HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU THOUGHT TO YOURSELF WHILE SITTING AT YOUR DESK, “IS THIS REALLY IT?”
Maybe you really enjoyed your job when you started…four years ago. But now, you stroll into work each morning disengaged and hopeless. You wonder if there’s anything else out there that will make you feel as excited as you were in the beginning.
If you’re nodding your head in agreement to the scenario above–trust me, you’re not alone. In my observation (from HR days) about 50% of people go through this exact cycle during their first, or second or even third jobs.
Because, when we’re in college and told to choose a major, we go with what we’re good at. If we like math, we choose to major in statistics or engineering. If our parents were doctors, we might go on the pre-med track. There isn’t much self-reflection or foresight that goes into selecting the path that launches our career. Especially not our dream career.
Which is why most of the time, we end up on this career cycle: excited-learning stops-feels stuck.
We end up in careers that either: (a) aren’t a good fit, or (b) don’t have a continuous learning loop.
And, then–most importantly–we don’t know how to fix it when we hit the “feeling stuck” phase. We scroll through job descriptions online, and mope to friends about how bored/unhappy/sad we are about our careers.
LAURA’S STORY: FROM FOUR PROMOTIONS TO FAKE SMILES
Laura, one of our rockstar Career Change Bootcamp Graduates and HTYC Podcast guest this week, experienced a similar career trajectory before she landed her dream career just a few weeks ago.
Growing up, Laura always knew that she was good at math. Coming from a family of engineers, she decided to follow a similar path. After college graduation, she was unsure about what she wanted her career path to be–like many early 20-somethings. So, she became an engineering consultant.
But, Laura always knew something wasn’t quite right.
A few years after she started her career, Laura went back to school again and got her Masters Degree with the sole intention of finding a career that fit her values. And, she did. She landed an awesome job as an environmental sustainability consultant at an innovative company.
For a while, it seems like she had it made.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF PRETENDING TO BE PASSIONATE AT WORK?
For me if I’m not learning I’m not engaged. I work with a lot of people who are passionate and I almost found myself having to pretend to be passionate when I wasn’t really feeling it, which was hard on me.
Fast forward eight and a half years later, and Laura found herself pasting on a fake smile each day, forcing herself to act excited about her work. She didn’t want to let down her direct reports (now 10 of them!), but her constant need to “fake happiness” was taking a toll on the rest of her life.
It took Laura three years (three whole years!) to finally come to terms with the fact that she needed to leave her job.
And, do you know why Laura sacrificed her happiness each day staying in a job she knew she didn’t like?
Because, she felt stuck.
Even though Laura had a stellar resume and an extremely strong work ethic, she felt like she wasn’t smart or experienced enough to find a new role. On the podcast, Laura talks about the toll that “pretending to be passionate” at work had on her confidence levels.
When you are in a spot where you are unhappy and have been for awhile you lose some of your confidence of everything you’ve accomplished. From the outside someone looking at my resume would be impressed but I hated it. I wasn’t proud of anything I’d been doing because I wasn’t happy doing it.
Because, Laura’s mind kept convincing her that she wasn’t good enough; that she was going to stay in this job forever. Not only does it drain your energy to “pretend to be passionate” at work, but it actually tricks the mind into thinking that you’re not good enough for another role.
It made Laura ask that ill-fated question: “Is this really all that I have to look forward to in a career?”
GETTING YOUR CAREER CONFIDENCE STARTS WITH A LOT OF SELF-REFLECTION
When Laura first found us at Happen to Your Career, she had already taken action to start looking outside of herself for a new job by going to a career coach. Coincidentally, on her walk home from that session she found our podcast, and “binge-listened for about a week!”
At that time, Laura realized that she didn’t need to go through this process alone.
The thing that stuck was it was the first time I heard there were tools and processes to help me figure this out. I didn’t have to just look at job postings but I could do other types of work to think about what I wanted to do next.
That was in May of 2017. Seven months later, and she found her dream career!
Woah–not so fast though. Laura went through a lot of self-reflection, and dug deep to understand what that next step should be. During this process, Laura also began to get feedback, and collect “mini-wins” from her coaches, her friends, and many others to help rebuilt her identity.
At the beginning of her coaching sessions, Laura wasn’t exactly sure what she wanted to do in her next role. But, as she began to complete her self-assessment projects, she couldn’t contain her excitement. Laura couldn’t stop talking about how much fun she had completing these self-assessments (her husband might have gotten a crash course or two!). She kept this idea in the back of her mind, but still had a lot of searching to do.
Interestingly, Laura already knew what kind of culture she wanted in a company. She loved having the flexibility of wearing jeans and working from home when she wanted to. Even more importantly, she knew that the office should have a ping-pong table in it–for what it represented about the office culture.
But, from her experience in her last job Laura knew that a cultural-fit wasn’t enough. She had to find the right role, not just the right people.
That’s where she kept getting stuck. She felt naive about all the types of jobs that were out there.
FINDING THE RIGHT NEXT STEP IS NOT A CHECK-THE-BOX EXERCISE
One of the first things Laura did to understand all the job opportunities she could have was to hold informational interviews.
She scheduled dozens of interviews with people in and out of her network–which was a growing experience in itself. Laura admits that this was one of the most challenging, but rewarding, parts of her coaching experience. She’s not necessarily a self-proclaimed extrovert. But hey, why not?
Laura met with tons of people who helped her understand what she did, and didn’t want in a role. Some of those conversations could have opened the door to a job. But, while it was tempting, Laura said no when she didn’t feel it was exactly right.
Until finally one day–she found it.
TO SECURE THAT DREAM JOB, YOU HAVE TO BE AUTHENTICALLY YOU
Laura learned quickly that she loves to prepare. For her informal interviews alone, she would do research and write prep questions for almost two hours each time!
But, when she finally found the perfect job opportunity, she realized that she just had to be herself.
With the help of her career coach, Lisa Lewis, Laura practiced some mock interviews and found that her answers sounded good on paper, but “boring” during the actual interview. So, she stopped preparing as intensely as she might have, and got herself in the zone.
It’s less important that you know how to answer a million behavior questions but get yourself in a headspace to be yourself and be confident in those conversations.
Laura ended up securing her dream job. But, not only that–she has completely transformed her mindset from disengaged and hopeless to optimistic and confident. Laura is thriving in her career, as a new mom, and constantly achieving new goals (heck yes, Yosemite!).
Most importantly, Laura’s realized that she didn’t have to go through this process alone. Here’s her last piece of advice for anyone else who might be in her shoes from a few months ago:
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 00:03
It took me a few months to look for outside help. And that was the thing that I needed. I think, particularly as someone who has been successful, it's hard to admit to myself, it was hard for me to say I couldn't do it by myself. You know, I'm smart person, I should be able to figure this out. But it completely turned around my approach to finding a new job.
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 00:48
This is Scott Anthony Barlow, and you are listening to Happen To Your Career, the show that helps you figure out what work fits you by exploring other stories. Now we can bring out all kinds of experts like Kathy Fettke, who helps people create space for themselves and make passive income, or people that have pretty amazing stories like Jenny, who went through our CCB program, and let go of other people's expectations to reframe her career search for a job she wanted. These are people that are just like you, only they've gone from where they are, to what they really want to be doing. And today, we get to talk to Laura Morrison, another person who was an alumni of our Career Change Bootcamp program, and take a listen to what she does right now.
Laura Morrison 01:37
Yeah, so I'm really excited on Monday, actually. I'm starting a new role in Product Management at a company called the Predictive Index. And they do behavioral assessments with the goal of hiring the right people, and in their words, inspiring them to greatness. And what I'm really excited about that is, you know, someone like myself, who wasn't engaged as an employee, means I understand that pain. And so what I'm going to be doing now is actually helping people and companies inspire their employees through different tools and understanding more about the people. And that's really exciting for me.
Scott Anthony Barlow 02:15
As you listen to this conversation with Laura, you're gonna find that we get pretty deep into how you can find your strengths, how you can learn about new career opportunities, and even options for your career, and even build relationships so that you can land, not just a job, not just even your dream job, but really a job that truly fits at a company that you're excited about. And I think you're gonna love that. Also, see how you getting outside help can often lead to your aha moments or your big breakthroughs and what that actually takes. And then you can learn that, as it turns out, you're not alone in your career change process, and how you can take some next steps there. All of these fundamentals that you can learn about yourself, and what you want in your life can not only help you land that next job and the role that actually fits, but also help you make pretty large changes for yourself, your family, and every everyone in your life in the future. It's pretty cool. So take a listen for all that plus more. You're also going to hear about a different way that you probably have heard of to approach the interview process that is much more genuine, than all of those, all the things that you think you're supposed to do in an interview, you'll see what I mean, as you listen.
Laura Morrison 03:33
I think this is a struggle for a lot of people. But you know, in high school, you have to figure out what you're going to major in, in college. And you don't really understand what any of that means. And so, for me, I was good at math, and I had some engineers in the family. So I went into engineering. And I did fine, but it always felt a little off to me and I couldn't quite figure out why. And I couldn't figure out what else I should be doing. So I stuck with it. And so I had, you know, college degree, master's degree, a few years in the work world in engineering consulting. And the whole time never really felt like it was a good fit for me. And so, you know, my first career pivot was actually into sustainability consulting. After a few years working, I went back to grad school with the goal of pivoting, and I landed myself at a really great company that I was at for eight and a half years. And I was excited about it, because sustainability is forward looking. So it was a startup feel company, which I was looking for. And I had a lot of freedom to grow really quickly. And so for a while, that felt like a good fit, and it felt like something I could be passionate about. And then over time, it just wasn't anymore. But again, I was in the same position that I had had kind of in college and beyond where I didn't know what else to do. And so I just kind of stuck with it kind of only half thinking about what else I could be doing.
Scott Anthony Barlow 05:06
So I'm super curious about, first of all, what do you feel like changed? Because I mean, you were excited about at one point.
Laura Morrison 05:15
Yeah. I think in the beginning, a new challenge is always exciting. And then I think, in that eight and a half years, I have four different roles. And the new challenges and the new role were exciting. But the length of excitement I had from just learning something new kept getting shorter and shorter. So I think that's one thing that changed. And then by the end, I didn't actually feel like I was learning that much anymore. And for me, that if I'm not learning, I'm not engaged. And I work with a lot of people who are really passionate, and I almost found myself having to pretend to be passionate, when I wasn't really feeling it. So that was pretty hard on me.
Scott Anthony Barlow 06:00
That's interesting. What was that, like? Clearly, it was difficult, but feeling like you had to pretend to be passionate.
Laura Morrison 06:12
Yeah, it was tough. You know, by the end of this past role, I had 10 people reporting to me, a lot of them were early in their career. And I wanted to do a good job of inspiring them. But because I wasn't inspired myself, it made me feel like I was being inauthentic to kind of hide the part of myself that wasn't engaged, that wasn't super passionate about our work anymore. And so it just, it basically zapped all my energy, where I would kind of put on this kind of extroverted, fake smile at work every day, and then come home and be unhappy.
Scott Anthony Barlow 06:54
Do you remember when you started to realize that?
Laura Morrison 06:58
Oh, I hate to admit this, but it was probably three years ago. And, you know, at the time, our company was going through some management changes. And, you know, there are other life things going on, you know, I was trying to start a family. And all that combined was just exhausting. And so I think I knew that it wasn't a good fit. And I've known that for a long time. But again, without knowing what to do next, or even how to think about what to do next, I just felt really stuck.
Scott Anthony Barlow 07:30
That is... I think that is one of the biggest problems that many people have, especially high achieving people that had gotten into a role similar to you where they were excited about at one point, and they have lots of responsibilities. And you know, something's changed along the way. But you don't necessarily know what to do next. What were some of the things that you considered or tried? Because you've been thinking about this for years. About making a change and doing something, but it sounds like kept coming back to that point, where not entirely sure what to do next. So what were some of the things that you considered or thought about or tried along the way?
Laura Morrison 08:18
Yeah, you know, it's, a lot of it was staying within the sustainability field. It took me probably a couple years of passive looking and talking to people to figure out that there weren't roles in that field that I was interested in. So I looked at, you know, what does it mean to do my role, but not as a consultant, but embedded within a product organization, for instance. And I talked to, you know, I would go to sustainability, networking events and talk to people in those roles, and I just wasn't getting the excitement. I think it excited me for a little bit. And then a lot of the reason that didn't work is a lot of those kind of product manufacturing companies aren't based in Boston, and I wanted to be in Boston, so it kind of took a lot opportunity off the table. And I guess the other thing I tried to do is look internally. So at my own company, we do sell, or my old company, I guess, we do sell software. And I talked to a bunch of people for a couple years about product management in the software that we sell. So that's basically the role I'm taking in a new company, but I was talking about doing it at my old company. And, you know, the team, the software team was in Germany, so and it was also having a lot of trouble. So it just never really worked out. You know, I talked about doing more marketing at my old company, and again, the marketing team was having some struggles. So it wasn't, it really wasn't gonna work out. I think maybe if I had stayed another year, I could have pivoted in my existing organization into one of those roles. But, you know, at that point I was ready to actually just kind of make the jump and leave the company.
Scott Anthony Barlow 10:07
What made you feel ready to be able to make the jump? And what actually took place? Was it just the combination of all those conversations and realizing, "hey, it's not gonna happen here."? Or was it something else? What made you feel like, "hey, at that point, I was just ready to leave."
Laura Morrison 10:26
You know, I think what... I think I knew I was ready to leave for a long time. But what actually made me take the steps to leave is a little bit different. And so, you know, I was on maternity leave for seven, eight months or so. And I met a lot of working moms as part of that, and had a lot of career conversations with them. And one of them recommended to me a career coach who was based in Boston, who's an older woman who'd been working at Radcliffe for, you know, years and years, and had her own private practice. And I actually finally decided to kind of invest in career coaching. And so I had one session with this woman, and I had like a mile and a half walk home. And the thing that really stuck with me is that it was the first time I'd ever heard that there were tools and processes to help me figure this out, that I didn't have to just think about it and look at job postings, but that I could do other types of work to think about what I wanted to do next. And she said something to me about, I can't recommend a book for you, it's very personal. But find a book you want to read about career change. And that's your first bit of homework. And my reaction was, I don't like reading, really. But I love podcasts. And I had this mile and a half walk home where I was really excited. And I found your podcast. And so I listened to it on my way home. And then I kind of binge listened to it for a week, which I think the point where we talked for the first time, and all of a sudden I heard all these stories and tools about things that I could do that didn't... it was okay that I didn't know what I wanted to do. I could still take steps to figure out what I could do next.
Scott Anthony Barlow 12:07
That is interesting. You know, I didn't actually realize that's how it happened. That is fantastic. And now, not that long later, you're on the podcast. And...
Laura Morrison 12:18
Yeah, one of my personal goals.
Scott Anthony Barlow 12:21
Yeah, check. Before we hit record you were talking about, you built this list of national parks that you wanted to go see, and you just basically went to Yosemite. So now you've got several things checked off the list. Way to go.
Laura Morrison 12:36
It's awesome. Thank you. Feels good.
Scott Anthony Barlow 12:39
Absolutely. So I have so many questions, because I think that there's so much for other people to learn too, that are in that same space or have been in that same space where they aren't sure what to do and want to know what to do next. And you were kind enough to bring us along for the ride and allow us to sit co-pilot on this journey. And it's been a bit of whirlwind. How long did it take from when you found the podcast to accepting a job offer?
Laura Morrison 13:11
Oh, boy. Okay. I think it was probably April or May that we first talked and I accepted a job offer about a month ago. So whatever that math is...
Scott Anthony Barlow 13:25
I was trying to do the calendar math, too. Is it about...
Laura Morrison 13:30
Six to nine months probably, right?
Scott Anthony Barlow 13:32
Yeah. Right in seven-ish months someplace. And what... you started listening to the podcast, had this realization that hey, there are things that I can do. And then you talked to us, and you ended up joining career change boot camp, and we started getting the opportunity to be able to help you along the way. That was just the beginning. I am curious in going through this process, what were some of the apprehensions that you had, as you said about growing and figuring out, "Hey, here's what I might want to do. And then ultimately, moving through each step."
Laura Morrison 14:23
Yeah, I think, I mean, the biggest apprehension, I think, is that what you don't realize is when you're in a spot, where you're unhappy, and you've been unhappy for a while, you lose some of your confidence about everything that you've accomplished. So, you know, from the outside, someone looking at my resume would be impressed. But I was looking at it, and I hated it. Right? I wasn't proud of anything that I had been doing, because I wasn't happy doing it. And that didn't mean I didn't understand that it, there were some impressive things on there. It just didn't feel like me. And it didn't feel impressive to me, because I didn't enjoy the process of doing it. And so I think a lot of that lack of confidence is like tied into kind of the anxiety of trying to figure it out. Right? What if there is nothing for me? What if I'm always unhappy at a job? And I think there is this whole mentality out there that that's normal to kind of be unhappy in your job. And I was trying to get to the point where I was maybe resigned to that being the case. I also think, you know, in the process, I had my daughter and I took a lot of time off. And that will, you know, maybe I want to be a stay at home mom. And I quickly realized that, kudos to everyone who does, but it's not for me, I need a lot more adult conversation, a lot more intellectual stimulation from my work. And so that was like another kind of thing I explored, I guess, job I explored, that wasn't the right fit. But there's a lot of emotion tied into all of that, right? It's not just, unfortunately, it's not just the check the box exercise...
Scott Anthony Barlow 16:10
It would be so much easier for well, as it works out.
Laura Morrison 16:12
It's so much easier. Yeah.
Scott Anthony Barlow 16:15
We probably wouldn't have this podcast if it was as simple as that.
Laura Morrison 16:18
That's right. So that was a big apprehension for me. Going through the course, you know, the first few weeks are a lot about self reflection. And I love that. And actually, part of the funny story about my new job is that as I was doing strengthsfinder, in Career Change Bootcamp, I was kind of talking my husband's ear off about how I loved behavioral assessments and how I wish I could talk about them all day. And, man, I wish that was a job. And then you know, a few months later, I found basically that job, which is pretty awesome. But then, you know, you get into the part where you really have to be vulnerable. And you have to kind of go and talk to people and try to meet new people. And there was definitely a lot of apprehension around that as well.
Scott Anthony Barlow 17:04
So it's, first of all, I love and I've heard variations of that story so many times, and it just makes me so happy that we get to be a part of any of those stories where in this case, you, at one point, were talking your husband's ear off about, "Hey, I just love this self assessment type thing. And it would be super cool if I could do something like this and be able to be immersed in this world all day." And then now you're going to be and absolutely love that. And I'm so proud of you for going from that end to the completely opposite end. Because that's not an easy thing to do as we're going to talk about. That said, what was most difficult as you started flipping from the internal and reflection side, which is often the way that we'll work with our students and clients, we will go through those internal side and really get the best hypothesis of what's going to be great for you. But then at some point you have to flip into, okay, how does this match up with the rest of the world? As you were going through that section, what was hardest for you?
Laura Morrison 18:25
You know, I think I had this idea of the company culture I wanted, right? I'm a casual person. I like wearing jeans to work. I like flexible hours and you know, wanted a ping pong table in my office, which is just kind of a funny indication of the type of culture I was looking for, right. And... but I didn't know what work I wanted to do, right? So it's great to have a good company culture and I had that before, but it's not enough because I wanted to work that was actually exciting to me as well. So that was the hardest part is to think about the work, but also as you and Lisa would keep pointing out as, figure out the work later, like you just have to start somewhere, start talking to people, start learning about what other people do. And I think for me a huge mental barrier, as well is that I felt really naive about what type of jobs are out there. And I felt insecure about how little I knew about what other job opportunities were out there. And so the process of having to talk to people about what they do and what it actually means, as well as continuing to listen to the podcasts where people were sharing stories about the work they do. That step in itself just really helped me understand what opportunities there were, even though some of them I dismissed pretty quickly. Yeah. Does that answer your question?
Scott Anthony Barlow 19:50
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that's a common thing. And I've heard that quite a bit of feeling naive about what types of jobs are out there. And I think that, I don't think anybody knows all the types of jobs that are out there. We've got exposure to a whole bunch of them just because of the nature of the type of work that we do. But...
Laura Morrison 20:15
I've got to say, Scott, maybe you know all the jobs that are out there.
Scott Anthony Barlow 20:18
Not all the jobs but...
Laura Morrison 20:19
Scott Anthony Barlow 20:22
No, it would be... that even might be easier if we did to help people in that way. But if only there was a list, that's another thing. If only there was a list, I could just go through and pick and it isn't that easy, because even if we knew all the types of jobs, there's still other elements and other variables that come into play. And it becomes this somewhat complex problem of picking out the variables that are most useful and relatable and relevant to you and how you work. And I'm curious, what was it about this process of going and talking to people because from getting to know you just a little bit through the program and having chatted a couple of times, and having had the pleasure of helping you negotiate. It seems like you benefit a lot from conversation.
Laura Morrison 21:16
Yeah, I do. Yeah, I think, you know, one of the, I'll go back to that kind of first session I had with this woman who's local to Boston, this career coach, and her approach was a bit different than yours. And I didn't love it, because she wanted me to read a book about each career option, which as I mentioned, not the best way for me to learn, it also is a big time commitment. And she wanted me to do that before I talked to anyone, because I, you know, when you talk to people, you're taking up some of their time, and you want to be knowledgeable about what you're asking. So that didn't feel great for me, of course, I could have done it. But I wasn't excited about it. But I know that I learn best by talking to people. And the opportunity to talk to all these people in different roles, added a ton of value to me, I think, one I got to see a little bit about company culture, depending on if people were willing to talk to me or not, which is kind of a funny thing. And I also will, now always talk to someone who's looking and wants to talk to me, right?
Scott Anthony Barlow 22:25
It changes that perspective, doesn't it?
Laura Morrison 22:26
It does. Yeah, and I was actually hiring someone as I was looking to be hired right in my current role. And so it put a different lens on it. But, you know, I think I was really nervous about talking to people about making sure that I had something intelligent to say or had good questions to ask. So I did a lot of preparation, which is kind of my style to over prepare, when I'm anxious about something. So...
Scott Anthony Barlow 22:53
What type of preparation would you do or you're gonna...
Laura Morrison 22:55
Yeah, well, I'd looked at their LinkedIn profile. And I would come up with a list of questions that I wanted to talk to them about. And for people who don't know, I mean, the idea is like a 15 minute phone call, which is really not a lot of questions. But I would have probably 10 for every person I talked to, and I would try to make them personal. And I would try to make sure I knew where they went to school, what common interests we had, anything like that, that could help me relate to them. Because while I really like working with people, I have trouble with that kind of first introduction part. I get really nervous, like walking into a room and introducing myself to someone new. But if someone introduced me to that person, I'm very comfortable. So there's this kind of hurdle that I needed to get over to be able to have all those conversations where I could ask these questions. And I literally would ask questions, and sometimes they would ask about me or ask how they could help me. But most of the time, they just told me about what they did, day to day, and I think I talked to probably 20 to 25 people. And that's a lot. That's a lot of kind of time and hours to learn about what other people do. And it made me feel less naive, right, about what all the opportunities are, it made me feel much more empowered to make a decision about different types of roles that could be a good fit for me.
Scott Anthony Barlow 24:20
What were some of the things that you learned through that portion of the process?
Laura Morrison 24:25
Yeah, I think I learned that, for me, that my network and using people I actually knew to get connected was really helpful, that the cold calling part was hard for me. And I would, so what I would do during these conversations is I would take notes, and then I would go back and read through them and highlight, kind of, the pieces that resonated with me. And one of the questions that I really liked asking was kind of, what makes you great at your job. And then when I would hear people say, things that I'm interested in, you know, can relate to people, kind of ability to make decisions quickly, without all the information. Yeah, just kind of a list of things that resonated with me, or that I was excited about and kind of highlight those. And then I would see that, you know, the product management role actually could be a really good fit for me, because all of these people are saying things that I'm good at. And that I enjoy doing, which is also, I think, something I learned through the process. Maybe not through those phone calls, specifically, but through the whole Career Change Bootcamp, is that there's a big difference between things you're good at and things you enjoy. Sometimes they're the same, but they're not always the same.
Scott Anthony Barlow 25:46
Yes, very much. And we're absolutely encouraging people that center in and lean into those that happened to fall into both categories. And it sounds like... it was interesting for me, going back because you were working primarily with one of our coaches, Lisa Lewis, I would get tidbits, she would either send me an email, or you would cc me on something and get tidbits into what was going on in the different steps along the way. And I would say that it wasn't necessarily always an easy road for you.
Laura Morrison 26:31
Scott Anthony Barlow 26:32
I'm curious what you felt like were some of the most challenging parts. And I know, we chatted just a little bit before we hit the record button here. But I'm particularly curious about what you'd mentioned to me about going into a role. And getting out of that, because I think that that is real, that's human. And to some degree, we all do that sort of thing. So tell us about that and then what worked for you.
Laura Morrison 27:02
Yeah, you know, I think having a program that I was following was really important to me, because I needed the homework. And I needed to check the boxes as I went through the weeks. And where I spent the most time was in this test drive method, right, is having these phone calls. And so what would happen is I'd spend, you know, two to four hours, and I'd research all these people. And I'd get introduced, and I set up phone calls. And then all of a sudden, I'd have, you know, four phone calls in one week that I was trying to juggle with you know, naptime on Fridays, and work time Monday through Thursday. And I'd have like, get it all in and get... have the conversations that take the notes up great. I send follow up emails and follow up thank you notes. And then after doing four or five of those in a few weeks, between the scheduling and the talking and the follow up, I was just tired, right? And so like, okay, I did that. I know, I'm supposed to have three more phone calls this week. But I didn't have any lined up. I didn't even know who the next people that were going to be talking to were. And so I would often then kind of have a week or two where in the back of my head, I would know I would need to do that again. But maybe I would take a break and go on vacation. I'd say that I was too busy. Or sometimes I would do some of the other homework that I felt more comfortable in. Some of the internal stuff like going back to my signature strengths or even skipping ahead to look and think about my resume. And I think you know what got me to keep going back, I think one like I said is having this course where I knew I had other things I needed to do. Knowing that I was accountable to Lisa, my coach, but I think for the first time really being accountable to myself to get this done and a lot of it was just like, alright, I don't want to do this right now. But I'm going to suck it up. And I'm going to sit down. And I'm going to spend four hours on a Saturday working on this and moving forward. And then you get another flurry of phone calls and follow ups and scheduling. Right? And then it kind of happened in many cycles like that, I would say.
Scott Anthony Barlow 29:20
AAnd it kind of sounds like almost the flurry of phone calls and scheduling and everything that came along with it was almost the dose of motivation to keep going or to pull you back in to some degree. Am I reading that right? Or how did you feel about those? Because it sounds like you're...
Laura Morrison 29:40
Yeah, it's a little bit of both. I think a lot of it is, those conversations were really energizing for me. But I would still leave them being like, well, I still don't know where I'm going to work next. So I'm happy that I'm talking to all these people. I'm learning all these things, but I didn't see the end goal. And so I think I tend to be... push myself to be more extroverted than I am. And so I think there was an element of those conversations that was draining for me as well. So it's a little bit of both, but knowing that the conversations are good, made it easy to be like, okay, I took a week off, let's get some more on the calendar.
Scott Anthony Barlow 30:22
Very cool. And with those conversations, and initially, as you went into those conversations, you'd said, hey, I still don't know where this is going to end up leading. And clearly that was uncomfortable for you. And there is some of that discomfort type reality that when you're going through and trying to identify what is a great situation for you, and what is a great career opportunity for you, that there... sometimes it is hard to see that light at the end of the tunnel, no matter whether you have a system and whether, you know, we've had many other people go through it before. It's still when you're in the thick of it can be challenging. So what point did you start to see that light come back?
Laura Morrison 31:11
Yeah, it's interesting, because I, you know, there were a couple people I spoke with, and their companies were interesting, and they have job openings, and they were offering to help me get my resume in the door. And I kind of said no, right, I said, you know, I'm not sure this is the wrong fit. But I'm not sure it's the right fit yet. And I don't want to apply to something I'm not super excited about. So like, I need some time, I need to figure that out. And that was hard to do as well, because I wasn't particularly happy. The idea of an end was tempting, right? An end, that could be really cool and I'm sure it would be a great opportunity, but maybe didn't hit the lifestyle choices I wanted or the day to day work that I wanted. But so I think what changed is that when I started talking to people at PI, I was not just excited about the company, or the people, but all of a sudden, the role sounded exciting, too. And I talked to a lot of people there. And they were, like everyone I talked to, was so willing to give me their time. And they're, kind of, openly tell me about what the day to day was. And I just, it was such a great group of people. I mean, I got introduced through a friend of a friend and the kind of head of marketing they're, like, easily handed me three more names of people I could talk to on the team. And that in itself was kind of an indication to me of how generous kind of the culture is. Because when you're busy, and of course, startups and everyone is busy, right, especially at a startup culture, and when they're willing to not just give you their time, but also time with their team members and other colleagues. I think that says a lot about the company. So all of those things combined, started getting me excited about a job at PI specifically, which was kind of the light at the end of the tunnel but then also of course a little stressful because if that's... after all this and I've talked to all these people, if that's the job and the company I'm excited about and I'm putting kind of some eggs in that basket that puts a lot of pressure on myself to hope that it works out.
Scott Anthony Barlow 33:32
Yeah, and I remember that switch flipping there, where you sent me the email and Lisa too and said, "Okay, I found this company that I want. And now what?"
Laura Morrison 33:44
How do I get it? Exactly.
Scott Anthony Barlow 33:47
And what did you end up doing? Fill in that's part of the story for people because essentially at this point, as I understand it, this was your number one company at the time, where it's like hey, I like this, I want this. Let's make this happen. So what happened at that point?
Laura Morrison 34:08
Well, I think, you know, a lot of the conversation that I had with you and with Lisa was really helpful to say a couple things, you know, I think you were really helping me understand the right way to approach the conversation, how to continue to build a partnership to really actually make sure that I wasn't... like that I was actually excited about the role while building this partnership and relationships with the hiring manager there. And I think what Lisa did as well was, you know, I mentioned before that, because I wasn't super happy with the work I was doing before, it made it hard for me to feel confident in myself. And so she really helped me kind of remind me that I had a lot to bring to the table, and that I would be a good fit, not just for me, but also for the company that I could do a lot for them. And because I'm so passionate about it, that's, you know, one of the reasons that I'd be a good fit there. I mean, the PI whole thing is about engaging employees, right. And when people are engaged, they bring a lot more to the table. And so being able to be myself and show how authentically interested I was was kind of the primary thing that I focused on through the hiring process.
Scott Anthony Barlow 35:30
How do you recommend, having just been through this, I think what you just described is very difficult in terms of being able to be yourself or at least be confident enough to be yourself through that hiring process and share that part because it is some level of vulnerability. Right. But, what advice would you have to other people that are getting ready to go through that or are going through that?
Laura Morrison 35:59
Yeah, you know, I think if you found a role that really does line up with what you're looking for, and something you're excited about, and the strengths you bring to the table, then it's much less important that you know how to answer a million behavioral questions. And much more important that you get yourself in a headspace to be yourself and be the competent version of yourself in those conversations. It's a lot easier to say than it is to do, right. And I think Lisa, maybe had a tip, I can't remember if it was you, Scott, or Lisa about you know, listen to a song before your interview that gets you pumped up, or I think Lisa said, watch a video of your daughter, like, just do yoga, go running in the morning, do something that calms you down, right. Or if you're a calm person that hypes you up whichever way. And I think that was really valuable advice. And I think I did a mock interview with Lisa. And I had prepared all these answers. And I've been, kind of, I like writing. So I write down a lot of things that sound great on paper. And then as soon as you try to say them, you kind of stumble over it and it doesn't come out, right. And she was pointing out to me that I would switch from myself to like the interview version of myself. And the interview version of myself is much more boring. And so just that in itself, like after that I actually kind of stopped preparing for the interview, and started thinking more about how can I be myself with these people? Like I had been on the phone calls, because I was comfortable there. So how do I go into an interview and figure out how to just be myself?
Scott Anthony Barlow 37:52
That is suitable. And I'll even distinguish, you mentioned earlier, being the confident version of yourself. And that is... that I think is a small but critical distinction too. Because we can go through, as humans, all of these head games where it's just like, I'm just not competent anymore, or I'm just not a confident person anymore, or whatever else. But I don't think that that is true. And I don't think that is helpful for any of us to be able to tell ourselves because we all have just like you pointed out a place where we can be a competent version of ourselves. And that's the both genuine plus helpful version to be. So that's interesting that you started preparing for focusing more on being yourself rather than focusing on doing the "right thing."
Laura Morrison 38:47
Scott Anthony Barlow 38:50
Okay, so we just covered a lot of ground here over seven months. How does that feel looking back? Does that feel like a long time? Does it feel super quick? I'm always curious about that.
Laura Morrison 39:03
You know, I think I had a goal for myself starting in January that I'd have a new job by the end of this calendar year. So that's exciting, right?
Scott Anthony Barlow 39:12
And you did it.
Laura Morrison 39:13
I did it and I set that goal. And I was like God, years a long time. So it's a little bit of both, it's in the trenches, it felt like a long time, I knew it wasn't going to be a month, right, two months. I knew that I needed to do a lot of the searching internally to figure out what I was looking for before I could find it. So I think, you know, parts of those seven months or so felt long. Usually, actually, the parts where I wasn't alone and wasn't doing much, I think, for me action and moving towards the direction speeds things up, or at least made me feel better about the time that it was taking. But now looking back on it, I mean, the difference from where I am today, versus where I was at the end of the year is incredible, not just in the fact that I have a new job. But my mentality about my career, about my potential in a career, kind of the optimism that I gained through the process, yeah, it feels very different in a very good way.
Scott Anthony Barlow 39:35
So what is... it is a completely different place. And it's been super cool for us to be able to see some of those changes along the way. But what do you feel like that is meant for you, other than some of the additional optimism that you have going into 2018 here, what do you feel like that's meant for you?
Laura Morrison 40:42
Oh, it means a lot. You know, I think, having just had a daughter, which is amazing. Of course, she's almost two now, I guess I can't say just anymore. I think for moms, in general, that you tend to shift all your focus away from yourself, and now on to this kind of little creature that you brought into the world. And it's amazing, but it's also really hard to find time for yourself, to take care of yourself. And I think for me, the career part is what I put most on hold. And again, because I didn't know what I wanted to do. But partly because I felt hard. And I was focused on something else. So now to be able to be kind of a mom when I'm home. But then the idea of going to work and being happy at work too. It's all... it's just a very different way. Yeah, it just feels very different. Right? If you're going to leave your house, leave your kid with someone else, you'd hope that you're doing something fun while you're out of the house. Right. And that's something that I really didn't have. And now, I'm really optimistic that I'll have that going forward. And I'm also optimistic that now, it won't take me three years if I am unhappy again in the future.
Scott Anthony Barlow 42:06
That is, you know, when we get the opportunity to work with people, I know that that is what, initially people are very focused on, the change that's now. I think personally, having done this for a while and being able to witness a lot of changes. I think that's the most valuable part in the long run is just knowing how and having the confidence to be able to make changes for when something else in life changes. Because it will, I mean, it absolutely will. And it's going to be something, that's going to be, you know, a promotion opportunity, or it's going to be, I don't know, your boss leaves or there's going to be something there, right?
Laura Morrison 42:53
Right. Of course.
Scott Anthony Barlow 42:54
And that is so cool that you feel prepared for when that happens the next time around.
Laura Morrison 43:01
Absolutely. And I think that's where some of the optimism comes from. I feel empowered to kind of be in charge of my career again.
Scott Anthony Barlow 43:10
Woohoo. I didn't have anything else to say that is what I wanted to add right then and there. That is amazing. I am so proud of you. And Lisa, so proud of you. And we've shared your story with our team already. We do that behind the scenes for every single person that ends up hitting their goals or getting the results that they wanted to, we share that around on, we use Slack for Team communication. So we have a woohoo channel. That's where your story got shared as soon as it happened. So woohoo to you too, and now you get to share in that as well. And you have just done a phenomenal job. And before we wrap it up, I'm curious for... if you're reaching way back to a year ago, where you resolved that and you made the commitment, hey, look, I want to... this is the year. I've been thinking about this for a couple of years now. And now I'm gonna do something about it. This is the year. What advice would you give to people that are in that spot that are just setting down this path to be able to make the change?
Laura Morrison 44:18
Yeah, I think, you know, it took me a few months to look for outside help. And that was the thing that I needed. I think, particularly as someone who has been successful, it's hard to admit to myself, it was hard for me to say I couldn't do it by myself. You know, I'm smart person, I should be able to figure this out. But as soon as I, you know, had my first career coaching experience, it completely turned around my approach to finding a new job. And it completely gave me the power back and the tools that I needed to do it. So I think, you know, if you know exactly what you want to do, well you're probably not listening to this podcast. But if you don't, just know that there are a lot of tools and resources and people out there who can help you. And for me, that made all the difference.
Scott Anthony Barlow 45:12
That is amazing. Well, I am so glad that it did. Thank you for letting us hang along for the ride and getting to help you at every little point, it was a ton of fun.
Laura Morrison 45:23
Yeah, thanks, Scott. And you and Lisa, and the whole team has been a pleasure to work with. And I, like I said, I've been talking to everyone about your program. And I just think the best of the work that you do and the tools that you put out.
Scott Anthony Barlow 45:36
Well, we very much appreciate that. Thank you for spreading the good word. And keep it up. Do not let us stop yet. That is phenomenal. Laura, thank you so very much. And congratulations, again, moving into your new role. That is amazing.
Laura Morrison 45:53
Thank you, Scott. I really appreciate it.
Scott Anthony Barlow 45:56
Hey, if you loved that story from Laura, well, if you're interested in the same type of change, we actually have, as of right now, we've just recently opened up Career Change Bootcamp 2.0. And we've made some massive improvements to the program. It's the same coaching program that Laura went through, as she made all of her changes. And we got the pleasure of helping her make a massive difference in her life and ultimately get to the company that she really wanted to be with, and the role that is super exciting for her. Check it out on our website, just go to happenyourcareer.com and click on career change bootcamp or drop us an email email@example.com and we'll help you figure out if the program is right for you. And I really appreciate everybody going over, leaving us ratings and reviews on places like stitcher and iTunes and I'm so appreciative. This one actually comes from M Wills, "I listened to a great variety of podcasts. And Scott's HTYC is up there with shows that I hate to miss or must catch up with." And thank you so much for leaving those five stars because that helps other people, not just find the show, but ultimately get to work that they really love. We've got even more in store for you coming up next week, which we have a return guest on the podcast somebody you haven't heard from for a while, but I think you're going to love. Alright, let's see what we got coming up right here.
Mark Sieverkropp 47:28
My daughter is nine. And she comes home from school and no joke. This is the conversation we have, like, everyday, "Dad, can I take my shoes off?" "Yeah, go ahead." "Dad, can I go to the bathroom?" "Yeah." "Dad, can I get something to eat?" "Brooklyn Just do it. Like just go do it. You don't need my permission to do everything. Now if you want to go play in a busy street, please ask me first. But you don't have to ask for these things." And so I think it really is like we're trained in school and we're trained in society that there's authority figures and we have to let somebody else tell us what we can do.
Scott Anthony Barlow 47:57
All that and plenty more next week right here on Happen To Your Career. I will see you then. Until then. I am out. Adios.
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