468: Why Would You Settle For Anything Less Than Career Happiness?

If your current role is no longer enjoyable or fulfilling it’s time to make a change! Alistair Marshall, experienced career coach and career changer, joins Scott to talk about his ongoing career experiment.



Alistair Marshall, Head Of Retail (UK and Europe) at Theory and Leadership Coach

Alistair is passionate about doing meaningful work and helping others do the same! He worked as an executive in the fashion industry for 16 years before he pivoted into career coaching. He recently pivoted back into fashion as an executive with Theory, and continues to run a coaching business.

on this episode

If your current role isn’t fulfilling, if it isn’t checking all the boxes, if it isn’t aligned with what you picture as your ideal career… then what are you waiting for? Why are you going down a path that isn’t going to bring you career happiness and fulfillment? Alistair Marshall has made quite a few pivots throughout his career, and one of his ventures happens to be career coaching! With this combination of personal and professional experience, he gives great insight on how to identify if your current role is still the right fit for your life, what actually worked for him as he transitioned careers, and how he knew the role he chose was the right one during his career search.

What you’ll learn

  • Why you should always experiment with your career
  • How to know if your current role is still the right fit
  • How to get out of your comfort zone and find career happiness
  • Career search tips from a career coach’s personal experience
  • How to find your blindspots in order to identify your ideal career

Alistair Marshall 00:01

Don't think that it's not okay to keep trying and keep experimenting. I think some people are like, "Well, I can't. I've done too many jobs. I've just gotta stay put for five years." Five years is a very long time. We've got one chance at this life. If it's not working, if it's not feeling good, then change it up. Every experience is super, super worthy.

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

Let's talk about what I like to call the ongoing experiment of your career. I'm gonna guess that when you started your current role, you were super excited, and maybe even landed that ideal role. But guess what, after a while, the honeymoon period starts to wear off, you eventually start to get that urge to change careers, maybe even switch industries. And that's okay. We never have it all figured out. We never have all the answers. We are constantly evolving. We're constantly learning, changing and discovering new interests, new preferences, new wants, new needs, new ideas. The experiment of it all is being able to take the learnings and the data that you've gathered from your experiences and use that to figure out what you want in the next chapter of your career.

Alistair Marshall 01:32

It was a comfortable ride, the salary is great, the benefits are great, it was a fun ride, in lots of ways, but ultimately, it wasn't enough for me. And I think if I had just stayed on that, I would not have known any of these things.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:43

That's Alistair Marshall. Alistair worked in retail for 16 years before he decided to pivot his career and strike out on his own as a career coach. And a while into his coaching journey, he actually joined our team here at HTYC. And he was helping others find their ideal careers. Alistair began to feel the urge to return to his first career love– the world of corporate retail and leadership in that industry. And Alistair and I discuss how he put all of what he learned, as a career coach, those coaching lessons into action and earned himself a new opportunity at a well known fashion company. I'm really excited for you to hear from him, not only because he is a pretty amazing career coach who gives wonderful advice, he's a fantastic communicator, but more appropriately, because rarely do you get to hear how someone is talented as Alistair has taken what he knows and use it to pivot in his own career multiple times. So we get deep into really pretty actionable advice. And you can see much of the nitty gritty, I want you to listen for that as Alistair shares the story for his latest career transition.

Alistair Marshall 02:55

Essentially, I decided that I wanted to get back into a full time corporate role, back into the retail industry, which I had done for, you know, 15-16 years prior to quitting the industry. And so I went out there into the world, applied for some jobs, did what I needed to do, did lots of the Happen To Your Career best practices, got a job with Theory US based fashion brand, head of retail for the UK and Europe. So I'm about eight weeks in. And yeah, so now I'm kind of back into it. But I've also been keeping some of my coaching clients, some of my other consulting jobs, obviously not as much as I was doing, but it was really important that I kept that going. So that's been an interesting balance over the last eight weeks. But now I'm in a situation where I'm like, "Okay, I've kind of got to this first eight weeks, getting some rhythm, I've got some early wins, the vibe is good, they seem to like me. So now I'm looking forward to the next sort of three months in figuring out how I can kind of balance all of this." So that's sort of where I'm at right now. But it's been good for sure. And eye opening in many ways.

Scott Anthony Barlow 04:04

That is really cool. I'm really happy for you. And I know that what you have decided you wanted has evolved. And I'm really interested in starting there too. Because one of the things, before we even hit the record button, that you were telling me a bit about is this idea of what we just called "the ongoing experiment", right, the ongoing experiment to your career, which is, in your case, you had mentioned you're learning more about what you were missing at different points. And then also, what might be the next iteration even. And that's an ongoing set of learning. So talk to me a little bit about how you're thinking about that. First of all, what did you discover or find out by stepping away from this leadership executive type roles that you had been in for a pretty significant period of time and then doing some of your own thing and working with our team, as a coach, and some of the other things that you did along the way, too. So what did you learn there that you were missing from the other environments?

Alistair Marshall 05:10

Yeah. So when I left my last executive or with my boss, I knew that I needed to leave. And it was a very visceral need to get out of that situation. Then I moved into building up my coaching practice and getting qualified and certified and all those great things. And I think, though, that three years was important to just kind of understand really what my values are, what's really important for me from a place of empathy and compassion and fairness, and being people focused and enjoying seeing people grow and develop, and being able to sort of fully focus on that. That was an important part of my corporate world, but it was never like the job, right? Like I always held to a sales goal, KPI, goal metrics, profit and loss and all that good stuff. So over those three years, I really understood that I love that side of it– that the people's side. But I think what I also realized over the course of the three years, and obviously COVID was within that. So you know, it's important to note that, but I don't think if it hadn't been it would have made any difference, because I was already working remotely. I definitely missed a sense of community, I definitely missed collaborators, I definitely missed having a team of peers, having a boss, having a team that worked for me, I missed being a leader. And I did miss the sort of adrenaline of running a business and having that KPI responsibility, I definitely missed that. And I think towards the end of my sort of three years, I was really gravitating towards the feeling of needing that. Going into an office, being around a team, developing my team, building a business together, and kind of sharing that vision and that culture and, you know, achieving together. And I think that was definitely missing from my self employed chapter.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:53

You know, I think what's really fascinating here, for me, and please correct me if I'm getting this wrong, but it seems like had you not made either some of these changes, or not been doing some of the extras like you mentioned, you know, side hustles, and things like that, have you not been engaged in doing things differently than what you were doing them in the past or just continuing to go with the status quo? It seems like none of these realizations would have happened, or at least as soon.

Alistair Marshall 07:28

100%, I could have just stayed on the ride.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:32


Alistair Marshall 07:32

So many people stay on the ride. So many of my friends stayed on the ride. And I can just see the toll that that takes. And it's really difficult ride to get off the ride. It was a comfortable ride, the salary was great, the benefits were great, it was a fun ride... lots of ways. But ultimately, it wasn't enough for me. And I think, if I had just stayed on that I would not have known any of these things. Like the last three years have been so incredibly important to reconnecting with myself, it was the situation I'd left the Hugo Boss job. And three months later, someone was, "Oh, it's nice to have you back. You've been a different person for the last 18 months", While I didn't realize that. So being able to have that chapter, have that journey and build a whole different set of skills, and experiences and connections and relationships, you know, I was in a very retail space for 15 years. My friends worked in retail, I knew what leadership in retail looks like and your career progression in retail look like, I didn't really have a wider scope on other industries and other organizations and other ways of being. And that alone is super interesting, and I wouldn't have had that. And I'm so grateful that I came off the ride, but I'm sort of back on the ride while I'm back in a similar role and a similar brand and a similar capacity, but feel in way more control of it, understand it, it doesn't define me in the same way that it used to. It's important to me, but it's not the most important thing to me. And being able to kind of see the job, the career, me as the separate entities. Whereas I think before it was just all this big blob, it was like, "Well, my job is me and I'm the job and the career was me and everything felt very connected. And now I'm able to extract myself and see that things are important but not so entwined or entangled, which I think makes it way more fun, way less stressful, and way more manageable."

Scott Anthony Barlow 09:32

So that is really fascinating to me. And I think that the subtlety of what you just mentioned, it can... I think we could lose that really easily. But here's what I think I heard, being able to separate out some of the different pieces like, "Hey, this is my experience at work. This is a part that I am really enjoying, this is a part that I am still missing in one way, being able to separate all of these different things from other areas of your life is actually really helpful. Is that from an identity perspective? Or is that from another perspective too? What would you say is most helpful about that for you?

Alistair Marshall 10:16

I think it's an identity perspective, and then a lifestyle perspective. You know, I say this to a lot of clients, I ask them like, "Are you falling into Saturday? Or, are you strolling into Saturday?" And what I mean by that is, is your week just so crazy and so at 10 the whole time that by Friday, you're still running, trying to get everything done, feeling super anxious, your to do list is so long, and then Saturday's basically spent obsessing, thinking, feeling anxious about the week that was, maybe you know, you have a Sunday that's a little bit chilled, and then you're back into it on Monday, is that the life? Why are we on that hamster wheel? Or are you creating boundaries and space to be able to get to Friday and be like, "This is cool. I'm going to wind down on Friday. So by the time it's clicking off, I'm just going to stroll into my weekend and feel really good about it." And I think for a long time, I was just like hurtling towards my weekend, and I'm not really willing to do that, you know, I'm not saying it's going to always be possible but I don't want to do that. But I didn't even know I was doing that. I didn't even realize that was what I was doing. And now I've got this foresight to be like, "Hold on. That's not what this is about. That's not what I'm signing up for here." I can be incredibly productive, achieve all my goals, show up as a leader, be present, great communicator, all that good stuff, and still hold on to my identity and the balance that's important for me, those things are possible. And also do some side hustle work on the side and figure out ways to make that happen. So that feels fulfilling, it is possible to do those things with a bit of intention and foresight. But you have to kind of go through it in my experience to be able to get to that point.

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:01

When you say you have to go through it to get that experience, tell me a little bit about what you mean by that.

Alistair Marshall 12:08

I think that you have to be able to extract yourself from it or be really honest with yourself that it's not working. Because I think that when you're in it, right, when you're in the madness of a career that isn't fulfilling you, that isn't ticking all the boxes, that ultimately isn't right, but it serves its purpose, whether it be financially, whether it's the status of the job title, location, whatever it is, that is sort of on the okay pro-list, when you actually are really honest with yourself and say, you know, "This isn't working. This isn't why I don't want to live like this, this doesn't feel healthy." Once you get to that point, and then, whether it's through working with a coach, through family, through peers, through accountability, whatever the process is, for you, and start exploring that that's when you can kind of be really honest. But I think you've got to... I hate to sort of using analogies– you gotta hit rock bottom, because I don't want that to be what people have to do to get to that realization. But if you can kind of see rock bottom, and it's like it's you know, in front of you and you can kind of stop yourself from getting to it, I don't feel healthy, I don't feel happy, my relationships aren't strong, I have no time, my weekend suck, if you can start looking at the triggers and the things that aren't working for you and identify that, I think that's sort of the going through it to be able to then understand how to come out the other side of it. That makes sense.

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:36

I sort of liked the analogy of hitting rock bottom for a couple of different reasons. One, I mean, some of the biggest and best changes in my life personally have come from hitting rock bottom. But I think the benefit of having hit rock bottom someplace is that you start to recognize what those signals and signs are that you're referring to. And then I don't think you actually have to hit all the way to rock bottom before you recognize that, "Oh, hey, this is me tilting over the edge and it's been this way for a few weeks now. I can see these signals coming in loud and clear that if I don't do something now, as opposed to waiting a year or two years, then eventually it's going to end at rock bottom again." And so I actually really liked that analogy, especially when you're talking about how do you recognize the signal. So that becomes my next question. And I'm gonna sort of think about it for myself too. But how do you recognize some of those signals before just allowing it to go all the way in bottom me now?

Alistair Marshall 14:36

I think, you know, a lot of us have things that our priorities are different way. So whether it be... I don't have any kids, but you know, I have a lot of friends that would be... "I love spending time with my kids" Right? I like to work out and feel healthy. I know when my jeans are getting a bit tighter that I'm probably not eating well. And I know that that's a response to being unhappy because I'm an emotional eater. I don't smoke or drink or do drugs. It's food that I turned to. Right?" So I'm like, oh that doesn't feel good, or how I'm going to work it in for a couple of weeks? I've missed a couple of birthday parties, or I'm turning up to things and I'm like, half there, half not there. So it can be the things that you inherently know about yourself. I remember my friends saying to me, she was like, I love the theater. One of the best things about living in New York is Broadway, I'd go all the time. And she was like, "You know what, I heard you talk about that much recently." And I was like, "You haven't been for a couple of months." Because I just had no space, mental capacity for it. I don't even realize. And one of the things that we do, we do, I'm still a we. But what happens to your career is, I'll always be a "we".

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:38

You're always a we.

Alistair Marshall 15:41

What we do is, you know, as part of the boot campers, we have our clients ask people to give them feedback on them, which is something that's really an odd thing often for people to kind of think like, I'm gonna reach out to people and ask for feedback. It's not the most normal thing that you're asking your friends or family for. But actually, that is a valuable thing, just to know and to do, right? Like, if you're feeling kind of odd, why don't you just email five people and just say, "Hey, I really just want you to be honest. How are you experiencing me at the moment? How am I showing up for you? How do you think I'm doing at the moment?" If you want it to be anonymous, you could totally make that work Google form or whatever. Because actually, like the people around us are the people that know us and see the things that we ultimately don't see, why is that black, is that blind spot? It's that, yeah, you know, you did come for dinner, but you kind of were a bit distant, you weren't as your normal, funny self, you didn't seem to really want to be there, you left really early, it's been a pattern of behavior that I've seen for a while. And those things can be an interesting way of going, okay... Because people might not come up to you naturally and say that, right? They might just be like, "Oh, you know, he's fine." Or don't put more pressure on his plate. But that, I think, is a really effective way of just getting a real snapshot in the moment of how you're being perceived and experienced. And that can be an interesting wake up call, for sure.

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:59

Yeah, I love that. And I want to shift topics on you here for just a second. Because I don't want to lose the opportunity to talk about how you made this most recent set of changes. Because I think that you did such a wonderful job. And I mean, to be expected too, like, you've been a career coach, you've helped a lot of people make big changes and everything. So it's not a surprise, right? But I think you did such a fantastic job walking the walk. Because it's easy to say, "Hey, I know all the things to do and still not do them." But you didn't. You didn't do that. You earned the opportunity to be able to get to this latest iteration of your career. So tell me a little bit about what happened, and how it transpired to go from "Hey, I know I need to make a change. Here's what that might look like", all the way to "I've accepted this role with theory."?

Alistair Marshall 17:58

Yeah. So I was intentional about wanting a job. I honestly said to myself, "If I cannot make this happen for myself, then what am I doing as a career coach?" Right? Like, it's time to like, yeah, the proof is in the pudding. So I was like, let's map this out. You know, the first thing that I really recognized, I was like, "Okay, there's a few things that are coming up against me, right." I'm back in the UK, have not been worked...I've not worked in the UK for a decade, right. Some brands will think that's awesome. Some brands will not think that's awesome. And I was very honest and realistic about that. The second thing was, "Do I want to go into retail, which is what I've done before, or do I want to explore sort of more in house corporate coaching, L&D roles?" So they were the two things I was very intentional about. And then again, what were some of the resistance to those two paths be? So I was very honest about what I was coming up against, right. And I think that was incredibly helpful, because it made me be quite discerning about the directions and the brands and the companies that I was going to look at. So that was the first sort of port of call. It was really kind of like, these are the two streams essentially that I'm going to explore. And then looked at my network, my existing network of essentially friends or colleagues or peers, and send a blanket note to a bunch of people basically saying, "I'm back in London, I'm looking for this kind of work {template one} in retail, blah, blah, blah... {template two}, in coaching, blah, blah, blah..." And send it off to the appropriate people. "Love to find some time and just connect and just catch up. And you know, maybe you can help me and refer me to anyone in your network." So I kind of started that. I then made a very robust list of the places that I wanted to work. And I was really honest about the places that I don't want to work. So I kind of pulled that together. Then I moved into connecting with a bunch of people at those organizations on LinkedIn. So I chose, you know, someone in a senior sort of director VP in the kind of who would be essentially my boss, you know, and then someone that was maybe more of a peer connected with a bunch of people.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:59

When you connect with those people, let me ask you about that for just a second. So first of all, what you're describing, as I'm listening to this, it sounds very simple but it's so strategic, where you started out by, let's first of all define the organizations that I want and don't want. And then that way, you can focus your time and energy on more towards the things that you want and those organizations that you want. But when you actually went to connect with people, I love how you identified those people. But why did you identify those people? That's question one. And then how did you go about connecting with them?

Alistair Marshall 20:37

So I identified the people essentially based on their role and seniority. So it was, you know, for example, in retail companies, I would look for the MD or CEO of the UK and Europe region, right? Theory, for example, because it was New York based, I naturally knew people. I had worked with people. So I reached out to them directly, because I'd worked for them in previous companies, wasn't quite the same over here, because I hadn't been in the business for so long. So, "do I know you? Is there something that we know we have in common? Did we perhaps work in the same organization? Maybe not together, but just, you know, you were there I was there? Or is the role something that I can like, connect with like, Oh, you've got a really interesting role? I'd love to find out more." I also always recommend, include a talent or recruiter or HR person. The reason why would never just connect with a talent, HR or recruitment person is they are getting connected with a lot. And they're probably getting a lot of people to reach out to them, their inboxes probably flooded. Whereas you're sort of the VP of Retail, VP of sales, VP of learning development probably is getting connected with, probably isn't getting connected with as much. So I think doing both, I think it's just for me a rule of thumb. And I always say that to my clients– "do both". Because actually, it depends on the HR person, why some of them will be very engaged in their LinkedIn, and we'll see that lead and they'll jump in, and they'll want to talk to you, and some won't. So that was kind of the intention. And then I would tailor my note to them based on that. So... "I see that you used to work at Ted Baker back in the day, me too. Not sure if our paths crossed." Or "I love what your organization does, I'd love to find out more." The opening statement for all of it was, "I've been in the US for 10 years, I've recently moved back, super excited about rejoining the UK market, bringing a lot of my experience over from the US. Would love to find the time to kind of connect and learn more about what you've got going on and kind of what I'm looking for. Here's attached a copy of my resume and cover letter." So that was the sort of general approach that I did. And I had five interviews with different companies. And all of those interviews were people that I connected with on LinkedIn and who replied. The workplaces I applied and connected and didn't hear back, I never heard from them. And I don't think that the companies were any different. I just think the fact that I got a response, just got me that FaceTime.

Scott Anthony Barlow 23:14

So you're saying that, because you took the time and effort to connect in a completely different way, and in a way that's relevant to them, like, if we're breaking down why that worked or why that was effective. First of all, just knowing you as a person, I know you're not going to send out anything that's not genuine. So it's going to come off as genuine. And that's an important thing I don't want to overlook that. It sounds like the second reason that worked, though, is you're going out of your way to have that connection in a different way beyond just the normal "hiring or application process". Is that right?

Alistair Marshall 23:51

Absolutely. I honestly wouldn't never recommend just applying for a job on LinkedIn and just clicking Apply, filling it in and attaching a resume. I just don't think it works. And I'm sure people are going to listen and be like, "It works. I got a job that way." Cool. Good for you. But I know a lot of people that just apply, it goes into the ether and we never hear back. Rule of thumb, always connect with somebody, ideally, two people and just say, "Hey, I applied for the job on LinkedIn, super passionate about this company. I'm super passionate about this role. I'd love to get some FaceTime and explain more about myself. I've reattached my resume for your reference, I really hope we can find some time." Like, 100% I recommend that. Because I got five interviews, you know, that's not bad. And they all responded and actually all of them said, "It was really nice that you sent that note, that was helpful." Because you get a thousand applicants. And the thing of it is, I've used LinkedIn as a recruiter. And you put all in you, put all these requirements in what you're looking for, and it could just be... I've chosen a couple of things that are my top 10. The wording might not just be in your LinkedIn profile, and automatically you just get deleted and taken out of it. Or there's a, you know, an intern or a junior HR person that's been told, "Hey, we got 500 resumes. You just go through and try and find the best 50." And they go, "Okay, maybe they know what they're looking for." And so you can just miss it for no real reason other than just, you slip through the net. Yeah, exactly. So reaching out and connecting, it's just like a nice little poke little nudge, like, "hi."

Scott Anthony Barlow 24:26

[25:33] Well, here's the thing that I think a lot of people don't think about with connecting in a different way or forming the beginnings of a relationship in one way or another, is that after you do that, if that person then sends a message to HR, what is effectively happening is now, not necessarily, you know, not necessarily the boss, not necessarily, you know, talent acquisition's boss, but their customers that talent acquisition, or HR, whoever's doing recruiting for that organization, recruiting and hiring for that organization, is now getting a message from their direct customer saying, "Hey, take a look at this one, this person sent me a note." And what that translates to is, you know, pay attention to this one, "I'm your customer, here's why my opinion matters." I mean, they're not saying that, maybe they're saying, I don't know, but there's an extra, it's not just the nudge, but also, any type of communication that happens in the background separates you out from the 400,000 other people that have applied, and honestly, having done recruiting in the past, it's so much easier to pay attention to what your customer wants, or thinks that they want, as opposed to go through this gigantic stack. It's a pain. So then what happened from there? So you got these interviews, and you did so...at least influence that process. You know, some of it is chance. Some of it is luck. Some of it is timing, but you, to some degree, engineer the opportunity for luck and timing to happen, at the very least. But then after you got these interviews, what occurred from there?

Alistair Marshall 27:16

So the interviews were interesting. So there was a combination of ones that I'd been referred to by people that I knew I once applied for, and some of them weren't always the best on paper, but I was like, have the conversation because it may not be this job that I will end up getting, there could be conversations about other jobs that haven't even been to the point of being published yet. There could be people that are moving on in six months that they want to get some consideration for. So I changed my mindset and to be like, have the conversation the brand's interesting, connect with that person, because that is a connection that you will therefore always have. So I definitely came at it with that kind of mindset. So I had interviews with some jobs that I was, like, probably not the best candidate for this, but like I'm up for the conversation, it's 30 minutes of my time. I had an interview with a person from Lego, for example. And by the end of it I was like, "I would love to work for Lego, but this job is definitely not right for me. But we had a great conversation." At the end of that conversation, he was like, "How are you feeling? I was like, "You know what, Jasper, I don't think I'm the right person for this job. But I think you're awesome. Lego is awesome. And I'm really glad we connected. And I'd love to stay in touch." He's like, "Really glad that you said that. I think you're awesome, too. Definitely not the way well for you too, Junior, but let's stay in contact." So that's great. So then you obviously send the follow up and so forth.

Scott Anthony Barlow 28:36

Can I ask you about that for just a second? Because I think so many people are afraid to have that type of conversation. Maybe not even because of the conversation itself. But because it feels like they might be like giving people the wrong impression or losing a future opportunity. But I have found very much what you just said in that if you're... well, two things. One, a lot of the times you really don't understand fully what your role is until you go and you have additional feedback and conversation, and sometimes that's the interview format, sometimes that's the other way. But a lot of times it's not actually clear upfront. So you almost have to have that extra level of effort in order to give it a good understanding. But then when you're there, if it's not a good fit, I found that being transparent and honest, like creates a better relationship at a minimum, but what have you found from having those types of conversations?

Alistair Marshall 29:32

I agree. It's a few things I think it does. I think it demonstrates that you know who you are and what you want, which I think is really positive. I think it demonstrates that you have the competence and the courage to be able to name that. If you don't say it on the phone in person, and it's in an email, you're losing this opportunity to truly connect with that person. So really, the other way that I would have gone down, I said, “Thank you so much." And a walk come off the phone means like, that's just not for me, and probably my ego would still want them to want me for the job, which is complicated. And so then I'd probably get... that's a whole other thing. So then I would get potentially the email from Jasper being like, "Thank you so much. We don't think you were fit." And I'd be like, "Thank you for your time." The end. We have just missed out on this massive opportunity. Doing it in person, we had a conversation, he understood that, "We'll keep you in contact. If you see any roles that you like, reach back out to me." It wraps it up and closes the loop in a way that's super, super helpful by not saying you're not having that moment.

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:35

Yeah. So what indicated to you that theory, and the opportunity that you ended up accepting with theory was really the right path for you right now? I know it's all an ongoing experiment, as we said earlier, like every part of it, and maybe eventually it's not right for you at some point. However, what gave you the indication and what had to occur for you to realize, "Yeah, this is in fact right for me right now."

Alistair Marshall 31:04

Yeah. So going back to the initial plan. So my ideal career profile, again, something that we do. On there was a sense of creativity, having autonomy, having freedom to create, I didn't want to just go and work for a Louis Vuitton, right, where they just give you a checklist and say "Just do the checklist, we don't really want you to think outside the box." That's not what I was looking for. Nothing wrong with that, not what I was looking for. So that sense of creativity and ownership, I wanted something that was building and growing. So that was something that was super interesting for me is it will take me back to earlier parts of of my career, I will enjoy that. And I did want to work ideally for US company, because after 10 years of a big life in America, lots of connections, I wanted to stay connected to that part of me. So then Theory turned off, and I was, Iike, "Okay, the business is small but growing. It's a US company, they're looking for someone to create and build." And so really early on in those initial conversations, it was very clear to me that that's what they were looking for, and that's what they wanted. And I really understood that they want someone to come in and just own it, and build a team and build a processor. So that felt really, really good. Then what I really liked about them is they were super interested, and what were the most interested in my three years outside of weights other than anyone else I spoke to, they saw my three years as consulting as hugely beneficial. They saw the work that I do diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging a super interesting, they thought it was fantastic that I was an accredited coach, really early on were like, "We think this is awesome." And a previous company I've spoken too was really skeptical, like, "So what have you been doing for three years? And how do you think you'd get back into retail? Three years is a long time." And was a very different energy. And that's why I walked away from that opportunity. Because if you don't see the value of the stuff I've been doing for three years, and how I can be an effective leader for you, then we have a problem, right? Because I think those three years are super important. So Theory definitely demonstrated that. And another thing that I did, which we talked about, is can you share something back after an interview? Can you rather than just sending the "Thank you so much for your time, I really enjoyed connecting." Can you add on to that? So I think it was the third interview, when I spoke to essentially my counterpart in America, the SVP of retail over there, we talked about a couple of initiatives and training programs that I built. So in the follow up email, I connected a PDF of the thing that we talked about. And she responded to it, she said "This is great. That PDF then got in the hands of the next interview." So then I was like, "Oh, she's valuing it, that's really cool. And we spoke about that." It became this really cumulative experience at each stage. And that's six interviews, it wasn't easy. But it felt like it was... they were talking to each other and "Oh, when you spoke to so and so they said this, I'd love to explore that." So the whole thing felt really cohesive. So lots of things that were getting checked for my original plan right through the process.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:37

[33:52] That is so cool. And you and I both know the amount of work and development and understanding and awareness that has to go in to be able to do some of those things, ranging from being able to actually have that conversation with Lego saying, "You know what, this is not right for me." There's a lot of work that has to go to be able to realize mid conversation, have the awareness of what is right and what isn't right, and then to be able to turn on a dime. It's not just about recognizing that in the interview. It's about all the things that came before that. And then same thing as you were going through other pieces of the interactions with theory to be able to recognize that "Yes, this is checking a box for me. Yes, this is checking a box for me" because so often, and you and I both have seen this many times over, if we haven't done that work, everything sort of looks good. Or at least not bad, necessarily, for the most part, has to be really bad for us to recognize that is not the right direction because you get emotionally invested really really quick. So kudos to you for doing the hard work and I so appreciate you coming and sharing this candidly and taking the time to be able to, not only share what transpired, but share what you learned along the way too. It is so fun to see your latest iteration of what creates a great life and work for you. That makes me happy, quite honestly.

Alistair Marshall 33:58

[35:21] And I just thank you for what you've created and the experiences that you gave me, but also just the push, honestly, I think we spoke earlier about what was the thing that you know, how do you kind of make that decision? And I think you saw that and you held me accountable for what I wanted, and gave me a little nudge that I needed. And you know, thank you for that as well. So, yeah, I appreciate it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:47

Many of the stories that you've heard on the podcast are from listeners that have decided they want to take action, and taking the first step of having a conversation with our team to try and figure out how we can help. And if you want to implement what you have heard, and you want to completely change your life and your career, then let's figure out how we can help. So here's what I would suggest, just open your phone right now and open your email app. And I'm going to give you my personal email address, scott@happentoyourcareer.com just email me and put 'Conversation' in the subject line. And then when you do that, I'll introduce you to the right person on our team. And you can have a conversation with us, we'll try and understand your goals and what you want to accomplish in your career no matter where you're at. And we can figure out the very best way that we can help you and your situation. So open up right now and send me an email with 'Conversation' in the subject line; scott@happentoyourcareer.com.

Scott Anthony Barlow 36:52

Hey, I hope you loved this episode. Thanks so much for listening. And if this has been helpful, then please share this podcast with your friends, with your family, with your co-workers that badly need it. Here's a sneak peek into what we have coming up in store for you next week.

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:10

Okay, obviously, this is Scott. If you've listened to the HTYC podcast for more than one episode, you've probably figured out we do things a bit differently around here. So today, you're actually not going to be hearing from me, I'm taking off work for an entire month. Yes, an entire month. Let's back up here. How did that happen? And it turns out that it's actually something that we, as an organization, had been working on for close to three years. And it started out with my wife and I wanted to be able to step away from HTYC for a month at a time, and have it not be dependent on us, we felt that our message and what we're doing here, the work we're doing here is too important to be able to depend upon just me or just her. But we don't just want to do this for the two of us. We want every member of our team to be able to step away when they need to or when they want to. I want that level of flexibility for everyone on the Happen To Your Career team. So my wife, Alyssa and my kids are actually currently out practicing what we preach, what we teach. And we're combining this month off of work with a trip to Greece, which means that next week and the week after and the week after, and the week after that, the team is taking over the podcast. So I'm really excited for you to get to know them because they're pretty amazing. And they do great work. So here we go.

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:28

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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