James Sannan, Senior Program Manager at Amazon
After 12 years at Boeing, James felt stuck. After changing his mindset and being persistent, he landed a role at Amazon
on this episode
When you’re looking for opportunities to learn and grow in your career, but your role no longer provides that for you, it’s easy to lose your sense of fulfillment.
James Sannan faced this conflict of stagnant growth and tried to correct it by changing roles within his company. After many changes, he hit a dead end and felt stuck. James sought help with his next career change and was able to find the growth he needed to thrive in his career.
What you’ll learn
- That having a growth mindset can positively impact your career
- How persistence and networking can help you get into the company you want to work with
- Why learning to network can teach you a lot about an organization
- How James knew it was time to leave the company he’d been with for 12 years
I would definitely say that I could not have put all the pieces together. The tools and techniques were important, but maybe more so than that, the mindset and the confidence. So I really, really needed that extra input and confidence boost and reassurance that I had a lot of strength and a lot to offer in the future. And I was feeling so rough because I was in a bad fit, stuck situation. Even though we all also recognized that situation wasn't inherently terrible. I would recommend, if you're starting to have that feeling like, either I'm crazy, or the situation, you know, is not that this bad, then I think that's a cue to reach out and get some, some guidance and a community of people that are struggling with the same things. And then suddenly, you'll feel that you're not crazy, after all, and it's just a tough life, situation and challenge, but you'll be able to get through it with that support, and accountability and confidence boost.
My favorite part of the career change boot camp was actually having some of those conversations and getting feedback and positive feedback about strengths. And to me that was key, because in that moment, I realized that my network not only is a great for finding the next role, it also is helpful to… they help you remind you who you are and who you will be in your next role, even if the current circumstances are not ideal.
I realized early on in that career transition that if I was going to be able to find a job that was rewarding and in an area I liked, even to just pay rent, I would need help because I wasn’t getting the results I needed I know how to get introduced to people and talk to folks. I’ve done this remote job search thing a few times. What made it different for me though is that it’s not just an opportunity to change location but to change position. It could be not just a lateral move from one city to another but it could also be a promotion. I was moving my career and experience to an area where I went from leading projects to potentially leading teams… Sometimes you can stretch yourself and sometimes you need a team to stretch you beyond your best. I think that’s the biggest value from coaching. You have someone in your corner looking out for your best interests. If they are doing their job as good as Lisa did they are pushing you to be the best version of yourself.
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.
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