Is staying at a job you hate holding you back from happiness? What if you’ve changed careers…and the new work wasn’t quite the fit you thought it would be?
That’s what happened to Audrey Romagnoulo. She was a talented Operations Manager working in the Events and Hospitality industry in New York City. She’d given much of herself to the job and had been rewarded with increasing responsibility, perpetual “thank yous” …and an increasing distaste for her work because what she valued most didn’t align with what the company valued.
When she came to us for help, it became apparent that the genuine, highly caring, no-holds-barred person that she was (and wanted to be more often) was being hampered because of the job she was working in.
This inability to be herself for 70 hours a week became so frustrating for her that it sparked an 11-month long journey to figure out what she really wanted and fight off the mental barriers that were keeping her stuck!
So how did she go from teary days staying at a job she hated to getting paid $20,000 more with a career that allowed her to be who she is?
Take a listen to Audrey’s story and find out!
WHAT TO DO WHEN THE ODDS ARE STACKED AGAINST YOUR CAREER CHANGE
After helping a couple thousand people make career changes, you notice a few commonalities.
We’ve realized that EVERYONE has barriers to making their change. Especially the busy, high achieving peeps that we’ve worked with. Audrey was no exception!
Audrey had 3 major barriers keeping her from making this change:
End-of-Day Energy Drain: She was working an absurd amount of hours and was drained by the time she was getting home from work and the hour commute each way.
Less Opportunities: She wanted to move to a smaller city many hours away that had less companies and less jobs.
No Job Title Experience: She had 10 years of professional experience but she had never worked in any of the professions that she was most interested in.
To get around these barriers we realized that we would have to do a few things.
- We set Audrey up on a schedule that allowed for her to do the work slowly with continuous effort every single week. This schedule allowed her to focus on doing the “work” for herself first thing in the day so that some of her best energy was going to herself.
- We realized that to be most effective she would have to avoid the “front door” (online applications) and go in the “back door” (relationships and connections) because she didn’t have the job title experience to be competitive AND because there were less opportunities in the area she want to relocate to.
We also knew that it would be critically important to make sure that Audrey’s next role was one that enabled her to be happy rather than detracted from her happiness.
This meant that she was going to have to do some experimenting to make sure that she got it right.
HOW AUDREY LEARNED THAT WORKING FOR GOOGLE ISN’T FOR EVERYBODY
Audrey began by identifying what would make an ideal opportunity for her. Next, she created a list of companies that she thought might have the types of jobs and culture that she wanted. Then, she began test driving these companies to determine whether or not these were actually a fit.
What happened next is exactly why we always have our students test out their theories of who they actually want to work for and what environment will make them happy.
One of the companies on her short list was Google, partially because she wanted a more progressive environment than where she was already working and partially because they had office locations nearby where she wanted to live.
She worked to get introductions to people inside the company through a friend of her significant other (the weak ties are always there, most people just don’t realize it). She next scheduled some informal “no agenda” conversations to begin building relationships and learning more about the organizations.
These conversations led her to take a total 180 degree turn that may have saved her several years of another job and company that was the wrong fit!
She learned that she actually valued a much more traditional office environment rather than the open concept culture of places like Google.
There were a variety of reasons but Audrey put it this way.
“I learned that if I ever had to wait for someone to finish a game of ping pong so I could get what I needed for a project, I would probably go crazy”
Not at all what she expected! But boy was she glad she did the research as she could have easily ended up in one of those environments!
She also knew that she wanted to make more money in her next role but had no idea how much money she was losing by staying where she was!
HOW STAYING AT A JOB YOU HATE COULD BE BE COSTING YOU MONEY: THE EARNINGS FORMULA
I don’t think Audrey actually believed that she could make significantly more money while at the same time changing careers AND moving to a place with much lower cost of living (and lower pay).
…At least until we showed her the data for the types of roles she was exploring. I personally spent 10 minutes pulling together data from some of our favorite resources like Glassdoor.com, Salary.com, and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics and we found that it was very likely Audrey could easily increase her salary by $10,000 – $30,000 annually!
This meant that for every month she was staying in her job she was losing $833 – $2500.
Here’s an example of how that works.
It doesn’t take a PhD in Applied Mathematics to figure out that not only is this amount what you’re losing every single month you’re in your current job, but that when when this begins to add up over years it adds to significant money for most people (especially if you are staying at a job you hate!).
For Audrey it meant $100,000 difference over the next 5 years. $300,000 over the next 30 years if Audrey never got another salary increase (highly unlikely).
So, in other words, changing jobs meant losing the equivalent of a large house where Audrey lives! (Or a reasonably nice apartment in Paris.)
What most people don’t take into account is that when you’re earning more in a job that you’re much more excited about, it gives you additional momentum because you’re more likely to get additional increases in the form of higher raises or promotions.
More important than all of the money, though, is that Audrey was able to get a job that allowed her to be herself and do what she was great at.
BUT WHAT DOES IT REALLY TAKE TO MAKE A CAREER CHANGE?
You know how you always hear those success stories of what other people have done? If you’re like me (or you’re human), sometimes they can make you a little jealous or depressed.
How come it always works out so well for those other people?
Well, here’s the hidden reality behind every single one of the success stories we’ve published:
Zero of them were easy, AND none of them went perfectly.
In fact, we find that much of the time we are helping our students make it easier to change to work they love by focusing on the right things, but focusing on the right things alone doesn’t automatically make you successful.
What happens when you get rejected from a company that you thought was going to give you an offer? Or when everybody is on vacation all at the same time and you feel like throwing in the towel on your career change because you don’t feel like you’re making progress? Or when things blow up at your current job and it sucks up all your time for 2 weeks straight?
All of these happened to Audrey.
It was hard to manage those things while working so much and working crazy hours commuting from state to state. I was crying on the bus ride to work and home sometimes. On those days my most fulfilling days were the days I finished a task. Rarely was it something I was doing on my own behalf.
The imbalance become more obvious as time went on. I was having hopeful conversations and I’d get really excited. I remember talking to this one company for three months and it was all positive but all of a sudden they closed the job because they acquired another office and had two people that could do the job. It was a huge slap in the face.
Even after all of this, she would still do it over again. When you make this type of change, it’s not just about making the change for more money, you end up taking back your life and your right to be yourself and live the life you want along the way.
It doesn’t happen all at once. For Audrey, it took over 11 months. It happens in small steps day after day.
Let me know what you’re going to do today to move yourself forward in the comments below (or congratulate Audrey on her recent change). Don’t let fear force you into staying at a job you hate!
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