560: Refusing to Settle for Anything Less Than Meaningful Work

Eric shares his journey of refusing to settle for anything less than his ideal role, demonstrating resilience and patience throughout his year-long(!) career change process.



Eric, Senior Software and Content Program Manager

Eric realized his consulting roles were causing him to suppress his full self and wanted to find an organization that aligned with his values and interests.

on this episode

There’s this funny phenomenon that happens when people are looking for intentional work. They get to this point where they’ve been working on it for quite a while. They’ve identified what will make work meaningful for them and what they are looking for in an organization. But then the search for that ideal role takes longer than expected, and it’s a lot harder… so they begin to have doubts.

If you haven’t experienced that before, let me just be clear with you, this is something that happens every time, it’s normal! Your goal is to do meaningful work and spend your time in the way you choose, or what we call making an intentional career change. 

Staying true to yourself when you begin to have doubts so that you can run towards something good for you is maybe the hardest part of the entire career change process.

Eric had been working in management consulting for years and loved, well… parts of it. Sales, as it turns out, was not one of those parts, and he had the realization that in order to grow in his industry, sales would need to become a larger part of his life, not a smaller part. And while that’s great for some people, it wasn’t what Eric wanted. 

He finally decided that he had to make a change. During his career change process, Eric began to identify what he really wanted in his life and his career. After helping thousands of people with their career changes, we’ve seen that when you’re making this kind of change, it often takes more than three months, sometimes even more than six months. For Eric, it took an entire year to find the right role. 

Along the way, he had to learn how to ask hard questions and say ‘no’ to many good, but not great, opportunities. 

Eric finally got an offer at his ideal organization. But instead of saying “yes” immediately, his work was just getting started. Over a series of conversations, he negotiated to turn their great original offer into an ideal offer for him. The end result? He got to do the work he really wanted and become extremely well paid for it, making the entire year he wasn’t working all worth it. 

What you’ll learn

  • The importance of staying true to yourself and your values during career change
  • Strategies for maintaining focus amid the challenges and uncertainties of the job search process
  • How to advocate for yourself during the job offer process
  • Tips for staying positive when your career change journey is taking longer than expected

Success Stories

Scott, and Lisa and the whole team it's been a pleasure to work with you. I’ve been talking to everyone about your program and think the best of the work you do and the tools you put out. It took me a few months to look for outside help. That was the thing I needed. Particularly as someone who has been successful it was hard for me to say I could not do this by myself. I’m a smart person I should be able to figure this out. As soon as I had my first career coaching experience it completely turned around my approach to find a new job. It completely gave me the power back and the tools I needed. If you know exactly what you want to do, you probably aren’t listening to this podcast, but if you don’t know there are a lot of tools, and resources, and people out there that can help you. For me that made all the difference.

Laura Morrison, Senior Product Manager, United States/Canada

as I was diving into the bootcamp at Happen To Your Career, and I was really trying to think broadly, I had this moment of thinking, "Okay, should I even should I be a lawyer? What should I do?" so I worked with Happen To Your Career really started trying to dig deep and lay a foundation… it was helpful to have Lisa through the interviewing process, and all the little events like "oh, someone responded like this, how should I respond?" How should I deal with all the steps along the way? I also had a tendency to form myself into what I thought they were looking for and Lisa helped me be who I actually am in the interviews.

Rebecca Maddox, Attorney, United States/Canada

Eric 00:01

Career change isn't just about a title or about tasks. It's really understanding you and yourself and what you want and what you are enjoying, and what you want to be part of.

Introduction 00:19

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 00:44

You might not know this about the HTYC podcast. But before I hit the record button with our clients to share their story of how they changed their career, I almost always share the same thing. I tell them, I don't want to misrepresent what career change is. It can be wonderful. Also, sometimes when we get a snapshot in time in the form of a 35-minute-long podcast episode, you don't always get the full picture. So I ask our clients to share, not just the great parts of their career change, but also what was hardest about it, what were their challenges, and what was different than what they thought.

Eric 01:19

The challenge is that when things are bad, you don't expand that further into organizations that don't quite fit that but sound like it could be okay. Or maybe that's a role, like, you start to creep a little bit outside of it because things are going tough, and it's hard. But if you can maintain that uber-focus, you'll get to the place that you want to be.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:43

Things are great for Eric now with his new role at Tonal, but his career change was far more challenging than what he thought it would be. Eric had been working in management consulting for years and loved, well, parts of it. Sales, as it turns out, was not one of those parts. Eventually, he realized that if he was continuing down the same path, sales was going to become a larger part of his life, not a smaller part. And well, that's great for some people. It wasn't what Eric wanted. He finally realized that he had to make a change. During this career change process, Eric began to identify what he really wanted in his life and his career. After helping thousands of people with their career changes, we've seen that when you're making this kind of change, it often takes more than three months, sometimes even more than six months. For Eric, it took an entire year to find the right role. Along the way, he had to learn how to ask the hard questions and say no to many good, but not great opportunities.

Eric 02:43

My background was mostly in management consulting, and I really sort of found my way into that. And after my various degrees, just because I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do, I enjoyed the aspect of being able to work on challenging problems and being able to do them with a variety of clients in a variety of industries. And so the consulting industry allowed me to do that. And I always thought it would be a way to figure out what I wanted to do. Looking back, it turned into just me staying in that, and just doing that. Until I got to the point where I realized it wasn't sustainable. It wasn't sustainable because the only way in that industry to grow, in terms of level in stature, was through sale. And that's just not what I am natural at from a professional sales, I would say. I am the type of person where I can talk to people about products and things of that, and I might sell it. But I can't walk into an office and sell a multibillion-dollar ERP project. It just doesn't sound natural from me. And that was really what was holding me back. It was holding me back subvertly. And then at one point, it held me back overtly. And it realized that that just wasn't a sustainable long-term career growth for me. And so I wanted to find something that allowed me to take what I liked about it but put me in a position to feel successful, completely successful.

Scott Anthony Barlow 04:05

When you had that realization that sales was probably the path that you would need to take to stay where you were at, but that didn't really align with what you wanted, was that how you knew it was time to leave that area or leave consulting? Or was there something else that occurred along the way that caused you to realize, "Hey, it's time to leave."?

Eric 04:29

I think there were some other things as well. I think there was, you know, moving around to different companies to try to find a place that felt more natural and more at home. Once I realized that I was continually moving, I started to think, "Was it because the companies that I were at and I wanted to move? Or was there something bigger going on here that I needed to reflect on some more?" And then also as I started to do more work in my later parts of consulting career, the types of work that I was doing, and the types of problems we were asked to solve, and the relationship we had with the clients started to change some that it wasn't the same as it was earlier, it seemed to be less valued and more commoditized. And it's not that I didn't want to feel like I was a commodity, but it started to feel like it was more commoditized. And it was just something to do and check off versus taking in some of that information and expertise and bringing it into the organization. And that didn't leave me feeling very good as well. And so I think those other things were going on. But I realized that if there was a path forward where I could get into leadership, and maybe start to change some of those relationships that have made it work, but then that's when I realized it's sales that are going to do that. And that's just, I was never going to make it there.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:53

When you were recognizing that you had that experience where it was, you called it, felt more commoditized. Do you remember any instance in particular where you had that realization? Or led that to that realization? Or what was the first time that you really felt that in the back of your mind? Take me there, if you remember any of those moments.

Eric 06:14

I think... Someone projects were either through leadership or through the client themselves where they were just looking for things to be done. So it was just send me a checklist, or just give me a timeline, or just put together a list of tasks. And it was less about understanding why they wanted to do that or understanding what the impacts would be or getting some more into information. It was more about, just give me those answers and don't worry about anything else. And that's when it became that thing that you can almost Google, you can almost figure out how to do that yourself, you don't need me to tell you what a timeline looks like, or a task looks like for me to help you understand why you're doing it, and what are the consequences of doing it, and are these things that you should be doing. Or are you asking the right questions? Are you thinking about this the right way before you get into the action part of it? And so those types of things started to happen when then I was just asked to not think that way and not ask those questions and not do those things, just give what was asked of you. And that doesn't always work well for me. I'm not a person that you just kind of say, "Don't think. Just do." Because I'm always thinking. And so it's hard for me to turn that part off.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:25

That's what I've always found fascinating. That situation that you experienced right there, where you are doing the things that come much more naturally to you. And quite frankly, as I've gotten to know you a little bit, I think you really enjoy that. When you say problem-solving earlier, I think that rolls up for you into one of the ways that you solve problems where you're asking questions, and you're thinking about it, and then using that information to be able to help someone and add value in that particular way. Like I see you doing that actively. And I don't think people could pay you enough to really stop doing that. Like, you'd have to really suppress it. And I think that's such a sign, like, when you get to that point, and you realize that to be able to be successful in this environment, this situation, this role, this organization, whatever it is that you're having to suppress a part of yourself, like, then it was definitely time to move on. So how long do you think it took you once you started recognizing that there was parts and pieces that you're like, "Yep, that's just not me. You're not gonna be able to ask me to do this." What took place from there? How long did it take?

Eric 08:26

Well, it took a long time. And looking back, an uncomfortably long time because I tried to find other ways to solve it besides attacking the problem, right? So for me, it was about, well, maybe this other company would do it better. And then no, it didn't. Well, that's twice, well, maybe a third time, maybe there's other companies going to do it better. And you get into that where it's easier to find, try to find something analogous to what you're doing. And maybe hope the environment in which you do it in will help solve some of the things for it, as opposed to taking a hard look and realizing that it's not necessarily just the environment, it's the actual types of tasks that you're being asked to doing, which aren't changing that much, depending on the company. And that took a long time for me to realize because that I think is the scariest part of it. Right? You get to a point where I was, I mean, I suppose isn't just post-college and this was postgraduate degree to, like, you start on this path and you start to you wake up one day, and you look around and you're like, you know, it's scary to say, well, maybe I made a wrong turn. Maybe I made the wrong... and I continued and I doubled down on that path and I'm way far away from where I should be. That doesn't make it right to ignore that and it doesn't mean it's wrong to be scared of it. The challenge is to then realize, "Do you want to do something about it or not?" And I think I was lucky enough to have an out– a way in which that I could be scared of that but still find a way to softly make the correction instead of making a hard turn or an exit. And I was able to do that. And that, I found myself also wanting to give back in a way and using that, that you talked about, like really thinking about things and helping solve challenges. I wanted to solve some of the challenges. And this is gonna sound very high in the sky, but I wanted to solve some of the challenges I felt society was facing. And we were going down a path. And I wanted to find a way to give back and I didn't want to just write a check, or build a house, or pack a lunch, and those things are all critical and vital. People need food, and people need shelter. And there's great organizations that do that. But that wasn't what I wanted to do and what I meant. And I found a fellowship which were looking for people like me who wanted to serve a year in city government and work on strategic challenges that government is facing around racial and social equity, providing innovation, and providing thought and providing counsel. So for me, it was a way of saying I can do some of the good things that I liked about consulting and marry it to making an impact, and then find a way to use that time to realize what is it that I wanted to do and be. So it was more of a softer turn than just saying, "I'm done with consulting. What am I going to do?" I was able to morph into this pseudo consulting type role and use that time to just say, "What is it that I want to be now?"

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:21

I think that is fantastic for so many different reasons. You've heard me talk about designing experiments. And I think that for you, this was such a great opportunity to be able to really conduct an experiment that was completely outside of your, what I would call normal, you know, some of those past organizations. It really sounds like we're changing the names and the faces, but the same type of situation overall in many, many variables. So I think there's a really fantastic way for you to be able to get outside that environment, shake it up, and be able to do so in a way that mattered to you well, being able to pay attention at the same time. So kudos to you for experimenting in that way. That's a courageous decision in the first place. What caused you to feel like that was the right decision for you at the time?

Eric 12:12

Well, at that time, I had been let go by the consulting firm that I was with. And I was really trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. And it was very easy looking back, you know, would have been very easy for me to say, "Okay, what other consulting firms are looking for people? Consulting firms are always looking for people." And so always do that, right? I can go back and say, "Okay, well, you know, XYZ firm you do consulting, this is what I do. Is there a way that we can work together? Or are you looking to grow this party practice?" But something inside me just realized that that wouldn't have been as exciting for me. And it just happened to be a chance encounter that I got a LinkedIn message from this nonprofit that wanted to at least see if I was interested in talking about this opportunity about helping and that had been going through my head anyway. So it just was a good opportunity for me to do things, as I said, software, right? It wasn't completely being unemployed and figuring out what I wanted to do. It was giving help in a structured way that was set for a year, it had set goals, there was a small stipend, so at least I felt like I was still "employed". But I was going to then use that time as doing two things– as helping society in the way that I wanted to, and then taking a moment for me and saying, "Who am I and what do I want to be?" I didn't pretend to think that government is where I wanted to work. I was open to it but it wasn't the reason to take it. It was more of, it would give me the opportunity to use the skills that I had in a new way and find the time to figure out who I want to be so that when I then look for what's next for me, I'm doing it from a place of, I'm not just looking for the next consulting job because that's easy, I'm looking for the next career move for me so that I could have a more structured career longevity in the career that I'm putting myself on the right path. It was almost like a moment in time where I could say, "I'm stopping on this road. I don't know what road I'm going to be on next. But I know it's going to be another road. And let me look at all the maps that I can find and figure out what road do I want to be on next, and put myself onto that road."

Scott Anthony Barlow 14:23

I vaguely remember the first conversation you and I had. I told you I've loved some of the analogies that you're coming up with. And you know, I think this is a great one because, honestly, this is the equivalent to instead of just like keeping on driving anywhere and just like feeling like you're making momentum, but really you're not, this is the harder thing to do in so many different ways, like, pulling over to the side of the road and saying, "Okay, hold on. Let's pull up the map. Where do we actually want to get to here? Okay, what's the best way to get here?" And it's a courageous decision, quite frankly, I don't think that that's always acknowledged versus just keep on the same path. Keep driving. So, really nice job. I'm also curious about, looking back on that experience after you went through the fellowship, what do you feel, like, were some of your biggest takeaways about what you wanted in your next step and beyond?

Eric 15:13

I think it reinforced that there were aspects of working on strategic initiatives and challenges that are done outside of being a consultant that there are ways to do that and there are opportunities to do that. And those are the tests that still got me excited and still had me want to go to work every day and want to do those types of tasks. I still was able to understand more about how I am as a person in terms of building relationships, right? Like, you think you're good at that. And in consulting, you're artificially put in that way where you're building relationships because you're working at the same client, and you're doing something together. And I always thought I was very good at that. This allowed me to come into an industry like government and do the same thing, but not from the same starting point. And I was able to reinforce that that is something that I'm very good at. And being with people and working with people and bringing people along on the journey, and pulling insights and thoughts from people are all things that I do get excited about and want to do. So it reinforced a lot of what I thought about myself, but it also gave me the opportunity to spend time, as I mentioned, like really thinking about what does that mean, you know, what are the other things? What don't I know about myself that I could use this time to find? And then, who can help me and just spend the time to do that sort of stuff?

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:36

So let's fast forward for just a second here. You ended up with Tonal which I believe is a pretty amazing organization. I think they're doing a nice job with, not just one thing, but a lot of different things. And that said, how do you tell people about what you do now? What's your position called and just give me a couple of tidbits about what you're doing, what you're spending your time on now at the moment.

Eric 16:57

Sure. So I'm currently a senior software and content program manager. And so what I do is for large strategic initiatives that the company is looking to investigate prototype build out for the offering, I lead the cross-functional work. So thinking about bringing teams together to solve whatever is the problem that we're asked to do. So usually, it's all stuff that isn't released yet. So we're working on new sort of ideas, we're kind of building them out. And my expertise would be ones that involve some sort of content creation for it with software support. So I don't really work on the hardware side, I'm not about building anything on the hardware side, it's all about the associated content and software.

Scott Anthony Barlow 17:46

You know, I think is super fun about that is that we started this conversation by you saying, "Hey, I really learned through all my consulting experiences that I absolutely love, the working together in teams, and that type of collaboration, and that type of cross-functional collaboration", like, that's really fun for you. And then thinking about how the strategy of how the different things fit together. And now fast forward to the end, you get to do a whole bunch of that in your new role. And that is really wonderful. I think that's reinforcement that you made a wonderful step for yourself. Also, at the same time, you and I had a conversation before we hit the record button here that it was not always easy along the way, there was a pretty substantial amount of time for you. Was it about 12 months in between the fellowship? And then where you accepted this opportunity?

Eric 18:35

Yeah, my fellowship ended and then it took me a full calendar year to then accept an opportunity to join Tonal.

Scott Anthony Barlow 18:42

So what was that like? First of all, I asked you, you know, "What did you plan on? Or did you plan for it to be that long?" You're like "No, not at all. My intent was to get a role that was right for me as soon as possible." But in doing so, what was that like for you? What were the hard parts? And what caused you to continue to keep moving forward?

Eric 19:05

I think there's a few things that I think and looking back on is that, one, you can only control what you can control. And there are far more things that you can't control than you realize. You can think about there are certain things that you can't control, but there are significantly more. And of the things that you either can control or not, the ones that you can control are going to give you the most heartache, the most consternation throughout it. And it's so much easier for me to say now, looking back, and reflecting on it than it was during that time because, at that time, every setback was felt catastrophic. It just did. And it's just because of the state you're in when you're going through this process and I don't minimize it in any way. It is very difficult. And I think what kept me going is the fact that through the fellowship, at least, and looking back the times in consulting, but especially through the fellowship, I realize I could do good things, not anything and I don't mean to toot my horn or anything like this, but I just realized that I am capable of doing good thing.

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:11

To do ways.

Eric 20:15

So my real realization is that I have to keep going because whatever it is that I get to do next, it's going to be doing something good. And I should be in control of where I do that. And it may take a long time, but it's going to be worth it at the end. Because at the end of the day, if I follow the path, and I stay true to what I want to do and who I want to be, then I am going to do good things for a good company and feel good about myself. I'm just not going to feel good about myself during the process. And that's just the way it is. And I think there's things that you can do to help it get better, right? But from time to time, having that big picture of pulling yourself up from the weeds, and realizing that you're going to get somewhere, you just will, it's going to take a various amount of time, it's either gonna be quick or short, or long, you don't know, but you're gonna get somewhere and at the end of the day, you're going to be where you want to be. And that's a very powerful place to be. So taking time, looking up, and saying, "Okay, I'm gonna get there. I just don't know when that time is." Gives you a little perspective of just slowing down and it's going to be okay, and then you dive back in. I would... and you didn't ask this specifically. But some of the things that I would do besides taking that big holistic picture is I would spend time actually actively not looking for my next opportunity. Doing something else– it could be daily, or it could be weekly, but doing something else. Whether it's, you know, we talked about before, like, I play ice hockey, so whether it was playing ice hockey, or whether it was working out, or whether it was just going to get a coffee physically out of the house, going for a walk, a skateboard, or something, just doing something else to clear your brain. But making sure that you do that, it does do wonders, it does change your mood, it does give you something else to do and focus on. Because if you continue to focus on what is negatively happening, it reinforces it, and it puts you in a downward spiral. And I do say that you don't always control the downward spiral. There's lots of things that help you get there. But you can control when you get out of it by changing your mental state a little bit by just doing something else. And it can be something simple. It doesn't have to be something complex, which is doing something else. And it'll break up the days, it'll break up the weeks, it'll break up the months, and it will make you feel a lot happier in certain moments and celebrate those moments.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:46

That is fantastic. And I appreciate you sharing what worked for you as well. Because it's one thing to go through that and say, "Well, you just need to hang with it. And eventually, you're going to get there." But it's another thing for how do you actually do that and what might work for someone. So I really appreciate you sharing what worked for you. And also when you think back over the last, now it's been about 15 months or so, but when you think back over that 12 month period, what do you feel, like, was much more difficult than you would have anticipated?

Eric 23:18

I think the biggest challenge really was the networking piece. It wasn't really the conversations, it was getting the traction, it was getting the conversations. I think... And this goes back to, what you can control and what you can't control. You can control what industries you want to pursue, what companies you want to pursue, what people you want to target. What you can't control is their reaction, and their willingness, and their ability to meet you where you want to be. And I mean that in a simple way of, you want to have a conversation just to explore what they do or explore the companies for the industry. You can't control how receptive they are to it. And that's the challenging part. And I had a lot of moments where I would use a lot of the learnings that I got from you and about how best to reach out, and how best to structure your reach out, and plan your meetings, blah, blah, blah. And I would make headway in terms of getting connections and people that would want to meet. And then all of a sudden, things probably decided they didn't want to do that anymore and never heard back or never heard from them, or had a meeting and then didn't show up and then never heard back right? That's so frustrating. And that puts you into some of that downward spiral from before, right? And that goes back to you can't control that because you've done everything right. And it's hard. That was the hardest part is then you... It's not meant to be personal. It's not that someone is saying, "I don't want to talk to you at all", but it feels that way because you're the only one that asked and you're the one that set up meetings, so it feels that that's what they're doing. But, you know, people have different motivations, and people use tools for different things. And so if you find yourself in a way that you're getting people to say yes to connecting you on LinkedIn, and then never hearing from them again, or saying responding to one message in a positive way, and then never hearing from them again, it's hard. But it's one of the things that happens and understanding that people's motivations are different. And you can only control asking. And then you can control the environment in which you have the conversation. But there's very little else that you can control about that. And finding a way to have comfort in that. The positive was that person did say yes, at one point in time, that's a positive thing, celebrate that, and realize that if that gets replicated that next person, maybe then will follow through and have the conversation with you. So trying to look back and find the positives, and what happened in a very negative situation is helpful. But that was the most challenging part of the whole thing.

Scott Anthony Barlow 25:54

I can definitely see. And I have felt where that challenge can happen. And you said something that is really very interesting there that I think changes the game for people. I think so many people when they think about making a career change as an example, I think people equate that with, I needed to make a company change, or environment change, or industry change, or something like that. However, I think it's far more than that. In some ways, it's also behavioral changes along the way, and you've referenced some of those. But then the other thing that often people don't think about is how do you actually produce a desirable situation that is a really positive outcome on the other end. And what I heard you say earlier, is that you're focused on those people or organizations or industries or companies or whatever that you actually are interested in, or that you do want to spend your time around. And if you're putting your efforts in a teeny, tiny, you know, a smaller portion of those places that you actually want to be, eventually, as long as you are continuing to move down that path, and this is what I saw you do really, really well, you continue to find ways to keep moving down the path, looking at that larger purpose of, "Hey, I know that I can do good work someplace. And I know that when I get there, I'm going to be able to contribute in a different way." And it almost sounded like you felt obligated to continue on down that path. But focusing on that element, and then focusing on identifying and only going after those places that you actually are legitimately interested in, that's kind of the not-so-secret sauce to how you end up in a place that you actually want to be. So I just wanted to unpack that for a few seconds here because it's easy to listen to a story like yours, Eric, where you've had a really positive outcome on the other end, and sometimes gets lost about how that actually got there. And in this case, I know you did a great job continuing to show up and continuing to focus on those places you want to be. So what I'm also curious about is Tonal. What caused you to believe "Yeah, this is absolutely an organization that is right for me."?

Eric 27:59

Yeah. Specifically about Tonal, I knew coming out of my fellowship that we talked about, it reinforced the types of tasks and things that I liked to do. But what it also instilled in me is that I also knew that I wanted to make an impact on people's lives and find a way to do that. And there's many ways to make an impact on people's lives. And I wanted to find an organization that I felt in which the work that I did would impact people. And for me, Tonal does that and I don't mean it in a physical way of just changing people's physiques or changing their, whether they're losing weight or getting stronger, muscles, or things of that nature. It certainly does that. But what it does for me, is it reimagines and reinvents and reinforces their relationship with health and fitness that is also impacts more parts of their lives. So it was an organization that I knew that I wanted to be part of. And there were other organizations too that do things similarly, but in other industries, but I knew specifically that I wanted to target companies that would allow me to do the work that I like, and good at and impact people. And so it was one of those things that I knew that I needed to narrow what that was and be uber-focused on what that was so that I could facilitate the right conversations and do the right research. And one of the things that you said earlier about related to what I'm just saying is that, that's incredibly hard to do, and I don't mean was hard for me, it's a hard thing for people to do. It takes a lot of the work that you alluded to, which isn't just career change, isn't just about a title or about tasks. It's really understanding you and yourself and what you want and what you enjoy and what you want to be part of. And when you do that, and you find the industries and the companies, you can continue to focus like you said, and you'll get to a good spot. The challenge is that when things are bad, you don't expand that further into organizations that don't quite fit that, but sounds like it could be okay. Or maybe that's a role, like, you start to creep a little bit outside of it because things are going tough, and it's hard. But if you can maintain that uber-focus, you'll get to the place that you want to be. But I do recognize and again, don't want to minimize, it's hard to do that when things are not going well.

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:29

Yeah, especially, I mean, 12 months in when... I don't know how you experienced specifically long periods of time in between where you're focused on something, but the result hasn't come through yet. But I know for me, it very much felt like, should I consider accepting something else? Like, am I really doing the right thing here? Like, am I doing the right thing for my family? Like, all it causes me to question my intense over and over again. And I'll ask you directly, what was that like for you? What were those hard elements that people might not be thinking about from the emotional side?

Eric 31:04

It does. It certainly makes you question, did you define things the correct way because it feels so narrow. And that's when relying on the work that you did is you have to trust that because you did it from an honest place, and it truly reflects who you are and what you want if you put in the work upfront to do that. It's having faith in that and having faith in yourself. Again, it's not easy, you know, it's not easy to do. But if you put in the work at the beginning to do that, then you're only cheating yourself if you ignore that later on when it's hard. It's easy to do that, it's easy to ignore it. And it's easy to open up and say, "Well, this role sounds sort of..." Maybe it's, you know, and maybe I'll be able to fix it, maybe I'll be able to fix the role once I'm there, maybe I'll be able to fix the company once I'm there. It's easy to talk yourself into those types of things, especially if they're the ones that you get conversations with, and they're the ones that you start talking to. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's the right thing to do because you did something earlier for a reason. So I don't really have a magic bullet to say how you break out of it. I think changing your perspective from time to time, not in terms of the details, not in terms of whether your answers are correct, but your perspective of take a break for yourself, read a book, go for a walk, go talk to someone you haven't talked to in a long time, just find some other way to change your mindset. When you then go back to it, you'll feel a stronger connection to the work that you did earlier because your minds a little clearer, and you'll realize, "Yes, that's exactly what I was talking about. It is exactly what I'm looking for. And then I'll give you a little bit more of adrenaline rush to keep going.

Scott Anthony Barlow 32:45

You did a really nice job, even staying true to yourself, at the very, very end when it got to you had an offer, you were in the negotiation process. It's feeling like you need to accept the offer and not sure how much give there is and everything else along those lines. And you did a really nice job of coming out on the other side with even more than what some of the minimums were that you had defined for yourself, not just accepting the "minimums". I will tell you from working with literally thousands of people on that, that it's a hard thing to do much like some of the other pieces that we've talked about here. And since you did such a great job through that process, what did you learn? And what would you share with everyone else about what you learned as you're going into a negotiation to be able to stay true to yourself and what you actually want?

Eric 33:30

I think a couple of things and thank you for those. I appreciate the kind words. I think a couple of things. The first thing is having support and having support from people, right, to bounce ideas off, to get information that I didn't know, to ask the question of, "Am I crazy here? Or should I ask this? Or is this out of bounds? Or is this how do you think? How do you think this is going to be responded to? Or what about this type of word? And how would you react to that." So having that support there is important/. And then going back to the understanding of you, understanding what is important to you. If a certain title or dollar amount or total package is critical to you then knowing that's what you need to find. I think in my particular case, I had a sense of what I felt my worth was. I don't have any true empirical evidence of my particular worth to the world, but I had a sense of what I think it would be. And so I knew that it would be something that was worth asking for knowing that if it got to a certain point that was a little lower or whatever it was, like, where my line in the stand was, where I would say, "I could love the company and I can love the opportunity but this particular package salary bonus or whatever it is, is not going to make me feel valued and put me in a negative spot", then unfortunately, that's just not a good position to put myself in instead myself up for failure. So I kind of had an idea of where my lowest spine would be. And just knowing that I would make these decisions if I had to as long as you have the support, and you know what's important to you, I think that the negotiation part isn't just asking questions and not being afraid to, there's no harm in asking and realize there's also no harm in being told no.

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:27

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 36:20

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

Speaker 3 36:25

I bought into the model of career ascension, you know. You go from better to better to better, and that's the direction things are supposed to go. And it's always heading up and it's always heading bigger and more responsibility, better title, more money.

Scott Anthony Barlow 36:44

Why is our culture so obsessed with job titles and job status? Just think about how often we ask and are asked by others, "So what do you do?" This inflated importance of career causes people to believe they have to find all of their fulfillment and everything they could possibly need within the constraints of their career, which can very easily lead to work consuming your entire life. And when, not if, when that all-consuming job begins conflicting with your priorities, like, health, family, whatever it may be, something will have to give. So then the question becomes, what is the life that you want to build? And where does work fit into that?

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:29

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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