243: Six Figure VP to $0: When You’ve Had Success, Now You Don’t


Robert was in a VP level role, earning great money and enjoying life and work. He was well known around his industry. He was great at what he did.   

Things were pretty good overall…

Until they weren’t! 

Robert got laid off. No big deal right. A great opportunity to take some time and get a way. (Thanks soft landings and severance!) 

Except when it came time to go back to work: 8 months passed. Then 10, 12… 18 months passed and he’d had a few interviews but nothing had panned out. 

He and his partner were pulling their hair out a bit trying to figure out what was going on. He’s a smart guy, he gets results, why wasn’t this working? 

They had been through everything, was it his interview style? Simply unlucky? Was he coming off as desparate? 

That’s where I had the opportunity to meet Robert. As he was trying to figure out what was working and what wasn’t. 

It turns out Robert’s answer wasn’t what you’d think it would be. 

We’re sharing a rare opportunity to listen in to an actual coaching session with Robert as we systematically uncover what’s working for him and what’s not. 

As a disclaimer: I’ve been coaching for over 15 years, there are very subtle pieces in here that sound much like us simply having a conversation but I’m pushing and testing to find where Robert needs the most help. What this means is that the advice in this conversation is perfectly tailored to Robert and although I promise you’ll hear things you might resonate and identify with in this coaching session, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do exactly what I’ve advised Robert to do. Your situation may be very different. 

Take a listen as a fly on the wall to Robert’s coaching session on the Happen To Your Career Podcast.

As you listen to this session ask yourself this question: 

Are you making the mistake of trying to do what you think you *should* vs what you’ve seen work for yourself? (Robert was doing this and it wasn’t working) 

Robert was making 2 of the 3 biggest mistakes we see for “High Performers” who are in the midst of a career change. 

BTW if you want to know all three mistakes high performers make, check out this training here.

Listen to the entire coaching session by downloading or clicking the player above (or on your favorite podcast app) or read the transcript below!

Robert 00:03
The first person it was very great because we actually do a lot of the same people so it was super simple interview. And then I met another person that day and it was like I hit a stone wall.

Introduction 00:20
This is the Happen To Your Career podcast, with Scott Anthony Barlow. We help you stop doing work that doesn't fit you, figure out what it does and make it happen. We help you define the work that's unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:45
Okay, so what happens if you actually had a role that you were excited about, and you've had some roles that you were a pretty decent fit for you, and you're used to making a really good income over six figures, and then you get laid off, and it all goes away. And then you give yourself a little bit of time, because a lot of times are severance with that situation, sometimes there's not. But let's say that there is... you give yourself a little bit of time, and then you go back, and you can't find work that you're excited about, or later on, as the month start to go by, you can't find work at all, and nothing seems to be working ou, and that goes on for 12 months. Well, that was the exact same situation that Robert was in. Robert was in the New York City area, Robert was in a VP level role, he was pretty darn good at it, quite frankly. And he got laid off. And then all of that came tumbling down. And over the next about a year or so, he discovered that it was much more difficult than he thought he was going to be in order to get back to work. Okay, well, that's where I met Robert. And we ended up actually doing something quite a bit different for this episode than what we've done before. I actually did a coaching session with Robert that we are deciding to air for today. So you can actually hear what goes on as I'm coaching him through a totally different strategy and way to think about approaching the type of work that he really wants to be able to get to. Because there's lots of things that have a tendency to come up when you're in this type of situation you, well, I mean, after 12 months, you think start to impact your confidence. After 12 months, you start to question about, "Hey, which part isn't working, as I'm moving through this job search process?" There's all kinds of things that come up at that point. And it starts to play with both your emotions, but also a little bit of reason to. So I should mention that Roberts, not his real name, we're changing his name to protect the innocent. And this is gonna be particularly cool, because we've not ever done this before, though, where you get to be a fly on the wall and listen to an actual coaching session that we're doing with Robert right now.

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:14
You know, you sent me some of this information already. But help me understand a little bit about, how many applications have you really sent out? Because it's been about a year, right. A year since you have been working. Is that fair to say?

Robert 03:28
A year since 've been working full time...

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:31
Full time. Yeah.

Robert 03:32
And wanting to go to work. But before that I was working on projects. It was an easy transition. I left one position and immediately had three different projects lined up. It was good. I was biding my time. So it's been about a year, I started really thinking it was time to go back to full time gig, probably this time, June, July of last year, and I started searching for stuff. And you know, through the first year, I probably sent out three or four resumes.

Scott Anthony Barlow 04:06
Total? Or like a week or a month or?

Robert 04:08
Like, total. And I mean that because I saw stuff that I liked. And I thought "Wow, okay, this is more in line where I want to go." And, you know, very intrigued by a lot of this stuff. And out of that, I got no response. Nothing. And then later I found out, I checked, you know, through the sites and everything, and they just never pursued any of these jobs. Like they might have contacted somebody, they didn't contact me, but the jobs are still buried in their career site, you know? And then after that, probably about six months ago, I started to see the jobs that were more similar to the jobs I've already had. And out of those, I probably sent out 10 resumes and I probably got like five or six different interviews, with the five or six different companies. So yeah, I mean, that sounds pretty good, right?

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:07
It certainly can be. My experience is that on average, and I hesitate to use the word average, because, you know, as a fairly high income earner, you're already not necessarily average, right. But on average, people are getting about someplace between one to four ratio in terms of offers, like one offer versus every four, or as much as like one to seven, that helps you understand a little bit of range. Now, if we just look at those numbers, I would say that you're not absurdly outside of that, which may or may not be helpful when you're thinking about it, but it's not the only thing, just a reference point we can use along the way. Aside from that, though, so tell me a little bit about those interviews. You know, I know you sent me a little bit information on this, but help me understand, you know, what did those interviews feel like, were these like, "Hey, I knocked them out of the park and then left and boom, nothing happens."? Or was it completely different? And it might be different for each one.

Robert 06:10
Well, it was kind of different for each one. And I will say, I've been referring to myself as the king of getting one interviewee-interviewer correct. Because a lot of them, usually in the past is almost like... or you get screened by recruiter HR person, and then they set you up with a phone call somebody you're going to meet and then you do this thing, you talk to them, and they get comfortable with the idea, and then you go and you meet up. And then if you like them, they always have unique, somebody else that has to kind of weigh in. That's how it's always been done before. And then also, I got this new kind of system, where get screened by HR person, and then or recruiter, and then given a person I'm going to meet. And then I'm actually meeting one, two, or three people in that day, two of them I didn't even know existed. So like, the first interview was actually pretty good, you know, went through the whole thing, when I got to the state of the space, with the first person, it was really great, because we actually do a lot of the same people so it was super simple interview. And then I met another person that day, and it was like, I hit a stone wall. That was like, I've tried to interview her because she was not asking any questions at all.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:31
So when you say that, let's dig into that for just a second, just so that I can understand to be on the same page as you. And by the way, I'm going to keep asking you questions like this, just so that I can get a sense of where we need to hone some of our efforts, because I'd love to spend kind of the first little bit of time here digging in and understanding and then the last little bit of time seeing if I can help you understand where to focus your efforts on. Is that fair?

Robert 07:55

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:55
Okay, so with like, Mr. Stone wall, or whoever it was, what do you feel like afterwards and looking at it looking back, what do you feel like was missing from that conversation to really have them like you? Because regardless of qualifications, and everything else, there's always this overarching bias, whether or not people like you and feel like you fit. And then some of the other stuff is sometimes extra. Help me understand that.

Robert 08:23
Oh, that's a good point. I'll go back and I'll say that person I was supposed to meet and that was this person that was not the greatest interviewer, I ended up meeting the secondary person first. Because the person I was supposed to meet had to keep switching the time. And then again, there was a lap of about 45 minutes was hanging out waiting for the person. And they finally arrived. And they were, you know, she was very nice. She was very apologetic. And it started off really well. I mean, it was sort of like, I think she regrouped with the other person first, and she started to ask some question. And then it seemed, you know, to be perfectly honest, it seemed like she got a little distracted. And I'm not sure if that was because there was something a fire happening that she was more concerned with, for what, four or five minutes of losing her because, like, I didn't think there was any relevant questions. Like there wasn't any real questions like, professionally, like, what do you do here? What do you do there? Or personal questions like, what do you like? What do you don't like? So it was kind of hard to get on to a sort of a likability thing. So it was always very pleasant, but it wasn't getting more comfortable than that.

Scott Anthony Barlow 09:37
What was the conversation about? Because clearly, you spent time there and I'm guessing, I might be wrong, but I'm guessing you were just sitting there, you know, having a staring contest necessarily, although, tell me if you were.

Robert 09:49
It wasn't that bad.

Scott Anthony Barlow 09:52
So what was the some of the conversation about based on what you remember? And I am well aware, I'm asking for details for stuff that happened a while ago.

Robert 09:59
Oh, you know, the funny thing is I probably should have wrote a bunch of stuff down after the fact. But I didn't. So the conversation was more like, you know, "This is what we plan to do. You know, this is how we started. We're just, you're the first person in the process, blah, blah, blah. I hear that you come recommended by so and so." And that was sort of all very nice. And we talked about the act of that. And then it really wasn't usually at that particular moment. That's a good segue to get up and walk through certain area and talk or whatever, and show me stuff, like sort of friendly input, whatever. And we just sat in a conference room and we just talked and then talk about like, my skills or qualifications or how I fit in or anything. Obviously, I would probably fit in because I know, second person in charge, last I heard they liked me. Not dissimilar. So I don't really know. It was kind of like a pleasantry. And after the meeting, I won't say perfunctory, but if I did a follow up email, and the recruiter immediately responded at a person that I don't know where like personal but I do know like other people, she responded, and then the person I was supposed to meet, never responded. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, because I've been hired at companies where they don't have time to respond. And personally, I have... one, the roles are reversed. Sometimes I don't have time to respond to follow up emails right away.

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:33
Yeah, absolutely. So that type of situation that you just described to me, did that happen other places, too? Or was it just this one isolated occasion?

Robert 11:43
That was isolated occasion.

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:45
Okay. So in those other five, six interviews that we were talking about here, what do you think, well, first of all, let's say that there were several that didn't just, like, didn't hire at all, right?

Robert 11:58
Right. There is so far, five or six, I didn't look at my thing. I think six, four just haven't done any. Proven has taken roll down, because they don't know how to proceed internally, how they want to configure things. And then two other ones have told me and it's still open, that they are, it's on the back burner right now. So internal process.

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:25
Okay, which, I mean, you've worked at a VP level before, and I'm assuming you've probably hired people before, and I both know, that could mean that they haven't figured out their budgets, it could mean that they are having internal power struggles to try and figure out who gets what, it could mean, a huge range of things, it could mean that they just haven't found the right person for the role, right.

Robert 12:45
Right. And you nailed the first two immediately. I know that there was a concern that two places, and you probably nailed with the third one, you probably figured out the right person for the role. So yes, I know, it's a whole host of things and I was also kind of dreading this, because in this particular location, just feel like emphasis on getting people in and on boarded for summer, or right after. So once I got to a certain timeframe, it's sort of like, alright, I'm getting nothing concrete can happen.

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:24
Potentially. Yeah, you and I have both experienced that in not just that industry, but other different industries, too. However, we probably both seen exceptions to that as well.

Robert 13:34
Yeah. If you're great enough, they will hire.

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:37
Oh, yeah. And it doesn't matter what time of year it is, it will find a way, right? So let me ask you just a couple other questions here. And we're gonna kind of do a broad array at first, and then that way I can bring us back around to what's gonna be most useful for you. So you went on these different interviews and all of these different interviews come from, you know, sending off a traditional application or resume or how did each one of these happen when you can just really quickly go through each one of the six if need be.

Robert 14:08
One interviewed happens through a traditional send a resume, but directly to the company. So not through a job site, whatever. I did get a phone interview from kind of a job sites resume thing, and that was interesting, but it hasn't really progressed past that. The other ones have been deal fat on your headset, the old fashioned way. If you know, somebody could say, "Hey, look at this resume." That's how I got into the inner circle. So...

Scott Anthony Barlow 14:42
Who were some of those people that got you in, if you will?

Robert 14:46
External recruiter to internal recruiters, personal recommendation on one, and I guess that's pretty much it. Kind of like, one actually, I did the research and I figured out who was the person involved, like in charge of everything, and I did the LinkedIn with the person. So that was, I guess I was my own recruiter. So, but not... I haven't had much luck through the traditional job search portal, stuff like that.

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:20
Okay, cool. That helps me tremendously. We'll come back qnd we'll talk about those pieces here in just a minute. So first of all, I love that you've been reaching out to people, love that you have been doing some of this, as you called it the old fashioned way, I think it truly is the old fashioned way. But it also has become the, in some ways, non traditional way, because everybody else is submitting stuff through job portals and clicking the button on LinkedIn or whatever else, right?

Robert 15:44
Yeah. And to be fair, I have my own bias on sort of these things, because I have hired a lot of people.

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:51
Yeah, tell me about that.

Robert 15:53
And I abuse services. And the services are meant to screen top candidates. So they give you a percentage of how much these people meet your criteria. And shockingly, or not shockingly, most of the people that this computer program, we're matching to my job, like 80 to 85% perfect match. Once I looked at the resume, I would go, "This is an intern. This is a person who, you know, hasn't clearly done any that, or they work for fictitious companies." There's a lot of people who work for XY&Z company that doesn't really exist. So it was like, in that particular role, I was having to physically search all of the resumes, and that's time consuming. So I understand why a lot of companies use these programs. But I also understand, in the tickler case that I was in using these programs, I think we use two different ones over the course of five years. It actually wasn't giving me a good candidate. It was giving me people who were good at writing resumes or good at understanding filters. So they were getting to the top.

Scott Anthony Barlow 17:07
Which I think you've clearly articulated, I think the frustration on both sides of that. I think we could probably spend a good seven hours just talking about that one thing, but I will spare you a solid rant on that, because I've got some strong opinions on that piece of it. But I think some of the same biases, so we're on the same page. Along that lines, though, helped me understand a little bit about what you feel like you do best. Like, I want to ask this from two different lenses here and just spend just a couple of minutes on it. From a sort of, quote unquote, job search type perspective, or career change type perspective, what are some of the areas of that you perceive that you do pretty well at? You know, whether it be like, I don't know, relating with people in the interview, or whatever it happens to be for you. But then the other area I want to ask you about is just in general, what do you feel like some of your strengths and the things that you gravitate towards and just do very well, either from nature or nurture? Or help me understand both sides of that.

Robert 18:12
Okay, so what I think I do well, in the job search,that's a loaded question, because obviously, I don't have like a lot of offers. So if I got an offer, I can tell you exactly what I did well in that particular case.

Scott Anthony Barlow 18:24
That's okay, we're gonna break it down into pieces. So just your opinion, there's no pressure to even be right here, necessarily. I just want to get your opinion on what you feel like you're doing really well, or what you have done well in the past,

Robert 18:36
For the past, it's like I kind of know the cycles of these things. It's funny, you know, one particular job that I still haven't gotten, they've called me three different times over the last three years. Each candidate only lasts a year. And I keep trying to tell them, "You're hiring the wrong candidate" but they don't want to know. So they just hired another candidate three months ago, four months ago. So they'll be back on the cycle.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:02
But maybe that's a place that's not ready for you yet. Like maybe you don't want to work there right now until they've changed some of their philosophies on those types of things.

Robert 19:10
That's one way of looking at it. And then the other way in my head is like, you know, once you get the right candidate, everything's is easy. It's not a difficult job. But there's a lot of wanting, and you know, sort of like with the job, like job postings, everybody else they have these 10 or so qualification. And honestly, there's three, maybe four that really correspond to the job and the other is just wishful thinking. And even if they got the person that had all of them, they might not ever use those other skills. So it seems to me that they get too far into it, and they're not able to look at what the role is really supposed to achieve. Should I go to my strengths? I think I can look at different job posting and I think I'm actually seeing the meat and potatoes of the job. So then I will seek out that job per se, if it's in line with my core skill set, or my core abilities, you know, learning proprietary one management system versus proprietary to management system is just learning the program. It's not like re educating yourself on technology as a whole. So I see a lot of companies like, "Oh, you know, Slack or Basecamp, or whatever" and work or, and it's sort of like, you know, that's not really a requirement.

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:38
Like, we can teach you Slack in 10 minutes with a video, like, it'll be okay.

Robert 20:42
And nine of them you could sleep through. So it's kind of like, they get into this, the weeds and they're actually missing the essence of the job. So, for me, it's like, I look at things and I see like, really the essence. And some of the jobs I've, in particular, I don't think I'm ever going to get called for, but it was interesting, and I don't want to go too much into it. But it was for journalism, and certain types of editing for this journalism. And I totally see the correlation from my career to that career. Because about five years ago, a journalist who was in that realm was trying to make the leap into the realm of IMac. And they're sympathetic. They're just doing with different people, places and things, but all the other ingredients, it's kind of like Italian cooking versus French cooking, you're still cooking, you're just using different ingredients that you'll learn once you get into it. So that's what I think I'm doing well. I think my shortcoming is, I may be relying too heavily on my previous experience, and not seeking out enthusiasm, you know, I was asked a question like, "Why do I want to work for this company in this one interview?" And it was kind of weird, because immediately I thought in my head, "Wow, didn't you guys just three, four months ago layoff like, over 2000 people?" So in my mind, I was like, "Well, do I really want to work for the company?" So I think my shortcoming right now is not being able to, like a sales person, complete the sale, I think I'm leaving too much ambiguity and a bit.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:21
Yeah. Oh, I was just going to ask, may I give you a little bit of feedback on that, that might be helpful?

Robert 22:25

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:26
So I know you're gonna listen to this afterwards. But one of the things I want you to listen for, is listen for the sound of your tone of voice. And listen for even the expressions that were probably in a very minute way, either on your face or on your body or other things along those lines, and listen to the front side of this conversation, where you and I talked to via email a little bit, and you had some expectations coming into this, and then I had some other different expectations. And it sounded visibly like you're put off by that in one way or another versus as we started talking about some of these things that you feel very strongly about, in one way or another. It sounds like a completely different person. And I've got to imagine that the experience for somebody who's interacting with you feels completely different, too, especially if it's in person, but even if it's over the phone, then they don't have anything else to judge on other than the tone of voice and their perceptions are, right. So, I think, to give you a little bit of validation on what you were saying earlier, I do believe that that is probably going to be important for you that as you go into this, as you continue to talk to and interact with people that you are doing things that you feel really good about, or you are interacting with companies, or organizations or people that you feel really good about, because one of the things that, and you can tell me if this is accurate or not, but one of the things I perceived from interacting with you is that you're not like somebody who's real good at like, faking it, if you will, some people are great at that, I'm not one of them, necessarily, but it seems like you are also not in that category. Is that fair? Am I getting that right at all?

Robert 24:08
I think that's pretty fair. Yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 24:10
So if we know that about you, then that's actually great. Because here's what I also have picked up just from interacting with you a little bit when you do feel strongly about one thing or another, like it is... you're really easy to gravitate towards, like you are very, very, I would be willing to bet that like people want to continue to ask you questions or want to continue to interact with you. So it may have even been, and I don't know that this was the case at all, I wasn't there but you can kind of judge I'm just throwing out a scenario, like for that one interview that you described to me that they, like, it was not going as well as you'd hoped, it's like, what is going on here? It may have been that it went completely differently than what you thought it was supposed to. So you were sort of put off by that and that changed the, I'm gonna say, quality of the interaction in some ways too. And I don't know that but I want you to be able to start watching for that.

Robert 25:02
Yeah, I have like, replayed in my head from different filters on it. And that's pretty fair assessment too, because I was expecting a continuation of the other interview I had. And I got a different one. And it was awkward. And then, like I said, I thought I was trying to regroup. And it turned into more of me asking questions, so I'm like, interviewing this other person. So yeah, it became weird.

Scott Anthony Barlow 25:31
Became weird. That's probably the best way to put it.

Robert 25:33
Psychologically, it wasn't geat.

Scott Anthony Barlow 25:35
Yeah. So that is awesome. Because now with these couple of pieces of information, and even thinking about it through that new lens, I think that there's a lot of different things that we can tweak very slightly, that will have different impacts in getting you results. So do you mind if I give you a couple examples of that? Okay, so here's one thing that jumps into my mind in terms of, you know, if this were a game of chess, how do we set up the chess pieces so that we've got the end result that we're only so many moves away from checkmate, and maybe checkmates, a bad example or a bad analogy here, but go with it for just a second, we want to set up strategically the pieces on the board, so that we've got the end result of getting where you want to go, right? So one thing we just established is that if you're walking into organizations where you only kind of halfway believe that it's a good deal for you, then they're probably a lot less likely to hire you anyways, even if they already, I don't know, know you or know of you, or anything else along those lines, because it's just not going to be as great of an interaction, as if you walk in there and you're like, "holy crap, this would be awesome, I could totally help these people with these type of challenges. And that would be super exciting." It's going to be a totally different experience for not just you, but they're going to feed off that energy, for lack of a better phrase. So not to get too woowoo on you here., but I think that that's important, because it creates a completely different experience. And then subconsciously, they like you for completely different reasons, then they may even understand necessarily, and that causes them to influence their decisions that happen from there, too. So by no means, the only thing we should consider here, but I think it's an important one, because we've just established that you're not going to be the type of person who's going to just like walk into any company whatsoever and be like, "This is great. And I can totally hide it or whatever." I don't think that's a good situation for you, right? Okay, so if we know that, I think that there's a couple of things that we can do here. One of them, what's clear to me after talking through this a bit here is there are probably some organizations out there that you've already been eyeballing that don't necessarily have publicized open jobs. Is that fair to say? Are there... do you have any companies in mind? We don't even have to talk about them necessarily right here, but do you have any companies in mind that you're like, "Yeah, I think it'd be cool to work there."?

Robert 28:03
Yeah, I do. Actually, I've been thinking about that a lot. And sometimes, you have to create permission, and we're like, because they don't even know that they did that. And two of my positions in the past were completely, like, made classic trait.

Scott Anthony Barlow 28:23
Say that again, they were what?

Robert 28:25
They were made for me, like they crack at it for me after interaction. Yeah, there's a couple of them that I would like potentially work for that day. I see the need, I don't see the organizational structure. So I don't know if there is a stick. But yeah, to answer your question.

Scott Anthony Barlow 28:43
Okay. So let me reframe this just a little bit, and sort of repeat back to what I think I just heard. So it sounds like if we look at where you've had a ton of success in the past, that one of those big areas of success would be being able to identify a need, which I think is that's consistent, too, like one of the things that you said earlier to me is, "hey, when I look at different job postings, I'm really able to get to sort of the essence of the job" or you have this intuitive ability to understand what the real needs are versus all this other crap, right. And it seems that flows through other areas of your life as well, and even to your ability to be able to recognize a need within an organization. And it sounds like two or three times, that is literally how you've gotten opportunities, which I always believe, not in every case, but almost every case that a great way to go is double down on what has worked incredibly well for you in the past. And I think that in this particular case is playing incredibly well to your strengths. Well, let me pause for a second and just tell me your reactions to that or what thoughts hesitancies etc.

Robert 29:50
No, I think it's great and I have no problem with it. I mean, that's sort of, you know, one role that like a posting role, during that I got and it's been almost five years at. During the interview process, we actually built it out to be more robust. So actually took on more responsibility. They were very happy because they didn't have to pay for two people. Another one that is still in limbo, they've thought has been to do the similar thing, to expand it. So yeah, I mean, I kind of like that. It's just somewhat time, not time consuming to do it, but there's a big log time in talking to a company or talking to people trying to really force out something that might be a true benefit for them. So and I need a starting point, too. So that's a bit of a problem.

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:47
Yes. Okay. So two things that I just heard. One, you've got this concern about the log time, and ultimately, the, I'm just gonna call it like, total time spent a little bit, right. And then the second piece is like, where do you start if we're going down that direction? Right? Okay, cool. So let's try and handle those one at a time here really quick. Let me try and get you some really, one, a couple different ways to be able to think about this in order to make it easier, but then two, let's try and get you some really good next action steps that you can begin using like tomorrow and the next day, that are going to set you up for the results that you're actually looking for here. How's that sound?

Robert 31:27
Okay, sounds good.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:28
Cool. So by the way, I'm hearing the like, real version of you coming through more and more, and the more that we can keep that version of you, the one that like people are super excited, and gravitate towards present, and set up those environments, if you will, to where you sort of naturally come out in that way, then the better off that it's good. The more the deck is going to be stacked in your favor.

Robert 31:57
Alright, sounds good.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:58
Okay, so I think one thing that's worthwhile to point out here at first, is that currently, the approaches you've taken haven't bore fruit, right? So there's been a fair amount of work or effort or other things like that, and we still haven't gotten to the result that you're looking for. So I totally agree with you, I think you've diagnosed it rightly like it takes more time, it absolutely definitely takes more time, compared to like clicking the button on an application or doing an easy, like, I've got this friend over here, but I'm not really that excited about the company, and I can get an interview, I guess, so I'll go, like it is going to take more time and effort than those types of routes, for sure. However, if your end goal is walking into a job that pays you what you want, and is also something where you don't hate yourself at the end of the day, and you feel good about and you can continue having those great interactions with the people you work with and what you're working on, then I think that if we look at it from an effectiveness standpoint, then this type of approach is going to be more effective for you. So does that make sense even?

Robert 33:09
Yeah, actually, it does. I mean, you're articulating what I think in my brain already. So I think it's more rewarding and for sure.

Scott Anthony Barlow 33:17
Well, I have the sense that you have good senses. And I might be wrong. But I think you definitely need to trust that sense and what's already going on in your brain. And okay, so the other thing that I'm not totally sure what I did there necessarily. But the other thing I think that's worth talking about in terms of those, the time frame around it, I always think about what is the situation I want to get myself into. And if we're talking about essentially having a role created for you, then that means that we need to get you into the right time and right place where they need you, essentially, in one fashion or another and they're at the point where they are wanting to take action on that sort of need. So that means that we have to sort of align the right people, right place and right time, right. When I think about how do we create a result, we need to align the right people, right place, and right time. So we'll come back to that. We'll talk about that here in just a second. But I think that is our goal if we're sort of manufacturing the right situation to engineer you a role or put you in those right place, right time, right people. So steps going forward, I think you're first and number one set of steps has to be what organizations are around that I really legitimately interested in being a part of, or as a caveat to that, I suspect that I'm really interested in being a part of, and I want to further explore. Because we might be wrong, like you said, or I can't remember what you said earlier, but something that led me to believe that there's some of them were like, "I think I would like to be a part of that" but you don't necessarily know for sure. So at a minimum these have to be organizations that you have enough belief for one reason or another, either research or talking to people that work there or whatever reason you believe that it could be a good fit, you won't know until we take some other different actions, right?

Robert 35:10
Yeah. I mean, there are definitely places, there are two things to each one. There are jobs, or roles that come up that are like, "Yes, those are great. I love it." They're sometimes attached to companies, where I may know too much about them, where I'm like, kind of questioning why I would want to do that. And then there are other companies that I have nothing but good vibes for, I know the people who work there, I know that company, I would be delighted to work there, and I never see the role. So it's kind of this mixture, there are definite companies here, this area, and even on, you know, in your area, there's some company, but this role is just haven't aligned to be the right place at the right time at the right person.

Scott Anthony Barlow 36:05
Okay, cool. So one, I think important component for that to help you understand where we're gonna end up going here is, I do not want to waiting for the right role to be posted, especially at the level you're at. And for the amount of pay that I know that you want, we just simply can't wait for a role to be posted, like you and I both know that most of these organizations are going to be incredibly busy in one way or another. And if the right person at the right time rolls across your desk, or you get to interact with that person, then I'm more excited to be able to pursue that rather than dig through the stack of resumes on the digital stuff that really is giving me crap anyways. Right? I heard you say earlier, and I feel very much the same way. So in some ways, our goal here is to not wait for anything to be posted. But essentially get ahead of that curve. And also, at the same time, be helpful by making it easier to make sure that they know that you are out there and have already built a relationship with them so that they can just grab you off the market for all intents and purposes. Does that make sense? It's quite a bit backwards approach.

Robert 37:17
No, you're preaching to the choir, I kind of breathed that myself. Getting three minutes in front of the right person, everything is easy after that. So yeah, getting my resume or getting my LinkedIn profile or getting it to the right person when they're sitting there and they haven't made, or they're thinking that there might be a need coming up, or they're having a problem or they... all those things where they're like, "I wish I had somebody or something to help me out on." That's the golden moment. Because then it becomes their idea. And it's a lot easier to get swept into the whole situation. So yeah, I agree. I mean, so the trick is getting in front of the right person.

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:03
Cool. Let's talk about that.

Robert 38:04
How you go about doing it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:06
Okay. So step one, here's what I want you to do. I want you sitting down and coming up with a minimum of 10 companies that you are legitimately interested in, to where when you walk in there you don't have to like, I don't know, try and act different than what you believe it to be. You may not know for sure that it's a really amazing situation, but you want to at least know more. So we want to create 10 companies that are on that list. That's where we're gonna start, right. So that's your step one, pretty easy step like you rock outside. So after we have those 10 companies on the list, what I want you to go through and do is we want to figure out what is the potential connection or angle or other place that's right for contacting the right person at each organization. So in some cases, that might be like the operations VP, or that might be the CEO. In other cases, it might be a completely different person that you ultimately want to talk to, or be able to get to know or even the set of people that you've identified. Okay, so we're not going to necessarily have time to cover every single potential way to do that right here and now, but I'll give you and I'll actually send you two resources after that, or after this. One is, actually there's two different podcasts that we have on how to contact people or how to reach people that are difficult to get ahold of, or how to build relationships in creative ways. Because our goal is not going to be walking in there and asking for a job, our goal is going to be completely opposite to that. What we want to do is be able to get time with these people to learn more about the organization and find out if this is even a fit or if there's other ways that you can add value to them in the first place. Okay, so let me give you just a couple examples of ways that you can do that. And we'll just go through a few different examples that may not apply to every organization, but at least we'll get you started. Is that cool?

Robert 40:00
Okay, that's cool.

Scott Anthony Barlow 40:01
Okay, so way number one, we'll call this the low hanging fruit type way, right? This is... you find one of those organizations and you're like, I don't know, you're researching on LinkedIn and you realize, "Oh, crap. This person used to work with this other person I know really well. I didn't know that. Okay, fantastic." So then at that point, I want to reach out to that other person that already had a relationship with them, and find out if they're willing to make an introduction for you. And this, I suspect, you've done plenty of introductions in the past, but just really quick couple of ways to even make it easier and more effective overall, way number one, would be find out if they're willing to make an introduction the first, give them some of the context. In this case, don't tell them, "Hey, I'm looking to get a job there" or anything like that. You don't even know if you're looking to get a job there yet. You don't even know if you like the company yet. But be able to share with them that, "Hey, I'm really interested in this organization and trying to figure out if it's a fit, or a place that I want to be or anything else, and I'm really interested in what this person is doing over there", and some of the projects or whatever else it is that you are legitimately interested in, going on. So provide that person that context that would be introducing you and then saying, "Hey, if you'd be willing to make an introduction, I would all send you actually a quick example email. That way, you can copy and paste or make some changes and just make it easier on you." And even if they say, "Don't send the email" or whatever, do it anyways, like write it for you, because two reasons, one, that helps you control some of the positioning a little bit, but two, they might be 100% good intention, I bet you've experienced this as a VP, like, you want to help somebody, but then a whole bunch of things hit your desk and like, "Oh, crap. I still got to send that email for them." And then like two weeks later, it still hasn't been sent. Right. So sending it anyways, just makes it easier, because then like, "Oh, to grab the copy and paste version, okay, it's gone. Done. Off my list. Awesome." So those are just a couple of things that will make it easier and make it much more effective into getting that introduction. Okay, so that's one way, because then you can have the conversation via email, schedule something out or buy them coffee, or any other thing, depending on what's appropriate. So another way, let's say that you don't have an easy in or easy introduction or whatever. You can do a little bit of CSI work, and then either contact them by phone, or by email or by LinkedIn. And I would try to go for, if you can, phone, in a lot of cases is usually the best way, unless of course, they have something screening their calls, because it's more difficult to say no to somebody by phone, once you pick up versus like, email or something. That may not work.

Robert 42:38
I mean, it's a great approach, because it's kind of like taking the bull by the horn, for saying, my personalities, I tend to go with email first or something. And, you know...

Scott Anthony Barlow 42:50
Emails easier, quite frankly. You and everybody else tend to go with email first. So...

Robert 42:55
Cuz I don't know, I always equate the phone with direct sales, and having like an elevator pitch ready. And powering through the time where they say, "No" then to relax enough to listen.

Scott Anthony Barlow 43:08
Yeah, don't use that type of approach at all. That can get you nowhere. Can I give you some different on that?

Robert 43:15

Scott Anthony Barlow 43:16
So that conversation could be very, very open and honest, quite frankly. Because when they pick up their phone, they're anticipating that somebody either needs something from them, or it's gonna be direct sales, or it's gonna be something else, essentially, it's going to be a nuisance, so you have to evade that part rather quickly. And that can be as simple as saying, "Hey, my name is Scott. And I have kind of a weird question for you. I am really interested in what you do at your organization. And I've just been trying to learn a lot more about what it is that you do there and how you work with people over there. Is that something that I could ask you a little bit about? Or is that something that you'd be willing to spend a few minutes with me? And could I ask you a few questions about what you do? The reason I'm asking is because, at some point in the future, I'm going to make a job transition. And I don't know necessarily where or how or anything, but your company is one that I've been really exploring. Would you be willing to share a little bit more about that with me?" That could feel a little bit uncomfortable for you the first time around, and you've got to adjust it to your own words and the way that you actually talk versus the way that Scott talk, but that type of conversation, just being able to share blatantly what it is that you're after, you're not after a job at that point, you don't even know if you want to work there. But I mean, after just getting a little bit of their time, and it can be as simple as asking for 15 minutes or 10 minutes. And even if they don't have time right away, you know, say, "I'm more than happy to even if it's way in the future. I'm more than happy to schedule something around your schedule, more than happy." And that is, one, going to help you learn more and figure out "is this someplace I actually want to work" and then two, is going to get you like that three minutes that you're talking about. And yes, some people are probably going to say, "You know, I just don't have the time. I appreciate you call, but I just don't have the time" or "how did you get this number?" or like, but what we find is that in this case, where we're using this type of approach to just be able to learn more and begin building relationship and begin determining how you can offer value to an organization, then usually we see that over half people actually say yes. And they're more than willing to and they're thrilled the pieces to, and they're honored that you would call that.

Robert 45:34
Yeah. I mean, when you're talking, I'm playing scenarios in my head that was kind of similar. I wasn't looking for a job, but I was looking for insight from a bigger company and how they dealt with some of the things that I was dealing with. And I did reach out to the person in charge, and he was very gracious, and we had a very long conversation about it. So yeah, I mean, put in those terms, I would say like most people would be very gracious to extend the time and give people information. So it is not a hard sales call.

Scott Anthony Barlow 46:07
Yeah. And I like you intensely dislike receiving or making those hard sales calls, because I just I hate doing business of any kind, or non business of any kind that way, it just doesn't feel good. It feels icky. And I wouldn't want that in return. So do you feel like you could do these couple of things? Certainly, there's much, much more that we could do. But just to get you started here on a completely different track that aligns much better with the end result that I know that you want, could you make this list? And then could you, after you identify some of the ways in on this list, be able to begin initiating those contacts and building these relationships through one of those couple of methods?

Robert 46:48
Yeah, absolutely. It makes perfect sense. And by sheer happenstance, I kind of started a couple of months ago, that approach.

Scott Anthony Barlow 46:57

Robert 46:58
So that's a more directly to something I knew that was posted, or it's going to be posted. So this is more of the...

Scott Anthony Barlow 47:06
The precursor.

Robert 47:07
Jumping further upstream or whatever, to actually talk to the people, and it doesn't make sense. Because the more I think about it, in those terms, I do know of companies that are transitioning, their staff is transitioning, and their needs are transitioning. And they may or may not be very good candidates, but at least when there's trends, like there's change, there is an element of possibility. So that's a good thing. So yeah, in my head, I've already identified a couple of companies that, I think would be very good candidates.

Scott Anthony Barlow 47:42
Very cool. Good for you. Is this helping? Are we getting further? Is this like helping in any way?

Robert 47:49
Yeah, you're helping a lot. I mean, very strange thing is you're actually sounding like you're articulating, you're verbalizing what I believe in my head to begin with. Because there are cookie cutter roles, and that's like, people have cookie cutter resumes. And even this one person who called me up, you know, we're saying that my resume was a typical, and they get like a slew of resumes and it's like I did 30% over there, so they changed the budget by X million. Everybody's doing the same resume. So just whole cookie cutter thing going on, and people, the companies themselves and people are not looking at what would be a good fit for the team.

Scott Anthony Barlow 48:38
Yes, agreed.

Robert 48:39
Sometimes it's like, you know, getting a dog that's not a pure breed, it's a better fit for the family or whatever.

Scott Anthony Barlow 48:46
Yeah. Choose your analogy here. I totally understand what you're saying.

Robert 48:49
Yeah. So that approach does make a lot more sense to me. Because I look at you know, I look at the job postings, and it's kind of like, job posting overload, because they're the same. They're the lower level jobs that are all the same, for some reason, and then there's these VP positions that are super generic, but I think targeting where I see that I would make a difference or fit in, it's probably the first part of the equation, as opposed to seeing what other people are saying that fit in to the job posting.

Scott Anthony Barlow 49:30
Yeah, totally agreed. And if you think about it, then if you're targeting those areas that are a better fit anyways, then you're more likely to end up with something that is a better fit versus focusing on essentially, like more things, and having to filter out or go to a whole bunch of interviews that are a lot less likely to hire you anyways.

Robert 49:49
Yeah, I agree.

Scott Anthony Barlow 49:49
Cool. Hey, well, I'm so glad this was helpful for you.

Robert 49:53
Yeah. You know, now I have to put it into practical means and do it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 49:59
Very cool. Here's what I'm going to do to help you out with that, I'm going to send you those couple of links. They won't be magic bullets necessarily, but they'll help give you a few other ideas and things that you could actually do, and ways that you can actually do some of these things and begin reaching out to some of these folks, too, to get ahead of the curve rather than behind the curve. And then please keep me posted. And then also, if you need any other type of help, or anything, by all means, let us know. And we're more than happy. That's what we do. It's what we love to do. So be thrilled to pieces to help any other way that we can too.

Robert 50:30
Sounds good.

Scott Anthony Barlow 50:32
Hey, and I will send you this audio as well. So that you have it both for well, for multiple purposes, essentially. One, I definitely want you to go back and listen to yourself. I think that in itself, I don't know if you've ever, like watched yourself on video or listen to yourself on audio or anything like that. But it's always both painful and really revealing and really helpful in the long term at the same time.

Robert 50:52
Yeah, the painful part, I definitely agree.

Scott Anthony Barlow 50:58
Pay attention, don't just pay attention to the painful parts. Also listen for the parts where you just light up, like if feels like, if you listen to one section and another section, it's like talking to a completely different person.

Robert 51:09
Yeah, when I'm excited about something, you know, I'm comfortable sharing, no profits, but if you know, not exactly like, foe thing, it's just, it's a little more challenging.

Scott Anthony Barlow 51:23
Yeah, totally agreed. So that's totally okay, let's get you someplace you're excited about. Okay. Sounds good.

Scott Anthony Barlow 51:30
Hey, I hope you enjoyed that. A couple of things that I would be an irresponsible coach, if I didn't say at the end of this. One of those is that not everything that I mentioned, in this particular session is going to be an effective strategy for your situation. It is for Robert, absolutely. But he's also got a ton of things that are built into his situation that made it so and going into it, I already knew quite a few different things that made a difference for his world, and already had a bunch of that backstory going into this conversation. So here's what I would look for you to think out. First of all, feel free to pick out the pieces that might apply to your situation. But more so than anything, I hope that this made you think differently about your current situation, and what you want, and how you want to get it. And potentially even staying in situations or putting yourself in situations that really aren't desirable for you. If you're in a job, that's nah, then I don't think that, you know, many people want to live that way for extended periods of time. But as you're making a change, you have the ability to control a whole bunch of that. And a lot of people don't think about that part. But I know that if you're listening to this podcast, you're interested in doing that. So not everything that you heard here will necessarily apply to your situation, and that's totally okay. But I hope that this helped influence you to look at your situation in a completely different way. Hey, next week, we have even more coming up for you. And actually we're doing something quite a bit different than we've ever done before and I know I say that a lot. But we keep pushing the bar, keep pushing the boundaries to try and get you things that you might find incredibly useful. For example, this last month, month and a half, whatever it's been, we've had four positions open at Happen To Your Career, and that has generated a massive amount of applications and people interested. In fact, it's been read around, I think about 1000 people have applied for those four positions, overall. That's a lot of people for not a lot of positions. Okay, so what we saw is that some people did exactly what we all think of when they applied for the roles. And there were many, many hundreds of other people that did exactly the same thing, which made it really hard with so many people to stand out. And there were a few, very, very few people that did things completely differently. Now, we're not going to showcase the names, our intent is not to call people out or anything along those lines. However, what we are going to do is take our internal situation and share some behind the scenes with you to help you understand what you can do differently as you're going after a company that you're really excited about that may have work that you want to be doing that is meaningful for you. And you can ensure that you actually get to talk to them about the role or about the position or get the time of day from them. Because if you're competing against you know, 250 - 500,000 people, it gets really, really difficult and the bar is set much, much lower than what you realize. Alright, we'll show you exactly what we mean by that. And so much more next week right here on Happen To Your Career. Until then, I am out. Adios.

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