532: Prioritizing Autonomy & Fulfillment When You’re at a Career Crossroads (Live Coaching)

Nancy's desire for more autonomy pushed her to leave her role of over 20 years. Now she's at a career crossroads trying to choose between two amazing opportunities.



Nancy, Former Vice President of Operations

Nancy cofounded an event planning company, where she worked and grew her career and the company for over 20 years. When she realized she wanted more autonomy, she left her role as VP and began exploring new opportunities.

on this episode

Ever since remote work gained acceptance in 2020, flexibility has been all the rage. Now you hear it offered as a perk from organizations that allow their employees to “work from anywhere” but it turns out… that’s not really the full picture of what people are looking for. There’s often a much deeper need here: Autonomy.

It’s not just about where you work, but also about the freedom to decide what, when, how, and why you work. A lack of any of these components can seriously impact your job satisfaction and make you feel like you’re not in control of your career.

Nancy had co-founded an event planning company where she worked and grew her career, and the organization for over 20 years. Around 15 years in, she began craving more control over how she led her team and how she balanced work and family.

So, she took the brave step of having a really difficult conversation with her co-founder and CEO. She explained that she was no longer enjoying her role and would be leaving the company to explore new opportunities that could provide her with more autonomy.

This podcast episode dives into Nancy’s career in event planning, how she pushed herself to have difficult conversations with her CEO, but primarily her current career crossroads.

Nancy has done an amazing job of putting in the work to figure out what an ideal career looks like her for, but now she has to decide between two enticing opportunities. Should she take a more demanding full-time role aligned with her aspirations, or stick with the flexibility and autonomy of a contractor gig?

You’ll hear Scott walk her through navigating this tough decision, as they come up with a game plan on how she can figure out which role is the right fit for her.

Next week, in episode 533, Nancy returns to the podcast to discuss how she took action and figured out which opportunity was right for her.

Be sure to listen to the next episode to hear all about the decision Nancy made and where she is now! >> 533: Creating Your Ideal Career by Asking for What You Want

What you’ll learn

  • Why autonomy is often the key to job satisfaction
  • How to handle having tough conversations about career aspirations
  • Scott’s tips for figuring out which role is right for you when you’re stuck between multiple opportunities
  • How to use your ideal career profile to empower you to ask for what you want

Success Stories

Thank you both for inspiring me to always ask, "Why NOT me?" and stick to my values for what I want for my life. I couldn't be happier and more excited for this new life!

Lisa Schulter, Special Projects Manager, United States/Canada

"When I started I was afraid of making the wrong decision! My career was incredibly important to me and I didn't want to screw it up or waste time making a move I wouldn't enjoy! Scott helped me learn what my strengths are and what is most important to me… but more important than that I learned about what I can't stop doing that I have to have in my work to make me happy"

Rhushi Bhadkamkar, Senior Consultant, United States/Canada

Nancy 00:01

I felt more controlled and not having as much autonomy and freedom as I would like, both professionally and personally. I was a co-founder of the business but didn't really feel like I had a lot of the perks and benefits that go along with being a co-founder.

Introduction 00:16

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 00:47

Flexibility has become somewhat of a buzzword ever since remote work became more accepted in 2020. Now you hear it offered as a perk from organizations that allow their employees to work from anywhere. But as it turns out, that's not really the full picture of what people are looking for. In many cases, it's autonomy that is really what most people are missing. But it's much more difficult to find than flexible work, which is just a small part of that picture. Autonomy, it turns out, isn't just about where you do your work, but also the what, when, how and why. And a lack of this can have a severe impact on your job satisfaction and leave you feeling like you have no control over your career, which as it turns out, isn't any good.

Nancy 01:32

Why am I letting somebody else decide my fate? Like, this doesn't seem right. Like, it was great, he provided me the opportunity. But I felt like life was just happening to me because I was just kind of following this path and I wasn't really taking control.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:47

That's Nancy. Nancy co-founded an event planning company where she worked in, grew her career and the company for over 20 years. About 15 years into her endeavor, she began to realize that she was missing the autonomy to lead her team the way she truly wanted, and spend the amount of time with her family that she desired. So she decided to have a very difficult conversation with the CEO, and co-founder of the company. And ultimately, left her company to begin exploring the next chapter of her career. My conversation with Nancy is an interesting one. It's different from many that you'll hear on the podcast. Why? Well, we had Nancy on when she was still trying to decide between a few really great opportunities. The really fun part is that after the conversation that you're going to hear in a moment, we had Nancy on again just a few months later to give us an update on her decision and tell us all about her ideal role, and how she decided it was the best fit for her. We'll release this episode next week. It'll be episode 533. In our first conversation, which you'll hear momentarily, Nancy shares all about her decision to step away from her company, and goes into great detail about the opportunity she has in front of her and the difficulties she was having deciding which would be the best fit for her. Make sure, by the way, you don't miss the end of the episode as I coach her through some of the ways she can look at her multiple job offers and decide which will truly allow her to thrive. I think this episode is particularly interesting, because a lot of times when you're in a good situation, but you want to move to a great situation or something that is ideal for you, there's actually not a lot of information, training, or even ways to think about that. So I wanted to shed a little light on what happens behind the scenes from someone who's actually going through that in real time. And then, like I said, look out for the very next episode, and you can hear how it all came out. Here's Nancy talking about where her career in event planning began.

Nancy 03:55

So actually, I was fortunate enough to have my career get started while I was in college. I went to Johnson Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, and they had a fabulous internship program. And there, we did rotations at a number of different locations. And one of the locations that I interned at, they ended up offering me a job. So I ended up working there full time while I was in my senior year. So I finished up my classes in the evenings. And then, kind of, I can trace my career back to knowing somebody somewhere. So somebody that I knew there left, went to another company, asked me to come and join him. So then I worked at a company with him doing event management for some of the largest trade shows in the United States, which was really exciting as a 20 something year old to have that type of responsibility and experience. And then that company actually closed and one of the women that I was working with there went to another company, she brought me with her there. And then that's kind of where the real story of my career begins. I spent about 14 years at a publishing company working on their trade shows and events. And while I was there, I met the Vice President, one of the Vice Presidents of the company. And I became show director over the years really handling all of the responsibilities that related to producing one of the fastest growing 50 trade shows in the US at the time. And the Vice President that I was working under decided after a number of years that he wanted to start his own company. And so he approached me to join him to leave that publishing company and start our own business. And at the time, I think I was like five or six months pregnant. And he also wanted me to move out of state to where he was living. And so it was a big decision. I considered moving, my husband and I actually did travel down to his neck of the woods, but decided ultimately wasn't for us. We really love where we were. And also there was no hockey to be high.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:48

No hockey. Yep. Obvious no.

Nancy 05:53

But he actually was happy for myself and one of the other women who decided to join him to start the business where we were, and he would be the remote employee. So we started a small B2B event management company. We took a couple of events from the prior publishing company with us. And over the years, we launched several new events, some worked, some didn't, we had some non-event products, most of which did not work. But we really developed the business over the past 14 years to pretty successful event management company. We sold one of our events that we had created to a publicly traded event management company. So that was a big deal for a small business like ours. And then obviously, COVID happened. And that kind of threw a wrench into things for an event management company. We couldn't produce what was the bread and butter of our business. So we kind of hunkered down and did some online stuff. And then when that was over, I kind of took stock and decided that it was time for me to make a change.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:57

So let me ask you about that change, then, because for many years, it sounds like this was exciting for you, it was a great opportunity for you in so many different ways. And then when you said, eventually, you hunker down and took stock. Tell me a little bit about what that looked like. And what caused you to decide that this was no longer as good.

Nancy 07:22

Sure. So as I mentioned, it was an amazing opportunity. I mean, to be asked to come, and co-found the company, and to grow the business, I learned so much over the years. I met so many wonderful people, and really feeling like I was such a big part of the growth and development of the company. But over the years, the co-founder and I, the president and I, I think our differences became more and more apparent in terms of the way that we manage, and our leadership style. And I think that honestly, one of the main contributors that I will say that opened my eyes to new opportunities was podcasts. It actually was before COVID. If I go back, it was probably in 2018 when I started on my podcast journey, and I think one of the first eye opening experiences that I had was reading Michelle Obama's book "Becoming", which is really about, you know, you're not just one thing, you can reinvent yourself and become new things over and over again, really, if you want to. And that was really, I think, the beginning of the journey. And then as I started listening to more podcasts, and reading and thinking about more inspirational stories, and how people's lives developed and unfolded, it really became apparent to me that I was meant for more than just this one thing. And then also, just with some of the struggles with that relationship was I felt more controlled and not having as much autonomy and freedom as I would like, both professionally and personally. I was a co-founder of the business but didn't really feel like I had a lot of the perks and benefits that go along with being a co-founder and that really pertained to spending time with my family and being there for them for baseball games or, you know, going to school events. It was just really hard for me to pull away and feel okay, pulling away. And if that didn't feel good.

Scott Anthony Barlow 09:11

Let me ask you about that for a second. You mentioned the, didn't feel like you had the autonomy and flexibility that you wanted. So do you feel like that autonomy and flexibility or that desire for that autonomy and flexibility, was that something that was not there before in the same level of desire? Or did it change in one way or another? What caused you to recognize that, that was now a desire? Was it the change in your external life, if you will, for lack of better phrase, or something that happened? Just tell me a little bit about that.

Nancy 09:54

I think part of the autonomy was professionally internally just having so many disagreements about how we manage and lead our team. It didn't feel authentic to me. I felt like I was a lot of the time trying to just fulfill his wishes and not really necessarily lead a team as I felt like I should. And that at the same time, we had so much turnover. And there were so many people coming to me saying, "You should be the president of this company. Like, he's not working." He's the reason why. And so having listened to that from very experienced people over the past few years, like towards the end of the time there, I was really coming to see that in the early years, we might have hired less experienced people who maybe I thought they didn't work out because of their inexperience or whatnot. But having hired more experienced people who we had a relationship with, who in some cases were friends of the President, that were ended up saying, "Yeah, this is not for me. This is not working." It just kind of became apparent to me that it wasn't just me, it wasn't just them, there was another problem, and it wasn't getting solved. And one of the other things that you and I have talked about is the company operated on EOS– the Entrepreneurial Operating System. And it was a system that really helped us for a number of years, and felt really good to me being part of that. And it allowed people, you know, the freedom to speak open and honestly with that leader, and well, as much as they felt comfortable, I don't think anybody truly felt 100% comfortable, but it at least provide a forum for that where we had somebody that was guiding us through that and helping us make it easier. But ultimately, the President decided he didn't want to run the business on the EOS anymore. And that decision, just really kind of, I guess, was the straw that broke the camel's back. Because to me, that was kind of like a lifeline for me to be able to operate the business and to work more cohesively with him in a better way.

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:46

So that's really fascinating. It sounds like it was, in many different ways, this evolution of your expectations for being able to work more authentically, and that's part of what that autonomy meant to you. But it wasn't just in one area. It sounds like that was across the board in many different areas.

Nancy 12:05

Right. Yeah. I mean, I definitely feel like, again, having the feedback of others whose opinions I trusted, coming to me saying that I was doing a good job. And then I was a good leader, and that they liked working with me, and that they would miss working with me. And it felt good. It was reassuring to kind of have that validation. Because I don't necessarily feel like I had it all the time from him, because he just didn't really see eye to eye with me in the way that I was doing things. So I guess ultimately, it may be more in retrospect, I realized that we just probably weren't a good match for one another. Maybe there is someone that would be a better match for him. But in that visionary integrator role that EOS operates in, I realized that, yeah, we just weren't a good match after those years.

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:49

Yeah. And it's so important to have that match. And I think one of the very opposite takes that many people are not thinking about is what you said, like maybe there is somebody out there that is in phenomenal match in one way or another. And if you continue to stay there, then you're blocking that person and you're sort of blocking that match from happening and where another, versus, I don't know, any other way that you could look at it. That's great that you have had all of those realizations. And so here's my question to you. When you started to realize this, was there any moment that stood out where you're like, "Yep, I now know that I am declaring or committing to making a change", or was it so gradual over time where eventually that just...?

Nancy 13:43

So there were two more podcast learnings that, you know, I actually had written down the name of the book, "The Alchemist" back in 2018, from a podcast, but it didn't end up reading it until last summer. So I read that book. And I read "From Strength To Strength" by Arthur C. Brooks last summer as well. Those two books, I think, were kind of the kick in the pants to really make me decide that I needed a change, I needed to really spread my wings and have a new life really. So I remember, I was taking the train into work, which was new, because he decided also to move the company, which was probably doubled or tripled my commute. But it was good because I searched in my podcast, career change. And then that's when I found Happen To Your Career. And it was kind of all over from there. It was just like, as soon as I heard all of your content, it was just like, it was speaking to me. It was like, "Wow, this was made for me." And it was just, from that moment on I was just like... I think it was like the next week I told him I needed to have a meeting with him. And it was probably the most difficult conversation of my life because we worked together for over 20 years to sit down and tell him that I decided to make a career change.

Scott Anthony Barlow 14:51

First of all, that makes me so happy on many different levels. So I appreciate the kind words and, yes, we literally made this podcast for you. I'm not even joking when I said that, or at least people like you in your situation. So yeah, absolutely. And then three, I'm curious, do you remember any part of what you had said during that conversation? Or how you prep for that conversation or anything else? I think there's a lot of people out there that desire to have conversations like that, they get intimidated when it comes to the actual having of the conversation.

Nancy 15:28

Yeah, it was, as I said, it was probably the most difficult conversation I've ever had in my life. I'll never forget it. I'll never forget how nervous I was, where I was. I have the notebook still in front of me where I wrote my notes of what I wanted to say. So I definitely had to prepare. I think it was something like that. Some of the things that I've been saying to is just the realization that we haven't been seeing eye to eye, and that I just feel like it's time for me to move on and try something new with my career, you know, obviously, with appreciation for the opportunities that he gave me, and for how much I've been able to develop working with him, but just that it was time to, for us both, I think, to try something new. Because the business, I mean, yes, it was successful, but there are a lot of unsuccessful parts of it. And you know, I mentioned the turnover, the business itself, the events that we were producing, I also kind of another epiphany that I had was, they were leaving for home builders. And I am huge into environmental conservation. And just the idea that I was helping builders clear forests so that they can build more homes, it kind of didn't sit well with me. And year after year, while I was having these ideas, and I'm like, well, not happy, you know, with the situation, the events that I'm producing, I don't really feel passionate about, I don't feel passion for helping these companies make money and profits, and the environment is not necessarily getting better because of it. So just those things, I think, ultimately I was able to explain to him. And it was a very difficult conversation. And as you might imagine, it didn't end there. There were many follow up conversations where he tried to convince me to stay. And so that made it even more challenging. But I don't often say this, but I was very proud of myself for sticking to my guns and not changing my mind. Because there definitely were some moments over the months, because it was months, it was from July that I told him until December that I left because I decided to stay on for the rest of the year. It was that many months that there could have been opportunities for me to say, "Oh, this is really hard. Forget it, I'll just stay." And I was making obviously, being a co-founder of the company, very good money, have a lot of very expensive things happening with my kids, private sports and schools and everything else. So it was a big decision. It was very scary. My husband honestly wasn't 100%, like, "yeah, we can do it" because he's always very worrisome about, you know, money and what's going to happen. So it was a challenge. But again, proud of myself that I did not turn back. And it was also the coaching that helped me kind of persevere and continue on the path.

Scott Anthony Barlow 18:00

I'm proud of you too. That is amazing. First and foremost, just because I think most people in the world might not have made that same decision, or they might have turned back as you said. So I think that that's really cool, because you've done something many people in the world might not do. But also, more importantly, is you're honoring the parts of yourself that you already knew were there and sticking to that in so many different ways. So here's my question for you. What do you find actually helped you because as you said, there were a lot of pressures, not just even with the initial conversation, but even after that initial conversation all the way through. What helped you continue to stay true to the decisions for yourself that you knew were going to be good, but don't always feel good when you're getting all those pressures?

Nancy 18:52

Right. I think one of the things that I had worked with Phillip on was like, I have to have a job, I can't not have a job, there's not going to be any gap. And I need a full time job. I can't have, like, part time or contract work. I was adamant about both of those things. And neither of those things happened. I didn't have a job for a few weeks. And then the first job that I took was a contract job. But I think the thing that I realized that, you know, and have been realizing over the course of the past several months is how to look at things from a different angle. I have a tendency to kind of be tunnel vision– this is how I do things, and this is the way that it has to be. But I think that Phillip has helped me really open my mind and definitely the workshops have helped me kind of figure out how to look at things from a different perspective. And one of it was, okay, well, I have a lot of money stuck to my 401k, what is that for? It's not ideal, right? But if it's going to help me make the bridge to something better, then it's absolutely worth taking some of that out to help maintain our family's lifestyle. They didn't feel great, but in retrospect it's like, oh, I won't notice that money, right? It's fine. If I had to do it for a very long period of time, I probably wouldn't feel the same about it. But it definitely was something I hadn't considered initially. But once I realized and talking to my financial advisor that it's okay to do something like that, it's like you're saving this money for yourself, what if that future never happens? You might as well take advantage of that money now. So that was one thing that I hadn't really considered that it was okay. And I feel fine about it now. And then the part time versus the contract versus the full time is something that I'm still thinking about a lot. I ended up taking contract position, and now I have a couple of them. And I never thought that I would be somebody who didn't have a full time job, just because I've always worked since I was 14 or 15, I've always had a job. And so having contract work, where it's not a guaranteed paycheck every single week, and there's all different parameters of how you might work, it was just totally foreign to me. And something I never thought that I would want to engage in. But I have found that it actually has been really exciting. But like when I created my ideal profile, or my ideal career checklist, it was so much aligned with my old role because that's all I knew, in terms of like, what the job was. And like I said, it was full time, and it was not a contract. Yeah. But now that I've done contract work, and not full time, I'm like, "Well, maybe that's better than what I wanted before. But I don't know." So I honestly, I don't know, I feel like I just need a little more time. I've been working with this individual for three months, by the end of this month. And then the other role that I am doing, I started at the end of January. And it's not consistent. It's basically event management for contract. So I can go out and find companies that need event management services, and I can bring them into this company or the company has housed accounts where they need event management support, and they put out deployments and I can raise my hand and say I'm interested in, and interview for the job. So it's very much more like a roller coaster in terms of the ability to project income, at least at the beginning. Hopefully you get clients and they like you and they want to use you again. But like that kind of where I went to... had an annual meeting for the company at the end of March. And when I came home, I was texting my family the whole time I was gone with pictures of me like meeting all these people and, like, telling them what a great time I was having and how I felt like a 46 year old freshman and it was so exciting. Yeah. And I came home, and I was telling him how great it was, and how I didn't want to do the other thing. I only wanted to do this. And it was so exciting. It was where I was meant to be. But then the more I got involved with the other one, I'm like, "Oh, this is good, too." So I just... I don't know…

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:41

The recency bias a little bit that it is what you know, and what you're experiencing. So this is a perfect opportunity, I think. You've heard us talk about designing experiments. But the benefit to taking, doesn't have to be a ton of time, but taking a little bit of time to get a well designed experiment is that it can help you suss out the information and data from different points in time, and who so you can observe what those patterns are so that you can make better decisions with it. But in this particular case, like, it's really easy to get sucked into the elements that make us human, like, if we're involved, and we're having fun, and whatever else, it's like, "This is what I want more of! All the time, all the things." And once you start to pull out the biases from it, you start to be able to be more specific. And that specificity is what allows you to be able to then go and create opportunities, whatever that looks like, whether it's asking for what you want or anything else. So I think there's an opportunity for you here to design an experiment that would give you, not all, but probably and just enough information to be able to get to the next part of the decision.

Nancy 23:59

Sure. I mean, that's definitely something I was thinking of. I'm like, "That's where I am. I'm in the experiment phase." I think I went about this a little bit backwards, but…

Scott Anthony Barlow 24:06

No, I think, that's what we see all the time with many clients that we work with, where it's like, "Okay, I've done a little tiny bit of this. Now I want to jump to the part where I get a job", like, let's just jump to the part where we get a job. And that is everyone's tendency. Like, maybe one person out of 100 isn't experienced, but everybody else is. So it usually is a... there's usually a need there to be able to gather more information before, like, rushing into action, even though that's not all of our tendency. So the cool thing is, you and I get to sit here and talk about that. And we get to acknowledge that and then create something. So what do you think that you would need to... I'm just going to write for you. I'll just capture some of this stuff. What do you feel like you would need to learn over the course of the next 30 days, 90 days, let's just call it 60 days here for the moment. What do you feel like you need to learn over the next 60 days in order to make a really good decision for yourself?

Nancy 25:12

So I guess three different buckets come to mind, one would be financial. And so really making sure that I have a strong understanding of what I really need to make, because what I wanted to make before I can make with this new opportunity, but if I wanted to continue with both things, and do less than 40 or 50 hours a week, then maybe I can make it work without that ultimate salary number that I had in mind, maybe I don't need that much. I guess, it'd be nice, but maybe I don't need it. And so then would also be making sure that I'm protecting my time and feeling good about the piece in the slowing down, and still being able to have that. So which opportunity or opportunities are going to be able to afford me the ability to have that, to be able to carve out that time or for people to be respectful of that time. And then the work itself, making sure that I feel like I'm making a strong contribution, that my work is valued. But also, that feeling of being overwhelmed. And you're like the point of the spear and so important to every single decision. I don't think I want to feel that way anymore. I don't know, though, because this other opportunity is like I'm a contractor, in my opinion is considered but not ultimate, and I'm like, "I don't know about this."

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:37

So that's really interesting. Here's what I'm hearing out of that. And I'll just repeat back to you what I believe I'm hearing and you tell me what is actually accurate. But it sounds like you enjoy having your opinion, or input matter on a different level than what might happen as a consultant or contractor. Also, you don't want everything in the entire organization to depend on you to provide that input. So it sounds like an ideal situation for you would be where you get to provide that level or contribute that level of input. But the success or failure is not ultimately dependent 100% on your input. Is that right?

Nancy 27:30

I think that sounds right. Yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 27:32

Interesting. So it sounds like then you would probably need to determine if any organization that you work with has a strong enough infrastructure, or you have the ability to come in and quickly build a strong enough infrastructure to where it's not dependent upon you to be successful. That's cool. Good insights. So here's what I'm taking, let's break down these buckets, then. Let's do the last one first, because we were just talking about it. So the work itself. So for example, part of the experiment in that area might be trying to define what type of input you want to have or need to have initially. So that might be the part that then leads to the experiment. So you defining what that means for you, and what feels good and what isn't good, then allows you to be able to go and say, "Okay, well, how can I gather that information from any organization that I'm considering?" And obviously, you have an organization that you're considering right now, right? And then that gives you the ability to ask a different level of questions, as you're interacting with the people in that organization, not just the decision makers, but also the other people that you might interact within that organization, too. So in this case, it sounds like one or two examples of that might be, tell me about, I guess there's a couple different elements. So it might be the current finite set of financial resources, for example, if that is incredibly shaky, then it might, from day one depend on you to turn things around. Or another example might be digging into, okay, well, what is the amount of cross training? I know you and I are both familiar with EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System. So, you know, what is the level of cross training that we have in terms of duplicated or redundant resources for when things go wrong? You can start digging into that. And I'm just providing a couple of examples here. But I think being able to go through and consider, well, what are the circumstances that would allow you to have that goal of, "I want to provide valuable input and I want to contribute valuable input, but not where it is 100% dependent upon that input."

Nancy 29:51

Right. Yeah. And it's interesting. I think that the opportunity that I have right now has the potential for that because I'm an integrator at a holding company that owns multiple businesses. So each of those businesses theoretically has its own business leader structures running those businesses.

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:08

So let's go to a different bucket in here. So, the financial bucket. I heard two things out of that. I heard you oscillating back and forth between, "What do I need?" And then also, "What are the financial circumstances that would be created with each of these opportunities?" So what's kind of the financial input or potential for financial input, and then also, the other side of that is what do you actually need, And I would argue, it's not just about what you need, but also what you want. Like we could probably wear it, I think both of us are really fortunate where we could probably... our actual needs are probably a lot less than where we're operating at, which is amazing. And also, I think it's okay to shift it to what do you actually want? What is in alignment with your other goals as it relates to financial? So if it's those two buckets then, and do we have those two buckets, right? Like, what's the potential? And then what is the want? Or then what would you need to do in order to find out and explore for each of those buckets?

Nancy 31:22

Well, I know that the potential for both of the opportunities is pretty large. But it kind of what keeps going back to for me is like how many hours a week I'm working. So depending upon what type of arrangement I have with these event contracts, some of them might be based upon hours, some of them might just be a number, based upon the projected hours, but not like tracking hours for people. So I mean, I could take on way too many of those things and have a very large income, but it just wouldn't be sustainable. Ultimately, there's a lot of potential for that contract position also to provide more opportunities for me to travel, because it's event management. And there's all sorts of perks that go along with that, it was something that was really appealing to me. And so that also factors into it, right, is like if I give that up, and I don't do that, then my salary on the other side, or my income on the other side needs to be able to make up for that. Because if it's not covered in that way, it needs to be covered from a salary.

Scott Anthony Barlow 32:22

So no matter what that needs to be covered in terms of the ability to travel, and explore and have those adventures as we've been calling them. And so that must be there. But it could show up in different ways. Like we'd check that box in different ways, right? Okay. That's cool. So then it sounds like the biggest piece of the financial is more about the time and energy that you would spend than it is about the financial itself, or at least partially true. Okay, well, that's amazing because then we only have two buckets to experiment with. That's great. I mean, that's the value in going through it in this way is to try to figure out what are we actually getting out here? What do we need to get at? Okay, so let's talk about this protecting time bucket. What do you need to find out? Or what do you need to experiment with? What information do you need to get to make a great decision for yourself? Let's start with that.

Nancy 33:21

Well, one of the questions that's been in my head with this opportunity for the full time role is, what is full-time?

Scott Anthony Barlow 33:30

Yeah, I've been asking that question for years. I kind of despise the set of words full-time for probably all the reasons that you're alluding to. But tell me more.

Nancy 33:40

So, I think that the individual that I'm working with is much more flexible in terms of how he thinks about things than I'm used to. And so maybe even just having the conversation with him about, okay, "So you want me to work full-time? What does that look like to you?" Like, pay me in terms of the week, like, how much time I spending with you with the team, etc, so that I can have a better idea of what his expectations are. I think that that's a big thing is breaking the mold of what I've been trained and kind of fitting into for so long. I'm trying to figure out how other people perceive things and work. Because it's not and obviously it's not the same. And I think I need to figure out what it looks like for him. I think with the other event opportunity, I'm much more in control of that, because I'm deciding when I'm working, and I'm the one who's scheduling meetings if that needs to happen. So that feels good to me. I feel like I have much more flexibility with that role. So that's another thing where I'm like, well, maybe I should just keep both things part time so that I can continue to have this one thing that I am like, ultimately, in control of and I can decide, you know, I can pull the lever up or down depending upon where my finances are or where my feelings are, like, maybe over the summer, I don't want to work that much. But maybe in the fall, sure, bring it on. I have a lot of time on my hands. You know, it just feels good for me to be able to have that decision, to be able to make that decision on my own.

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:09

Yeah, absolutely. Can I make a suggestion for you?

Nancy 35:12


Scott Anthony Barlow 35:13

I think that it would be, to your point, it'd be interesting to have that discussion. And I think it would be a necessity to have that discussion to get to not just what full time is. But it would be interesting to start maybe a little bit more broadly. And this would be my suggestion, and begin the discussion around, "Hey, here's my apprehension. My apprehension was around full time. I don't really want to do full time, anything necessarily, for what I perceive full time is. Now, I don't want to assume that that's what you mean. So I'd like to have a discussion around, you know, what is it that you need out of this role, not related to time, but what is it that you need in results, and then begin to understand what you need there, or what you perceive you need. And then that way, I can begin to understand what some of the expectations are here, because I'm not in a position to even want to do something that is a large amount of hours. I want to contribute, I want to get results. But I don't want that to be associated with the amount of hours that I'm putting in or not putting in. I want the results to be able to speak for themselves. So could we have a discussion about what you need in this role?" How does that feel? What feels good or what feels bad about that type of language? I guess.

Nancy 36:42

Well, I think that one of the things that I've come to realize over the past couple of years is how important setting expectations is in any relationship. And that from that perspective, it seems perfect. Like, what do you expect? Tell me what you expect. And then I know what I'm getting myself into. And I can either get into it or not get into it. So I think that sounds like a really good approach.

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:09

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 enjoy 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 has been called the best audio book 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 38:03

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

Nancy 38:09

It just, like, the whole circle of things is just fascinating that I have ended up where I have. It just blows my mind and never would have thought that I was going to find somebody that was so in tune with what I was looking for when I started the journey.

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:23

Asking for what you want seems so simple on the surface, but it's not always easy to put into action. So much gets in the way of actually having the productive conversations that could bring you more enjoyment and further your career at the same time. Until you push yourself to have those conversations, you won't know if you can get an extra week of vacation or a four day work week or whatever it is that would make your work more fulfilling. As my good friend Kwame Christian puts it, "the best things in life are on the other side of difficult conversations."

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:56

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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