408: Why Building A Strong Support Network Can Be A Career Change Asset

Rebecca Maddox talks about how she built a strong support network to help her succeed at career change.



Rebecca Maddox, Attorney

on this episode

One of the greatest assets that you can have in pursuing a career change is a support network of people who understand why career change is so important to you, and why you need their help to get through it. But creating this network may require some uncomfortable conversations.

What you’ll learn

  • How Rebecca built her support network and why it was important to her.
  • Why it’s important to know who supports you and to utilize that support and check in with them through the process.
  • How to keep going even if others question your career change decision.

Success Stories

I would definitely say that I could not have put all the pieces together. The tools and techniques were important, but maybe more so than that, the mindset and the confidence. So I really, really needed that extra input and confidence boost and reassurance that I had a lot of strength and a lot to offer in the future. And I was feeling so rough because I was in a bad fit, stuck situation. Even though we all also recognized that situation wasn't inherently terrible. I would recommend, if you're starting to have that feeling like, either I'm crazy, or the situation, you know, is not that this bad, then I think that's a cue to reach out and get some, some guidance and a community of people that are struggling with the same things. And then suddenly, you'll feel that you're not crazy, after all, and it's just a tough life, situation and challenge, but you'll be able to get through it with that support, and accountability and confidence boost.

Jenny -, Research Scientist/Assistant Dean, United States/Canada

I can honestly say that I would not be where I'm at today without the HTYC crew. All of the material, the feedback, the coaching sessions, and the podcasts, I would not be where I'm at today.

Tanya Malcolm-Revell, Director, Events and Operations, United Kingdom

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

Rebecca Maddox 00:02

After I take the bar in August, I'm looking forward to joining a firm in Fresno, California, where I will be doing, essentially doing litigation and using all those tools and things that I learned in law school and bring the good news.

Introduction 00:24

This is the Happen To Your Career podcast, with Scott Anthony Barlow. We help you stop doing work that doesn't fit you, figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that's unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:48

Having a support network is so important to making a successful career change. Because career change is really difficult, right? Okay. There's bad days, there's setbacks, and you need people in your life that you can talk to who you know will help keep you going. Alright, I think we can all say that's a pretty straightforward idea. But what do you do when the people who should be your support network are trying to help you by telling you not to change careers? What do you do when the people you depend on, could be your friends and loved ones and support through your life's challenges are holding you back?

Rebecca Maddox 01:24

I had to say, "look you're my friend, you're my loved one. I love you dearly. And your support means so much to me. I need to make... I need to give this a try. And if it doesn't work out, I'll be okay. Things will be okay. I just need for you to trust in me, in my skill that things will be okay."

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:48

That's Rebecca Maddox. She worked in politics in Washington, DC before deciding she needed to change. And she eventually became a lawyer with a totally different organization in California that actually fit what she was looking for out of her career. And as you can hear, not everyone close to her necessarily understood why she needed to make a change. I want you to listen later on in this episode, because Rebecca articulates a pretty great constructive way to talk to your friends, talk to your loved ones about career change, even if they're not being supportive.

Rebecca Maddox 02:25

I decided to go to law school, back I think it was my junior year of college. No one else in my family had gone to law school and before all of it, I'd actually been thinking, “Oh, I wanna go to med school.” And then I took calculus and chemistry at the same time, freshman year, and there's nothing quite like that to like really make you reconsider your priorities in life. “I don't know if this is right for me.”

Scott Anthony Barlow 02:50

That totally cracks me up. But I'm curious why you say that for people that may have not been through that particular experience? I know quite a few actually. But if they haven't been, why do you say that?

Rebecca Maddox 03:02

Well, I came in thinking I was a math and science person coming into college. And then after taking chemistry and calculus, I mean, these are pressure cooker kinds of classes, because they're meant to feed out all the weaklings and then I say, weaklings with quotation marks too, this was a weed out the people who are just maybe are waffling, and they're trying to just bring out the people who are completely and totally dedicated.

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:28


Rebecca Maddox 03:28

And I remember getting back a grade on one of those tests, and it was, I think, 50 something average and there was no curve, I thought this is insane. The path… like average on this test is failing. I don't know what I'm doing. So I reconsidered everything. I went on a longer journey with taking environmental science courses, learning more about environmental policy, going into women gender classes and policy. I took a class, I think on feminist jurisprudence. And that opened my eyes the idea of “Ha! I find this fascinating. What if the law is actually something I wanna do?” And I remember telling my parents, "I wanted to go to law school" and they said, “Really?”

Scott Anthony Barlow 04:10

What? Really?

Rebecca Maddox 04:11

“Really? Sure? Are you sure?” And I took the LSAT, I did an internship with a community group, where attorney was representing the community group in front of a zoning commission. I thought, 'this is just the start of all'. So I ended up going to law school because I like the idea of how you could use advocacy in arguments to like build a foundation to achieve something for someone. Because I think ultimately at the end of the day, I wanted to help people. And that's what moves me towards law school. I ended up going to law school at the University of Maryland. And after I went to school there, I realized I've never been involved in politics. I guess that's forwarding. I realized, you know, I've had experience, undergrad with some environmental sort of organizing stuff back in the day. I now have experience in law, but I've never looked at politics, which feels like another factor, and something that's close to me now that I'm in Maryland, and DC is not very far away.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:19

Oh, no.

Rebecca Maddox 05:20

What if like, I don't have kids, I don't have a house. What if that's something worth trying?

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:26

I love that you're ask… you… at that point in time asked the, well what if it is something worth trying? That is… that's super interesting and super cool.

Rebecca Maddox 05:35

Yeah, it’s… I decided to kind of start... just go start talking to a few people of, where do people even start? Where do you even go? What does this mean? And I ended up connecting with an office in DC. And I remember at the time I ended up working there, because it was 2013, recession was still hitting hard for lawyers. And I said, you know, I think it was because all that I've done, like, people have told me that I'm scrappy. You just kind of go and you see what's out there, and you kind of put your neck out there and see what you can get. That's why that part of my life led from the law into politics. And then I did that for a couple of years.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:18

That's interesting. So before you did that, it sounds like you ended up going in and talking to a few different people before you can connect act up with that organization, but who were the types of people that you sought out? To try and find out “Hey, what even this politics? Like, what's all this meaning?” Like, who were those types of people? Or who were those folks in your life?

Rebecca Maddox 06:39

Oh, yeah, that's a great question. Because coming from my family, my family is filled, my extended family, my immediate family, it's filled with teachers and doctors, you know, no one knew anything much about connecting in with politics.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:55


Rebecca Maddox 06:55

And I remember a friend at school was involved more with politics and there was an intern coordinator who handled more political internships for the school. And she said, “you should go talk to her.” And I said, “okay.” And I think my, in general, my best… the way I found most of my internships or experiences while in school was definitely through teachers. Teachers saying, “hey, you’re… you should be connecting into extra shifts. Hey, you should be connecting into these things.” But they kind of acted as mentors to shepherd me through. And getting into politics, in general, is just... it's a tough game. I mean, everyone's coming in trying to prove the self worth. And it's a lot of networking and it's a lot of meet people for coffee and trying to figure out you have a connection to their state, to their political beliefs, to their office, to someone in their office. It kind of helps to strip the green, as I phrased it, strips the greenness off, taking a little bit...

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:06

Off of you very quickly.

Rebecca Maddox 08:07

Exactly. Yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:08

You become no longer green almost immediately as you...

Rebecca Maddox 08:11


Scott Anthony Barlow 08:12

As you move into that. That’s really interesting. I think a lot of people don't realize how much relationship building, networking, etc. is involved in when they think about politics is ultimately that's kind of the way stuff gets done or accomplished or vice versa, lack of accomplishment, in that world. It is... as I've gotten to know more people that are involved in politics, in one way or another, I just naively didn't realize that. Which is the same way in every other area of life too. But I just, I totally for some reason didn't click with that until like seven years ago or so.

Rebecca Maddox 08:52

It's an amazingly small world. Once you start digging into it, I mean, there's kind of this catch 22 if you want to go work for Congress, they say, okay, first, he'd have experience to go, before you go with congressional something. It's something of politics before you can be considered. But then you say, well, I need a job to get experience so I can be considered. So that's where the politics comes in, is when you're trying to say okay, here's some kind of connection. Here's some kind of connection we have. Here's something at your office. And you realize that the political world is relatively small. Everyone kind of knows people floating around and... hack! There are even publications that track who's moving where, what time. So it's a very, everyone's very aware of what's going on.

Scott Anthony Barlow 09:45

Yeah. But I know that because you and I had a conversation maybe, I don't know, seven, eight months ago or something, which was the first time you and I had met after you've found HTYC. And at that point in time, you were less excited. So I say about being in DC and being involved in the political arena. Is that fair to say?

Rebecca Maddox 10:10

Yeah, that's fair to say. I would say during my time, there it was... it is really exciting. And it's really interesting because you're dealing with some very big issues and everything saying yes, changing all the time. And you work with some very motivated, very intelligent people, and some very diplomatic and great people to work with. But the same time, it's sometimes working at 50,000 feet, you know, feeling like you're kind of hovering above ground. If you start, I think after a while starting to wonder about my impact and connecting with people and wondering, is this the best use of my skills? And I remember people saying, "oh, man, but you've got the dream." And it kind of raises a red flag. If people say, "you have the dream, you think, there's a lot of truth to that. But something feels off right now, at least for what I think I'm looking for."

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:09


Rebecca Maddox 11:10

And I think in that moment, I started looking for a career coach, because when you're in a position, especially that you've worked really hard to get, they've put a lot of time, a lot of years and you're thinking, 'okay, right, this feels right. It feels like I'm gaining experience and gaining some, a little bit of, you know, have a good reputation here. I've got something going.' It's hard to talk to other people. It's hard to know who to talk to, to say, "Hey, I'm wondering if there's something else out there for me." Or to say, hey, even to your family, to your loved ones say, "Hey, I'm not sure if this will be my forever fit. Or maybe this is the best fit for me in terms of like, my goals or what I'm thinking right now." Because everybody has their own bias. Everybody, you know, like your family supported you and getting used to this position, they want to see you happy, but they also are wondering, why would you leave? Why would you do anything? Why would you stay? And or why would you ever consider leaving really? So it’s kind of...

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:14

It’s the dream.

Rebecca Maddox 12:15

It’s the dream. And granted, there were a lot of opportunities, great opportunities, great people to work with again, it's just kind of thinking okay, so but for me and my skills and what I'm thinking that's my personal move, what are my options? What… how should I be thinking about this? I think having a little bit of an outside perspective, there are someone who can call you out on maybe when you're not taking accountability for everything in your sphere. I mean, he's the one who can point things out or help you navigate it. I think that's what I was looking for.

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:45

Interesting. So I'm curious, just diving back for a half a second, because it sounds like you were having fun with with some areas of it. And as you got in there, there was different levels of excitement and things that totally jive with what you were interested in, at least at the time, what really started you down the path of either realizing that it had changed or that you wanted something different? What happened in between there, that caused you to have a difference of opinion from when you went in and when you were having fun of it with it initially?

Rebecca Maddox 13:20

I started thinking about, I think I started feeling a little disconnected. Sometimes we will still working on an issue and then something else will become more political important to be working on or focusing on. So jumping around, you have a lot of loose, there were loose ends and I thought, okay, am I… what am I accomplishing here? And if, I started feeling a little bit of that disconnect, and also, there's this sort of, there's a thoroughness impact but also the depth of the issue where when you're working on like a higher level on issues you're trying to, you don't want to dive too deep into the weeds, but you're all in… but you also need to create something. So I became a very versatile generalist, looking at different issues across the spectrum, but it was diving into, I think when you're running on an inch deep mile wide.

Scott Anthony Barlow 14:28


Rebecca Maddox 14:29

You know, some people thrive in that environment, they see the bigger forces and they enjoy just kind of, you know, thing a little bit in the substance, but mostly on the bigger forces and political forces, and again, navigating that. But for me, I found that this is all very exciting. I would love to have something where I get to dive deep more into, be more of an expert on, sink my teeth into more. And I, so I started reconsidering my impact and as well as my, ultimately, how do they want my ideal office? How, at least or how I get my rewards out of work? What makes sense? It's like having a big policy issue work or is it more of a one on one relationship with a client like that kind of work and I thought, actually it’s the client, I just started, piece by piece,3 picking things off. And sometimes too, when you're in that environment, you know that something's not working, but you're not quite sure what. And it's sometimes can be hard to hear your voice in that space. And I think I was into on top of all of this, my heart, you know, my heart in terms of my job was starting to kind of wander. And then also my heart was also somewhere else, like my significant other was, he was out on the campaign trail and at that point in time, I thought, “okay, how am I going to get ourselves in the same place? We've been doing long distance for a long time.”

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:02


Rebecca Maddox 16:02

So there was a little bit of that coming. There was that coming into play as well, we thought, 'okay. I need… I’m trying to hold it all together, but something's gonna get eventually. What makes sense for me?'

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:15

That's super interesting on a variety of levels. And partially because you began to recognize that being a overall generalist and not getting to go deep with something that you were missing quite a bit and then at the same time, you had some needs and wants life changes. And like, how are we gonna get… are we gonna stop doing this long distance relationship? And so you had a couple of things pulling in different areas in, for one, super cool that you recognized the need for change because I think a lot of people will just keep going. Like, I mean, I encounter them all the time where people just keep on going, rather than acting on that need or want for change. So kudos to you, first of all.

Rebecca Maddox 17:14

Thanks. It's... when you're in the zone, I think or when you're doing this, especially if you've had a lot of time and energy invested into it. And there are a lot of things you know, it's not usually black and white. It's not like a voice of God comes down unless you just happen to...

Scott Anthony Barlow 17:30

Roll back up.

Rebecca Maddox 17:30

Just lucky people, right? [inaudible] like, oh, yeah, there's the burning bush. Cool. I got my instruction. Let's grow. For me it was, you know, it's... I don't remember who told me this or where I read this, but it's like the little things, you start feeling a little itch.

Scott Anthony Barlow 17:47


Rebecca Maddox 17:48

And you say, maybe am I crazy? And so you think, you know, everything else was going on. Let's just keep going with this or maybe it's just me, maybe like, I did that for a while or I thought, okay, I need to make sure, I'm not handling this correctly, I need to, you know, go running, I need to make sure I'm getting my energy out, I need to make sure I'm following up on where I've made mistakes and try not to do those again. I need to be like accountable. I need to you try to fix all the other things. But there was a moment for me I think, I know I would say for other listeners, if there's a moment where you know something's really off, whether it's like that moment where you snap at someone you didn't realize, you didn't mean to and they went way beyond what you normally are, you think this is not where I'm supposed to be, this is something's wrong. I would say listen to that. I think my moment was, this was a long time before I made my move out of DC but at the moment, I went into the dentist's office, they did an X-ray of my molars and the nerves just look like scrambled eggs. I'm not out of my 20s and they said, "look, you are clenching your teeth so hard at night from stress, that you have messed up your nerve endings. And if you keep going like this, you're going to need root canals for all 4 teeth by the time, you're 30." And I just, it kind of made me sit down and say, something's wrong. Something's really wrong. So I…

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:29


Rebecca Maddox 19:29

And I kind of tried to like just, you know, keep work. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, right? And keep going, keep going. You can do it. Keep focus, everyone goes and runs into issues like this. And then eventually, something starts to get and say, you know, maybe it doesn't have to. Maybe something is off. And I think the hard part of that, for me was negotiating with my family and friends, not just in the workplace. I'm trying to be professional, right? You're trying to protect yourself. But then the hard part with family and friends is explaining, "Hey, I'm gonna go work. I'm interested in this idea. I would really appreciate your support. I’m… I think it's worth a shot for me to kind of look into."

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:14

How did you handle some of those conversations? Because I think that's a real thing for nearly everybody. Even if you've got a fairly supportive family. Like if you're on that end of the spectrum and have family that understands, it's still like a big gap. And it's like, well, why or the other questions that come up. So I'm curious, how did you approach some of those conversations?

Rebecca Maddox 20:40

Right. You know, the hard part when you're thinking of making a change in your life is that either I've run into several reactions, people are usually nervous, and they want to be helpful. Loved ones, in particular want to be helpful, but they oftentimes don't know how to approach the issue. I've had ranging issues of people saying, "well, just go do what you love, go do what you love." And I think well, that's kind of broad.

Scott Anthony Barlow 21:15

Just go do it. Just start doing it. Just, you know.

Rebecca Maddox 21:21

Or I even once had someone asked me, "well, what's the one thing that you need in life?" And I had to look back and honestly, it's like, I don't know, food, clothing shelter? Like where are we going with this, right? So...

Scott Anthony Barlow 21:35

Water, obviously.

Rebecca Maddox 21:37

The water.

Scott Anthony Barlow 21:38

Thanks for that piece of information.

Rebecca Maddox 21:40

Vote one for water. Water was popular though. Yeah, we… So I would say I want… so in approaching that I think I had to realize that like, why I was feeling vulnerable in my search or feeling and trying to think broadly, I had to realize that other people are feeling a little thrown out of kilter, because they too are wanting good things for you, but also, you know, think of you in a certain way. So having those honest and open conversations is really important. And for people who truly didn't understand or angry, which I ran into a fair amount as well.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:17


Rebecca Maddox 22:18

I did.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:18

We've seen like, as we've worked with different people, we've seen a lot of that happen. And it seems like there's a variety of reasons why that can occur, but...

Rebecca Maddox 22:28


Scott Anthony Barlow 22:28

It... yeah, it's something that I think most people don't expect when they're thinking about going through this. Cuz this is interesting and good that you're bringing it up.

Rebecca Maddox 22:37

Yeah. And I think that was one thing as I thought about commute... as I was talking today that was something that came up for me because I think that was something that threw me off kilter, my job search was just the emotional impact of others. Not understanding or being frustrated and let you know, there's validity there. It's, I think, my moment of wisdom was with what, somebody is very close to me. And he said, "I think you're making a mistake, why you live in cross country?" And I think number one, like they may be mad about certain things if you're making yourself vulnerable and making other people vulnerable financially. That is one thing to put on the side back burners, but I personally had enough in savings to say, "Hey, I've saved up for this moment. I prepared for this moment, I can do this." So there's that and then the other part, the logical support, wanting them to support me where I was, I think I had to say, "Look. You're my friend, you're my loved one. I love you dearly. And your support means so much to me. I need to make... I need to give this a try. And if it doesn't work out, I'll be okay. Things will be okay. I just need for you to trust in me, in my skill that things will be okay at this moment. And then if something else comes up, we'll just troubleshoot it from there. But here's my plan, here's where we're going. I really would appreciate your support in this." So that's how I went about it. Well that was the best move, you know, the most comprehensive. Yeah, I'm sure other people have their pointers, but like I think that's what helped for me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 24:18

I think that… well, and I think that's a great, what you just verbalized, I think is a great script, actually, that we have, we found generally works because when you're explaining why and when you're explaining why you need to make the change and then asking specifically for support and then even explaining that ultimately, look, it's gonna be okay because of these reasons, then I think that that helps people move from point A to point Z in terms of how they're looking at it. ‘Cause, what's it… kind of interesting. I don't know if you found this too, but many times, it seems like when you're making big life change, people are looking at it through their lens of understanding and whether or not it'd be good for them.

Rebecca Maddox 25:03


Scott Anthony Barlow 25:03

Not intentionally, like they have your best interest in mind, especially if there's somebody close to you. Like they have absolutely have your best intentions in mind, but they're looking at it through their what would be good for them.

Rebecca Maddox 25:14


Scott Anthony Barlow 25:15

Accidentally or unintentionally. That's how their, that's how humans minds work for the most part.

Rebecca Maddox 25:20


Scott Anthony Barlow 25:21

Yeah. Of course it would… Of course, those big changes wouldn't be good for… they’re not gonna be good for you, Rebecca, because ultimately, it's not good for me. And that's the weird, I don't know. Have you found that?

Rebecca Maddox 25:34

I have. Yeah, I found that and I found that it's not usually, it's not as much as I, like, have wanted it to be like a very straightforward, clear cut moment where you can say, "You see, you really just want me to be here in this... imagined me in this way because you want me to, because of this one thing for you." There's never like just quite one thing. It's like an emotional process that everyone has to go through. And I think if you have, if you're trying to explain it to a lot of people it’s difficult. It's kind of exhausting having to go from conversation, conversations and say, “hey, I know you, this is important for you and I know you can support me in this has been really important for me. And you know, that it's hard.” So the second point you have to kind of know who your main people are, who are, you know, who your main support is/are, talk to those people first, and then know to certain degree, it will percolate through. And then know over time, things get better. People ease off, especially if as you move on, if it works out, and as it has, I mean, as I've, for me as I've left, after I left DC, they're a little things people have noticed, like, I'm laughing more and my hair is blonde or if I'm in the outside more and, you know, little things, people say, you know, maybe it's not so bad. I think to the idea of like dropping everything, or dropping things and moving on to a different opportunity is something that's risky. And a lot of people are risk averse, they're nervous, they wouldn't have necessarily done this for themselves. So that's another you know, there's several hurdles of how people make their own decisions in addition to the fact that maybe they just wanted you there. Maybe they said, “you know what, you have a great career and I'm bragging about you. And maybe I just always thought this was who and what you wanted and who are you anymore." So there's a little bit of that going on too and so that there's... that's kind of the untold story along with career change experiences, is that how, you know, how your support system works and I would recommend a good piece of advice that was given to me that I would recommend to others is, "Know who's supporting you. Surround yourself with those people. Check in with those people." You need support and you… if you need their support to help you accomplish your dream, or to move forward or to do anything challenging whether that's lose five pounds or move across country, just have those people check in with this people every so often to know that you're supported.

Scott Anthony Barlow 28:26

That is amazing advice. Especially just coming off of this. It's like fresh talk off of the press. Did you still, for all intents and purposes, kind of like just been through this. And just gotten off the train, if you will. So it's... even I forget, like, I'm surrounded by this all the time and I've gone through this and I found these same things for myself too. And I totally making multiple career changes myself did not anticipate that, like that emotional tool that you're talking about earlier. And you mentioned where you're just having lots and lots of conversations with people and you're like, not just taking the actions, but you're also explaining the actions and then you're trying to help make it easy for them to support you in taking these actions and all the stuff that you just never imagined would go along with it.

Rebecca Maddox 29:15


Scott Anthony Barlow 29:17

And I think that's part of the reason why so many people end up staying in the same place too, because that's hard.

Rebecca Maddox 29:24

It's hard and it's risky because what's, you know, what's on the other end of the yellow brick road, right? Like…

Scott Anthony Barlow 29:31

Oh, my goodness. What if the wizards mean?

Rebecca Maddox 29:37

You never know.

Scott Anthony Barlow 29:38

You never know.

Rebecca Maddox 29:39

Just keep the faith. Well, the brick, you know, if you lead them to the canyon, well the bridge build underneath you like, you know, that's scary. Well, the other people will be there to support you? I don’t know, you hope so. And it's, yeah, especially, I think for me, I made the decision to for where I was, when my job ended. I didn't have anything else lined up and I think that made other people nervous too. I think at the time I needed a little bit of, I was doing this cross country move so finding a drop cross country is hard enough but like meeting the clarity and the time and the space sometimes that’s… that is a luxury that is really nice. I, yeah, not everyone gets that.

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:35

Well, you have to, in order to be able to do that, in order to be able to earn the right to do that in a way that can be healthy. Like there's a few prerequisites you have to have there because I've done the same thing. And I got the same reactions as I was going through it from all kinds of people. Like really like, you just… you're just not working.

Rebecca Maddox 30:57

Yeah, and at that point in time, like again, having that question, I think is was like that financial question, was a way it was almost like my first line of defense to say, “you know what, we're fine. We're gonna work this out. I'm working diligently on this. Everything is paid. Everything is good. So what's going on?” Yeah, we had... I would also say during that time, because people are nervous and they project that nervousness onto you and in addition to your own, like, insecurities, or you know, trying to deal with, oh my gosh, am I able to do this?

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:31

Did I make the right decision? Oh my goodness. Yeah.

Rebecca Maddox 31:34

I would definitely, you know, the negative voices come and something I also, that was helpful for me during the coaching experience was, and then I learned along the way was that it's also very important to give yourself some grace, show yourself some grace. And I would totally recommend Elizabeth Gilbert. Love her. She has her book “Big Magic” and listening to that was actually very helpful. This idea that you have this creative muscle and you have to give a little space to breathe. And maybe during this process, finding your… I felt a great deal of pressure to find the job, coming from this job that I was at and then moving into another job, I felt a great deal of pressure to find something that was justified as like, the bigger better thing, right? It’s... there's this idea of like, where's the job? The one. Where's this moving up from the world? And...

Scott Anthony Barlow 32:40

We just told all these people that you're going to… you're gonna make this big change. Now you gotta own up, right?

Rebecca Maddox 32:46

Now you gonna own up. Then people are depending on you. And how's the job search going? How's it going? Have you found anything yet?

Scott Anthony Barlow 32:51

Oh, my goodness!

Rebecca Maddox 32:51

Oh my gosh. And we… yeah, and finding, I think in that, I learned... I took a note, I very much believe in like cross-politics ideas and I… when Elizabeth Gilbert was talking about her, about how like don’t, about artists who put so much pressure on themselves to try to create their whole career off of their art, but it kills your creative muscle. That resonated with me so deeply, I thought, "oh my gosh. I feel the same, such similar pressure with finding the job that’s moved… like finding this, where’s your career trajectory going like finding, proving success?" And I thought this is about finding what is my best fit for my skills. This is about finding the next best step in my career for me to be successful where I will, where the average person might put in 100% and get 100% back, but maybe where I put out 100% and I get 150 to 200% back because I'm just doing what I'm supposed to do. And I thought, that's what I'm looking for here. So, hearing that advice, kind of ease off a little bit and realize, okay, if I have to go find other job to be a bridge for the moment, that's fine. I can do that. What's most important is, I focus on finding the next best fit for me. And coming into a new place, there was… there's a lot especially making a transition into a new market like I did, there's a lot of networking, a lot of meeting with people trying to understand how they will look at your resume, understanding like what it would take to break through that sort of thing is, so it just take some time. And yeah, so I would definitely recommend Elizabeth Gilbert, anyone.

Scott Anthony Barlow 34:49

I have had several people recommend that same book in particular. Probably about, I don't know, 10 or 15 times or so. And I’m curious for, as you went through this process, and as you were, you call that trying to find the next best step for you or something close to that. How did you end up working with Lisa and what were the one or two biggest things that you ended up taking, tooking I’m making a words now, wait, what's the one or two things that you tooking away that… what did you end up taking away from your interactions with Lisa about your next best thing? Because it's certainly not everybody’s, right? It's individualized.

Rebecca Maddox 35:49

Yeah, you know, working with Lisa, which is great. Love working with Lisa.

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:56

And by the way, Lisa, we're talking about Lisa Lewis for context here. You can hear her story at happentoyourcareer.com/147 on episode 147.

Rebecca Maddox 36:08

Yeah, she was and she was great. And I think something, so I just started decided to start working with Lisa because having, as I was diving into the bootcamp on Happen To Your Career, and I was really trying to think broadly, I had this moment of thinking, okay, should I even… should I be a lawyer? What should I do? I just went took the kind of, what color is your parachute approach, found Happen To Your Career really started trying to dig deep and like lay a foundation. And I started working with Lisa, when I got to a point of saying, "Okay, I'm pulling some of these things out, but it's like some of my strengths, some of my interests, but it's murky. I'm not sure how to move forward for this. And I think not knowing where you want to go." Like, again, some people hear the burning bush or see the burning bush. Some people don't. I did not. And I was wondering, I'm not quite sure how to, what I'm looking for. How do I move forward? How do I develop this? How do I really, I was hoping to get that burning bush but when we didn't, oh gosh, I don’t know what I'm doing. So that's when I started, I think, feeling stuck. How do I move forward with this? That's when I called, Happen To Your Career. That's when I decided it's time to reach out to a coach who can, who's impartial, who isn't like my family because they don't have a vested interest in me being in one place or another. Because they love me. But you know, this makes it nervous. And it's not like other people on my network who, too, might see me in particular way and then say, "Oh, but don't you want to do X, Y, and Z?" And then also, some people are just so outside of the job search game that they just haven't, you know, this is all... they have general advice, but it may not be what you need. So it was helpful working with her because she helped me think about structuring... how to structure or talking with people about what I'm looking for. What are the next steps to move forward? And two, there are moments when I was avoiding an issue in my career search that she would… she even called me out, which was great, she can call me out. So why do you think you're avoiding this? What are you protecting on yourself by avoiding this issue? But you're not just avoiding it because you're lazy or something, that's my phrasing, she never said that, but what are you trying to protecting yourself that you feel vulnerable about?Which was a way that like no one had ever proposed to me before. And wow, actually, that's a really good point. I remember I had this breakthrough moment, journaling about it. And I think too, in addition, it was helpful to have Lisa through the interviewing process, because in addition to the pragmatic like, oh, someone responded like this, how should I respond? How should I deal with some of the, you know, the basic baseline things? There was also this question of, I think my inherent bias, having gone through trying to find a job in DC, a lawyer in 2013, where there are tons of lawyers and people kept saying, like, where do you felt generally kind of disposable and at that point in time having to scrape by for a job, I had an inherent tendency to try to form myself into the person I thought that they were looking fo, for these interviews, rather than presenting, here's where I am, here's what I'm hoping for, I would love to work with you in the future. If this opportunity works. Like I very much had this bias to try to get the job, right, like do whatever it takes to get the job, when in reality, just getting the job can lead to a mismatch and a miscommunication expectations and assumptions between you and the employer. If the employer doesn't do what they want, you don't get what you want. There's like this, you know, there's just desperation in there. And even though, which came through, even though I have money in, our head money at the time to cover my bills, that baseline bills at that moment. But I was still just, I thought was just my inclination. And working with Lisa was helpful to strip down extraneous and get back to be more authentic without trying to preclude the opportunity. But just to be honest and say, "Hey, well, here's where I'm coming from. What do you think you're looking for?" Which really changed the interview process for me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 41:07

That’s a huge mindset switch. That is a massive mindset switch.

Rebecca Maddox 41:11

Huge. And it felt really bizarre at first because I thought, oh my gosh, I feel like I'm naked in the room, you know, like, just something is out there. ’Cause...

Scott Anthony Barlow 41:22

It feels absurd at first.

Rebecca Maddox 41:24

It really does. I think, at least I was calling it radical authenticity in the moment. It was, it feels really bizarre because you're trying, either realizing like, there's just 100 in particular that I thought I know it once I say this stuff this thing's done, like I know, because I thought, you know, I'm interested in the job, but I don't know for how long I would be interested. Given, like what this position is, I don't think I'd want to stay too terribly long. ‘Cause I would outgrow it pretty quickly. And they, I think, have the same concern. And I thought this would be like my foot in the door, at least getting the office. There's just so few opportunities. I’m just like, ah, I’m not sure. And so talking to Lisa about it, it was... I practiced it, and then went into the interview and then actually said, "I would be practiced aligned to get ready for it. And once I gave my line of, “you help me ready?” I think I would be interested in growing from this experience into other opportunities in the office. What do you think you're looking for? Or could you tell me what you're looking for exactly?" It's like, it's centering. It's centers where your position of power is and it feels and when I walked out of office, I know I'm not gonna get a callback on this. But I still felt okay with that. Which is not the way I would have felt before. I felt like before if I had gone in and not conformed, not conform, you’re like if I hadn't tried to like meet with they're looking for, try to get the job, I would have felt like I was letting myself down because I wasn't keeping my options open. But then again, like on this interview, I thought I'm being honest. They deserve to find someone that they think is their best fit. I observe to have a job that works for me. I feel so much more comfortable with this. So it was kind of a different shift in narrative that I think I ended up paying off for different interview.

Scott Anthony Barlow 43:26

It's so interesting and almost sadly, not intuitive for people just like you'd said earlier feels odd or it feels awkward, but to be radically authentic and to be a bit vulnerable. It's not the norm. And it is a bit scary. And I would say nearly 100% of the time, it creates a better result. But it is, I mean, it is super scary in some cases. And I don't think I really believe that until I remember one interview, actually, that I went into, and got there, and thought I was interviewing for one position. And they started talking to me about another and I'm like, “Wait a minute. Hold on. I'm really sorry. But I'm actually here because I'm really interested in this.” And the guy told me back and he's like, “you know what, we actually, we don't hire people for that position. We don't hire people for HR managers unless they have previous experience.” And they've been in, you know, some type of role for five years or whatever. And I’m like “well, I'm sorry. I don't have that, but I'm really really interested.” And he was like, “well, why are you here then?” And then so we started talking and it opened up this dialog. And it was scary as all get out. I remember in that moment just before thinking, oh crap, I'm having the same thoughts. Shall I just get my foot in the door like, oh, I don't know. And then, but they ended up offering me the position that I really actually wanted at like a $20,000 increase compared to what I would have gotten and everything else from it. But I've seen that literally hundreds of times again and again and again, that same type of thing that you're describing. But it's hard. So I am… here's my question for you looking at, looking back at all of this at this point, and you got the opportunity to work with Lisa not everybody gets to work with Lisa or not everybody gets to work with our coaches and everything like that. But what advice would you give people as they're thinking about making this change, maybe they're back in the place where they're feeling that little itch. And they're starting to have some of those moments where, I don't know, they snap at somebody and realize that their work is impacting their life in ways that they didn't anticipate. What advice would you give them if they're kind of on the beginning portion of that journey?

Rebecca Maddox 45:56

Right. There in the beginning portion, I say, you owe it to yourself, just give it some time. Give it… see what you think. See what... I go try something. Go look into, like, see what your options are or even go talk to somebody who reach out to someone and talk to friends, and say, “hey can you even get paid does this sort of thing? I think it's interesting.” And maybe meet up for coffee, because a five minute conversation or even 15 minute conversation, because people are busy, right? Like less than an hour, great. Less than five minutes, great. Saying, “Hi, I think what you do is amazing. I'm trying to figure out what it means to do your… I'm really curious when you do your job.” I would say it's worth it. It's no pressure. That's how... if it works out, that's how most people find their jobs anyways. And if you're in that moment and thinking, "Okay, there's nothing. Geez, I'm so entrenched to where I am like, moving is really just... moving to a different opportunity is kind of a joke." I would say, "Maybe you're right. There's a chance that you're a good, chance that you're probably wrong unless an extremely niche field." Because skills are transferable. And if you're in that moment where you're realizing this is something that's really hitting me hard and hitting, like impacting those around me, right? Like it's when it goes beyond just you and starts impacting those around you. Like you may be having that impact on those around you. It's worth say trying the bootcamp stuff, maybe doing a StrengthFinders analysis, doing something to just get a different perspective, take a breather and realize that if there are those people in your life, you say, get your job and you stick to it. And that's the one thing that you do. Because I have gotten that advice as well. You… that’s not the world we live in. It's more a game of rather than like, plant your roots and see how deep they go. Feel a little bit more like a game of chutes and ladders. So it's just a matter of where you…

Scott Anthony Barlow 48:33

I love that.

Rebecca Maddox 48:34

Where you shifts. And ultimately, like if people are telling you, you've got the dream, but it's something doesn't feel right. That's fine. Trust that. And if people are angry, they'll come around. Especially if you like, you know this wrong, you're going to make yourself happy. It's going to make everyone else happy, right? Like do the right thing. And we've looked into it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 49:05

That's amazing advice. Hot off the press. And I have, I've found too that zero things in life that are worth doing are, that are big changes in any way, are going to be just incredibly easy. Like very, very few are going to fall into that incredibly easy category. And I would say very close to zero, if not zero. And anytime you're making big changes, there's always going to be somebody that disagrees.

Rebecca Maddox 49:42


Scott Anthony Barlow 49:44

Most of our episodes on Happen To Your Career often showcase stories of people that have identified and found and take the steps to get to work that they are absolutely enamored with, that matches their strengths and is really what they want in their lives. And if that's something that you're ready to begin taking steps towards, that is awesome, you can actually get on the phone with us and our team. And we can have a conversation to find the very best way that we can help. It's super informal. And we try to understand what your goals are, where you want to go, and what specifically you need our help with. And then we figure out the very best type of help for you, whatever that looks like, and sometimes even customize that type of help. And then we make it happen. It’s really easy way to schedule a conversation with our team is, just go to scheduleaconversation.com, that's scheduleaconversation.com and find a time that works best for you. We'll ask you a few questions, as well. And then we'll get you on the phone to figure out how we can get you going to work that you really want to be doing that fits your strengths, that you love, and you're enamored with. Hey, I can't wait to hear from you.

Scott Anthony Barlow 51:03

I want you to meet Darrah Brustein. She does, well, a lot of things.

Darrah Brustein 51:09

I am multi passionate, and I do a lot of different things. And it's tough to get out in a "elevator pitch". So what I told Scott was that I'm half entrepreneur and half writer. And he scoffed a bit and said, "oh, there's so much more than that." So, frankly, it depends on the circumstances and the environment.

Scott Anthony Barlow 51:30

Darrah is a writer, an entrepreneur, the owner of a credit card processing company, the founder of a live events company called Network Under 40. But overall, she's someone who has devoted a lot of her time, her life, her talent to helping people form meaningful professional relationships. And that's exactly what I wanted to talk to her about on this episode, take a listen later on, as she gives very specific examples of how you can reach out to busy people who might be hard to contact. This is a great episode if you want to understand from their perspective, how to be able to reach, get attention and make a real actual connection. 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. Until next week, adios. I'm out.

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