372: What’s Missing in Your Career? How to Get Unstuck



I used to be in recruiting and conducted thousands of interviews. In almost every single interview, people say they want the same thing: “I want a place where I can grow”.

When I would press them on it – “What does growth mean for you?” – nearly all of them didn’t have an answer. Or the answer was something like, “I want to be able to contribute to the organization.”

I thought this was fascinating because we all intuitively know we want and need to grow.

But very few of us know what that actually means.

Today, I want to share a conversation I had with Rob.

We got to meet him when he was looking for help in his career change. 

It took them a while to learn what was missing for him in his career and what he needed for his own personal growth.

You’re going to get to hear his story and you’ll see how you can figure out what’s missing in your career as well.

Listen to this podcast episode with Rob now!

Rob Abilez 00:01
You know, allowing yourself to not feel bad about wanting to change course and grow in ways that you didn't think it was and being good with everything that you've learned up until this point, even though it might not be a trajectory. I'm on the rest of my life.

Introduction 0:22
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 it 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 00:46
For many years, I used to do recruiting and was responsible for hiring teams of people that led to doing literally thousands of interviews. In almost every single interview I've ever been in, people say they want the exact same thing. It goes over and over and over like clockwork, they say, "I want a place where I can grow" or some variation of that. When I would press them on the growth part of them, and I would ask them, "what does growth mean for you?" Nearly all of them didn't have an answer. Or the answer was something like, "I want to be able to contribute to the organization" something really trite like that, something that was not very specific to them, necessarily. And I thought this was fascinating. It's fascinating, because we all intuitively know we want a need to grow and very few of us know what that actually means.

Rob Abilez 01:45
I would love to be able to tell you that, you know, free four month period of time was just, you know, revealed everything and it certainly didn't. I think it was good to have that time, I think was the big takeaway to sort of at least allow myself that space to ask that question or those questions, because I think we get really wound up in just being pressured to make a decision right away, or at least figure out what you're going to do now, because of this thing happened.

Scott Anthony Barlow 02:11
That's Rob Abilez. And we got to meet him when he was looking for help in his career change. And as you'll hear, later on, he's done more than a few things in his career. But it took them a while to learn what was missing for him in his career and what he needed for his own personal growth. You're going to get to hear his story, it's a pretty amazing one. I think you're going to love it and listen in as he shares some of the insights that he had around what he was missing and what he needed, particularly around his growth, but here he is telling where he started in his career.

Rob Abilez 02:50
Yeah, so I went to school for journalism in 1980 something late 80s. I really did that because I have an affinity for writing, I did as a younger person, and I did that kind of stuff in high school and really got some unsolicited, I would say feedback around, okay, yeah, there's something here, you know, whether it's journalism or English or legal stuff, which is ultimately what I ended up kind of following more of a set path of, there's something there that is for you. I knew from a, just a comfort level, I would say as a younger person that I really wanted to excel in areas that other people were excelling in, like, you know, the sciences and stuff like that. I tried really hard, and I did actually well, but there was something in it. Just internally that was like, my compass was, yeah, you're a language arts person, you are. You pay attention to things in a way that you will be well served by following whatever that is. And so, you know, I went to that school and it was, I did well in school, I got a job right away. And I kinda hadn't really thought much about graduate school at that time. But I just had, you know, a nice lesson in networking and the importance of certainly doing well at school and learning what you need to learn, but also the other side of, you know, things like alumni connections, people in your network, what is a network? You know, I think naturally, I'm just naturally curious and talkative, probably a little nosy. So I think that has served me well in this way. It certainly did that. I think I got a referral by an extended family friend that said, "hey, you should talk to XYZ person" and I ended up getting a job, sort of as I think about it a highly sought after sort of Project Manager, Project Head kind of job in a marketing communications firm in St. Louis, which is where I'm from, and I worked there, not only working on, you know, creative and editorial pieces for various corporate type clients that sought out that company's services, but also just internal, I'd never really had a real job before in a real company. Like I just... like, I think back at that time and was just like, gosh, I really screwed some stuff up, you know, as, you know, a young professional, I didn't even know right, like, even stupid stuff, like, you know, and that was arguably a different time where there was more formality. I mean, I remember wearing a tie every day to work and that was the expectation and, you know, I even remember some of the bigger executives actually smoking in their offices and closing your door, you know, that's the era, you know, so it seems shocking now to think about that. But I remember cutting my teeth in various ways there and I remember having a distinct feeling that I just don't know if this is the right path for me. I just had a rude awakening about what it was like to function in a real corporate, like a Fortune 500 kind of environment. And yet, you know, I had the programming around, okay, this is a "good job" a nice trajectory that you would be also well served by seeing where this goes, despite some of the, you know, impulses about it, that may not be as positive.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:24
Curious, because you mentioned that programming, where do you think that, that came from or where were those influences for you personally?

Rob Abilez 06:33
For me, personally, I know, maybe 90% of that comes from just family inputs and, you know, my parents, and their very well intentioned kind of coaching and guidance, as great parents, actually. I mean, I had a wonderful childhood, had a mess of kids and, you know, they taught us to always improve and really educate oneself and not just academically but otherwise. And they didn't have the benefit of a university level education. And so I think for them, and their perspective was, you know, there are certainly options outside of, you know, what a university level education would get you. But, you know, it can be a little harder from their perspective, if, you know, you didn't pursue more of a path that kind of comports with going to school getting a job where you don't have to worry about, you know, certain levels of insecurity, maybe working harder than from their perspective, you know, working harder than someone who, you know, in an office might have to work. I mean, I'm also the youngest, so I always...

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:40
Are you as wondering where you get, where you fell into the family?

Rob Abilez 07:43
I'm the youngest. So I had, you know, all these people going before me doing and setting an example of that, and certainly, you know, achieving various levels of happiness and success and not so good things too. So I think I always think the youngest always, there's positive things and negative things, right, with everything. And there's quite a bit of age range. So it was interesting to kind of see what paths of folks went down and how they did all data.

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:13
How old your oldest sibling?

Rob Abilez 08:15
He is 18 years older than me. So I think he's out of the house by the time I was actually born. So, interest...

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:22
It's really interesting. That's... I'm on the opposite end of that. So I'm the oldest, my youngest sibling is 15 years younger than me. Same deal. I was still there when she was born, but long gone when she really remember as much of anything.

Rob Abilez 08:38

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:38
Yeah. So between us, we've got both ends of the spectrum.

Rob Abilez 08:42
Yeah. It's interesting. They have no real complaints about, you know, having that position in the family and I always think, I am still very close to my siblings. I think they were great teachers, you know, along the way. I mean, I think we did very different things in life. But now I'm much older and can have some perspective around, you know, what actually took place during those years. And what kind of advice I got. And what kind of advice I should have gotten, you know, from that, but I didn't. But yeah, so I think that's the kind of programming. I mean, I think it was all fairly good. You know, but then until recently that you kind of have cognizance of the fact that there's programming that happens, whether or not it's, you know, you're aligned with what your true kind of innate sense of self is. It's certainly your sense of self can be certainly influenced by that programming, but then when you start peeling away and making decisions on your own, and, you know, kind of realizing whether you're making your own decisions or whether you're relying, you know, on that, you know, programming from before, I think that's kind of a realization of in and of itself, and then it just kind of becomes, okay, what do I want to do and what's mine to do? I think, you know, Jennifer, and I talk a lot about that. And that was a real insight for me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:03
Or context that Jennifer is your coach who you got to work with on our team here, at Happen To Your Career. Just for those listening, here's what I'm super curious about. If we fast forward a little bit and think about what took place to lead you up to this most recent transition, what were some of the events that led into that? Set the stage for us.

Rob Abilez 10:28
In addition to being the last in line of lineage, I am also a not a fast adopter over, you know, I can stew on things for a while. So, you know, I take it back to, you know, gosh, 2010, something like that, where I had this big transition that my, then job and an ensuing layoff, and then a time where I did some travel, because I had some time to do it. And luckily, some resources and really some time just to put some space in between. Okay, I've had this trajectory, am I satisfied with that trajectory? And, you know, what is it, you know, just giving myself some time to think about what it is, you know, that I wanted to do. And I would love to be able to tell you that, you know, free four month period of time was just, you know, revealed everything. And it certainly didn't, I think it was good to have that time, I think was the big takeaway to sort of at least allow myself that space to ask that question or those questions. Because I think we get really wound up in just being pressured to make a decision right away, or at least figure out what you're going to do now because of this thing happens. And in that instance, I ended up kind of building my wings on the way, you know, I was displaced from a nice big company, had some leeway, took some time off, was introduced to some folks who were able to kind of introduced me to the consulting realm of things. And that lasted a while, although I also didn't think... I don't think that I was very mindful about sort of saying, "yeah, this is exactly what I want to do now." I really viewed it as certainly on this sound as somewhat of a plenty to do something, so I'm going to do that now. I mean, this is an opportunity. And then I got another role that was a permanent role within the in-house legal department about, you know, Chicago based large company, and, you know, not long after that, I think it was a year to the day they announced, you know, some rollbacks and they're, you know, in-house legal function that was actually quite substantial and a lot of displacements happen. So I found myself back at, you know, kind of at that consulting realm, same company that I was, previously. It's... I think, for me, it just started to look really cyclical and not progress wasn't... I wasn't achieving anything in terms of expanding my horizons and certainly not being in, you know, I felt that being, you know, showing up in terms of not being engaged, really and not feeling a sense of real personal purpose, I guess.

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:05
So, let me ask you about that, Rob. Because what I'm hearing is that you found yourself in a situation with resources where you got to, sounds like travel a little bit, and give yourself some of that space to begin asking some of those questions, which was great. And then from there, you ended up in a consulting type capacity and then shifted back to in-house and went through a, sounds like some kind of layoff. And after that, found yourself back in that same space. Well, you mentioned two things I'm really curious about there. One is, you mentioned that cyclical piece, and I heard you say it didn't really feel like I was achieving or growing. So what were the important parts for you that you felt like you were missing at that point in time as you started to notice this cyclical pattern for yourself?

Rob Abilez 14:00
Yeah, the one piece that stuck out for me and I think it has something to do with growth as a person, and as a professional, I think was feeling good enough about something to really kind of, you know, not just really be that link in the supply chain where I get a question, look it up and then kind of produce an answer and send it back, which was basically as a consultant, that's part of what you do in many instances, but it's really kind of, and there is value there, I think not to minimize that function. I think I, you know, grew from a substantive perspective in many ways. I think that's good. But what I really...

Scott Anthony Barlow 14:45
But also, it's like not what you needed, right?

Rob Abilez 14:47
Right. I think what I was missing was more of that higher level strategic kind of input that I mean, I am trained as an attorney and we are often tasked with becoming, you know, we are very quick studies, in general. I mean, you can look things up and kind of process things and, you know, depending on the context, you know, come up with some real application level kind of advice. But I think what I was missing was that sense of having something to do with how things are architected and constructed in the first place, right? So this idea that it's... it begins to look like more of a strategic leadership kind of role where I'm engaged with an entity, where I have some sense of, you know, I really like this entity, I have some ideas, what's my contribution to that and how can we make, what does that eventually look like where I can interact with folks perhaps on a level that are in positions to form the strategy versus execute on the tactics comfortable with the tactical piece and to this day, still involved in a lot of that, but I felt this gravitation, this force of, hey, what is this? Does it mean I need to come up with some business ideas and kind of run with it or can I join an entity that is perhaps in an earlier stage kind of development and is really open to ideas versus something that's really established. And you know, it's it's more about kind of fitting into something that is well established and that is open to animation or... Animation is probably the wrong word. But just, you know, there's... the way that they do business in the markets in which they function are kind of sad.

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:28
Yeah. So I think what you said they're actually really outlines the problem that many people are going through very well. First of all, it's kind of several problems all rolled into one. One is that, it's hard to articulate for many people or define or really wrap your hands around, what makes the type of growth that each person might need as an individual because it's different, in some cases drastically different, right? Actually, here's a semi funny story, when I was working in HR and talent acquisition and all kinds of things like that, I used to do lots and lots of interviews. And for a while when I was working on campuses to talk to, you know, people who were 18, 20, 22, 25 years old, and every single one of them would say the same thing someplace in the interview like at start betting on like, how, like stopwatch style, like, how long is it gonna take before they say this? Because you'd asked him, "hey, what are you looking for?" Like, "I'm looking for a place where I can grow." And then so I started asking them, you know, "what does growth mean to you?" And they would look at you blankly. Like, just deer in the headlights. Like, oh my god, I don't... like you're supposed to say, "I'm looking for someplace that's gonna come."

Rob Abilez 17:43

Scott Anthony Barlow 17:43
Everybody needs it, right. But it was funny to me and became a little bit of a, you know, early stage experiment, for lack of a better phrase. But I also think when you don't have tons and tons of life experience in the first place, it's really difficult to answer that question because you need lots of inputs to be able to decide and feedback to be able to decide. But then even when you do, like you and I were just talking about, like you were, you know, you're, what, 10 years or so into your career, 15 years into your career, it's still incredibly difficult to pull out those pieces. And then on top of that, that's only one element of what makes up more fulfilling work in the first place. Right? For you, what was it that turned you on to some of those pieces that you need? Because I think you did a really great job articulating what was missing. And I know how much has to happen behind the scenes to get to that point where you and I can now have this conversation about, hey, here's what was missing. What happened to be able to allow you to get to this point?

Rob Abilez 18:43
Yeah, gosh, So... I will say, as well as you say, I laid everything out previously. I'm probably not going to repeat that performance and that question because it's complicated, right. I think for me, I will say, I had an impulse that I wasn't... it was very difficult to iron out what I was missing versus what I should, where I should be at this point in my career. Because if I took a look at peers, and even folks closer to me even personally, all I saw, perhaps due to, you know, my dysmorphic kind of view on it was achievement and satisfaction. I mean, I couldn't see anything specific to those instances that said, struggle. I just saw, wow, everyone loves what they're doing, and they're achieving and they're, they're getting all of these, you know, external rewards from it. So they must be on the right path. I don't feel that way, what's wrong with me? You know, so I think it really led to an internal kind of first recognition, I think that, you know, I think the external stuff is important and cool, but for me, it ended up looking like even if I get that stuff, I really need to be sure about the internal stuff because it doesn't work the other way, at least for me, because in arguably in some ways, I had kind of progressed in some ways, perhaps not relative to other folks, maybe not as meteoric, for sure. But there was some incremental and measurable achievement, but it wasn't satisfying on a personal level, like it wasn't, or I should say, wasn't as satisfying as I may have hoped previously. And so I think that really laid the groundwork for me to really figure out which is probably coinciding with when I, you know, happened, upon Happen To Your Career is really kind of figuring that out. I mean, right down to the highly personal approach to, you know, what are the things that stick out from a strength perspective? I mean, you know, we talked a few moments ago about it, you know, you may be good at something but does that mean that you should really form an entire you know, career around something that you might be good at, but will it really click internally for you, as you kind of, you know, figure out and formulate that sense of, in a way that's very amorphous, you know, who you are certainly as a person, but also as a professional. So I think the work that Jennifer and I did on the strengths, at least initially was helpful and sort of put some things into context, but it also allowed for growth in ways that maybe didn't show up on a strengths analysis, right. It didn't really pigeonhole you into why you should absolutely do this stuff, because that's what the test said, you know, it's, you know, sort of putting some things into perspective and, you know, having a sense of, okay, yeah, that registers on a certain level, but what does that mean practically? What does it mean? You know, is there some magic career track that will just change everything I'm going through it? You know, the answer is 'no'.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:00
Why is the answer always "No"?

Rob Abilez 22:01
You know, it's kind of, you know, allowing yourself to not feel bad about wanting to change course and grow in ways that you didn't think you would and being good with everything that you've learned up until this point, even though it might not be the trajectory, I'm on the rest of my life at least, you know, there are some really practical, valuable skills that you are doing what you do, no matter what it is really kind of taking a moment to let that resonate and not beat yourself up about, you know, not having it all figured out at age 21.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:10
We do have a, I do get emails every single week from you know, 21, 22, 25, 27 year olds that are putting a tense amount of pressure on themselves that are like, my friends are doing this, they're this college or graduated from this university. Now they're moved to this city and I do not have it figured out yet. Why do I not have it figured out yet? And I think that that is something that's very real. And the really interesting thing is, two, I get even more emails from people that are just about to turn 30 or 40, or 50. Or, in some cases, most recently, you just got an email from somebody who's just about turn 80 and still feeling variations of the same exact thing. So it's terrific on one side, because it causes real pain for people. And then on the other side, it's a little bit humbling and fascinating. And I think makes me feel a lot better about humanity in some ways, because we're all going through that same thing at various different stages. And it's not something that goes away unless you take the time to intentionally, not just make it go away, but figure out what is going to be great for you. And that's something that's really, really difficult. And I think that you've done a really nice job. I heard you say something earlier, that was meteoric change. And I think almost everyone feels like that, like I, when it's a, I certainly feel that way too where if I compare my journey, of any part of my journey, to someone else's, looking at it from the external, there's almost always feels more meteoric involved. I feel like this could be an eight hour conversation just this alone right here. However, once you start to dig into people's stories, I don't really think there is meteoric change necessarily, maybe there's the occasional rarities that are like stars align. And that's what causes the meteorite or something along those lines. But for the most part, like there really isn't, as near as I can tell, drastic meteoric change. There's only people who have decided that they want to take some kind of change of their own life, didn't be more intentional, and influenced that on a more regular basis. That's the only thing that I can really makes such a massive difference, more so than...

Rob Abilez 24:55
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think I see it that way now, too. It's been a humble journey. I get to be able to say that but, you know, everyone has a story. And I think what may look externally, like, wow, it's so easy for that person to, you know, achieve what they've achieved, you know, they're often the shadow sides of even that specifically or other areas of that individual's life that have been real challenging and potentially kind of informing how they've chosen or elected or consciously, you know, moves in one direction or another in sort of that career silo of life that really had maybe challenges and other silos. It's just not a sort of, you know, we tend to look at there I tended to look at things, you know, very much of a sort of binary way, you know, if they're so successful here, then it must mean that they've checked all the right boxes. And that's what... that's really only part of the analysis. I think we tend to forget about, you know, what else might be going on in that person's life to help inform where they are in that one silo. Right? There might have been other things going on that perhaps objectively or externally may not look as successful or, you know, fulfilling. So I don't know if that answered your original question, but I think you know it, I sort of saw that around me and really kind of pressed me into service around figuring out for me in the, at least the career sector, taking into consideration a lot of things that have occurred in life that we really haven't talked about, but using those elements and kind of figuring out how much of an impact or not some of those things, too, could help inform a decision about what to focus on in my career. And, as it turns out, I think there are a lot of things in my career that I selected a while back that have needed to change but not all together a 100%, doing a 180.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:53
What's an example of that? I'd love to know.

Rob Abilez 26:55
In terms of how things have evolved since my earlier trajectory, and how it's not so different now, I guess, is that what you mean?

Scott Anthony Barlow 27:03
Yeah. So like, what's an example of something that you thought needed to change pretty drastically? And it turns out in, you know, most recent version of what you want, and what you've moved to now, is actually still pulls pieces of that. What's...

Rob Abilez 27:18
Yeah, I still retain a function that is legal, it's legal and compliance. And I think that the primary difference is that I'm involved in a strategic role in that realm versus, you know, being the one to research every element of very specific instances and, you know, reporting through whoever's asking, you know, the business client, whosever's asking that stuff. Again, that's really important to have had those experiences, I would say, I mean, I don't think you can do the strategic side without having, you know, gone through and found out satisfying elements around, you know, doing that level of research and understanding the development of, you know, how our system of laws in certain contexts evolves and how it gets reduced to regulation and then how it gets reduced to, you know, principles around compliance in a given context and how it gets reduced to, you know, corporate policies and procedures and, you know, sort of that interconnected of it all is important to kind of have an appreciation for every level of that iteration of how a law, perhaps at a federal level, translates into how a company conducts itself, whether it's in a compliant manner as against, you know, production and something or ethics and compliance, how we conduct ourselves, how we sell to our customers. Interconnectedness of that and I think, having had experiences on those levels have certainly informed kind of the perspective that I need to have now, which is, I think I'm really paid to have some judgments, I would say. And I don't think that judgment comes from just anywhere or you really have to have an understanding of, you know, basically what I just laid out. But also, I think I was able to plug into kind of a management function in that way. And I think that was something that, as a lawyer, and as a pre prior consultant, don't really have that development in that way. I mean, they don't pull you aside in law school, unless you want to be, you know, take a class when they're on management principles, and the one on one of that stuff, which happened actually happens to be very interesting to me, and I didn't think I knew that about myself until recently, and I do find myself in a role where I... there was all of the substantive stuff that I have, you know, responsibility for, but now I have a few folks that report into this function. And I, aside from a couple of instances where I've had, I've worked with some legal staff and paralegals I've never really had that okay, you know, what they do is really important for achieving our vision and how do you coach folks, when you detect that there is a need to amend the course or find... help them find their way down a path or for them to achieve their own, certainly the corporate goals, but also their personal professional goals. And that stuff is really cool. And I just never had that awareness until , it's certainly prior to this work in this role, and now it's very evidence.

Scott Anthony Barlow 29:09
So let me ask you this then, first of all, give people a 32nd description of what you do now. And what are some of the parts that line up really incredibly well with what you were able to identify creates a great opportunity for you.

Rob Abilez 30:44
The context in which I work, I've worked in healthcare compliance in other roles primarily in the pharmaceutical and medical device arenas. This is a, you know, where I am now, it is a healthcare startup that up until now relied on counsel from outside and to a large extent still does, because of the highly specialized nature of the stuff. It just really went itself to certain consultants and lawyers who have spent a lot of time pulling together IT agreements and really counseling on that type of stuff and related areas. But now they have, you know, they were at a point where they were growing to a point where they really had the need for someone to come in and serve as a lawyer, but also lead up the compliance team, which oftentimes does happen. Even in larger companies, I would say there is, depending on the company, you know, a real connection between legal and compliance, sometimes they're separate. In this instance, at least for now we're functioning as one or at least structurally as one and then a piece of what I bring, I think is a 50 state perspective on the varying laws and regulations as it relates to, and every one of them are different as it relates to this business model and getting the licensure to conduct business in the 50 states. And have that makes sense, all from certainly the business perspective, but also the staffing perspective. And this happens to be a growth industry or growth arena for this company. And so, you know, does it make sense to expand, you know, efforts around how we're fulfilling orders geographically, so we're based here in Chicago, but at that point where, you know, capacity is that is limited and how do we optimize that and be compliant with everything we need to be compliant with and staff it in the way that we need to staff it and it does involve some licensed professionals. So not only looking at licensure from a sort of bricks and mortar perspective, but also the folks who bring their professional expertise, how do we get them to, you know, certainly maintain the licenses that they have, but also become licensed than other jurisdictions that require us to do so. So there's also an element of working and planning around international stuff. So this is a US based company, but to the extent there is a market outside the United States figuring out, you know, from a regulatory perspective, what has to happen if we, you know, for even from a patent and trademark perspective, like, what has to happen to protect our proprietary information and our proprietary brand, you know, overseas, and that is truly a new area for me. So, I try to figure that out, when I have time, and just depending on the business priorities.

Scott Anthony Barlow 33:38
I mean, what I think is really cool here, though, is that, that strategic side of it, that you enjoy and in past roles had been missing a little bit, I think you made such a great point earlier about, you don't just get to walk in and do those elements that you love, like, some of the more strategic side of it, and I guess without having all of those other experiences, you know, in a way, you're getting to pull together all of these experiences that you bring to the table that then make possible some of the elements that you enjoy more and want to progress in and want to grow in, as we said earlier. So I think that that's really, really cool how you have been able to do that in this next iteration of your career. So first of all, congratulations. That's pretty awesome. And I hear from your coach, Jennifer, that you have a great negotiation story. I told you, I was gonna ask you about this before we even started here. But I'm so curious because you wouldn't tell me what was a part of that. So what happened during the negotiation process that... do tell?

Rob Abilez 34:47
So I received an offer and there were elements of it that I really was very excited about it and then elements that I was wanting to, you know, come back and negotiate and I think those pieces were fine. I think the one piece that was missing, and I included and I was successful in getting really on Jennifer's urging was, you know, this idea that I have other options and oftentimes what you'll see, and I've seen this before, too, just anecdotally, I guess, that folks say, you know, after three months, you know, I have other options, I'd love to join and go with this company and believe in it, but after three months, if we're at a point where we're saying, I don't think this is going to work out, I'd really like some out in terms of severance. I mean, so if you are me, you're thinking, how do I ask for that? And actually, it is somewhat standard or, I don't wanna say standard, as everyone does that, but standard if you know what you're doing, which is you are saying, you value your own time, you value how you spend your days and your career, I choose you. But if it didn't work out, for whatever reason, you know, here's what I think we should agree upon to show that I'm choosing this company at the expense of other opportunities. And the person I negotiated with was really good with it. I mean, I think the person that negotiated with me said, "I never see that I asked for the same thing myself." So that for me was a nice win. It's been over three months, by the way. So I was getting in touch. It was nice to be able to go through that experience and the other piece of it, that was interesting. So I was in these negotiations, as I mentioned, this is a what I'll call, a later stage startup. They're not quite a startup, and that by that definition, they've done all of the early stage stuff. And so now they're actually going concern. They're negotiating certain things that you on earlier stage startup would not and be in the course of negotiation. And while I was thinking about it and trying to figure out what to say or what to ask for guy calls up and says, "hey, I know you're not officially signed on yet, but you know, we have this opportunity. And a bunch of us are flying out to check out a facility that we're considering acquiring, and we'd really love for you to go." It just so happens, you know, I started in late March. And so, this was during, you know, all of the initial concern around, you know, COVID-19. And folks, you know, having concerns about travel, I actually had plans to travel personally, and those plans were cancelled. And so it was one of those things where I had to think about it, it sounded really exciting. It be... I wasn't an official employee. So as an attorney, it raised all kinds of issues for me, you know, thinking that through and before I even really was able to answer him, they decided to cancel the trip. It was a nice sort of testament to where they stood as how they felt about all the conversations that had gone up until that point about my joining. I felt the same way, I think I was just trying to kind of figure out what made sense at that very unique moment, you know, I don't ...didn't know if a 'no' answer would have been taken the wrong way. I don't think so at this point now on this end of it, but it was an interesting kind of set of circumstances to have to deal with and have to figure out an answer for.

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:09
Absolutely. Well, great job for, one, asking something that clearly you felt some amount of trepidation about, and were unsure about whether you should ask for but clearly wanted to, that's pretty awesome. And also for all the work that led up to being able to make this opportunity the right one for you, too. That's pretty cool. And here's what before we go, you know, having recently been through this type of transition, what advice would you give to other people that are just about to go through this transition themselves?

Rob Abilez 38:45
First of all, I would say that it's not a transition that will be the one and, you know, we are all in this and now have the realization that it's a transition that we make, it maybe it's not every other month, hopefully, but it will have to be made again, on some level, I think. It certainly without giving the diligence it deserves doing the work I often feel like I've done some work in this way. And that's kind of a term that's bandied about quite a bit. I do truly feel that the work, you know, that you all put out on Happen To Your Career around, you know, the self assessments, you know, the the exercises, I think that's really important. If you're being sort of, you bring that honesty to it, and just sort of let it all bear out, whether it's in the context of those exercises or not, you do yourself a disservice if you're just not being honest with yourself. And I will admit that I, you know, before this process I engaged in with you all, I think. I don't want to say there was dishonesty, but it was just sort of a level of authenticity that I found myself using in this context that I would recommend for folks. I mean, there's not going to be a silver bullet. It's going to look different for everyone, but as long as you bring your true self to whatever it is you're trying to figure out, career wise, there's a way. It may not look like what you have your vision of it exactly. I mean, I certainly wouldn't say that I envisioned myself in the work situation that I am now, but I'm satisfied with it. I mean, so I think along with discovery comes the sense of you have some agency over what happens to you, I mean, you can drive it to some extent, and as long as you're okay with leveraging your resources that you probably have, you just may not have, they may not be obvious to you. I mean, I think that's a nice recipe for figuring something out. So that's what I would say. And then I would say, you know, who knows, I think, you know, in my situation, I think I will find myself at a spot where I, you know, depending on where I go here, you know, there's now this opening of, you know, just constantly kind of doing a service to myself to sort of say, I value feeling good about my work, you know, should I not feel good about my work? What am I going to do about it? And I think that's a... it's a realization that I have that I just constantly have to challenge myself to make sure that things are good. And if they're not, and then to take some concrete steps toward making them good.

Scott Anthony Barlow 41:12
I so appreciate you, not just taking the time to be here but also the advice because I'm very conscious of what it takes to make any transition, let alone the type of transition that you've made recently. So really appreciate it, great job doing the work that you were talking about not that long ago, here just a moment ago. And also thank you again for making the time and taking the time and coming and sharing your story with everyone else for Happen To Your Career. Appreciate it.

Rob Abilez 41:43
Thank you. I'm happy to do it. And it was so wonderful working with Happen To Your Career, I can't say that enough. So hope to continue to be connected on that on some level with you all. I'm sure I will.

Scott Anthony Barlow 41:54
I hope you enjoyed that conversation I had with Rob. Those are some of my favorite conversations that I get to have. My favorite because being able to see someone firsthand, make that type of transformation, make that type of change in their life to figure out much more about what they want and then actually make it happen in the external world. That's pretty cool. I never get tired of seeing that. If you're looking for that type of change that you listen to Rob experience, then I'll tell you that your timing is impeccable because today is the opening, today marks the opening of something we only do a few times a year, actually four to five times a year. And that is the open enrollment for career change boot camp. It's our one on one coaching program that is paired up with all of the milestones that we've seen people need to make six, need to make and be successful and in order to make the type of career change that gets you to meaningful work that fits you and pays you well. And if that's something that you're interested in, well, I want to make it really, really easy on you. Just email me, scott@happentoyourcareer.com. And just put 'Conversation' in the subject line. And that's it. Like you can open your email right now. Pause this, and then just send an email, I'll take you like 10 seconds, scott@happentoyourcareer.com and just put 'Conversation' in the subject line. I'll introduce you to my team and we will help figure out the very best way that we can support you. And if that happens to be career change boot camp, or what we fondly call CCB, then that's amazing. If that's not going to be a great fit, we will absolutely share that with you and be upfront and do our best to figure out the very best way that we can support you and help you make the type of change that you want to make in your life because it's what we do, is what we'd love to do and we'd love to help you any way we possibly can. Otherwise, we have so much more in store next week, right here on Happen To Your Career, we get to talk to JJ Sutherland, about how you can actually change work to make it much more human in many different ways.

JJ Sutherland 44:18
And then about 25%, 30% of the people are doing things that not only anyone wants, but no one knows about, and are actually against the goals of the organization.

Scott Anthony Barlow 44:30
All that and more next week right here on Happen To Your Career. Until then, I am out. Adios.

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