on this episode
We’ve all experienced setbacks in life, but it’s about how we react to them that makes the difference between reaching our goals or letting them fall by the wayside.
When it comes to career change, many people, including High Performers, are bound to stumble on a few things before ultimately reaching their new career.
Is your career change going nowhere fast?
It was for our guest, Sarah Hawkins. That is, until she asked for help (when she knew that she needed it!).
what you’ll learn
- How to negotiate – even if you’ve never done it before and it scares you to death
- The keys to overcoming your mental (and physical) challenges to make a career transition
- The importance of figuring out what’s holding you back so you can work around it
I had listened to the Happen To Your Career podcast for several years before reaching out to Scott about getting career coaching. I'd been in my role for nearly 10 years, wanted to stay, but felt like it was time to renegotiate. What I expected/hoped for was maybe a 10% raise MAX, as I was already near the top of my salary range for the area. Scott pushed me to ask for more, helped me feel confident I was worth that ask, and coached me through how that will probably go, what to say, when and how to say it, what not to say, etc. I walked into my boss's office prepared and he knew it. As my request went higher up the chain, they knew it as well. My preparations and HTYC's great coaching paid off, in a few week's turn around time I was given a 20% raise, and renegotiated job duties which will help me enjoy my job even more! I highly recommend both their podcast and coaching services, Scott and his team are the real deal!
Thank you for guiding me through the negotiation process of asking for a raise. Even in this economy you convinced me to follow through. I also appreciate your thoughts on what I should include in my portfolio; it made the difference in the value added that I was able to present to my supervisor.
I stumbled across HTYC through an article and it gave me hope again. After a Strengths Finder review session with your career coach and the Figure Out What Fits course, I've finally admitted to myself what I really want to do, what I really want out of life, and have made a decision.
Sarah Hawkins 00:01
I was called myself a dabbler. I like to do things for a little while but then when it started to get too in depth and too and you know where you'd have to be like an expert, I just lost interest or it just wasn't worth that extra step to become an expert.
This is the Happen To Your Career podcast, with Scott Anthony Barlow. We help you stop doing work that doesn't fit you, figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that's unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.
Scott Anthony Barlow 00:49
As you're listening to my voice right now, that means that you have experienced some kind of setback in life, maybe many setbacks. And what I've learned is that it's not really about the setbacks, it's about how we react to those setbacks, that makes the difference between either reaching our goals, or letting them slip away. Now, when it comes to career change, even high performers are bound to stumble across a few obstacles before ultimately reaching their new career. In fact, I would say, that high performers even will encounter more obstacles, because they're often reaching higher. Turns out, this is exactly what happened to Sarah Hawkins.
Sarah Hawkins 01:30
So I guess I just never found anything that I liked enough to stay with it for a really long period of time. So I tended to kind of just bounce around to different things, usually falling into the office management, administrative type stuff, just because I'm really good at juggling a lot of things. And I learned really quickly. And so I tend to just do well in that kind of environment, because I'm able to help with just pretty much anything they need. But it just wasn't very satisfying, I guess, because there's just not a lot of growth in that, at least not in my path. You know, because you just kind of jump around, I did a real estate appraisal for a while. And stick either, you know, it was kind of like I did all my classes to get my credential. And it was kind of like, "do I really want to do this for the rest of my...? No, I don't." So I stopped that kind of thing. And so I felt like I kept having all these false starts, which made me feel like I wasn't really building much of a resume to where I kind of had to keep starting entry level places. So I was eventually being supportive roles to people just coming out of college, I'm in my mid 30s. And it was really disheartening because I knew I was capable of so much more.
Scott Anthony Barlow 02:37
Sarah Hawkins 02:38
But I just didn't never feel like I could reach higher because I didn't have the "experience" kind of a thing. And that's where I think this course really helped me get my mind around the idea that you have traits and talents and experience that can translate across sectors and across job descriptions and all that kind of stuff. You don't necessarily have to have the same job description for 15 years to have it apply to a new position, if that makes sense.
Scott Anthony Barlow 03:06
Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. And I want to back up for just a second because the backstory is that you've gone through our career change bootcamp program. And that's what you're referring to in the course. But for everybody else here, how did you find us? How did you encounter HTYC in the first place? I'm curious.
Sarah Hawkins 03:24
I'm very anti social media, I just don't do it, not something that I'm good at and keeping up with and all that kind of thing. But I finally got a LinkedIn account because I was starting to look for work, and reading all the articles and all that. And one of my contacts, I believe, posted one of your articles, talking about strengths. And I downloaded your little handbook thing on strengths and kind of a real quick, abbreviated version. And then there was an option to sign up for a webinar. So I did that and really liked what I heard in terms of finding my strengths and doing something that I love, which I kind of had expected, that just wasn't going to be an option for me because I didn't know what that was. So I kind of just expected that I was just gonna flounder around in my career for the rest of my life. So it was really settling, I guess, you know, where I'm just kind of going like, "I don't really want to" but I guess is how I kind of expected the rest of my career life to go. So it was really inspiring to think that that's not necessarily how it has to be. So I signed up for the bootcamp and been a roller coaster ride ever since.
Scott Anthony Barlow 04:25
I want to definitely talk about that. But I must super curious too, because you've kind of gone through this sort of mental switch thinking that, okay, it's got to be one or the other almost in terms of like, I just don't think that I'm going to find the stuff that I enjoy and it's going to be able to have any kind of amount of pay, and all of that stuff that so many of us think, actually, I just got a phone call just a little bit earlier today where I was talking to a guy, and he said, "Look, I want to make $200,000 a year. And I also want to have flexibility to be able to go and take my daughter to school" he's got young kids and he's like, "I don't see how I can do both." So he was almost thinking about in terms of, hey, I'm gonna have to choose between these two things, and that they cannot, absolutely under no circumstances, can be an option to do both. And we talked about amp solutions. And I don't know, consider multiple different alternatives. So super curious about your situation too and that, you know, where do you think that came from for you? Like, where do you think that you initially thought that "look, this is not ever going to be a possibility."?
Sarah Hawkins 05:32
I think maybe because I had just tried so many different things, trying to find my niche, trying to find my thing, you know, that I was made to do, and I just never found it. And I just felt like I've been looking for so long and trying for so long. And I've never been able to find it. So it must not be a possibility for me. That must be the unicorn in the woods. It's never gonna be found Bigfoot or whatever. Some people have something that they just are naturally, like, my sister knew she wanted to be a teacher when she was five. I mean, her whole life that's all she wanted to be. And I never had that. And I looked and I tried, and I tried. And I always looked at it as a fault of mine, that maybe I was a little too ADD. I couldn't commit. I couldn't stick with anything, kind of attitude in my mind that it was my fault I couldn't find my thing. Which I don't know if you're wanting to get into this yet but that's one of the things in the course, that was just mind blowingly liberating for me, it was the term multipotentialite. Because you had a webcast on with Emily Wapnick.
Scott Anthony Barlow 06:36
Emily Wapnick. Yeah. And she's been on the podcast a couple of times, too, recently.
Sarah Hawkins 06:39
I listened to that. And I was just like, oh, I mean, I was literally running through the house, telling my husband, "I know what I am." That was just so liberating for me not to be fighting that all the time, because I felt like I was always fighting and sorry, for the multipotentialite is just somebody that likes to do a lot of different things, and they're good at a lot of different things. And they don't just have one little niche. And I guess I'd never heard of it in a positive frame before and just like...
Scott Anthony Barlow 07:11
That was sound negative, right? Like, I know I just have that association, it's, "oh, it's bad to be a dabbler."
Sarah Hawkins 07:17
You just can't commit to anything, you can't stick with it. And so soon as it's not fun, or whatever you bolt, and that's not what I wanted. But at the same time, I'm the type that when I'm not mentally engaged, I just die inside. I mean, like my whole soul just withers up if I'm not like mentally challenged and engaged and excited about something. And so I could only stick with something for so long before I could feel the deadening start. And so I realized that, well, it's because I need to be doing different things, the way I'm wired. And so whether I'm doing that on a personal side to kind of help with, if I'm sticking with a career, then do different things on my own, or try to do different things within a role to try to feed that need for newness and challenge and you know, all that kind of stuff so that I don't get the deadening. And it was just really a liberating thing for me to embrace it instead of fight against it. And just like when she said some of the superpowers of, I think I listened to her TED Talk. And she had said, one of the superpowers of a multipotentialite is rapid learning, super adaptable, and there was another one where they can merge ideas. And I am definitely a rapid learner. I'm definitely super adaptable. But I never necessarily looked at those as strengths. And I never looked at that as a benefit to being the way I was. So just kind of having that all tied together was just, I mean, really, I was on cloud nine for like days, just kept telling my husband, "I know what I am" I was like, you have no idea. I mean, it was just something that I mean, it was never really spoken other than I would just say I'm a dabbler, I don't, you know, but to have it verbalized by someone else and explained and treated positively, was just a huge leap for me in thinking about what's possible in the future.
Scott Anthony Barlow 09:08
That's so interesting. And a little bit of backstory for everybody listening too, within career change bootcamp, we have guest instructors come on about once a month-ish or so. And we've had Emily Wapnick, who's also been on the podcast come and do a session specifically for that group that's gone through a career change bootcamp. And that's what Sarah is referring to, when, there's one of the pieces that happens to be in there. But I feel like that's a big part of what we do and when we're working with people is really just, actually, almost everything that we do is just people align who they actually are with their work and understanding the ways to do that, because that's a lot of what I just heard you say is, "hey, wait, this is actually a good thing that I am this way." And there is... and are ways to be able to use that to your advantage.
Sarah Hawkins 09:59
Yeah, and embracing it will make me happier and more fulfilled if I embrace it instead of trying to fight it. And I think that's what I've been doing my whole life is trying to fight it. And that's something that needed to be disciplined out of me, kind of a thought process. And I was just never very successful at doing that. So yeah, just really, I'll be happier if I can just embrace who I was created to be. And that's a good thing.
Scott Anthony Barlow 10:24
That is so cool. And I feel like eventually get to have that mental switch that you're talking about where they flip over and start thinking about what they do or who they are, or some of the things that they offer as a positive and start going with the grain rather than against the grain. That's why the easiest way to describe it. But that is something that we, in a variety of different ways, it doesn't always happen the same way. It's not watching the Emily Wapnick video, necessarily, or whatever else it might be but that is our personal goal is to have everybody have that moment.
Sarah Hawkins 10:55
Right. And I think you guys provide so many different ways to make that happen, or to at least facilitate that happening. I do think it does take somebody willing to do the inner reflection and the work. And it's not something where you're just going to sign up, and then somebody from Happen To Your Career is going to tell you what your perfect job is. And you know what I'm saying, it's not something that you guys necessarily provide as much as you guys facilitate. And so the person that is wanting the answers needs to do the work to figure it out. And it's a lot of self reflection, it's a lot of self honesty, it's a lot of looking at things the way you may be having in the past, and being willing to be open to what is your inner self really truly saying to you, and not just what you hear everybody else saying it should be. And I just think that's an important component. And I think you guys are really good at facilitating that.
Scott Anthony Barlow 12:03
What caused you to want to make this last, most recent change?
Sarah Hawkins 12:08
Well, I have had some really horrendous health problems. It's been the last 20 years but the last 10 to 12 have been exceptionally difficult, resulting in me needing to leave the workforce because I couldn't walk anymore and it was in tons of pain and bedridden for at least a year, probably closer to two. And it was a really bad, I mean pretty much praying to die kind of scenario. And so I had eventually come to the realization that I will never work again, you know, I can't even walk and I'm in so much pain. It's not like a wheelchair would help, I thought about that. And so, my husband had his own business. And so miraculously, I found a solution to my health problems. And it's a long recovery process but I've already made so many leaps and bounds back to life that I felt being called to go back to work. And so I had been helping my husband probably the last year or two in his business, but it's not anything I'm really interested in, it was just a way to help contribute to the family. But I was kind of at a place where it's time to go back to work, out of the house, which was very scary, because I had to leave under the conditions of, I can't physically do this anymore, which was really hard for me, because I always take a lot of pride in my ability to pretty much handle what anybody needs to have to gradually be saying, "No, I can't do that. I can't do that. I can't do that" until eventually, I had to come home and lay in bed all day, for a year or two, was a really, really difficult thing mentally for me and emotionally. And so it was extremely daunting to try to think about trying to get back into the workforce but it also gave me an opportunity to think about what do I want to do, because I kind of had this unique time where I'm not needing to report to another job, really, I mean, I'm working with my husband but there's a lot of flexibility in that. And so I had the opportunity to really just kind of try to figure it out because when I started trying to look for a job, gosh, it was so disheartening, it was just so hard to get your resume in anywhere. And my resume I knew was too vague, but it was because I didn't know what I wanted to do. And so I just threw everything I've ever done on there, to see if it appealed to somebody that could then approach me with an opportunity that maybe I would want, you know, because I didn't know what I wanted. And so it was really hard to tailor a resume. And so I started looking around trying to find services that could help me figure out what I wanted to do. And you know, I was reading all these articles on LinkedIn, and Glassdoor and everywhere else just trying to figure out, what do I ever want to do? You know, because the idea of going back to just being an admin was just so, I just didn't want to do it. It was just like, I told my husband, "I know I need to, I just don't want to at all" you know, and it's that's not any way you want to start a new job, just something that you just are doing just to make ends meet, and you don't want to do it. So that's kind of what started me on the path of finding you guys was I was searching, you know, I'd contacted a few resume writer people and just said, "I'm looking for somebody that can help me figure out what it is that I shouldn't be doing. I'm capable of doing a lot, but I just don't know what the right thing is. And I need help." And most of them were like, "Oh, well, once you know what you want to do, we can help you tailor your resume." So I was kind of stuck. I didn't know where to turn, which was why it was so awesome when I found you guys, because I was like, "Oh, this is what I need. I know this is what I need. And I don't know how they're going to get me there. But I believe that they will." And so that's kind of what prompted the career change was getting back into the market after being out. I think I've been gone for four years from outside employment. And you know, prior to that I was seriously struggling. So work in general has a kind of a painful connotation for me.
Scott Anthony Barlow 16:18
I didn't realize the whole story. That is... it's amazing, actually.
Sarah Hawkins 16:21
It was definitely daunting, definitely scary. That's what I would tell everybody when they're like, "you're looking for a job" and I'm like, "yeah, I'm terrified. But I feel like this is what I'm supposed to be doing. So I'm gonna do it and just trust that it's gonna work out." So that's kind of how I got here.
Scott Anthony Barlow 16:37
When you got into the bootcamp then, you started going through and really trying to figure out what it was that you wanted to be doing. What was the hardest part of that process?
Sarah Hawkins 16:45
I think I still had some limitations in my mind just because of my physical issues that are on their way to being better, but aren't quite better yet. So I knew I was capable of certain things but I wasn't necessarily confident in my ability to do what maybe I felt like I really wanted to do. So I did the work of going through to figure out my strengths, which was awesome. But it was hard. There was a lot of times that when I first looked at one of the tasks, I would just go "oh, I don't know" you know, I don't know. And so I really had to dig deep I guess, and really just sit with it for a while and think about it. And when I was going to the grocery store, thinking about it, when I was working thinking about it, so that I could kind of really force myself to answer the question as if I was in like a classroom or something and the teacher was waiting for an answer. I've got to come up with something. And so I would start and then before I know it, their thing would be full or it would be multiple pages, you know, where I was like, "oh, wow, I had a lot more in there than I thought" I think you had to stopped when you're as unhealthy as I was, and as sick as I was, you stop dreaming, number one, and you stop hoping for your future, number two. So for a really long time, I have stopped dreaming about a future or dreaming about what I wanted to do, or even just like traveling or anything like that, you just can't allow yourself to go there. Because where you are, you just feel like that will never happen. So it's just disappointment in store if you dream, so you just kind of shut it off. And so it was a really hard thing for me to start it up again, and start thinking about like, "Okay, if I could do anything, what would it be?" Because that's not been an option for me, and probably 20 plus years, if I could do anything, because in my mind, I'm like, "Well, I can't do anything." So I have to temper it with what I'm physically able to do. And so that was really hard for me, I think, kind of getting out of that mindset of, there's a lot of limitations on me. And realizing that okay, not as many as there used to be and it won't always be this way anymore. You know, my kind of getting my hope back for my future.
Scott Anthony Barlow 18:58
That's a massive, like most people it takes like 15 years sometimes to go through that type of mindset shift, I'm going to call it, for lack of a better phrase right now.
Sarah Hawkins 19:07
Scott Anthony Barlow 19:08
Sarah Hawkins 19:09
Yeah, it was for me. I mean, it really made a big difference. And I really learned a lot about myself in terms of, I always knew I wanted to help people like that was something I knew was always something I liked. But it wasn't until I really looked down at all my jobs, and all my projects, and all that kind of stuff, where we have to write down what was kind of the thing I loved about each of those, that I saw the theme. Wow, I really like helping people. It's really important to me, because that's the thing I loved about everything I've ever done, but I didn't ever really make that connection before. And so for me, my dream was always back when I was healthier, but my dream was always that when I retire, I would love to go do disaster relief, like hands on helping people at their worst time. But that's a very physical thing. And so I had kind of written that off as well, uh, well. And so I think when I was talking to Lisa, who's one of the bootcamp coaches, I had called her because it was the time to figure out what kind of companies you wanted to approach. And I had no clue. So I knew what my strengths were now, which was great, but I still had no clue what I wanted, or what would be a good fit for me. And I mean, I had like pages of possible careers that I was like, I don't know, I mean, maybe this would work, maybe this would work, you know. And so I think she called it my runaway train of a mind of just being like, well, there's this, I mean, they were all over the place. Part of that multipotentialite thing, you know, where it was just like, well, I could be a writer, or I could be a logistics operator, or, you know, it was just like all over the place. And so she kind of helped me zero. And I actually said out loud, which I didn't expect, but I said, "well, my dream job would be disaster relief, or something like that with nonprofit." And she was like, "Okay, hold on. Then why are you looking at all these other things?" And I said, "Well, I can't do that. I can't do disaster relief, I'm physically not able." But then she kind of helped me steer me in the right direction of, "okay, but then there's other things you can get into, that can still fulfill that part of you, maybe in the nonprofit world that you can be making a really big positive difference in people's lives, that isn't as physical, maybe look in those areas." And so that's what I did. That's how I got this job, you know, I've never even really considered nonprofit before, it just was never even anything in my radar.
Scott Anthony Barlow 21:31
Super, super cool. And one of the things that I know behind the scenes too, is that not only did you go through the interview process and going from deciding that, “Hey, nonprofit, for me, could be an option.” But then you ended up getting the job and negotiating for the first time, is what I understood. Is that right?
Sarah Hawkins 21:52
Yes, I've never ever in my life negotiated a salary, a position, anything, I was always of the mind, which part of it and I don't necessarily know where it comes from other than maybe my health problems. I mean, those started probably in fourth grade. And I had a hip replacement in my freshman year of college. And so there's just been a lot of things that just, I think kind of whittled away my competence. And so generally when I would get a job, I was just so grateful that they picked me, that I didn't want to rock the boat. I didn't want to look ungrateful, I didn't want to look greedy. I mean, a lot of the things that are typical, but I just never, ever would dream of negotiating. And so you guys kind of gave me the confidence that it's okay and you can go about it the right way, that there aren't bad feelings, and I definitely stressed about it ahead of time, but I did it because I felt like I needed to push myself in that way and try. And if it didn't work out, then that probably wasn't the organization for me anyway. And so I did, and they were very receptive and did what they could. And we ended up kind of restructuring the job title. And...
Scott Anthony Barlow 23:03
They really manage it well.
Sarah Hawkins 23:05
Yes, that was the job.
Scott Anthony Barlow 23:07
You are a manager but we're tweaking some stuff so that you can set it up, so that you can get increase a little bit later on, right?
Sarah Hawkins 23:16
Yeah. So the job I was interviewing for was operations manager. And so when the salary came in low, I came back and just said, "Well, this is what I was hoping for" I, you know, kind of did your script and said, you know, "what can we do to bring this up, you know, to get closer to what I'm, you know, looking for?" And so they said, "Well, honestly, not much." And there was a variety of reasons for that. But they said, "Well, let us talk about it and see what we can do." And so they called me back and said, "Well, you know, they bumped it up slightly, this opening salary" but then they said, "what we would do is actually demote your title." At first, you're kind of like, "ah, what?"
Scott Anthony Barlow 23:50
Wait, hold on. No, no.
Sarah Hawkins 23:52
Like, "I'm sorry." Negotiated. But they said, "we'll demote your title. And then in a year, that opens you up, puts you on a path that you can then get a promotion to operations manager" which they would be able to give me a larger bump in salary with a promotion, than they would be able to do within the same role as like either a starting salary or a raise.
Scott Anthony Barlow 24:16
Based on their infrastructure and their board of directors and everything else like that. Hey, by the way, when you quick piece of advice, because I know from doing this a lot that based on how you've gone into it, you might even be able to do that earlier than a year, when you get a chance, go back into the career change bootcamp, go login and search for one of the bonuses that comes with it, which is get a raise guide, and it'll guide you through the process, potentially even do that earlier. Or go outside of the boundaries for what the "policies" or pay bounds or everything else like that is too. So small tidbit.
Sarah Hawkins 24:55
Yeah. Thank you. That'd be great.
Scott Anthony Barlow 24:57
Sarah Hawkins 24:58
That worked out. I'm happy. I felt like they were willing to work with me. And they're excited about having me come on board. And that was a scary thing for me too but I was thinking, well, “I don't know, if I just barely edged out someone else. I mean, I have no idea. And then if I'm being difficult, are they gonna then just go with their number two?” And so that was something that was really difficult, really hard for me to just kind of trust that I can handle this, and I can do it in such a way that I don't appear difficult. And...
Scott Anthony Barlow 25:27
A roller coaster that you end up going through the end, you're like, "Yes, I want this job, cuz it's awesome. I don't want it to go away. Like what if I... what if they're gonna...?" Yeah.
Sarah Hawkins 25:37
When I talked to Lisa, on our negotiation call, she was like, "so how are you feeling?" And I said, "honestly, I just, I had really hoped that there would just be one piece of this that wasn't so hard." You know, I didn't have to sit there and negotiate or I didn't have to, you know, because it was just something I really didn't want to do. So it was just kind of it really took the excitement of the roll out of it for me that I was going to have to negotiate, you know, because I was like, hey, I got an offer. But then I was like, oh, they're gonna make me negotiate. I was like, you know, it was really, a roller coaster is a perfect way to put it. I was happy, and then I was devastated, and that I was scared. And I mean, it was just all over the place. But I put my...
Scott Anthony Barlow 26:14
But you've just done it.
Sarah Hawkins 26:16
Yeah. Anyway... So...
Scott Anthony Barlow 26:18
That is so...
Sarah Hawkins 26:19
And now I've done it. So next time, it won't be so scary.
Scott Anthony Barlow 26:22
Exactly. Now you can do it for the whole rest of your life, as it turns. Hey, congratulations, again, by the way, like that is just super, super cool. I knew part of the story but I don't know the whole thing. And that is just what you've done is, actually a lot of the things that you've done, are things that most people won't do over their entire life. So I think that's something to be proud of, personally.
Sarah Hawkins 26:43
Scott Anthony Barlow 26:44
Yeah, well, I just got to say thank you so much for letting us play a small part in it, and for letting us push you a little bit. And clearly, it's turned out really, really well for you. And thanks for making the time to be able to come on and share your story with other people too, because I think that there's so much that other people will take from this and our listeners, because they're facing those same types of problems, the same exact things that you have. So it just means a lot. I appreciate it.
Sarah Hawkins 27:11
Oh, thank you so much for having me. I was happy to do it.
Scott Anthony Barlow 27:13
If you've listened to the show for any length of time, you know we spend a fair amount of time talking about signature strengths. But figuring out your signature strengths can actually be really difficult if you try and do it by yourself. Small secret, but maybe isn't really a secret, is that sometimes, a lot of times, your signature strengths aren't always obvious to you. This is because to you, it's just what you do. It's what you're able to do. It's what comes easy to you, you're embedded in it. And you think that because it's easy for you, it just isn't a big deal for everyone else. For example, you know, think of that time that you got praise from boss or coworker for all the work that you did on a particular project and you shrugged it off as "no big deal". It's probably happened a lot. What you saw, as normal, others could see as a special set of talents. This is just a clue, just a set of clues to begin figuring out your signature strikes. 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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