497: When Switching Industries Is The Solution To Enjoying Your Career

Natalie was working in a client-facing role in the wealth management industry, and when she felt the need to make a change, she believed she needed to leave finance behind completely.



Natalie Bernero, CTFA, Financial Planning Analyst at Evolve

Natalie was in a comfortable role she had been enjoying for many years, but when she started dreading her workdays and realized her values no longer aligned, she knew she needed to make a change.

on this episode

Natalie had, what many people would call, a “great job.”She was learning and growing, had great coworkers and mentors, and was making great money. 

She felt like she should be happy in her role, but ultimately she wasn’t. She had begun to dread her workdays, and didn’t want to perform some of the main duties of her role. When she realized her career no longer aligned with her values, she decided she had to make a change.

“I didn’t want to find myself 10 years down the road still in that job and wishing that I had done something differently.”

Natalie had been working in a client-facing role in the wealth management industry, and thought that in order to find a role that was in alignment with her values, she needed to move away from finance completely.

She began reaching out to people working in different industries, conducting mini career experiments, to see if any of the industries would be right for her and if any specific roles sparked her interst. One of these connections ultimately led to her finding her new role… which just so happens to be in finance!

Listen to learn how Natalie worked through her career change process by digging into what she truly wanted out of her career and building connections in new industries she was excited about.

What you’ll learn

  • Why switching industries may not be as drastic of a career change as you may think
  • How to conduct career experiments through reachouts 
  • How to negotiate in a way that feels true to yourself
  • How to use your current network to find your ideal role 
  • The importance of not getting attached during the career change process

Success Stories

I convinced myself for many years, that I was very lucky to have that job, and I would be crazy to leave it. I convinced myself that the team needed me even though I was miserable. And ultimately, it took me getting physically sick to realize I needed to leave! One of the biggest things that I learned out of the signature coaching was on designing my life. And this is another thing that I had really never, it had, I don't know, if it had never occurred to me. I just never believed it was possible until now.

Michael Fagone, Mortgage Loan Officer and Finance Executive, United States/Canada

If you're looking for a change, if you're somebody who is feeling unsatisfied in your work, and you're not necessarily necessarily sure why that is yet, I feel like, that's a great way to kind of figure that out, just because of how the program is structured. I don't think that I would have necessarily gotten to where I am now without the program, especially when it came to the resume and the interviewing portion, because I feel like those are the hardest two areas for someone who's trying to switch into something that's completely different. Having that coaching and that information, and, you know, all those resources available to me to prep me for to be able to present myself in a way where, you know, I'm talking to the hiring managers, and they're like, hey, well, you know, she doesn't have, you know, experience in this, but, you know, being able to explain why I'm still a valuable person and why, you know, my other skills are still good fits for, you know, the job that I was applying for, I don't think I would have had that tools and that skill set and, you know, the roadmaps and the guidance that I would have, that I had with being part of the program. So I'm super, super grateful.

Alyson Thompson, Client Success Specialist, United States/Canada

Natalie Bernero 00:01

I feel like in my own support circle, there was just kind of this feeling of like, "Oh, work is work, and you're never going to enjoy it."

Introduction 00:13

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 feel like you were meant for more and ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:37

I cannot tell you the number of times I've heard someone say well, "work is supposed to be hard. That's why it's called work." Or even, "work is supposed to suck." It's the mindset that has been ingrained in us as a society. We are unconsciously taught from a young age that work is a grueling duty. And we have to put in our dues during our prime working years, because that's just the way the world. Luckily, this narrative is very misguided and people are starting, just barely starting, to realize that work doesn't actually have to suck. And it all starts by looking inward and asking, "Do I really want work to feel like work? Or could it feel differently?"

Natalie Bernero 01:25

I found myself growing into a role that I came to realize in this process didn't align with my values, and wasn't something that I wanted to do long term.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:36

That's Natalie Bernero. Natalie was working in the finance industry when she started to feel very misaligned. She felt she was not working in her strengths, and that her values had evolved since she accepted the role, and then it was no longer a fit. Natalie's support system really didn't understand why she needed to leave her comfortable finance role. But she pushed it back because she knew a more fulfilling role was out there for her. Natalie articulates the ups and downs of her career change process very well. And I think you'll be able to relate to her mind blocks that she had to overcome to even begin the process. Listen for those as we get to later on in the interview with Natalie. Here she is, as she talks about her career change.

Natalie Bernero 02:21

So I got up into this point when I made my career change. I've only had my one job and my one career, and I had a great experience at that company. I had great mentorship, great leaders, great co-workers. And I felt like I had a really good support system. So hence why I stayed at that company so long. I was learning. I was growing. For a long time I did enjoy it. But I found myself growing into a role that I came to realize in this process didn't align with my values, and wasn't something that I wanted to do long term.

Scott Anthony Barlow 02:52

Tell me about that. I'm so curious about that. I think that's something that many of us experience over the course of our lives were something that was a wonderful changes, because it no longer aligns. What would be an example of your values? What changed for you?

Natalie Bernero 03:11

Yeah, so for context, the job that I was in prior to my career change was, I was a trust officer at a wealth management sector. It's a very niche career. So if people aren't familiar, it's basically in the estate planning. And trust world, it's a little bit of legal, essentially, I was managing trust funds is the best way to put it. And so when I initially started my job, I was working, I was growing up into that role of being a trust officer. And so I was being heavily mentored. And I was kind of in a role that was a hybrid of really work and doing reporting, and learning the ins and outs of wealth management. And then I was also growing into a role that was more relationship management and working one on one with clients and customers. And so I think I really enjoyed it at first because I was learning something, but I was doing a lot of analytical work, which is something that I really enjoy. However, when I grew in more into that role of being a trust officer and more relationship management piece, that kind of analytical work fell away, and I found myself just working with clients, which was okay, I was good at it, and I did enjoy working with some of my clients. But unfortunately, a lot of my clients were kind of really entitled individuals. And that's where I found the value misalignment because I really value working hard for the things that I have in life. And the clients that I was working with necessarily didn't share that value. And so I think at the end of the day, that's where that shift happened, where I found myself not enjoying it, because that's what I was dealing with day to day and the analytical work that I used to really enjoy.

Scott Anthony Barlow 04:45

When you began to realize that there was that misalignment of values that particularly around the working hard, what did that feel like? Do you remember?

Natalie Bernero 04:57

Oh, yeah, absolutely. Well, how can you forget? I found myself just constantly stressed and anxious. And constantly thinking about the interactions I was going to have with my clients on a day to day basis. There was some, I'm sure anyone who's worked in customer service can, you know, there's always those tough cookies that seem to call you more than the good clients. And so I've just find myself constantly worried in thinking about, you know, what I'm going to say? What am I going to do? How am I going to handle this? Am I doing the right thing? Like, is this... what I'm gonna say? What I'm gonna do? This is not going to be the right thing to do. Am I going to make them more mad? And so I just find myself so anxious about that to the point where I was like, dreaming about it or dreaming about having interactions with clients. And so it was just a feeling of dread, like going into work and having to deal with these conversations. And then that led me to trying to avoid doing that work, even though that was my primary job. So it was just this... it just felt like a battle every single day.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:59

Once you began to realize that this was the pattern for you, what caused you to realize that you needed to make a change?

Natalie Bernero 06:06

I think I knew that I needed to make a change for, I would say, a couple of years. And it really kind of hit for me. And I think for a lot of people during the pandemic, because there was this big shift in how work was being done. And I realized that I wanted to make a change, but I just didn't know where to start. And there were periods where I would just kind of randomly apply to jobs on LinkedIn, because I was just so fed up at my job, I was like, "Well, I'll just throwing my resume out there into the universe and see if anything sticks." Naturally, nothing did. And then I would go back into a period where it was okay, things were okay, and I could sustain it for a little while longer. But I knew that being young in my career, I was already having these feelings of like, I need to get out/ I want to make a change. I want to do something different. There's no way that I should stay in that job for another year, two years, I didn't want to find myself 10 years down the road still in that job and wishing that I had done something differently. And that's kind of what got me inspired to search for help and search for career coaching.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:06

What caused you, do you think, to wait several years? Because I heard you say that, "I think I knew for a couple of years" What do you feel like caused you to wait several years before deciding to take action on that?

Natalie Bernero 07:23

Well, I know what caused me to wait. I was making really good money for my age. I was good at my job. And I had great mentors and coworkers. So those three things I love, and so on. On paper, in my mind, it was like I should be happy here because it's ticking all of those boxes. And yet, inherently, I was stressed, anxious, dreading my day to day job. And so I think I stuck it out for so long, hoping that I would be able to push through that stress and somehow get through this hard time and then everything would come into place. But that value misalignment was never gonna go away. And so I finally, you know, I needed to take the leap. And that didn't mean that I couldn't find a career that still ticked all those boxes for me, but was also doing something that I really enjoyed. That was the hope that I always had, especially going into this process.

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:16

When you look back, what do you feel like functionally, whether it's big or small, or anything else, what worked to be able to allow you to decide to do something different?

Natalie Bernero 08:26

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I guess it was just, I had to... I guess I just... I remember one day I was running errands after work. It was dark after work. And I have had a tough day, Lord knows what was going on. But I was stressed, I was unhappy. And I just on a whim. I just searched on Spotify for a career advice podcast, or something like that, and Happen To Your Career came up. And so I was driving somewhere. And I just started listening to a couple of episodes. And then hearing success stories, people saying like, "I never thought it was possible, but I did it. And I'm so much happier. And my life is so much more fulfilling." I had that inkling of a, there's no difference between me and that person that's talking about their success. The only difference is that they took the leap, and they took the time to immerse themselves in this process. And I can do that too. And so it was just seeing the examples of people coming out on the other side and having success in their career change was inspiring to me, especially because when I would talk to my family about wanting to be in a career that made me feel happy and fulfilled, my mom would say to me, she's like, "I don't think I've ever known anybody that's happy in their careers. It's work. Work is supposed to be work." And so I feel like in my own support circle, there was just kind of this feeling of like, "Oh, work is working, you're never going to enjoy it." But then I'm listening this podcast that's telling me, I made a change and I'm so much happier and I love my job. And so it was a moment of inspiration but then also having to shift my own mindset and leave that I could find that happiness too.

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:03

I'm so glad that you had that experience. Also, now that you know it's possible, you get to help spread the word because almost everyone in the world has that type of conversation, whether it's with family, friends, other additional co-workers is like "Work is work. Work is supposed to suck." And especially now, in today's times, it doesn't necessarily have to be that way at all. But it is what we're taught from a young age. And that is, by the way, we don't talk a lot about it on the podcast, but you may have heard us say it– our secret mission is to get enough people in place, influential places into organizations that they have made that change for themselves, where they can then help pass that knowledge and those skills on to other people. So ultimately, we can create a movement that causes people to be able to thrive at work, as opposed to thinking well work is work, or work has to suck. Oh bother eeyore. I don't know, insert your cliche here. May I read a thing that you shared with us early on for you about one of your biggest fears?

Natalie Bernero 11:10


Scott Anthony Barlow 11:11

Okay. So you've shared with us, "My biggest fear is that industries I would like to work in are hard to make a livable wage, or are hard to get into higher up positions where the salaries would be more desirable. I'm afraid it will be hard to find positions. I want in industries that I want without having to take a big salary cut." Tell me a little bit about that.

Natalie Bernero 11:30

Yeah. I think I was, again, I came from wealth management. I came from financial services, which I think has this element of prestige to in that industry when you think of, like, super wealthy people, their investment bankers, venture capitalists, all that kind of a thing. And so being in that world, it just felt like a guarantee of like, no matter what you're doing, if you do well at the company, you're gonna grow and make good money. Unfortunately, that was a really big focusing point for me going into this process. But the industries that I was interested in, and thought would really fulfill me, really excited me were things like the travel industry, hospitality, restaurants, things like that. And so I knew that there was companies, organizations out there where obviously, people are making great money, they're living fulfilled lives, whatever that looks like for them. But I felt like it didn't have that same guarantee with and especially going into those various industries that I named. And so that's kind of where that fear came from is like, yeah, maybe I can get into the hospitality industry, but I'll have to drop way back to my salary. And that will feel like a step backwards for me coming from such a prestigious high paying role.

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:43

What helped you to change your mindset, and your outlook on that?

Natalie Bernero 12:47

Talking to people that did work in the industry, and had the success. So when it came to the reach out portion of career change bootcamp, and I started to meet with different people and talk to people at companies that I was interested in, they just came back, and were telling me that they live their successful lives, and they have enough money to support their lifestyle. And, so it, yeah, just speaking one on one with people that had lived in that experience, and told me about what they did, it was completely different than the stereotype that I had in my head.

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:18

What do you think caused that stereotype for you personally? If you're reflecting back on it, because this is... I'll say, first of all, it is definitely a common conversation that we have all the time. We've had it many thousands of times over the last 10 years. So you're not alone. And, you know, what, looking back, what do you believe caused that for you?

Natalie Bernero 13:39

Yeah. I think I was definitely thinking of like, when it came to the restaurant industry, like thinking of people who are actually chefs, or people who are bartenders, servants, that kind of thing, and that's notoriously a job where you have to work really hard, really long hours, and not for great money unless you're working at a Michelin Star restaurant or something like that, which is pretty prestigious. So I had that connotation. And then when it came to the travel hospitality industry, I was just thinking of, like, hotel management and things like that, like roles that I didn't know a lot about, but I just had this assumption that they came with long hours and low salary. And don't get me wrong. I'm sure those roles do exist. But there's so much else that goes on behind the scenes to run organizations, companies in those industries. There are people with my skills, like financial skills, analytical skills, can also get into the industry and kind of earn those higher salaries as well.

Scott Anthony Barlow 14:38

I think that, well, I guess, first of all, I'll say that the stereotypes are there for a reason, to some degree. And also within every single industry, there are exceptions to that. But that reflection that you had just described is definitely what we've seen over and over again. And we've also found that for individuals, they don't even need to worry about the stereotypes for a particular industry, because most people are not looking for the amount of jobs that an entire industry contains, they're looking for, like, one opportunity. And if you only have one opportunity, why couldn't you be in the situation where that is the exception. And that's a very, very different way of looking at it. Instead of looking at well, the average says this over here. But that's true for almost every industry. So here's what I wanted to ask you, though, as you think about your career change, as you started to get into it, what do you think was harder than you anticipated?

Natalie Bernero 15:39

I'd say there was a couple things that were hard for me. And the first was, in the first couple of modules, it's all about building your ideal career profile, and what you want that to look like everything that you want, and need in a new career. And that wasn't necessarily hard for me, I had this idea in my head of what I wanted, but putting it all on paper and seeing it, it felt like this perfect thing that I was never going to find like, I was never going to find a job that ticked all of these boxes for me, especially as I got more into the process, I had that feeling but then had the hope of, well, maybe I can. But then as I got into the process of doing reach outs and connecting with people, I was very optimistic about it. But there were some conversations that didn't go great. There were tons of people that didn't get back to me who I really wanted to talk to. And so as I was kind of riding that roller coaster, that ideal career profile started to feel more and more out of reach. And so I started getting to a point where I thought, at this point, I'll just take anything that I can get, because I want to get out of my old job so bad. And that got me into that negative headspace of kind of ignoring everything I had built in the ideal career profile. So it was hard to continue trying to reach out and continue to try and find opportunities that did tick all those boxes on my my ICP and to keep pushing through that process and hoping that I was going to find that opportunity that I really wanted, even though I was so close to just like giving up and taking anything, you know what I mean?

Scott Anthony Barlow 17:12

Yeah, absolutely. And it's fascinating to me, no matter where someone is coming from, how far, or not far, they are along in their career, however much experience they have or don't have, everyone that we've ever worked with goes through that same kind of dip where they are... they have done a lot of wonderful work in defining what it is that they want. And now they're actually actively working on it, whatever that looks like for their particular process, you're talking about where you're reaching out, and you're having real conversations with people. And at some point along the way, something or a series of some things don't go well. And they hit that wall. And it sounds like for you that was exactly the point where you started to feel like "oh my goodness, I will just take anything. I put in all this work I have, I need to get out of this other role that I'm in currently, and just get me out of here." And that I think is normal. So my question becomes then, when you got to that point, arguably one of the hardest points when you're working towards something that is meaningful for you, what worked for you? What allowed you to move through? What were some of the parts and pieces that, you know, other people might be able to duplicate that you found worked really well?

Natalie Bernero 18:33

Yeah, it was definitely in those hard times that working with my coach was really helpful and beneficial that I would go to her and have tell her really honestly how I was feeling, "I'm having a hard time. I just want to quit my job. And you know, it's not going as I thought it would go like, what can we do? What should I do to keep moving forward?" And it was at those moments that she would kind of take me back and we'd revisit my ideal career profile. But we'd also revisit the values that we had gone through enlisted at the start of my process, the things that I value, and we want to make sure align in my career. And so she would just kind of keep those as a constant reminder to me of like, "even if you can't tick all of your boxes on the ICP, make sure that you're hitting your values, make sure that the people you're talking to share your values, make sure that the companies you're looking at share those values, because that is where you will find that alignment and that happiness." So her reminders to go back and really put my values first really kind of helped me and then she also helped me find different ways to find other different people to talk to different ways to look for companies rather just than spending hours and hours on LinkedIn, which I found myself kind of getting trapped in that cycle of looking on LinkedIn constantly.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:44

Give me an example of one of those ways that you were able to go in and look for a company that fit with your values?

Natalie Bernero 19:53

Yeah, well first of all, she pointed me to other job boards other than just LinkedIn. You know, we looked at Indeed too, there's one specifically for... it's a website called BuiltIn. There's BuiltIn Colorado, I think they have others in different states. But, you know, they highlight mostly tech companies. We looked at... there's a couple of other resources that she gave me that talk about specify in different companies. And you can filter for companies that you want to, especially on, like, built in, you can filter for industries that you're interested in, you can filter for remote work, you can filter by job type. And so just looking at those different resources, pointed me to a lot of different companies that weren't on LinkedIn or didn't have as much of a presence there. And then I would go take those companies, and then I would start searching for people that I knew were connections that I might be able to reach out to that way. So just having those just additional online resources was extremely helpful.

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:46

What do you feel like you did an especially great job? When you look back, you're like, "oh, that everything worked that well. This, I did pretty well."

Natalie Bernero 20:58

I'm pretty self critical. I'm sure I did some things really well. But that's a tough one. I mean, at the end of the day, even though the reach outs were really hard for me, when I go back, and I look at all the reach outs that I actually did, I did a lot more than I thought I was going to. It felt like I only had one or two for a while. And then I had three and then I had four. But by the end of it, by the time I made my change, I connected with like, I think 12 or 15 people, something like that. And that was a lot more than I thought I was going to do. And now I've connected with, and having those reach outs and connecting with those people, I feel like I have not a larger network that as I wants change, as my life changes, and as I may want to make another change in the future, I have so many more resources and connections that I can go back to in the future. So even though that was probably the hardest part for me, I think at the end of the day, I surprise myself in how much you can actually accomplish if you just keep working on it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:00

What do you feel like was the surprise to you? What stood out is the surprise to you for just how much you can accomplish? What was it about that?

Natalie Bernero 22:09

Just the fact that I was able to be bold, and you know, asking people to have those conversations, it feels kind of awkward to just reach out to someone that you don't know or that you've never talked to before. But that was the biggest surprise was that even though you're putting yourself in that uncomfortable situation, you just kind of got to do it. And then you realize that you're capable and people are willing to talk to you.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:33

It seems as though, well, I won't speak for everyone, but for me, when people say bold or like making bold moves, a lot of times it feels like that is instant, or that is massive moves in some way or another but I also hear you referring to, it was the build up of these specific smaller moves that felt uncomfortable, but it was the build up over time that really caused you to be successful through this process. Is that fair? Or what would you say to that?

Natalie Bernero 23:06

Yeah, I would agree. My coach was great about that too, in moments where I would say, "Oh, I don't really want to do that." Or, "I feel uncomfortable doing that" to push me and say, "You need to do these things. You need to... I'll help you with a template. I'll help you draft how you're going to ask for this thing, whatever it is along in this process." And so she would help me with that. But then she would kind of give me some tough love and make sure that I followed through and did do that. So yeah, it built up slowly over time, just with starting with reach outs. But then when it got to the end, when it came to negotiating for my job that I ended up getting, she made sure that I did negotiations, and I asked for more. And so yeah, it built up over time, but she really helped me be successful in that regard.

Scott Anthony Barlow 23:49

It sounds like definitely having another person there who was able to, as you said, give some tough love and be able to urge you to keep going was effective for you when you got to those uncomfortable parts. Is there anything else that worked really well for you to be able to move through that discomfort, especially since that was such a big part of your success?

Natalie Bernero 24:11

Yeah. I would say some other things that helped me be successful through that process was talking to my other friends and family who had gone through career changes in the past. And a lot of my friends and family that I talked to about it didn't do career coaching, but you know, they had made successful career moves. And this being my first time that I was actually going to be leaving a job and making a change. I had a lot of anxiety kind of built up about that. So hearing other people's success stories, just how they were able to do it on their own, it needed a lot of hope knowing that I also had HTYC in my career coach to back me up, that gave me a lot of hope that like okay, "I'm not on my own in this. I have these coaches that have these great resources. And I've seen other people who have just done it completely on their own. So I know that I can be successful in that as well."

Scott Anthony Barlow 25:01

That is super cool. I am also curious too, talking about the reach out process and within that retail process, do you remember any of the interactions that you had where you're like, "I don't know if this is going to be effective." And then it turned out to actually work. Do you remember any of those times?

Natalie Bernero 25:24

Oh, yeah. Yes.

Scott Anthony Barlow 25:25

What was the first time that happened where you had that experience?

Natalie Bernero 25:29

I would say the first time that happened was, no, it's not the most effective way but I just randomly messaged a guy on LinkedIn, who worked at a restaurant management company in Denver. And it was a total shot in the dark. And I wasn't, like, I've done this before, so I wasn't expecting him to answer me. But I reached out and said, "Hey, we have a mutual. Here's our mutual thing that we have in common. I'd love to talk to you about what you do." And he instantly got back to me and was like, we met for coffee, I think three days later. And so I know, again, I know that's not the most effective way, but just having one of those times, that was a total shot in the dark. And I wasn't expecting anything out of that to then him becoming a connection and him introducing me to people at a restaurant management company and talking to me about what he does, and what the opportunities there to work was mind blowing, and gave me a lot of hope for continuing in this process. The other one was I reached out to an old friend from college, and the work that accompany that I was interested in and you know, obviously was willing to have a conversation since we knew each other from school. But he actually ended up, after a conversation, ended up sending me an opportunity that then became the job that I took. So I wasn't expecting much out of it other than just to talk about the company in the conversation. But he was the one that ended up getting me the opportunity that I ended up taking. So those two just kind of random shots in the dark that throughout the reach out process, ended up getting me a great connection and be my next job.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:56

I think what's amazing is that, although it's easy to see how that one particular person, and that one particular interaction, then snowballed to much later turning into an actual opportunity. It's much harder to see that in the moment. You don't know which of those connections or which of those interactions or which experiments you might run that are going to yield feedback about what you do or don't want to spend your time on or yield a relationship that turns into something really fun and wonderful, and then later ends up turning into an actual paying opportunity. So really, really nice job because when I know from both personal experience, and from us working with many people over and over again, that it doesn't always seem like it's going to work out that way in the moment. So kudos to you. That is awesome. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about making a career change where let's go way back here to the point where you had realized for a while that you needed to do something different, but hadn't quite accepted it yet, and you were just considering you're at that consideration point, we'll call it, do I make a career change? Do I continue to stick it out? What does that look like? What does this mean? What advice would you give to that person who's in that place?

Natalie Bernero 28:16

Yeah. There's a couple pieces of advice that I would get is, one, just starting to believe that it is possible and that you can do it, you can make a career change successfully. I feel like I had a lot of mind blocks that kept me in my last job for probably longer than it should have, and I know that other people experienced that as well. So just starting by shifting your mindset to believing that you can do it and that it is possible, is definitely the first step. And I think my second piece of advice is to not get attached. I feel like I had kind of when we were talking about our ideal career profile and everything, I started to get really attached to this idea that I had to find the perfect job at the perfect company, and it had to be this glorious opportunity that paid six figures, and I was kind of searching for that one perfect opportunity. And the job that I ended up taking, if you had told me at the beginning of the process, I probably would have not been interested in it. And so I feel like you can't get too attached to any one specific thing. You have to keep your mind open as you go through the process. Because you never know what opportunities are gonna present itself. You never know what connections are going to be the ones that lead to opportunities. And so just kind of keeping an open mind and not getting too attached to one thing I feel like really leads you to success in the end.

Scott Anthony Barlow 29:34

I think that's amazing advice. I just taught a session for a group of our clients the other day, and that's one of the things that had come up during that session is "hey, how broad or specific or general or not general, should I be when I'm creating my version of ideal?" We use the tool of an ideal career profile. But ultimately it is that picture or vision of what it is that you're going after. And I think to your point, if you're not necessarily locked in on, it must be this industry or this way or this particular thing, or at the time, we were talking about someone who wanted to go into learning and development and was very focused on learning and development, and instead focused on shifting your focus to say, "Okay, how do I not get attached to this, but experiment with it? And how do I look at the pieces that are most important to me? And if they happen to fit outside of learning and development, that's amazing." Because as you said, if you would have seen this job at the beginning, you probably would have written it off the list.

Natalie Bernero 30:34

Yeah, exactly. And I was surprised that it ended up being the role that I'm in because it's a financial level. And so I was so keen on getting out of finance, that I almost wanted to ignore any job that had to do with finance. But that's actually where a lot of my skills lie is in analytical work, dealing with numbers, that financial analysis piece, but I was just so keen of ignoring the finance piece of it that at the beginning of this process, that would not have been my ideal career. But it's the opportunity that ended up taking and I'm really excited about it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:09

Tell me about negotiation. This is an area of struggle for so many people. I think it's fun. I know that that makes me crazy, and I'm okay with that. However, for you, as you went through the process of negotiating and asking for what you were looking for, and that set of interactions, what do you feel like worked really well for you?

Natalie Bernero 31:34

Yeah, I was definitely adverse to negotiating. I found it really interesting when I got the offer from a job. The salary that they offered me was above what I had asked for on the application. They say, "What do you expect to make in this job?" And what they offered me was above that, which I feel like is a negotiation strategy on a company's part to kind of make you feel like you don't need to negotiate because they're offering me more money upfront. So when I talked with my coach about the offer, and I said, "Hey, they're already offering more money, like, I don't feel like I need to negotiate." And she was like, "No, we're absolutely negotiating." So she really pushed me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 32:13

Thank you for your concern. No.

Natalie Bernero 32:16

She's like, "Nope, I'm gonna push you out of your comfort zone anyway." And so I feel like it's hard. I'm very much a people pleaser, and I definitely don't want to rock the boat and avoid a confrontation. And so going into negotiations, it feels like you're going into... you're not confronting somebody, but it feels like you are. You're asking for more. And so it feels uncomfy for sure. And I'm sure 99% of the people listening feel the same way. But what really helped me was going through a template of how to authentically ask for more money, or for more benefits or something like that, authentically do it in a way that we can frame it as a win-win scenario that's gonna benefit me, but it's also going to benefit the company XY and Z. And hearing that, sounds like how can you make it sound good for the company? But my coach really helped me kind of walk through that and create that template for me. And then sending that email felt a lot better than just the idea I had in my head of being like, "I want more money, please and thank you."

Scott Anthony Barlow 33:16

Do you remember any of the verbiage that you used that felt authentic to you? And also recognizing the caveat here is that what feels authentic to you, especially in negotiation, where you're trying to have a genuine conversation may not feel authentic to the next person. But do you remember any of that verbiage that you use that made it feel more authentic to you and to still be able to ask and find that wonderful win-win type of ground?

Natalie Bernero 33:45

Yeah. For me, it was really highlighting in that email that I was really excited about the company and the opportunity. And so in highlighting that and making sure that they were aware that I was really, really excited about the opportunity, but there was just this one little piece that I needed to get over the finish line, I feel like helped a lot because I wanted to let them know that like they weren't going to lose me as a candidate, just because you know, the salary wasn't exactly what I was hoping for. But I would also love if we could come to some sort of mutual agreement that's going to benefit both of us. So that felt really authentic to me to make sure that they knew that I was still a very willing and excited candidate.

Scott Anthony Barlow 34:24

So it sounds like part of what you did was making sure that they fully understood that you were onboard excited to be there. And also simultaneously, there was a piece or multiple pieces that didn't line up with what you were looking for. And one thing I should mention for everyone listening, many times it's not appropriate to send an email, sometimes it is. So in listening to Natalie's story here definitely was appropriate in this particular time to send an email but before you just assume that it's email versus conversation versus anything else, definitely partner with somebody that has experienced in negotiation because it's very different on an interaction by interaction and company by company and motivation by motivation basis. So really, really nice job. And also on the other side of that, what's the biggest thing that you learned through this process for yourself?

Natalie Bernero 35:20

I think the biggest thing that I... I learned so many valuable skills in this process of just how to build a network, how to shift your mindset when you're approaching any challenge in life, whether it's career change, or whether it's any other obstacle that I'm going to hit in life, but I think I just learned a lot more to trust my instincts and learn a lot about what I value. And that has really helped me from a career standpoint, but also just a life standpoint, when I look at things that make me mad or upset, I now think of it from the standpoint of this is probably misaligning with something that I value. And so just having that expanded self awareness, I feel like it's going to be amazing going forward as I evolve and change my career and then my life in general.

Scott Anthony Barlow 36:08

Hey, if you've been thinking about making a change for a while now, and you don't really know how to best take the first step, or get started, here's what I would suggest, just open your email app on your phone right now and I'm gonna give you my personal email address, scott@happentoyourcareer.com just email me and put 'Conversation. in the subject line. Tell me a little bit about your situation and I'll connect you with the right person on our team, where we can figure out the very best way that we can help you. scott@happentoyourcareer.com drop me an email. Here's a sneak peek into what we have coming up in store for you next week.

Rachel Cooke 36:45

I felt like I wasn't present for my kids. And so there were a whole bunch of circumstances that were converging that told me that my path was to step out.

Scott Anthony Barlow 36:53

So here's the thing, I worked in HR leadership for many years long before HTYC was even ever thought of. And I grew to hate the term employee engagement. Why? Well, partially because it's a buzzword. However, there's another really large reason. So many organizations talk about it, but not really doing anything of serious impact to help their employees actually be happier and more fulfilled at their work. And the crazy thing is that you don't actually have to wait. As it turns out, most people don't even realize that there are things that you can do so you're not waiting in your organization to drive employee engagement and actually allow you to be more fulfilled. So what is it that you can do to take ownership of your role in a way that actually matters, and allows you to be more happy more often in your career?

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:51

All that and plenty more next week right here on Happen To Your Career. Make sure that you don't miss it. And if you haven't already, click Subscribe on your podcast player so that you can download this podcast in your sleep, and you get it automatically, even the bonus episodes every single week, sometimes multiple times a week. Until next week. Adios. I'm out.

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