they wanted. And now it gives me the spot of like, "Hey, this is what was kind of presented. I like that. How are we doing it?" Or, "Hey, this was the goal that was set. I think we can go about it this way."

Scott Anthony Barlow 33:34

Very cool. Your original message from a friend, was that an introduction to the company, was that a, "Hey, you should really check this organization out," or how did that message come about?

Paul Stockhoff 33:45

I think it was along the lines of, "Hey, I think we're hiring for this position. I think you'd be a good fit. Do you want to know more about it?" And I was like, "Yep." Like, I am interested in changing jobs.

Scott Anthony Barlow 33:59

How many other places did you interview or interact with in total? Because I know you only accepted one. But how many roughly did you... January you had?

Paul Stockhoff 34:13

Yeah, I think I interviewed with three, had received two offers out of there than I think I did apply to like 25-30 jobs. And I think like the thing that I thought was hilarious was like their jobs I applied to in March, like was hearing back finally after I did accepted the new job of just like that system was so slow. So I don't know how those people actually hire people in a system that slow but.

Scott Anthony Barlow 34:45

It's challenging. What advice would you give people in that position?

Paul Stockhoff 34:52

It's okay to start over. And it's okay to ask for help. And there's a group of people out there that are like dedicated to this kind of stuff like you would hire a plumber to fix the plumbing in your house, why would you not hire a professional to help kind of navigate some of this? And I think this realm is always kind of looked at as like, I think early on, people don't have a full understanding of the depth that it takes. I think that's the difference between a job and a career is I think a lot of people kind of understand what a job is, it's the thing you show up and it's that low-level expectation stuff of you get paid, here's the role, but not the career of like, "Hey, I need to work on my strengths. I really want this great team. I need this kind of flexibility to be really successful." And you need some guidance to figure that out. And reading like top five, here's the thing to boost your career is not going to solve it. And it's going to take time.

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:59

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 36:53

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

Speaker 3 36:59

I just noticed it really wasn't playing to my strengths, it was taking up a lot of mental energy because I was having to re-adjust actually some of my baseline values to a certain extent, and it was exhausting.

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:13

One of the things that we've noticed behind the scenes here at HTYC is that so many people go through this same cycle again and again. They try a bunch of traditional job search methods. And then they get a role, then they don't see lasting results. Usually, they start out really excited about their new role, and then at some point, start realizing that something's off. Sometimes the role or company doesn't match their values. Sometimes the role doesn't match their strengths. There's a billion different things that they realize that they haven't considered when they get into that new role.

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:51

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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