499: Finding A Fulfilling Career That Fits You With Megan Crawford

HTYC Coach, Megan Crawford, details how she realized her once ideal role was no longer a fit, put in the work and pivoted into her very own unicorn role.



Megan Crawford, HTYC Career Coach

Megan spent over 12 years in corporate recruiting, learning how companies make hiring decisions. When she felt a misalignment in values, she transitioned into career coaching and never looked back!

on this episode

What do you do when you decide your current job no longer fits you?

There is a shift that happens for a lot of people: Suddenly a role you thought you’d be in for the long haul no longer seems like the right fit for you. 

Sometimes it’s a priority shift, something happens externally, and you decide it’s time for a change. Maybe you brought a new child into the world or you’ve started missing too many of your kid’s sporting events.

Sometimes it’s an internal shift, a sudden misalignment of values, where you no longer feel good about the work you are doing. 

So you’ve decided it’s time for a change! Making that decision alone can be life-changing (and it’s worth celebrating!) but it can also be somewhat terrifying to actually take the steps necessary to leave. 

HTYC career coach, Megan Crawford worked in recruiting for over 12 years until she realized her role no longer aligned with her values or what she wanted out of her life. On today’s episode, she discusses her career change journey from recruiting to coaching, including tactical steps you can take if you’re in a similar position!

What you’ll learn

  • How to use fear of the unknown and uncertainty to fuel your career change
  • What to do when your new career isn’t what you thought it would be 
  • The importance of acknowledging that you’re no longer in a career that fits you

Success Stories

I’ve been offered the job! It was great having the opportunity to speak with you prior to my interview. It enabled me to highlight my strengths as part of the conversation and I was able to be clear about my enthusiasm for opportunities to be proactive versus reactive. I also highlighted my desire to provide positive individual experiences. Our discussion not only assisted me in the interview but it also helped to increase my confidence!

Bree Hunter, Project Officer, Australia

One of the most key things we talked about was feeling instead of thinking, I would think all the time, about this and that, I would just take time to feel. That is the key for really understanding where you are supposed to be and what you love.

Kelly , Leadership Recruiter, United States/Canada

Megan Crawford 00:01

Somewhere along the way, corporate recruiting started to not be a fit for me. And so I felt a lot of empathy and a lot of like sitting in my candidate's seat. I really started to feel those same things that they were feeling.

Introduction 00:20

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

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:45

Okay, what happens when you decide your current job no longer fits you? Yes, it can be jarring to realize the role you once thought was the perfect fit is no longer right for you. But we see this happen all the time. And I've experienced it myself. Many times what's happened is your values or your priorities have shifted as time has gone on and you've realized you want something else, that's okay. There's nothing wrong with that. And, yes, it can be difficult to accept that you've outgrown the role that you envisioned you would be in for the long haul, but it can be even more difficult to leave that role, to leave that situation. But don't let your aversion to loss or risk keep you trapped in an unfulfilling opportunity. It's possible to find a new fulfilling role.

Megan Crawford 01:35

Please take off that pressure that you have to figure this out right now. The awareness, acknowledging the awareness that this is not a fit is amazing and good. And let's honor that.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:48

That's Megan Crawford. She's a career coach and strategist on our team right here at HTYC. Megan is a wife. She's a mom, a meditator, artist, self awareness advocate, and she refers to herself as a general nerd, which I appreciate immensely. Megan has been a career coach since 2015. And she's worked for companies like The Muse, Full Stack Academy, but before she became a coach, she worked in recruiting for 12 years, for companies such as Deloitte, Booz Allen Hamilton, she worked with many industries over the course of her career– IT, accounting, finance, marketing, sales, design, just to name a few. During her time recruiting, she was also an adjunct professor at Drexel University specializing in, you guessed it, career planning. Megan made a major career transition from a recruiting to coaching when she had the realization that recruiting no longer aligned with her values, or what she actually wanted out of her life. You'll hear her recount her personal career change story. And as we go along, she'll share her advice and expertise that she has gained over the years on how to strategically find what fits you. Here she is.

Megan Crawford 03:00

I started out really naturally falling into recruiting. I've always easily connected with people. I've always loved learning about people's stories. And recruiting was like a really good match for me. I've also always been really good at getting jobs. Like since I was little, 14 years old, I always really loved working. I loved having my own money. I loved learning different jobs. And so I've always been really good at getting the job that I wanted before recruiting.

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:33

What was the 14 year old story? I'm now very curious about that. Like, what did you do at 14 years old where it's like...?

Megan Crawford 03:39

I worked at a gift shop, like, a little card, like, they sold Hallmark cards and little knickknacks, little presents, and I worked the cashier and I sold lottery tickets. I loved it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:50

Oh, interesting. So that especially resonates with me because my daughter just relatively recently got her first real job at 14. With all the kids, I helped them start a business at age 12. But this was her first like, W2 type job. And she also apparently is good at getting jobs. So you were in the gift shop, you're selling lottery tickets, you're doing all the things and it sounds like that set you up to enjoy working as well. So what continued to transpire as you moved beyond, let's say, 14?

Megan Crawford 04:28

From day one from that position, I loved helping customers find what they needed. I loved helping them pick out the perfect card. I loved making them happy. I mean, it was like an early thing for me that sort of customer experience was ingrained. I went on from there to work in several in the Philadelphia region hoagie and cheesesteak places. Yes, so I was the sandwich builder for a good six, seven years for high school and into college. And again, just that experience of working directly with the customer, making them happy with food at that point, I love those jobs, I literally love those jobs. And just from there, through college, I worked in food service. But then I also started working in an office in college. And it was in a Student Support Office. So like life and support office. So I was an admin. And again, I was just literally helping people, whether it was finding resources on campus, or just within their own life, like, "Hey, I need to find a job in this community." And I had the resources for them. So that set me up for my first really, my first office job was in college.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:41

Interesting. So where and how did that evolve into recruiting?

Megan Crawford 05:45

Yeah, so when I graduated, just literally started to apply to jobs. And one of them was a temporary job at Booz Allen Hamilton in Virginia. And they hired me temporary. It was like a temp job. And then within a week, they hired me full on as a recruiting assistant. I didn't even know what recruiting was at that point. Legitimately. They're like, "Yeah, you can be a recruiting assistant." I said, "Okay." There I was. This was so long ago. It's so funny to think back.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:21

So then what was that experience like for you? What did you enjoy about it? What was very different than what you thought recruiting was going to be? Tell me all the things.

Megan Crawford 06:31

Yeah, so I really got a great foundation on the structure of hiring in a large organization. I got to understand the different components and the departments that needed people, right. So to hire. So it was everything from posting job descriptions, sourcing, it was talking to like, like that initial conversation, scheduling, huge interview days, like 100 people, scheduling 100 people to interview with multiple parts of the organization. So I had a really good functional knowledge of recruiting and an understanding of how it operates within a big business.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:11

How long did you spend overall in recruiting? Was it about if I remember, over a decade, like 10, 12 years or so?

Megan Crawford 07:18

Yeah, it was about 12 years.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:21

What did you get to learn along the way, as you were continuing to evolve in recruiting? What did that trajectory look like for you?

Megan Crawford 07:31

Yeah, for a while, it was really just playing that part of recruiter and putting, helping to hire people, helping to facilitate that process. But along the way, I really started to pay attention to right fit. And it was something that I just couldn't let go of, and understanding how different organizations make their hiring decisions, and really gravitating towards the candidates' stories and lives. And were they making good decisions for their career? Were they making decisions that would benefit them as a person? And I tended toward that aspect versus the recruiting and hiring aspect. So I sensed a shift in me, for sure. But how I approached it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:22

What do you think caused you to be really interested in that area?

Megan Crawford 08:26

I think I was also sensing a shift in myself, somewhere along the way, corporate recruiting started to not be a fit for me. And so I felt a lot of empathy and a lot of like sitting in my candidates seat like they were trying to find something new. I really started to feel those same things that they were feeling.

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:46

What did you notice when you were there, and you're feeling some of those things? What were some of those things that started to no longer be a fit? Maybe they were once before but as you continue throughout your career in recruiting, what were some examples of that?

Megan Crawford 09:04

Yeah, I can think of a few examples. One in particular really stands out for me, and it was hiring teams. I'll speak about it a little bit generally, because it happened on several occasions, but hiring teams that were making poor choices, and being very, very narrow minded in the candidates that they were even willing to look at. So if you think about, oh, I'll only hire somebody that has an MBA from a certain school and sort of that very, very knobby approach to how they would view candidate resumes. I got a really bad taste in my mouth about that because I, on the other hand, I'm talking to these magical candidates who have the experience can do the job, absolutely can do the job, and me having to communicate to them. No, we can't move you forward. It was a huge disconnect from my values. It was a huge disconnect from like what made sense. So that's a big one that stands out for me that just making decisions about hiring behind the scenes from a company perspective, that just did not make sense.

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:13

That definitely rubs me the wrong way. It infringes upon, I'll say my values as well. And I think moral compasses, too. Not so much about being dead sad about a certain type of candidate, but where you have all of this potential, and people are just not open to considering other original ways in order to get to the same, I guess goal, achievement.

Megan Crawford 10:44

Yeah, 100%. It's that exactly. You know, if we're on the same path, headed towards the same outcome or goal, like you said, then why do those little details matter? Why does it matter where they got their MBA, if the person can do the job? And so really naturally, I started to talk more to the candidates about and say to them, "Hey, I really think that maybe this isn't a fit for you" which isn't what you're supposed to do in recruiting. Right? You're not supposed to be saying that.

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:14

Supposed to be, it's not. So I hear. I may or may not have done the same thing. But so I hear that that's frowned on.

Megan Crawford 11:22

I really started, I think career coaching before I even really knew what career coaching was, honestly. Yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:29

What did that look like at first? When you're having those conversations, do you remember one that stands out for you, a particular individual, where you are having a very different conversation, as opposed to just, hey, get you in here and move you along in this process. And it seems like a great fit. What was one of those examples or stories where the conversation was different than normal? And you unofficially, maybe were doing some coaching?

Megan Crawford 11:59

Yeah, I remember it was a software developer. And I was hiring really technical people who had to be consultants also. So they had to sort of play two roles: consultant and software developer. And so it was a specific profile, right? It was a specific type of person. And I remember talking to this guy, and he was so smart. And so into software development, right. Like that was his thing. We had several conversations. And I mean, over months, it was a long relationship for recruiting. And I remember him talking about, like, when we were talking about the idea of consulting, and the idea of going into the client, and the idea of maybe talking about other things that we did, and upselling, that kind of stuff, right? And panic would go across his face, and not just panic, like, "oh, you know, I've never done that before. But I'll try." It was like, he really legitimately didn't want to be client facing. And I think he was trying to fit himself into roles because he needed a job, he wanted a different job. And the more we talked, I just had this gut reaction to not moving him forward. And I was very, very honest with him. And I said, "I just don't think that this is right for you. I don't think that this is the right path for you. I think you should be hyper focused on finding what is right for you." I don't want to have a conversation six months from now, that says like, "Hey, I had this feeling. I knew this wouldn't be a fit." And so I did it in the recruiting process.

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:34

Do you remember what happened that? I'm so curious how he reacted.

Megan Crawford 13:38

No, he totally agreed. I think he needed the permission of someone saying it out loud. Honestly. He agreed because he knew more about himself than he, I think realized. And I think us talking and just saying things out loud helped him know that just because this job was available, and all these other things looked good, maybe just didn't look good for him.

Scott Anthony Barlow 14:01

So let me ask you about that. Because that's something that you and I both know, we see all the time with clients. And we see all the time with people that we interact with that aren't HTYC clients too, where they're going down a specific trajectory, because they think that they have to or any number of other, whether it's obligations, or they feel like they should do it, or thousands of reasons, right. And I heard you say just a moment ago, you felt like he needed some level of permission to not just keep going the same trajectory. Why do you think that we find it so difficult to change trajectory without someone else acknowledging that? Even though it sounds like he already knew. It sounds like based on what you're telling me, he already knew in that situation. Right?

Megan Crawford 14:52

Yeah, I think it's a lot of reasons. But I think in the beginning, it's that fear of the unknown. I talk about this a lot with clients, school and early career even is very linear. And it can be sort of easy to follow that linear path of like, "okay, if I do this and this, thisis going to be the outcome." And then many times, oftentimes, people get to a point where it's not linear anymore, something just doesn't feel... something feels off. And they know that they want to make a change, but not knowing what that next change is, is scary. And I think, at least just acknowledging it saying, "Look, I don't know what is next. It's uncertain." And I say this a lot, I say, "If we allow it, this uncertainty can just be possibility, right?" And so just opening it up. Because if we're sitting in that moment of uncertainty, then we're closed off to different options. So I just say, "Let's take a step back. Let's acknowledge the uncertainty and know that it's there. But let's just be open to it." But I think that it's the fear of the uncertainty in the very beginning, for sure.

Scott Anthony Barlow 14:52

[16:00] I love what you said. And this is such a good reframe, which I know reframe is a very coachee word, I suppose. But I really think it is such a good reframe. You said uncertainty, if we allow it can be possibility. Same exact thing. Same exact time. Same exact situation, just literally in how we look at it.

Megan Crawford 16:23

Absolutely. Yeah, I think if we get stuck into the idea of like this narrow minded view, like there's only one or two things that I can do next, based on what I've done in the past, we will be six months from now having the same feeling of something's off.

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:41

So where did you start to give yourself permission to look at possibility or possibilities when you recognized that recruiting, which once was a fit, and once was wonderful started to increasingly be less of a fit for you?

Megan Crawford 16:58

Yeah, so I took a job. I was enamored by the money, it was enamored by the prestige of this job. It was in recruiting. And I took it and I took it with a gut feeling knowing that I shouldn't have. Okay. And yeah, and I was sitting in it, and I had a boss that wasn't a fit, that he knew he wasn't a fit. And I remember sitting on the phone with him. And it was very corporate environment. And it's just wasn't a fit anymore. And I remember having this conversation, and I said out loud, "I made a mistake. I made a mistake." And he kind of didn't know what I was talking about. But it was really more of an acknowledgement for myself that it had become so crystal clear that this was no longer a fit. That I had to listen to what I was at that point doing on the side. At that point, I was naturally getting referrals of people needing help, whether it be with their resume, or like how to think about jobs. I'm in a brainstorm or so you come to me with like something that you want to do. I'm going to come up with all these ideas. And I see possibility, right. So I was already naturally doing that on the side. And I was like, "Well, I need to really look at this. Is this something that I can do as a career?" Yeah, that conversation was a real turning point for me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 18:29

That's so interesting. I didn't realize, this is why I love having these types of conversations for the podcast. Because even though you and I have interacted many times, I didn't know that that conversation took place. You and I have that commonality. Like I told you I had a similar situation where I took a role, everything appeared to be great, it was sort of, I don't know, enamored with many of the pieces of it. Even though deep down I knew that one I wasn't really that excited about it. It was probably the wrong fit. And then a year later, took me way longer than it took you, it sounds like. But...

Megan Crawford 19:03

I was six months in. Yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:04

Oh my goodness, good for you. Good for you for not waiting for a year. And I told my boss it was a mistake. And yeah, so what happened after that point for you?

Megan Crawford 19:15

Looking back, I looked for any opportunity that would allow me to be touching coaching. That would be like anything that was adjacent to it. So I wound up taking a part time role at an outplacement organization and a relocation organization where I immediately got coach training and I was also helping people who were relocating. It was part time and honestly at that moment, it was like, it sealed the deal for me. Whatever I could do to stay in the space of coaching, learn about coaching, continue coaching was what I was going to do. So really, it forced me to look outside of where I had looked. I promised myself I would not look at recruiting roles. I took recruiting out of my search terms, and only put in the things that I wanted to continue doing in my search terms.

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:09

Hold on. That sounds like such a small thing. But I think that that's very powerful, where you had to decide and commit to no longer intentionally or accidentally pursuing the same activity. And I think, you and I have probably both seen many people where we continue to search on job boards over and over again, for something that we know, isn't really the thing that we don't want. And we just keep doing that, because it's easy, and it's natural and everything.

Megan Crawford 20:37

I wrote it down. I wrote down, I will not get another corporate recruiting job. I promised myself. That is, I think the biggest thing that I did, the biggest gift I gave to myself in terms of making the change happen is that I promised myself that I would not put myself in that situation again, because it was not a fit. So it was more than a decision. Because, you know, definitely a decision. But it was the promise, to me, that changed the game for me. So that, yeah, I'm not going to look at recruiting rules anymore. This is eight years ago at this point. But I decided I'm no longer. I'm only going to put search terms in that have functional skills that I want to continue doing.

Scott Anthony Barlow 21:22

That's powerful that declaration or commitment. And we've talked on the podcast before about clarity, which a lot of people say, "Hey, I'm looking for clarity, and this and this, and this and this." And what we don't realize is that clarity comes in sometimes small tidbits from making those declarations, making those commitments. And it's a product of that, or a byproduct of that, I should say, as opposed to just finding clarity upon the mountain or anything. So that's awesome. And so here's what I'm curious about, for someone else who is in that situation, where they know they no longer want to pursue the same path and one way or another, what advice would you give them? What advice would you give them to help make big or small or intermediate size promises or declarations for them?

Megan Crawford 22:11

I think in the very, very beginning of the process, I would offer to someone that they do not have to figure it all out right now. Take the pressure off of yourself to make this amazing choice right now and figure it all out right now. It's impossible to figure it out right now. It was a process for me to get to the point where I know that this is my magical role. Like I know, I'm in my lane coaching. I know that now, it's been a process and it was a process to shift over to that. So number one, please take off that pressure that you have to figure this out right now. That the awareness, acknowledging the awareness that this is not a fit is amazing, and good. And let's honor that, like, you realize that that this isn't a fit, that's great. Now, let's start with the openness and really get into research mode. Right? Let's get into research mode. And let's start there.

Scott Anthony Barlow 23:15

I appreciate that. I have one more question for you, what causes you to keep doing the work that you do now? I had a conversation with you not that long ago, where you had said something, this probably won't be the exact quote, but it was something very much along the lines of, "I have found that I love the coaching in these types of interactions with people, particularly as it relates to people moving through their careers. And I'm going to do this work, no matter what." And at the time, we were talking about whether you were right fit for the team and that our team was a right fit for you. And it was just it resonated with me because you're like, I'm doing this no matter what we just need to figure out if this is a fit. And I thought that was very, very powerful. And that's a lot of the time it is where we're trying to get our clients to, to have that level of specificity in what they're looking for. So that they can just figure out if something to fit or not. But, what do you particularly love? What are some of those things that fall into that category for what keeps you doing this type of work?

Megan Crawford 24:23

For me, coaching isn't just a job. It's really helping people on their long journey, right? Their journey of their career. And as we know, our careers, our jobs, have such a ripple effect in our whole lives and the people around us. And so, for me, I think the impact of coaching is helping people build a better life, working toward an ideal, and I think everyone deserves to sort of move to that better spot or move to something that makes them whole so that the rest of their life can feel that way. So what gets me up in the morning and what keeps me moving and keeps me coaching is that, is helping people get to their ideal, not just career but life really.

Scott Anthony Barlow 25:16

Hey, something I want to let you know, the seemingly impossible career change stories that you hear on the podcast, are actually from people just like you who are listening to this podcast and decided to take action and have a conversation with our team. If you want to implement what you heard, and you want to completely change your life and your career, then let's figure out how we can help. Here's what I would suggest, just take your phone right now, open it up, go to your email app, and type me an email, Scott@happentoyourcareer.com. Just put 'Conversation' in the subject line. And when you do that, I'll introduce you to the right person on our team and you can have a conversation with us. We'll try and understand your goals and what you want to accomplish in your career no matter where you're at. And we can figure out the very best way that we can help you and support you in your situation. So open that up right now and send me an email with 'Conversation' in the subject line to Scott@happentoyourcareer.com.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:11

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

Cindy Gonos 26:16

We really are changing not just the way that people think about how they do work and how they get work, but I think even before we start that work, we start helping folks understand themselves.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:31

The reason why we exist as an organization is not just to help people get promotions, but instead to be able to change the way that work happens. And even the way that we think about work, so that we can make it much more fulfilling for humans. That's the impact that we want to have as an organization. And it really does start with individuals. It starts with you listening to this podcast and making the decision to do work differently to find what's going to fit you and be able to live that out in your world through your career.

Scott Anthony Barlow 27:00

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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