Allison was good at everything. The problem was…she couldn’t find something she enjoyed doing.
As a self-proclaimed Upholder (defined in Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies), Allison had a knack, or rather a compulsion, for meeting expectations.
This habit led to a “see and conquer” mentality in the career world. She’d see a job posting, and whether or not she genuinely wanted to do the work, she’d take on the challenge. In other words, she’d shift into whatever shape necessary to accomplish the goals of that role.
While pursuing her degree, Allison worked as an office manager in a typical 8-hour office environment. Not too long into her role, she realized the clock-in-clock-out-pushing-papers desk job wasn’t for her. Recognizing a need for hands-on work, Allison routed her college studies for a career in oil and gas.
Upon graduation, she was hired as a High-pressure Pump Operator in Anchorage, Alaska. Looking back, Allison says she was drawn to the job’s hands-on nature and the opportunity to work in big picture operations. She felt a special love for the procedures and problem-solving ability required for her two week on/two week off schedule. She was good at her job, but the love didn’t last.
BEFORE LONG, ALLISON’S HEART FOR ALASKAN DRILLING GREW COLD.
She transferred to the company’s headquarters, back to a desk job. This time, her stint at the front desk was short, as the Procurement team picked up on her skills and assigned her the task of building a centralized buying program from scratch.
As a lover of challenges and, like we mentioned above, a compulsive expectation upholder, Allison dove headfirst into this new project. She was successful on the outside, but internally, Allison struggled. She couldn’t find her dream job, and when she looked at her resume, it seemed like an indomitable connect-the-dots puzzle.
I HAD SO MANY DIFFERENT SKILLS AND INTERESTS, AND I JUMPED AROUND SO MUCH THAT ONE JOB SOMETIMES DIDN’T LOOK ANYTHING LIKE THE NEXT JOB. I WAS GRASPING AT STRAWS TO TRY TO FIT ALL THESE ASPECTS OF MY LIFE INTO ONE [CAREER] THAT I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WAS POSSIBLE. SO, I JUST JUMPED FROM JOB TO JOB.
I FELT LIKE A FLIP FLOPPER. IT DIDN’T FEEL VERY GOOD. WHEN I WOULD WANT TO MOVE ON TO THE NEXT THING, I FELT LIKE I HAD TO SUBDUE OR DISCREDIT THE PARTS OF MYSELF THAT WERE IN THE OTHER POSITION.
When she was laid off from her procurement job, Allison decided to take some local classes on resumes and job placement. She quickly found these tools to be a bad recipe for her own career happiness. The one-dimensional nature of the assessments told Allison she was conventional, so she should pursue a role like chef or plumber. When neither of those felt like a fit, her recruiters directed her to the job board to search for something that would hit home.
Allison was beginning to believe her dream career belonged in a file with the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and the Abominable Snowman. With each new job that left her unfulfilled, Allison beat herself up a little more.
One day, Allison stumbled upon the Happen To Your Career podcast. When she heard other high achievers sighting similar struggles and then telling the stories of their successes, Allison felt something growing inside. Something that felt like hope.
I’M TIRED OF NOT LIKING WHAT I DO, AND I’M TIRED OF NOT BEING FANTASTIC AT IT, AND I’M TIRED OF NOT INCORPORATING ALL OF ME.
A few episodes into the podcast, Allison began to gain confidence that her career search wasn’t in vain. Career happiness was possible, and her varied interests and hesitation to pigeon hole or specialize in her fields weren’t a sign of delinquency.
WHEN I HEARD THE EPISODE WITH EMILY WAPNICK, I LITERALLY CRIED.
As Allison listened to our interview with Emily Wapnick, the woman who popularized the word “multipotentialite,” she felt relief and excitement. The podcast episode gave Allison an epiphany: It was possible to work in line with her many talents and varied interests instead of forcing herself to be a linear, hyper-focused specialist.
To listen to our interview with Emily Wapnick on Multipotentialites, click the play button below.
One of the approaches Emily shared for helping multipotentialites find their dream careers is the Group Hug approach. This involves finding a job that combines all of your seemingly disconnected interests into one role.
I REALLY WANTED THE CHALLENGE OF TRYING TO SEE IF I COULD FIT IT ALL INTO ONE CAREER, WHICH TOOK A WHILE. BUT … I DID IT.
While the episode with Emily sparked hope, Allison knew she needed a plan for continued movement toward career happiness. She needed a mind shift.
I HAD BEEN ‘SHOULDING’ ALL OVER THE PLACE.”
“I TOLD MYSELF, ‘I SHOULD BE A SPECIALIST. I SHOULD PICK SOMETHING TO FOLLOW FOREVER. AND IT SHOULD BE SOMETHING THAT I CAN RETIRE WITH THAT AFFORDS THE LIFE I WANT.’ THIS BELIEF WAS ALL WRONG FOR ME.
The first step in overcoming Allison’s mental barriers was to realize other multipotentialites like her had figured it out. She needed to realize there was nothing wrong with her, and that a career she loved that paid well was actually possible.
To keep moving the right direction, Allison decided to join Career Change Bootcamp. Throughout the course, she was challenged with activities like completing the Ideal Career Profile. This task required listing everything Allison wanted, from salary, to work relationships, to office environment, to location, and lifestyle.
THE HARDEST PART WAS GETTING OVER FITTING MYSELF INTO A JOB BOARD.
Allison was so used to meeting expectations that the job board usually left her saying, “I could do that” instead of “I would love that.” But with the help of Career Change Bootcamp, she became self-aware and began to filter out others’ expectations to hear her own voice on what she wanted.
FIGURE OUT WHO YOU ARE, FIGURE OUT YOUR STRENGTHS, AND THEN GET YOURSELF IN MOTION.
As she completed the Clifton’s Strengthsfinder assessment during her CCB course, Allison discovered the formula for her own career happiness. She says confidence + strengths + motion = dream career.
She began to imagine a career she could be passionate about. When asked the question, “What are some of the things you can’t stop doing?” Allison found herself responding, “I can’t stop asking people if they like their job.”
This answer helped her see that she was obsessed with career fulfillment. For five or six years, she had been showing interest in others’ career success. Even when she was shifting gears with her job title, she kept asking people whether or not they loved their work.
LOOKING BACK AT THE BIG PICTURE, EVEN THOUGH MY JOBS WERE SO DIFFERENT, EVERY SINGLE JOB, WHETHER IT WAS PART OF THE ROLE OR NOT—IF IT WAS JUST INTERACTIONS WITH EMPLOYEES OR HOW I FELT ABOUT MYSELF IN THAT POSITION—EVERYTHING POINTED TO MY DREAM JOB.
Allison realized she was good at simplifying processes for people and creating new programs. She had fun communicating to people in a language they understood. When she thought about career paths, she realized she could use all of these skills in helping others find fulfillment.
Today, Allison is a professional career coach. She’s an entrepreneur living out her multipotentiality, and she can honestly say she’s discovered her dream career.
Very few people will find career happiness in this life, whether it’s because they don’t believe it’s available to them or because they can’t identify what would even bring fulfillment, but Allison is living proof that you can do work you love and be paid well for it.
Allison created her dream career, and you can, too! Follow in her footsteps to find your own career happiness today.
Read more success stories from Career Change Bootcamp!
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