574: Leaving a Misfit Job in Search of Career Fulfillment

Learn how Edna found clarity in her career change by understanding her strengths, aligning her values, and effectively using executive recruiters to explore opportunities.



Edna, Scientist in Pharmaceutical Research and Development

Edna left her organization after 19 years to try out something new, but quickly realized it wasn’t a fit, so she quit and took some time to figure out what she really wanted.

on this episode

There’s this really interesting phenomenon that we’ve seen over and over again when people make an intentional career change.

They reach a point where they have done a ton of the work, they’ve planted a lot of different seeds, conducted career experiments, and have a very good understanding of what creates a great next step for them.

They’re ready for what’s next, but they haven’t necessarily started receiving a lot of offers or opportunities. This tends to be the lowest low, and it happens for different reasons, but it happens to every single person.

But the really strange phenomenon is that this low point tends to happen right when people are so close to getting one or multiple opportunities. They’re just on the other side of the ideal career they’ve been working towards, but they don’t know it… and many people almost give up.

That’s exactly what happened to Edna (spoiler alert: she didn’t give up and ended up finding a fulfilling career that fits her!)

“Week one is fine. Week two was fine, week three, I’m like, ‘What the heck did you just do to yourself?’ So it was about four months in and things got slow, and you start to ask yourself, what are you thinking, right? So that was quite challenging. And I remember talking to Ben [my coach], I said, ‘Should I just start applying for jobs?’ And he said, ‘You’re so close, I can’t tell you where it’s gonna come from, but it’s gonna come.’ And he was right! After that coaching session, it was a week later and a couple of really good opportunities came my way. But I had to get comfortable just sitting in that unknown and trusting the process.”

A little background: Edna is scientist who spent 19 years working in consumer packaged goods for the same company. It was a great career for her, but eventually, she decided she wanted to try something new, so she found a new job with a company within the same industry.

But…It didn’t take long for her to realize the new organization was a complete mismatch as far as values & culture 😩

So she quit 👋

And while she knew she could quickly find another job if she needed to, she decided to take the time and make sure this next move was intentional.

She ultimately landed a new role as a scientist in pharmaceutical research & development — a completely new industry that she had never considered. But a lot happened in the 9 months between her quitting and finding this new role. She did a lot of great work with her coach, and her story is an amazing example of persevering through the highs and lows of career change.

Edna came on the podcast to share her story. We cover a lot in our conversation: burnout, quitting without another job lined up, how strengths played a huge role in her journey, leaning on your support network, and negotiating job offers. (You can listen above or on your preferred podcasting platform!)

One fascinating element we discuss — that we don’t normally talk about on the podcast — is how Edna worked with executive recruiters to find her new role. And we don’t talk about this much because it’s really not a great approach for everyone, but Edna was actually able to design experiments around the opportunities she received from recruiters in a really unique way, which is ultimately how she landed her new role.

Edna’s career change journey is an inspiring one. She dedicated a lot of time and effort to figuring out what would make for an amazing and fulfilling opportunity. Let’s dive into the key areas where she excelled and uncover the secrets to her success. 🪄

5 Keys to Edna’s Successful Career Change 🔑

Getting crystal clear on what she wanted 🔮

Right from the get-go, Edna knew exactly what she wanted in her next career move. She created her Ideal Career Profile (ICP), which included her must-haves. This clarity helped her focus and chase after roles that matched her dreams.

Fully understanding her unique strengths as her superpowers 🦸‍♀️

She was extremely thorough in working through her strengths and seeing how they show up for her. She got feedback on her strengths from 75% of the people she reached out to, and even made really colorful worksheets to organize her learnings! She took all of that information and used her signature strengths knowledge in talking with recruiters and in interviews.

Building a support system that had her back 👯‍♀️

Edna didn’t do this alone—she had a crew of mentors, advisors, and friends who had her back. These folks understood where she was coming from and gave her solid advice and encouragement. They were there to cheer her on during tough times and share their own experiences, which kept her going strong.

“I have people all around the world, and I stay connected with them. It’s just making the effort to stay relevant in their lives, because you’ve got to give as well, you can’t just expect them to be there for you. It’s not about numbers, it’s about quality. And I’m fortunate to have some really quality individuals.”

Conducting experiments with Executive Recruiters 🔬

When it came to working with recruiters, Edna was smart about it. She saw them as partners in her job search, not just people handing out offers. She used their expertise and connections to explore different opportunities that fit her ICP. This approach opened doors to more jobs and companies she might not have found on her own.

Trusting the process 🧘‍♀️

Through all the ups and downs of her career change, Edna always believed in the process. Even when things got uncertain or didn’t go as planned, she kept going—it was all part of her journey. She trusted that each step was getting her closer to where she wanted to be.

Ready to make a change? 🚀

Edna’s journey is a great example of an intentional career change. By knowing what she wanted, understanding her strengths, leaning on her support system, smartly working with recruiters, and believing in the process, Edna not only landed a job she loves but also took control of her career with confidence and determination. 🦄

Ready to do the same? Schedule a conversation with our team so we can learn a little more about you and figure out the right next step!

What you’ll learn

  • How to navigate career transitions with confidence and clarity.
  • The importance of understanding your strengths and values in finding the right career fit.
  • Strategies for leveraging executive recruiters effectively in your job search.
  • How to approach career change as an opportunity for growth and fulfillment
  • How to identify opportunities that align with your values

Success Stories

Sometimes you just need someone who has done these things before to make it easier. Scott’s advice allowed me to get exactly what I wanted out of my new job!

Andrew Trujillo, Digital Marketing, 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

Edna 00:00

I just didn't have the autonomy that I know I needed, in retrospect, to thrive. So after a year in I said, "That's it." They were shocked, but I was not, because I was actually, between you and I, was miserable. Because I wasn't enjoying it. I was busy. But for me, the work wasn't meaningful.

Introduction 00:27

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 00:51

A big part of what we do here at Happen To Your Career, on this podcast, in our company, is not just to get people to better jobs or enjoy their work more or do work they love or whatever. Instead, it's much more about helping you realize what creates more fulfilling work and ultimately a more fulfilling life. And when we're talking about making an intentional career change, that process is pretty fun, or at least it can be, especially at the beginning, and it also is really challenging. For example, if you're in the situation where you just quit your job after a year because it wasn't a fit, how do you identify opportunities that do, in fact, fit?

Edna 01:37

Week one was fine. Week two was fine. Week three, I'm like, "What the heck did you just do to yourself?" Right? So, we're about four months in, and things got slow, and you start to ask yourself, "What are you thinking?"

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:51

That's Edna. Edna is a scientist who spent 19 years working in consumer packaged goods for the same company. During that time, she moved from role to role around the world in search of more fulfillment. Eventually, she decided her search for the fulfillment needed to move beyond her longtime employer, and she moved to a new organization within the same industry. It didn't take her long to realize that the new company was not a good fit, and she needed to move to something new, something different. This time around, she decided she wanted to take a more holistic approach and figure out what she truly wanted, instead of sticking with the familiar. Edna began working with a coach on our team, and she ultimately moved to a new role as a scientist in pharmaceutical research and development, a completely new industry that she had never considered. In our conversation, you're going to hear all of the details that went into Edna's year-long journey in search of much more fulfilling work. Strengths, she trusted the process. She figured out what would work for her specific situation. She ended up using executive recruiters. By the way, we haven't covered this strategy of using executive recruiters a lot on the Happen To Your Career podcast, because for most people, it's actually not a great strategy. Most people think that they're going to go find a headhunter. The Headhunter is going to be a great way to introduce some new people. And generally, you find that that's not useful if you're looking for fulfilling work. But there is a way to do it, and for some situations, it's fantastic. You're gonna get to hear that strategy as you listen to my and Edna's conversation. Let's dive in. Here's Edna sharing a bit about her career journey up to this point.

Edna 03:37

I worked for a consumer package with companies, CPG companies, for 19 years. As you mentioned, I'm a scientist by training for a PhD in chemistry, and I was literally hired out of the lab. I was doing my postdoc, and the company came on campus to recruit, and I interviewed, I got the job. And it was, I honestly say I had an awesome time because, in retrospect, I change jobs every three to four years on the most part, and I change jobs into something that was different enough, challenging enough to allow me to learn and grow. So for example, I started off my first job was formulating laundry detergents, and I did that for four years, and then I moved on to formulating cleansing liquids. Your body washes, your liquid enhances but I did that for three years, just getting water out of my mind. I moved to formulating under antiperspirants, and all of this was in North America, and then I got the opportunity to move to Mexico and lead a team that was based there formulating our household service cleaners. So toilet bowl cleaners, kitchen cleaners, I did that for three years. And so I, you know, you get the sense. I had the opportunity to work on a lot of different product types for a lot of different biographies with a lot of different teams, with a lot of different stakeholders in the US, in Mexico, and ultimately in India. So even though I was with the same company for 19 years, I felt every time you make one of these changes, it's a big enough switch that it stretches you. And what I've learned through the process with them, and the reflection of myself is learning and growth is important to me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:29

It sounds like that is something that you've arrived at as you made different moves through your early career. Tell me about that.

Edna 05:39

And it is. I mean, the minute... I used to tell my bosses that, well, maybe I just used to reflect on it, "The minute I can do my job on autopilot, it's not good for me, it's not good for the company, it's not good for anybody around me." So I need to feel stretched and challenged to be at my best. I just love to learn. I love to learn. And it's great, and it's frustrating sometimes, because it does result, at least my career has resulted in multiple changes, right? And not small changes– Moving to Mexico, coming back to the US, moving to India. And ultimately, actually, why I left my first company was because, as I projected my career, you know, another decade, the opportunities to continue to learn and grow at the magnitude that I wanted were not there, from what I could see, right? So I guess there's a bigger job, more money, but is it stretch enough for me? I wasn't sure. So I actually wasn't actively looking for career move at that time. And I was based in India. So, you know, the R&D organization that's based in India for my company there. And they found me, my second company found me, and when they reached out, I said, "Listen, I don't do..." I was curious why they reached out to me. Because I'm like, "I don't know what to do." They said, "Let's talk." I said, "Where would I go?" They said, "Where do you want to go?" They said, "What do you want to do? We're hiring you. We'll find a place where you're in the organization." And so after six months, we talked, and I decided to join. And so came back to the US, leading the team that was based here, big company lead in its industry. And what I discovered is company was good. It was not a fit for me, and this is coming into the values as well, right? I, in retrospect, realized that I thrived with when I have autonomy. So and I didn't realize that the 19 years of my previous company, I had a lot more autonomy than I felt I had in this new environment. I was extremely busy again. It was a growing industry. The company was doing awesome, but I just didn't have the autonomy that I know I need, and I needed, in retrospect, to thrive. So after a year in I said, "That's it." They were shocked, but I was not because I was actually, between you and I, was miserable. Because I wasn't enjoying it. I was busy. But for me, the work wasn't meaningful. I was doing a lot of work, for my taste, it wasn't meaningful. So I quit. And I quit start without a job in hand. I was done. I was done. So I quit. I didn't realize how tired I was. I slept for two months. I traveled a bit, and then I found a coach. And part of finding the coaches, I needed some help. Yes, recruiters were calling me even then, but I wasn't ready to have the conversation with them because I didn't want to make the same mistakes I had made in the first transition, in the second transition. Second thing is, I wanted to make sure I was looking more holistically at opportunities versus just going into an industry, similar industry that I had known before. I could have ended up there, but I wanted to make sure that I was looking more holistically at opportunities. And third, I needed... I wanted some structure, right? Because you go from, as you said, go from going, going, going to stop, and it's a little bit jarring to the system when you used to some sort of structure to absolutely none. So I wanted some sort of structure and guidance to help me navigate through this, right? So someone to be accountable, otherwise it could also keep my life away, right? So that is how I found you. It's really looking for that holistic. I want to make sure I'm not just going to what I know, I'm comfortable with. I needed a structure, and I needed accountability. For me, and trusting that even though my coach would not tell me when I get the job, what or how I get the job, trusting enough in the process, because that's what you, your team is designed to do, is trusting enough in the process to get me there, get me to the end point, the outcome that that I desire. But not knowing exactly, putting at some point, putting the trust in, you know, these guys started, this is what they do for a living. You do your piece, it'll work out. So I think it is, but I don't know. I don't know that I really thought about it from the fact that I'm a scientist, maybe it's just because I'm a scientist, so I just approach things in a certain way that I don't even think about it. But yeah, like...

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:34

Obviously, is there any other way to do it? So here's another thing that I was really interested in. I think you did a phenomenal job when you were going through and identifying and taking feedback and inputs for your strengths.

Edna 10:56

I love that.

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:57

I could tell. And, you know, here's one of the things we don't actually talk about this a lot on the podcast, but internally, we understand that our clients are ready to move on to the next milestone, if you will, if you want to call this a milestone, once they've taken ownership over their strengths. And when we talk about ownership, that is partially in the verbiage and how they're able to externalize those but there's a couple other elements too, that where we consider ownership. However, one of the fun things about that is it shows up in very different ways from person to person. Not a surprise, we're all different people. And I think one of the things that you did that was really fun and fascinating was you took all of these different inputs and just for a little bit of context for everybody listening, one of the things we'll often do with many of the folks that we work with is we'll ask them, in this case, you Edna, to collect inputs from other people who know you, who've worked with you, or friends or family members in terms of what they believe that you're great at, you know, what are your strengths, what do they see that is great about you? And sometimes people are apprehensive about this process, but it always ends up with, like, all these really wonderful things about the individual. And I think what was fun about what you did is you color coded every single piece of feedback, whether it came from an assessment, whether it came from a person, whether it didn't matter what the source was, but you had all of these different types of inputs. And then you said, "Okay, well, here's where I see my strengths." And then you took that and color coded so you could visually see where and how they showed up in the feedback. What prompted you to do that in the first place? And I'm curious, what did you learn from that?

Edna 12:50

Yeah. So I'm visual clearly, and sort of colors for me helped. And the Gallup StrengthsFinder already had that sort of color code. So I took that color code and sort of matched it with what my feedback with Gallup. And it was interesting because I was also a little bit about apprehensive about getting feedback, because I've done enough assessments at this point in my career. But I took a step back and said, "Hey, this is from a different lens." And I like that the questions that you reach out to people, folks with are all positive, right? So I took the opportunity to seek feedback from people that have managed me, people who have managed, people who've been my peers or my stakeholders, and I did it from the US, India and China, the scientists. So this is the one data that represents.

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:39

Let's get a significant sample size. Let's represent enough data. Let's get...

Edna 13:43

On every level, I don't want it to be by. So yeah, I guess there are some scientists in, right? A lot of scientists. And then you've done the StrengthFinder assessment, and I got my top five strengths. It was so fascinating to see when the feedback came that my strengths are my strengths. They were saying exactly what Gallup StrengthFinder was saying in different words. They express it in their Mexican way, in the American way, or in the Indian way. But what they were saying about me is me. So I'm very consistent. And very reassuring to know that who I am and how I show up in the workplace has value. One of the questions I asked is, "What things become easy for me, that others struggle with? What do you think I could teach others?" And the consistency that came out of those, that feedback for me just solidified that understanding and appreciation of my strengths. And also, at some level, helped me not to minimize because you see, individualization is my number one, and I'm like, it's just what I do. You know, but it has value, and it was so clear to me from the feedback I got from people around the world that it has value. And for me, I actually did StrengthFinder before, and I said, "Do I need to do this again?" And, you know, they said, "Yeah, you do need to do it again." What I found, for me, in retrospect, is this exercise really anchored the process. It's because you have to start by understanding what it is you're good at, where that comes from, and you will then be able to appreciate, hopefully, for the individuals listening, is the successes you've had and the contribution, which is in your career, and the contribution that your strengths have had towards that success. Because I bet you, they're rooted in your strengths. The successes you had are rooted in your strengths. But until you're able to sort of step and see that link, you may not fully appreciate it. So what again, for me, one of the great things about this whole process is, I walk away with a deeper understanding and appreciation of my strengths, and the process is rooted. It starts there. It starts with understanding the strengths, which is again, so basically, I've done this before, but I hadn't never done it like this, never done it like this. And I said appreciation, and the choice to leverage my strengths even more in the future. So not only do I walk away with appreciation and understanding, there is a very deliberate decision and the intention to leverage moving forward, because more success would come out of that.

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:26

Yeah. And to your point, the first step really is that awareness, which creates that foundation, or grounding that you had mentioned earlier, if everything else decision-wise to come later is going to be grounded. If you want to do more work in your strengths, you have to understand your strengths at an incredible depth. Otherwise, how likely is it going to be that you're going to choose to do work or spend more time in your strengths? It's highly unlikely, right? Of course. So a really great point. So here's my question for you, when you think about that and you got that grounding, how did that help you functionally, later? When we fast forward ahead and we say, okay, now you got this really wonderful opportunity that I think is a great fit for you from everything that I understand, and everything that Ben and I have talked about, but I'm curious, you know, how did you see that functionally show up along the way? That being your strengths understanding.

Edna 17:32

For me, I think, one, it helps me on a day to day. So I actually understand myself better sometimes when I'm in situations and I'm struggling a bit, it helps certain things, I'm like, "Oh, I can understand why this is off for me, because I'm missing XYZ." And, for example, I'm an achiever, right? And sometimes I like to procrastinate, and I've discovered just put on a list. If I put it on a list, it's going to get done because the achiever in me will ensure that thing is checked off the list, right? Little tricks like that, exactly the little tricks like that. I think the biggest one for me, though, is leaning into my individualization during the process. And I'm sure it'll show up on the job what you know as I've taken up this new role. But because of what I discovered, and I'm going to fast forward to the experimentation phase, there was a lot of emphasis in the experimentation modules around making sure you're connecting with whomever you're reaching out to. So if you're reaching out via email, or if you're reaching out via phone, make sure you understand who it is you're talking to, try to spend some time connecting. And, honestly, I struggled with that a bit because I'm here to get some information, I don't have time to connect. What I realized is, because of my individualization, I'm inherently curious about people, and what I realized is, to the extent that you can connect, it impacts the transaction. Every interaction has a transaction and a connection. The quality of your connection can impact your transaction. So for me, just focusing on trying to... And I'll step back. I'll give you an example of even going into interviews. In the past, I would want to get through the interview, and interviews usually come quite naturally for me, but I'll be so focused on the interview. And as a result of going through this process, it shifted a bit. I go in and try to understand who's on the other side of the interview, who is this person who's talking to me? So have the conversation. The interview will happen. We know we're both here for an interview. None of us don't forget to get that part in, but spending the time upfront to connect was a shift for me, and seeing how that connection then, in turn, impacts how the interview happens. And I done it, yes, within the interview space, but even outside. You know, you go to a restaurant and you're waiting for a table and you're talking to the hostess. In the past, you know, I wouldn't really bother Tuesday party or too waiting. But now you have, okay, it looks like you're busy today. How's the house? Just spend a minute. Spend a minute connecting. Because that connection oftentimes impacts the transaction. The tables come up on you, would you be willing to, it's just little things. And recognizing that because I'm inherently wired to connect to people, connect to people, so that in somehow, individualization is my number one. So I would do it anyway, but being mindful of, you know, one, it's a strength. Two, it's not work for me. And people are people on the other side of any interaction as a person. And that person, you know, try to get to know that person a little bit. You may not, you may have hours, you may have seconds, spend a minute, spend a second to connect.

Scott Anthony Barlow 21:05

Yeah, so that's really interesting. So what I hear you saying is that you realized somewhere along the way about how important it is to make that connection and to connect with others. And then it also sounds like along the way you realized that your tendencies or strengths, or it doesn't matter what they are, whatever we'd like to call these, your tendency to be individualistic or to individualize, and then also that, paired with your curiosity, those make a way that is easy for you to connect with others. So I love that example because it is very literally harnessing your strengths and tendencies and utilizing them in a different way than what you were thinking about it before. That's cool.

Edna 22:01

Exactly. And because, you know, I end up knowing a lot about people anyway because I, in retrospect, individualization is my number one. And so, from the taxi driver in Mexico City who showed me pictures of his vacation, you know, and so... But just be mindful that you can lean into that as I have the choice as to how much I want to it or not, but being mindful top of mind that listen, spend the time, if you can, spend the time to connect, because that connection usually impacts the quality of that connection impacts the transaction. Yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:37

Edna, tell me a little bit about the role that you're moving into and what makes it a great fit for you?

Edna 22:44

Yeah. So I'm changing segments slightly. And I remember in the beginning I said I wanted to be able to look holistically. I would not have picked this segment for myself.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:55

Interesting, yeah.

Edna 22:58

And what makes it a great fit is that it's an innovation. So I'm staying within research and development, which is what I love. I love working with scientists, or within the science space. I am going to lead innovation. This is what I love to do. I love to lead innovation. Because, as I said, one of my things is about one of my values is learning and growth. And the beauty about innovation is that you're not doing exactly the same thing repetitively. You're constantly pushing and learning and trying something differently or doing something totally different altogether. In addition to that, what I love about this opportunity is that the company as a whole is pivoting, but one that wasn't necessarily innovation focused, to one that wants to be a lot more innovative.

Scott Anthony Barlow 23:47

So time and place is an important part of this for you, too.

Edna 23:52

They don't know how to do it quite, hence, people like me coming in. I don't know them. I don't know their segment, so we're going to have to figure it out, but they're open. So what makes it beautiful is, yes, it's innovation. It's in R&D, the organization is pivoting, and so having the opportunity to help shape what this organization will look like in future is music to my ears. This is what I do. This is when I'm in my sweet spot. Yeah. And in a meeting, in an organization that does meaningful work, so it's in healthcare, about affordable healthcare. Never done it. So gotta learn. Opportunity to learn for me is huge. Get learning and growth is important to me. And in a space doing stuff, the type of stuff that I love to do, it'll be a challenge, lot to learn, lot to figure out, but for me, I feel like it's the role that was created for me at a time when a company that's at the right spot and it's open– open to be changed, open to be influenced, open to be shaped. And I'm looking forward to that.

Scott Anthony Barlow 25:03

That's a lot of fun. That right type of challenge in the right environment, yeah, tends to create really enjoyable and healthy growth.

Edna 25:16

And everybody I talk to, it just feels like interviewed with, it just feels like it's my tribe. When one of the things that along the way, when the coaching journey is, I need to find my... You used to tell me, you need to find your tribe. I need to find my tribe. You know, when you're talking to them, I'm like, "This is my tribe. These are my people. They approach leadership the same way that I do. This is my tribe." So very much looking forward to having the autonomy to drive, lead, shape the future of an organization that's working in a very meaningful space. For me, yeah, that's changing.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:04

That's cool. That's amazing. I appreciate that we got to sit front row while you were working on this. This is amazing.

Edna 26:13

Highs and lows on a good, bad, ugly, right? It was awesome, in retrospect.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:22

Can we talk about for a moment something that we have not mentioned regularly on the Happen To Your Career podcast, tactically, one of the approaches that led you to this particular role, this particular job opportunity, was working through recruiters and you, before we hit the record button, astutely acknowledged that we haven't spent a lot of time talking about that on the Happen To Your Career podcast, and there's a good reason for that. That's really not a great approach for everyone, but it can be a good approach for some people, and I think it certainly has worked well for you. Can you tell me a little bit about how you worked with recruiters and how you worked through to figure out that certain opportunities were right for you or not right for you as you were working through recruiting relationships?

Edna 27:16

So it was interesting. I quit my job, and that I quit on a Friday. Well, my last day was on Friday. I quit actually on a Monday, and I had to put this calling me immediately. I was in no shape or form to have discussions in me, that self assurance said, "don't just jump in." I just, you know, you have to make sure this next thing is right for me. In my case, I actually never went... I never reached out to the executive recruiters. The executive recruiters reached out to me. And I think what worked for me is a couple of things, in the sense of your knowing what I was looking for, having gone through the process right, understanding the strengths, understanding your values, so I had clarity around what I was looking for. And second is because experimentation came into play for me, then, was doing the research on the organizations and the potential companies to try to get a feel for, "Is this the type of culture I want to work with?" So there's a lot of good tools and life tips and tricks that I learned through Ben into how to do that research on organizations. And then third is just, I would come back to my self assurance. You talk to a recruiter like, even though the job may sound good, this one's just not for me. And I can't tell it comes from my self assurance. I don't know where it's inherently in me, but some things are just like, it's not for me. It's not for me. So even when this opportunity came initially, I was like, "What? Doing what? Where?" But I was like, "Okay, let's have the conversation." Yeah, I hadn't thought about this segment. Hadn't thought about relocating. Actually, wasn't want to relocate, but let's talk. And once you get into a conversation, then you realize, actually maybe, and then the next conversation is like, even more so. So I think just using the recruiters, not as a channel that directed opportunities to me, versus a decision making, I still have the opportunity of this opportunity to decide, but the recruiters were the ones, in my case, that channeled opportunities to me, and then I did use some of the experimental tools to do the research in the company and the culture and the people– who do I want? Who do I know within that can I reach out to from that company that I might not get additional information? So I still did that work, but the recruiters just funneled the opportunities to me. I use them that way. That makes sense.

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:10

Yeah, absolutely. And I think...

Edna 30:12

I'm not getting swayed necessarily by the recruiters. Except there was one

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:17

There was one.

Edna 30:19

Who actually, and that's like, this opportunity is not for me. So we had the conversation, and I was telling them how I quit my last job, and he's like, "Okay, you cannot say this. You cannot say this when you interview." And I'm like, "I'm not." So he almost treated me as if I was damaged goods, and I was like, "I'm not damaged goods. Listen, I learned, I went through this. This was my journey. Here's what I learned." So, yeah, there was one recruiter like...

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:47

There were all the telltale signs, yeah.

Edna 30:50

Some opportunities. So I leveraged them to channel opportunities to me, and then I still went through the process of assessment, evaluation, but, ultimately, was my fault.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:05

So here's the things I think that... and listening to your story made that work as a strategy for you. Number one, you had already gone through the process of understanding what you were looking for, the most important elements, pieces that lined up with your strengths, how you wanted to work, what you're interested in, what creates the right magnitude, was the word you used, of growth for you, which I love that. I haven't had anybody else use the word magnitude of growth. I've been looking for a good word around that, so I'm gonna borrow that. That's amazing. And so you'd already done all of the hard work going into this to be able to recognize what would or would not be a fit. And then, as opposed to saying, "Hey, recruiters are my end all be all, you were strictly using this as a channel to get visibility to different types of opportunities that may line up." Now, this is not a great situation for everybody, because for some people it strategically works, depending on what you're looking for, and does that line up with some of the experiences that you have. And for other people, it doesn't necessarily when you're making a career change. In this case, what I love about it for you is that you were talking to lots of recruiters and lots of opportunities, which as a function, if you get like the recruiter who messages you, and I think you'd be amazing. You go all the way through the process, you have one job offer, and you've talked to exactly one to two recruiters, then all of a sudden, it's really difficult to say no to that opportunity for many people, shelf assurance or otherwise. But what you did, you talked to many, many people over the course of time, and then that helps create a better decision making framework, too, nicely done.

Edna 32:52

Absolutely. And it also gives you confidence that even if you say no to this, there's going to be another one to come, right? I can't tell you when, where. Actually, I just had two recruiters for two different opportunities. I've diverted them to friends, but reach out to me in the past week. So, you know, you don't get so desperate that this is the only one. The first ones, yeah, and you say, if you turn them down, you can get a little nervous, but if you're in it long enough, you're gonna say, don't keep. If you have something of value to offer, they'll show up. They'll show up. So just having the confidence that they'll show up, and then having the coach to help you as well, when you're, you know, not sure, thinking doesn't feel quite right. And I remember Ben saying, "What do you think? What do you feel?" I'm like, "I don't think so." He said, "Go with what you feel." And so, okay, we're really excited. And what I also loved about this approach is you never knew what opportunities that were coming in with. They came from, or I would never have picked this industry for myself, for example, the one that I said yes to. So it did, in a sense, also open me up to opportunities there and segments and geographies that I would never have considered. I had an opportunity in Switzerland, another one in the UK, and another one lots across the US and so I would never have, but it had a diversity of opportunities come to me that I perhaps would never even have found had I gone about the approach the way I was going about the approach.

Scott Anthony Barlow 34:32

I think there's one other really important note on that that it sounds like you're pointing out that this became a source of exposure to new opportunities for you. And I think in your situation, it worked really incredibly well. It doesn't always work for every single person under the sun as a strategy, and it depends on what you want, and the life that you want to build. In your case, I think that this was an incredibly effective strategy. Because it allows you to, not really sit back necessarily, but allow opportunities to come to you. And then you could evaluate those opportunities and say, "Wow, I've never heard of this. Let's investigate that." And then that allowed you to, not just gain exposure, but experiment in a very different way. A lot of times we talk about experimentation where you're seeking those opportunities out, and then you are getting some measure of feedback, and then that influences your understanding of what it is that you want. In this case, it was... I love the strategy and nature of this, because it was, "Hey, let's attract some of these to me, and then let's evaluate them, and let's still use these as experimentation." Yes. Nicely done.

Edna 35:51

It was experimentation, but it was different. Because I told them, I said, when we got to that stage and I started doing experimentation as it was initially, "It's gonna look different for me. It's gonna look differently." And so I experimented, but it was slightly different.

Scott Anthony Barlow 36:10

What advice would you give to other people who are interested in making a career change? I mean, we're talking about, like, these ups and downs and all kinds of things spread over many months. So this is not exactly a small excursion when we're talking about the goal of doing work in a much more fulfilling way. Often what I mentioned earlier is intentional career change. This can tend to be fun at periods of time, but can also be really challenging. So what advice would you give to people who are considering making an intentional career change?

Edna 36:43

So I tell them to do what I did, in a sense, if you need help. We need make sure you try to get someone who has experience in providing guidance to help you through it. Two, I think for me, was to ensure that your network and or the people who surround you are supported. Because that's another thing that happened during that ambiguous time, is I happen to mention my decision to step away to someone who didn't understand what I'd done, and so had a bunch of questions of, "Why would you judge?" So that didn't help. I was already in that period of ambiguity, and I realized that, you know, up till that point, I'd surrounded myself with people who were 100% supported, and even if they were like, "Okay, now we get you. We were with you. We're with you, that's challenging, but we're with you." Because the last thing you need is people who will make you question yourself on this journey that is challenging in and of itself. So lean in, get someone to help, make sure you have the support and that dedicate the time, do the work and trust the process. Trust the process, even when it feels like, you know, you have questioning why you do it. Trust the process. In my case, just trusting the process, trust the process. It worked for me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:18

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

Scott Anthony Barlow 39:11

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

Speaker 3 39:16

There's a normal distribution of extroverts and introverts among super communicators. There's a normal distribution of charming and curmudgeonly. And if you ask super communicators, were you always good at communication? Is this something you were born with? Inevitably, they say, "No."

Scott Anthony Barlow 39:32

If you want to get anything done, results of any kind, you're going to need to be able to communicate with other people. And if you really want to excel at just about anything career related, working with team, making meaningful connections, job interviews, salary negotiation, networking, and, quite frankly, anything else that you might be interested in being successful at, well, then it helps if you are a skilled communicator, or what our guest today calls a super communicator.

Scott Anthony Barlow 40:06

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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