392: How To Keep Going When You Doubt Your Decision

Vicky was a finance professional with scattered experiences who wanted to get paid well in her newly chosen field.



Vicky Meng, Senior Treasury Analyst

Even through a global pandemic, Vicky was able to overcome her fears and doubts to land her ideal career.

on this episode

What if you could know that next year at this time – you would be in a new role that is well paid and made for you. 

When I spoke with Vicky Meng after she made a career change into treasury, she told me a story about an email that transformed her life in just one year. 

Actually this is where it gets crazy. A year ago, at this time, she was listening to the podcast. Now exactly 12 months to the day, after she sent this email (below), she’s a guest on the HTYC podcast sharing how she did it. 

Here’s the email she sent: 

How did Vicky go from sending an email, to her ideal career?

I wish that I could tell you it was easy. It was not. 

I wish that I could tell you that everything she did during her change worked well. Not even close.

In fact that’s the most compelling part of Vicky’s whole story. Spoiler alert!!!: She made it to her ideal career! 

But it took longer than she hoped and there were not just one, but two very low points where she didn’t want to keep going. 

So what did she actually do to get there? And what caused her to have those low points where she wanted to give up? And how the heck did she move past the lows? 

I know, I know! So many questions. I’m glad you asked! 

Let’s look at it as a timeline so you can see what she did! 

Vicky’s timeline to career change – the highlights (and lowlights)

January (last year) – Vicky send’s us the above email, with “conversation” in the subject line, to kickstart her career change. I send her this email back.

February – She begins identifying her strengths, most useful experiences, skills and assets and selects the coach she wanted to work with for the rest of her journey. (Phillip)

March- May – Vicky believes she wants to work in Treasury. She spends 3 months conducting experiments, building relationships and getting interviews.

June – Vicky gets an offer, her coach (Phillip) convinces her to turn it down because although it’s a great job, it’s NOT what she really wants. Vicky does this (very reluctantly)

****Sidenote this is one of the hardest things to do – turning down a good opportunity to continue looking for an ideal opportunity

July – Vicky hits a low point. She was having success reaching people now it’s happening slower. It feels like she’s not making progress.

August- September – She realizes she’s been doing what she feels she’s “supposed to” (trying to move to San Francisco to get into treasury for tech) instead of what she really wants (staying in LA pursuing her interests in treasury)

October – She hits a 2nd low point – She’s getting pushed to the front for interviews for her ideal roles, but still not getting offers in the area she wants.

Vicky has to learn a whole new skill set.

Even though Vicky has already had a ton of success (and even a job offer) she still hits a stopping point. Emotionally it starts to feel hopeless and like she’s back at square one.

I call this a “skill wall (meaning she has to move beyond her existing skills and what she already knows to make her change) – Everyone we work with experiences this during their career change. It feels hopeless and like you’ve “tried everything” when it happens.

Here’s an example of what she had to learn (it will likely be different for you when you make your career change, but it always happens when you’re pursuing ideal work)

How Vicky had to learn to (subtly) present herself differently

Vicky feels like she doesn’t have a lot of experience in any one area. This colors how she talks about herself. She was coming across like this.

“I have don’t have very much experience in any one area but I’ve worked in a lot of areas”

End result: Interviewers would adopt this opinion of her too. She’s great but she just doesn’t have much experience.

Which wasn’t even true.

I ask her to begin talking about it (and looking at it) differently. We used this example

“I have over 5 years experience in cash flow, treasury and financial analysis.”

Can you see the difference in those two statements (above)?

It turns out that Vicky doesn’t actually have a problem with having enough experience. Nope. She is challenged by how to present her unique experience set in a way that’s helpful to other organizations AND leads her closer to what she wants.

Another example is she was saying

“I want to make a move to treasury”

as if she had zero treasury experience (which was not helpful to her interviewers AND just plain not true)

Instead I suggested that she phrase it differently

“What I would really love to do is take my unique experiences in treasury, cash flow, and analysis (and the big picture exposure to all financial areas) and use that to specialize in treasury for a larger organization”

Her ideal job offer came less than 30 days later.

Here’s the thing most people miss.

It wasn’t just that Vicky had to learn how to present her existing experiences differently.

It wasn’t that she had to turn down her job offer.

Or that she had to go through low points.

It wasn’t any one thing. It was all of it. Together.

Every single person we get to help go through a career change to their ideal career (not just the next job) goes through a series of difficult events. They are different for everyone. But they always happen.

That’s part of the reason that we share stories like Vicky’s with you.

It’s every little part of the “ideal career” process that builds on one another.

From defining what freakin’ amazing looks like for you, to figuring out how to navigate through reachout emails to negotiating and getting your ideal organization to change the job offer to suit you.

It’s never just one (or two or three) things. Which is why it’s so hard.

Where it comes full circle

Exactly 1 year later from when Vicky sent that email to kickstart her career change, we’re releasing an interview with her on the Happen To Your Career Podcast.

Take a listen to hear exactly how she did it. All the great parts and all the difficult parts.

She ended up accepting her ideal offer (NOT in San Francisco)

I would love for you to also be accepting your ideal offer in 7 months or 10 months or a year from now.

Only you can make that decision. Will this be your year… or not.

It’s up to you.

Cheers to you!!!

-Scott Anthony Barlow

Success Stories

I think what helped me the most was focusing on my strengths and the connections that this process, the whole happened here, the career change bootcamp, those connections that basically you're prompted to go reconnect with people right? So, that helped me the most because the roller coaster that I was on with the role that I was in that I was trying to exit from, again, it realizing that people had a positive view of me and that they saw things that maybe I didn't see in myself really helped me articulate who I already was and who I wanted to be in my next role, if that makes sense.

Elizabeth , Digital Marketing Analytics Strategist, United States/Canada

I wanted to thank you because you have helped me land a job that is more fulfilling in every way than a job I thought I could have had before I met you. The work you did and the techniques you taught me literally changed my life.

Eric Murphy, Science Teacher, United States/Canada

Sometimes you just need someone who has done these things before to make it easier. Scott’s advice allowed me to get exactly what I wanted out of my new job!

Andrew Trujillo, Digital Marketing, United States/Canada

My brain always goes 'Well, what's the worst that could happen?' And that was another one of the exercises from Figure Out What Fits and once you realize what the worst that can happen is, it's not really that bad. In the big scheme of things, it might knock it back for a minute or two, but it's not not a biggie. They have not found it to happen yet. So I've just been pleasantly surprised every step of the way.

Mark Sinclair, Photograher, Australia

Getting clear on what I wanted helped me to recognize how perfect this opportunity was when it came along and the choice to switch was a no-brainer. Thanks for doing the work you do!

Austin Marlar, Frontend Developer, United States/Canada

Nadia Career Change HTYC

If you're stuck, if you want to know what to do, go listen to this podcast, it will change your life. And I was thinking, "great, okay." And then of course, I go to the website, and everything that I read, it was like, "Yes, this is what I've been looking for."

Nadia , Support Team Coordinator, United Kingdom

Vicky Meng 00:04
Before August, I was you know, following the structure. I was doing the modules I was reaching out. But, I remember telling Phillip, I'm like, this is not going anywhere. I definitely doubted myself. And doubted even this decision many, many times.

Introduction 00:28
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 00:52
One year ago, January 2nd 2020, Vicky Meng went ahead and sent an email that completely changed her life.

Vicky Meng 01:01
That email was literally the first thing on my mind when 2020 started. And that's why it was on January 2nd, because January 1st is a holiday. And I think I already drafted that email, maybe at the end of December.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:15
Exactly one year later to the day, we're releasing her story right here on the Happen To Your podcast to help her celebrate. Why? Well, because Vicky made a seemingly impossible career change, and we want to share with you exactly what she did. That way you can benefit from it too. But there's something you should know first, on the podcast, when we air a story, it's only a snapshot in time, usually what happens is we're talking to someone shortly after they've accepted their new job offer, they're super excited about it. And at that point, in a 45 minute long conversation, you don't always get a sense of the highs and lows and what they went through to be able to do something that most of the rest of the world can only dream of. Well, I want you to listen to this conversation. Because Vicky does a amazing job of articulating these highs and low points in our conversation together, listen for it, it'll help you understand what it's really like to make this type of career change, it's so much harder than everyone thinks it will be. But here's the thing, I've get to meet anyone who's made it to the other side of that, and doesn't absolutely think it was worth it. Here's Vicky sharing her early career and what led up to her career change in the first place.

Vicky Meng 02:31
My career journey so far has not been very long, this new job with this new organization is literally my second organization, in my whole career journey. I have been with my previous employer for five years. And I started with them right out of college. And I would say that about two years ago, and around 2018, that I began to look for a career change.

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:12
Tell me little bit about what you were doing, what type of work were you doing? A couple of years back. And what really led up to thinking about that career change?

Vicky Meng 03:24
Yeah, so I guess I should say that I started in corporate accounting, because my education background is in accounting, and I actually went straight up accounting for Bachelor's, for Master's and I got my CPA. So I was supposedly, I should have, you know, followed my peers path and going through either public accounting route, or I would just stay within the corporate accounting route. But to be honest with you, I can't... even though I did so much education, in that field, has never really felt like the field for me, it was more of a family, culture background influence. But what was sad about it, was that I knew accounting wasn't for me at the same time, I had no other passion, or no other areas where I would be, I consider myself a boring person. Because you know how a lot of other people will probably say, "Oh, you know, I love acting, or I love painting or I love photography." I just never had one of those passions. So as I just followed, what my family's advise was, and what seemed to be the most realistically best choice. And that's what I did me and it helped me to get up with my own feet. In the beginning right after college, you know, all companies need accountants and I could you know, find a job. And I was able to find a good company that sponsor me through the immigration process and which is a place a monumental part of my life right now. And that is why I can still go on to pursue my further dreams in this career. But yeah, I just didn't know what else, if it's not accounting, though, what could it be? I did transition into the finance department with my previous employer working in the Treasury Department. And I did not know what that was about at all. But what was good about it is that the organizations pretty small, so I was able to transition to different departments. And at the same time, I was able to dive deep in each of those areas, not only dive deep, but also gain a very clear, big picture of how each area plays into the whole corporate finance and accounting structure and how each department helps to make the final decision. So I did Treasury for about two years. And then I transitioned to financial analysis, which is another department under the corporate finance umbrella. And I did that for another two years. So that makes up five years in total, but I was literally doing everything that the company needed accounting and finance wise. And in the end, I just rose up to this, like strategic finance advisor for the executive team, because I've worked with different departments. And I know how different parts integrate with each other. So whether it's tax related, whether it's finance projections, whether it's accounting recordings, whether it's cash movements, I was able to come up with a good strategy that's customized to that organization specifically. So that's where I was most valued at, and I actually enjoyed being, you know, the strategic partner in that way.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:18
Yeah. What did you enjoy about that? I'm curious.

Vicky Meng 07:24
I think I really liked the one on one interactions that I often had with the each executive team member for the CFO will come to me for a specific project. And I felt like I was helping him directly. And I was overseeing this project, or starting a project on my own and overseeing it until the end, and actually see the results happening. And I could see the impact that is making on the organization. I really liked that aspect, that's when I... one of the things that I realized after starting CCB is that I actually enjoy working in small team environments, I don't like to be one of the members of a large, you know, corporate accounting team and just handle maybe one facilities month-end closing, we repeatedly every month, what I like about it is you know, a various, a row with various projects that could come up and need some, not... I wouldn't say creative, I actually generally don't consider myself a creative person. But you just, it's not the same. And it's very fast paced, and you have to integrate different areas of knowledge, that's what I really liked about is not just solely about accounting, it's not just solely about finance. It's not just about tax, you have to integrate everything together in order to find the best solution.

Scott Anthony Barlow 09:04
Well, it sounds like it in some ways, it is the creative application of those different experiences and knowledge sets. And then also, it sounds like you have to have that particular type of variety in there in order to make it rewarding for you. Is that fair to say?

Vicky Meng 09:23
Yeah, so one of the strains that came out in my strengthsfinder assessment besides this one on one helping part was that I am that factor input. So I'm a person who really likes to do research, who really likes to know about different areas. I like to get that input. Even sometimes when I don't see where this input could actually help me in this project. Maybe you won't ever help me but I still like to collect that information, I still like to understand it. And I feel like someday I'm sure it'll come to you.

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:08
Well, so I think what's really interesting about that, to me, is, you know, I know the end of the story here, too. And I know that eventually you decided to transition. And I also know that later on, much later, when you were in the midst of your transition, that inclination, and that inclination to research really helped you be able to make that transition. So we'll come back, and we'll talk about that a little bit later. And I'll certainly ask you about that. However, you know, what were some of the final events that made you say, you know, what... I have to transition away from this company, away from the roles that I'm currently in, what caused you to make that decision?

Vicky Meng 10:54
I think the main factor there was that I just couldn't see myself grow anymore, in my old organization. As I mentioned that I've already worked in various departments, I'm already directly helping the executive team. I've definitely made contributions. And I could see those contributions or new contribution areas where I could help with but when they're coming, it's not for sure. The development stage of my old company is also add a, they were weren't exactly looking for expansion or anything. So I just knew that I wanted to, although it was very nice to be the strategic partner. But I'm also a very technical person at my age right now, I just feel like I have not yet built up a very solid foundation for my career where, you know, I could say, this is the area that I've been working on for so long. And I know every detail about it, I could apply it to any corporate scale. I don't have that skill set or that career path that I could rely on, say that is what I do. I was sort of like a generalist, which is a very good thing to have to be. But still, I felt like I needed some specific career track to depend on. So that's when I really looked into a program that could help me figure out. So, where is the specific? What exactly is the specific track that I could put all my energy towards that area for the next decade?

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:54
Interesting. So it sounds like you had outgrown the company.

Vicky Meng 12:59

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:00
In terms of what you wanted, was no longer what they were able to provide in that same way for you as a related to your growth. And then it sounds like you came to that conclusion. And then at some point, must have asked the question, well, what's next, then? How do I find that type of next step? What happened from there?

Vicky Meng 13:24
I was started looking, I started to go to various events. From where I come from, and the culture that I grew up in, to find help is something that you're not supposed to be proud of. So...

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:42
Tell me about that.

Vicky Meng 13:46
So my upbringing tells me that you have to depend on yourself all the time, especially when you encounter a difficulty, you should do a bunch of self reflections, which is right. But you should, you know, work hard, as hard as you can, make yourself go crazy. And you will find a way to navigate, you know, through the crisis. But for me, I was willing to work hard, I was willing to work 200% hard, but I didn't know where or how to put that energy. So I went out to different events. I started going going to these recruiting events from my... the university that I attended and all these like career related events around the city and that's when I first encountered my first career coach, a person who has worked in the public accounting industry, because at that time, I was still sort of exploring the idea, maybe I could still go with public accounting. I worked with her for on a monthly basis for about a year. And that was kind of, like me testing the water with this coaching idea. And...

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:27
And getting help, too.

Vicky Meng 15:28
And getting help. Yes. And I realized that talking with her every month was a happy moment for me. Because I was so unhappy, you know, with my job on a day to day basis that talking with her, even if it's just for one hour, each month, felt like a way out, like I could actually felt like, make me feel hopeful. Like, I could actually make this happen, someone out there is dragging me out of this, you know, very bad situation. But I also realized, at the end of probably a year into working with her that once per month wasn't enough for me, I make progress little by little, I did test, or I did while working with her, I did reach out to a couple of companies in the public accounting sector, and tried to explore the ideas of still sticking with accounting. It didn't work out very well, I still didn't feel like that was the way to go. But you know, I did get myself on track into in terms of, you know, interviewing even, and saying no, or crossing out some of the possibilities on the list.

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:58
What made you feel like, accounting was not for you? I think it's awesome that you were exploring and trying to figure out "Hey, is this in right track for me?" But what after doing a bit of that exploration and having some of that reach out, what caused you to say, you know what, this most definitely, isn't it?

Vicky Meng 17:21
That's a good question. For me, I am an E.N.F.J and I think a lot of times for me, it's the feeling. If the feeling isn't right, it's just... it's not right. Well, I interviewed for accounting, consulting with a really great firm, and I got the offer, the team was great. Like I could see myself thrive in that team environment. But when I think about doing the type of work that they do, and helping the type of clients that they were helping, because we're specifically targeting law field clients in like law firms, where they're all of their clients, I couldn't, I don't see myself very excited about that industry. And I can definitely do the work, but I just don't want to advise on you know, this is how you do your books. This is how you, you should you know, debit does credit had. It didn't very exciting me at all. When I think about the details of that job on a day to day basis, even also in a lot of people.

Scott Anthony Barlow 18:43
Yeah, and it doesn't really seem to have that same type of variety that you were talking about earlier on. It's not the... it's, I mean, certainly you can get variety in accounting, but it doesn't seem like the combination of all of the different experiences and the gathering of the different experiences and being able to, to use them in a way that like you were talking about earlier. It seems like that in some ways.

Vicky Meng 19:08
Yeah. I mean, accounting is definitely something that happens, you know, it's often at month-end right, all the activities have already happened, they became reality. You can find a way to summarize and record them in the right way. But I think what I really wanted was, I want the action to happen. I want to be a part of the action, you know, day to day basis, I want to see that happen, that the decision that I'm making right now is going to affect the company today, or this week. And if it's a bad decision, then oh my gosh, it's a lot of pressure. But still, that's fast paced feeling. That's the kind of impact that I want to have.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:50
Well, that's super interesting, too, because I think that there's a lot of patterns here for you as well that I didn't even know about and you know, As we got to work with you, I have gotten to know you a bit. And then also Phillip, your coach that you work with has been keeping me up to date on your story for the last 8-10 months here. And what is really interesting to me about what you said is that accounting is very past focused. And even, you know, even as you were talking about your interaction with that first career coach long before we ever met you and everything too, what excited you was about the possibilities in the future. And everything that you've articulated so far, has been about, in some ways that future focus or that, you know, proactive focus or being a part like I you said, being a part of it. And with other versus just like recording it. And I know, that's a drastic oversimplification, and not meaning to undermine anything that that accounting does. Because accounting is a great field. However, it's a different focus entirely.

Vicky Meng 20:58
Yeah, and I have two more things that I want before I forget, about why I chose Happen To Your Career in the end. The other reason, the other thing that I realized while working with that career coach on a monthly basis is that I really need a structure, a set structure with that career coach, I did not have a structure. So every month, I sort of have to come up and email her, you know, this is what I want to do this for this session, which is also something that I needed to do with HTYC. Just to be proactive, and to you know, work well with my coach, but it's different when, with HTYC, Phillip kind of knows what stage I'm at in the whole course of things. But with that coach previously, there was no deadline, there was no set timeline, it was just like, you know, if you ever encounter a problem, just let me know. And I'll help you there was no structure. And I didn't really know what stage I was, should I reach out a little bit more? Or should I not reach out into this session? Or should I... where should I go? Where should I... can you tell me what to do versus me telling you what I need, because I don't know what I need. So that's one of the reasons why I chose a HTYC is because there is a structure that nine modules. I view that I know Philip does not agree with me on this though, when I first told him I'm like, I need a syllabus and this nine module, literally my syllabus, I'm going to follow this. And then after I finished all the eight, nine modules. When I finally found the perfect career opportunity, I think this was starting from August to... So from February to August, I just followed that structure. And then from August to October/November, I applied all of those eight modules, customize it in my own way. And made it like okay, I'm working on a final product for this class, I'm going to deliver the best final presentation and my... me getting that final offer is like my final project. And I feel like I deserve an A, because I was able to apply the methods from those modules. And I you know, and I did it on my own. So that's how the way I feel about HTYC in a way, and I really liked it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 23:34
So first of all, so excited to hear that. And it sounds like what that did for you that structure was you were able to see where you were at, and where you were going as well if I'm understanding you correctly, and it helped you. I mean, you didn't use these words, but it sort of made me think like it helped you keep on track in many different ways. And it helped you pull it all together at the end to which interestingly enough is similar to what you did, as you left that last role to you were able to pieces of and I'm a big subscriber to how you do anything is how you do everything but and that really shows with strengths too, especially. And it's so first of all, thank you for saying that those are very kind words and I'm so it makes me so happy that you were able to leverage our framework and structure in that particular way and that Phillip was able to help you in the ways that you needed it. That's pretty awesome. And, you know, one of the things that it makes me very curious about too is, you know, as you started to get into this change, because you had decided, Okay, I need to make a more drastic change than what I was thinking more drastic than just going and working with another organization with accounting. And as you started to get into it, what surprised you in going through this type of career change process, because what you have done, and I'll just fast forward to the end for just a second, you were able to not only make a pretty sizable change, but also you did a new organization and new industry, if I understand correctly too. And what surprised you as you were going through this process over the last 10 months here?

Vicky Meng 25:29
I don't think actually, I was surprised by this process, I kind of expected how on structure is going to be and that's why really held on to the idea of a structure and in place and knowing where I'm at. Because I know this career change is not like a class, it's, there's no syllabus, you can't follow, you know, a timeline, it's so different, it could change at any moment, I came with that expectation. But knowing that, that's why I really needed someone to continuously motivate me and push me and let me know where I'm at. Because if not, then I'll be just, you know, doing whatever, it'll all be very scattered. But I think what was scary was, from February to August, I don't think I was making any progress.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:33
Tell me about that. What made it feel like you're making no progress?

Vicky Meng 26:41
Because before August, I was, you know, following the structure, I was doing the modules I was reaching out, but the frequency of me having a conversation was probably only two per month. Two to five per month, it kind of varies. And to begin with, because I was so scared to reach out to strangers, a lot of those conversations started with people that I kind of knew before. And when it was... when August hits, July hits, I remember telling Phillip, I'm like, "this is not going anywhere." I definitely doubted myself and doubted even this decision many, many times. And that's, and I was still like I, even though I followed the syllabus, but I still weren't able to define what my ambition was up to that point up to August. I tried Treasury, I tried Financial Analysis, and they were still both on my list. And I still feel felt like, "Oh, I could go either way. And I talked to some of the large organizations or tech companies in the Bay Area. And it was just so competitive, too, because maybe because of COVID. But I think more importantly, it's just because that industry, and with those companies, they're so popular right now that they never lack applicants. So even though some of the people that I talked to in there, there were managers, and they looked at my resume, and they say, "Oh, your resume is amazing" but because I don't have the direct industry experience, and the direct working experience, I guess, on that corporate scale, even if they submit my resume into the system, and they helped me submit on sort of like a referral, it's still very difficult to be recognized by the hiring manager, because there were just too many people applying. And I felt like I could try harder, I could, you know, network even more within that organization, just to find, you know, at least one opening that or one person was willing to bet on me. But I, at the same time, I was only filled with this. Like, I don't feel like doing that with this organization. Like, there's so great other so popular. And it's definitely I thought that I wanted to move out to the Bay Area ever since two years ago. And I thought that's the whole point of me, participating at Happen To Your Career is to get me up there. But I don't see myself working so hard for any of the organizations out there just because I'm not asked... I don't feel the passion and myself towards, what they do. And that kind of hit me in the end that you know, and this is like facts according to you know, my second look after my second point already, that's when I finally realized that, okay, maybe this whole idea of moving to the Bay Area wasn't right to begin with. And I think that surprised me, I guess in the end, because I never expected myself to stay in LA. But when I finally hit that moment of realization, everything clicks so fast afterwards, because literally the next week, I reached out to the manager of my new organization. And the location of my organization is perfect, and the role is perfect. And this manager, he recognizes my potential fully, in at least in in the way that I want people to recognize me. And I interviewed and then I signed the offer, it was literally like two weeks after I realized that everything just clicked. So I think... what's surprised me was how fast it could happen when you finally get everything together.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:03
I think that's so interesting, especially since you said, you are on Myers Briggs, which, you know, you were talking about your Myers Briggs results, which he said you were an EN...

Vicky Meng 31:14

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:16
FJ. Okay, so that means that for people who may not have taken Myers Briggs Type Indicator that you rely heavily on feeling and if it feels right, and this sounds insane, but we see it again and again and you can go listen to the hundreds and hundreds of episodes, once people start to get it to where it is more authentic to them the decision and the route that they're taking is more authentic to them, it clicks so quickly after that, it's not always two weeks like that's relatively quick as far as things go. However, it starts to click so much quicker once you get those pieces right. And as crazy as it seems, Vicky, I think what you went through, and in going through and doing some of the work and the identification and everything that came along with all the hard pieces along with it almost had to happen in some ways to get it to finally click. And that way, you could start really moving forward in the way that you want to. What was that like? Why do you think it was so hard to come to that conclusion for you, and make the change and say, you know what, I don't even really want to... like I've been working hard on this. I don't even really want to go the strike.

Vicky Meng 32:43
Yeah. That's very interesting. I mean, it's so liberating. You know, right now, I know, you can't tell, you know, just from looking at me, but in my heart, ever since that moment of realization happened, I felt so liberated, like, for the first time in my whole life, because I guess for the previous 27 years, I've always felt like that I needed to live up to other people's expectations. And usually it was, you know, usually my parents, but then it became my peers. So going on to the Bay Area, definitely was me, trying to live out my ambition in the way that satisfies my ego. To put it simply, I want it to be admired by my peers, I want it to be in my, you know, admired by my family members, saying, wow, you know, she made such a drastic change. She's working with one of the big tech companies in the Bay Area, she's getting paid a lot. You know, that's probably how people define success for a lot of people that I know and it's just the hype around that area and that area that sort of made me feel like oh, you know, if I want to be the best, which I always want to be in my... I'm very competitive in nature, then I should get in there, get into the game, and be the best in battery and beat everyone else. I think that's why I've always thought that that's the place to go. But there is not Vicky at all, Los Angeles is definitely more of Vicky. And that's why like realizing that right now, I just feel happy from the bottom of my heart because it's not about how famous my new organization is, it's about how much I am aligned to what this organization does, and how excited I am to work with my new manager and thinking about the contributions that I can make to the team. And it's also about the industry that this company is in, it's also an industry that I deeply care about, like, on the weekend, I'll read about this industry, just because I'm interested in that. And it's, you know, I want to read about tech industry, honestly, in my free time at all.

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:39
That is so cool. I'm trying to think of the right word. You know, I know the right word is, I'm so proud of you. That is to put it mildly. And I think that's so cool when partially because I think some people will go their entire lives without having that type of moment. We're actually, we're in the midst of writing a book right now. And one of the things that, it's not just me writing, it's the entire team effort to be able to make this thing happen. And one of the things that we were just talking about the other day is the switch that happens once you're fully focused not on other people's expectations, or even expectations of you other people's expectations. But then you focus more on what is true for you. And when you switch that focus, not only does it feel different in ways that are hard to describe, and I think you've done a fantastic job of describing what that is like for you. But it is also... it puts you in a place where you can contribute to the world, and organization and family members and friends, it puts you in a place where you can contribute completely differently. And that's something that's really difficult to be able to explain on a podcast or in a book or anything else to describe the types of feelings that happen after you make that switch that you were talking about. And I remember not that long ago, I think it was about a year ago, I was talking to a guy who was in his 70s. And he had found us through Google. And you know, I ended up on a phone call with him. And he was telling me about he had gone through all 70 plus years, focused on other people's expectations. So I think it's so cool that you have done that far, far earlier than 70. That's pretty amazing. Let me ask you two other questions that really badly wanted to ask you about. One, you know, I remember a point in time, where I guess it wasn't that long ago, it probably was, you know, back in August, where you were describing, you know, I'm really struggling and moving through a few of these pieces where you and I got on the phone. And we were chatting about a couple of different things that weren't working, and how to make them work differently. And, you know, the thing that I wanted to ask you about that is, what were some of the things that, as you were going through the process works particularly well for you? Or tell me about that.

Vicky Meng 38:08
So, yeah, I remember that call. And I definitely feel like that call. You taught me how to liberate myself also, because...

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:17
Oh, interesting.

Vicky Meng 38:18
Yes, I, you taught me how to just be myself, and be honest about my experiences. And that's the only way where you could find your own way, your own path. Because I was so worried, and sort of just complaining to you that you know, there's such a huge gap between where I am and where I want to be and my current organizations, small and what it does is, in finance is different than you know what I want to do in finance in the next step of my career. And when I talk to people, I feel like I have so much to offer, but because when they listen to my direct experiences,they don't get excited about me as much because they just feel like that I have been in the wrong environment. I won't fit in with their environment. And you told me, you know, why don't you just tell them exactly what you've done. And you know, even though my old organization did not have a ton of structure, which suppose sounds like a bad thing, but in reality because it was losing structure, I got to work on projects that touched on different areas of corporate finance and accounting all the time. And that is actually the biggest value I have because not a lot of people understand the impacts of so many areas in an organization. And I do and, you know, knowing having that background information and then try to dive deep in a certain area makes you go deeper easily. Because you just know, you know what you're doing. And you know, what role you are in this... the whole grand scheme of things. And you won't, well, hopefully, you'll make fewer mistakes. And so that's exactly what I did. When I was talking to the manager of my new company, I told him that, you know, I was able to, I was constantly, in the your words, constantly exposed to treasury, even though I wasn't really working as a treasury analyst at my current company. But that's also, you know, the best thing that happened to me because I was able to do a lot of cross functional work, and I understand how everything plays into each other's role. Yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 41:07
That is so cool. I didn't actually realize that, that it helped in that way, that also makes me happy. And I really think that that is truly one of the best... I mean, it really is, like, we've talked about threads of that through our entire conversation just in the last 40 minutes or so here. Because, you know, it was the thing that was the most fun for you being able to have exposure to all these areas and give advice on all these areas. And being able to see the impact from having exposure to all these areas and work with other people in the organization. And then on top of that, it's also your biggest value when you started to harness that and really take ownership over that, that is such a value. That's so cool, Vicky. Oh, go ahead.

Vicky Meng 41:56
I just want to say that, I think before I just felt so ashamed of my experience.

Scott Anthony Barlow 42:03
In what way?

Vicky Meng 42:06
In the like, objective way, because how you people looks down or not look down, but people, when they see an organization that's small, that's less structured, they don't necessarily associate a very competent employee with that image. But it just happened to for me that I feel like I'm a pretty competent employee, but I was working in that kind of environment. And I felt so ashamed to showcase or go out there and tell everyone, you know, this is the company that I'm working for. But at the same time, I really wanted to be recognized. And I think I can do a great job if I were put into a different environment, but I just needed someone to recognize me first. And after having that conversation with you, it was liberating, because I stopped being ashamed of my experiences. And what I did, I just went out there and told people what I did, and tell them why I think I was so valuable, and I could still add a lot of value to their organization, they give me a chance.

Scott Anthony Barlow 43:34
So much of these types of big transitions are getting past the head games that we play with ourselves in many different ways. And it almost makes the you know, tactical like job change, career change type pieces, almost, they're not easy in comparison. I want to give people any indication that they're easy, but easier by far in comparison, compared to moving through all of those pieces, like you're talking about, like the shame that went with how you viewed your past experience, which it was great experience, wonderful experience, and it's who, you know, who you are and what you bring to the table. That is really cool. What advice would you give someone else who, you know, way back, you know, 10 months ago here, you know, I remember right, as we were... right before we hit the record button, you were telling me a little bit about, you sent us an email on January 2nd, and you'd actually written that email on just in the week beforehand, if I remember correctly, and you were saying, "Hi, I was doing this to be able to make sure that I made a change in this year." Tell me a little bit about that. And then I want to ask you what advice you would give somebody else who's in that similar situation where they want to make a change going into the next year.

Vicky Meng 45:06
Yeah. So I think my advice would be, definitely have faith in yourself and this whole process because it could get very dark, especially at the beginning, and you don't know how long the stock process is going to last. But it could suddenly turn so bright that you, it goes so fast that you don't even, you can't even capture everything, but it just... it could just suddenly turn around. So have faith definitely it will come, the brightness will come. And the other thing is, I am a person who is big on 'why'. So for each decision in my life, I have to know, my reasons for making that decision. So I sent you, well before I finally sign up HTYC, I was thinking... I was listening to your podcast. And I think at that time, I had been listening to it for a year or so. And I felt a connection with you even though I've never, at that time, I've never met you. But I felt a connection in many of the episodes that I listened to at different times. And I think that helped me finally make the decision to know that this is the right thing to do, because I feel so... I feel understood from your podcast episodes. And it was at the end of 2019. And I just knew that 2020 has got to be the last year where the last year for me to work at my old organization. And I really wanted something to happen in 2020. So right after New Year's Day, I sent you an email. Exactly like you mentioned, how you said it in the podcast, you know, with the title conversation, and just say you're Scott. And tell me about your story. And that's exactly what I did. It was an obnoxiously long email. I was reading it last week. I just wanted to kind of look back on how everything started and how that go now. It was so long. Oh my gosh.

Scott Anthony Barlow 47:50
I love those emails though. I love them. I love what I do. So I love getting those emails. And so...

Vicky Meng 47:58
Yeah, so it was like on January 2nd, I sent you that email, and I took a screenshot of it. And I saved that screenshot on my desktop. Because I just wanted to remind myself, you know, that was my New Year's goal. I just made a whole big deal out of it. And it is the big deal.

Scott Anthony Barlow 48:17
It is a big deal.

Vicky Meng 48:18
It's been five years and I've been contemplating about this since 2018. And I'm finally making this change with a program that I feel like I've I know very well because I've listened to you guys for more than a year. So I just felt like you know, every step of the way I checked everything on the list. I think this is the right thing to do. The timing is perfect, it is the start of a new year. And I just got to do it. So that's what I did. And I think having... because the beginning happened exactly the way that I want it to happen. And... to this day, when I think about it, and now when I talk about it, I still remember how hyped I was how excited I was when I hit the two low points in the past 10 months, I actually you know clicked on that screenshot and looked at that email again and I told Phillip, "I have got to make this happen. This was like my single goal for to 2020 and if I don't make this happen, and I want to happen before my birthday, if I don't make this happen I don't know how I'm going to be 28, I don't know. I won't be able to celebrate at all. I will like kill myself." And yeah, and that's I think the beginning is very important because it just makes you remember how important it is when times get hard and also the worksheet... it's called your plan for when it gets hard. That's in module one. I also pulled that out a couple of times, I think in August, and also in October when I feel felt like, I don't know where this is going. And I read what I wrote, why am I doing this? I had so many reasons. And I still looked at it this morning, and I am so glad that I'm actually checking off everything that's on that list. Do you want me to share what was on that list? A couple of...

Scott Anthony Barlow 50:37
Yeah, absolutely. I'm super curious. Yes, please.

Vicky Meng 50:40
I wrote, you know, I want to find the best fit career track for me to pursue for the next 10 years. I want to upgrade my career platform, because I know I have what it takes. I want to find a leader who will also be my mentor. I want to change the way I see the world and the way I see networking. I want to build up my resilience threshold and become more tolerant of rejection, and learn how to turn a no into a yes, without getting angry. Those are the things that I wrote. To answer the question, why do you want to make this change on that worksheet? And I literally did all of that, especially you know, with the networking part now is such a natural skill in me, I can see myself using that or applying it in every aspect of my life. So it's amazing, it's a pretty good feeling. And because of this feeling, I think all the dark moments, they were worth it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 51:42
That is so cool. And you know what else I think is really amazing? Is... okay, you declared all of this for yourself at the beginning of the year, and said 2020, this is it. And then in a year when we had a worldwide pandemic, in a year where so many other people are just like, when is 2020 gonna be over already, like in a year when so many other people are essentially giving up. And I mean, we've had real terrible things happen in the world. And it's made it hard across the board. But in a year where so many people are giving up, you have pushed through and figured out a way to make it happen. And I think that that is so very, very amazing, astounding. And I'm super excited that you were letting us be along for the journey, and that we got the opportunity to help and I'm just so proud of you, Vicky, this is so cool.

Vicky Meng 52:42
Thank you, I mean, it's definitely... I credit a lot of this to HTYC too, I would not have been able to do it, do this on my own seriously without Phillip, without you, without the podcast, the program. I just love the continuous motivation. And I loved how Phillip always was there for me, even though when I had nothing to share, you know, on a particular week, our conversation was so motivational enough for me to power through the next week. That's what I loved about this whole process. And I made friends. I think Phillip is definitely a friend now. And he has his career. And I'm excited for his career journey, too.

Scott Anthony Barlow 53:28
Yeah, hope you really loved that conversation with Vicky, I had so much fun chatting with her and helping her out along the way. And I know the rest of my team did too. And I just want to invite you to be able to send your own email, make your commitment this year to doing your career and your life completely differently. Focusing more on work that fits your strengths and life that actually works around your ideals and what you want. And there's no reason you shoudn't. It's actually a great thing, not just for you, it's a great thing for the whole rest of the world because you'll be able to contribute at a completely different level. So here's what you can do right now, pause this and send an email, just send a super short email, open your email app on your phone, and send it to scott@happentoyourcareer.com. And go ahead and put 'Conversation' in the subject line. After that, here's what will happen, either myself or my team will reply back to you. And we'll go ahead and hop on the phone, hop on a zoom call, have a conversation, figure out what would be the very best way that we can support you in your situation. And then we'll get about the business of helping you make that change this year, just like Vicky, just like everyone else I've you've heard on the podcast. Drop me an email right now, scott@happentoyourcareer.com 'Conversation' in the subject line. We'll figure out how we can help. Okay, so we already know that career change can be pretty difficult on its own, much even more so when you continue with a global pandemic right? But what if you're doing a job search and you don't even know what the next job title is that you're going for? What then?

Speaker 3 55:08
One of the frustrating things about job hunting is that you can type in a very general title like account manager, and then like a million jobs will pop up for account manager. But if you look at the actual role that can be take five out of those million, they're all going to be different.

Scott Anthony Barlow 55:25
That is Allison. She recently made a change from the hospitality industry. In the time of COVID and pandemics and everything else, you might consider it a dying industry. And she did too. She was looking at the writing's on the wall, but tune in next week right here on Happen To Your Career because we want to be able to share exactly what Allison did to be able to make her change.

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