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Welcome to The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast, where we talk about embracing humanity in the workspace. I’m JoDee Curtis, owner of Purple Ink, an HR consulting firm, and author of “JoyPowered®” and “The JoyPowered® Family.” With me is my friend and co-host Susan White, a national HR consultant. By the way, Susan and I are working together with some other members of our team on our third book, called “The JoyPowered® Team,” so more information coming out soon on that.
In today’s episode, we are going to talk about switching careers. In an article on thebalancecareers.com website, the average person changes jobs 12 times in their careers. I have to say that was really surprising to me. Interestingly, we think of the younger generations changing more often, but per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this 12 number applies to baby boomers. Of course, the younger generation isn’t done with their career, so we don’t know what their average is yet, but I’m certain it will be higher for the younger generations. But the younger generations do make twice as many changes before the age of 32, so they’re at four versus two for us baby boomers. Also, it applies to both men and women equally, and it does include jobs from the age of 18, so, for many of us, that is jobs during our college years, which might have been a little more, at least it was a little more frequently for me. How about you, Susan?
JoDee, I just have not changed jobs very much. In college, though I did have three jobs. I started as… the toy store job that I had in high school. Then I went to a job with the parks department that I lasted two days on.
and then I went to…I know! Which, oh my gosh, that was really a tough, tough job. I was working at a park and I was the only person working at the snack shop, and oh my god, the, the line was, like, 40 deep, I was selling raw hot dogs, and it was the worst two days of work in my entire life. I left there and went to work for the bank. And I decided that when I figured out what I knew how to do, I never should leave.
Because you might get stuck selling hot dogs again, you thought?
Boy, I knew what a hard job was. I decided never again. I found a job I could do. I’m gonna stick with it.
That’s fascinating. Well, I worked at one company for 15 years and one for six, and I’ve been with Purple Ink for eight. So to me, when I hear that 12 number, it seems like that is so big to me. But when I did go back and count mine, all my roles, and by the way, this is roles or positions, not just company. But since the age of 18, I’ve had seven since college, and I had four during college, so that’s a total of 11 for me. I also had three side businesses along the way, so I didn’t, I couldn’t decide if I should count those or not. And of course, I’ve talked many times on the podcast that I’m a CPA by trade and I worked as an auditor for nine years before moving into an HR role, and I constantly still get a lot of questions around that, about how I ended up switching from an accounting role to an HR role, but I did switch within the same company, so to me, it didn’t seem as significant as it, as it does when people hear about that transition. So…
I think you have a really varied background. I think you’ve done a lot of interesting things.
Well, I haven’t sold raw hot dogs, though. Now I find that really impressive. And I know…
Yeah, no one’s gotten food poisoning thanks to you.
You mentioned that you’ve been in the banking, you were in the banking industry for most of your career, but you also switched positions during that time, right?
Unknown Speaker 4:17
I did, I really did. I like to think that I was at one employer for 35 years, but I had probably, oh my gosh, well over 20 different jobs. I started in, in operations, in armored car, in fact, and I thought, honestly, in armored car, when I took that job, I thought I was gonna get a gun, and I was gonna be in an armored car going around picking up cash, and nothing was further than the truth. I sat in the basement of a building, and I counted bags and bags of money every day that the armored cars dropped off. So it was not nearly as glamorous as I thought I signed up for, but that was my first step. And then I went into bank branches. I worked in the branches and then I made my break into HR and there I had a variety of jobs. I was, I ran our campus recruiting programs, I was an HR generalist, I was a benefit specialist, I was a time efficiency HR productivity, it was kind of the precursor to data analytics, lots of benchmarking to figure out how to become more efficient. I was a compensation analyst, I was a training officer, training development officer, I was the employee relations manager, and I was the recruiting and employee relations manager, then I was aligned to business, HR business partner, and an HR Business Partner Manager. And I was a national staffing head for our consumer banking group. And then I was a chief HR officer for one of our businesses. And then I also got the opportunity to run a centralized HR business partner function. So I felt like, gosh, I went every… it would be strange if I went a couple years without changing jobs, or at least changing geographies or businesses that I was responsible for, and it was wonderful, but at the end of the day, It was the same company, 35 years. So I look really boring but I gotta tell you, I’m more interesting than that.
Yeah, I was just thinking, you thought my career was fascinating. My goodness, you’ve done all kinds of things. I still want to see you with a gun and an armored car, though.
So according to this article on thebalancecareers.com, some of the key reasons that people change jobs, and of course, there’s not that many surprises in here, of a lot of them are pretty obvious. Some people change for higher pay, better benefits or perks, or maybe relocation to a geographic area.
Or career advancement, choosing a less stressful job, or escaping an incompetent or negative boss.
Ooh. Could be they’re changing their career focus, like I did from accounting to HR, maybe better work life balance, or reorganization at their company.
Or what I saw a lot, layoffs due to duplication of jobs resulting from mergers or acquisitions. More interesting work, people will leave because they’re not challenged or they find what they’re doing, it gets boring after time. So finally, what we see a lot are people who like to leave because they’re looking for more flexibility in their schedule, so will go to a job where there’s a better work schedule.
Right. Right. It could be skills and abilities didn’t fit the job, maybe with technology, they were sort of in a role that needed higher level skills, or maybe their skills were more advanced than what was needed for the role, a lack of recognition for accomplishments, or, which is happening more and more these days, too, maybe their position was outsourced to an outside vendor.
Sure. And companies moving to a new location, not only because of mergers or acquisitions, sometimes companies move because they can find a labor force cheaper somewhere else in the US, and it causes individuals to say I want to stay here. I like where I live more than the work I do.
And then finally, they reported that sometimes people move jobs for better alignment, just between the personal values and the organizational priority.
Yeah. So we have a subject matter expert with us today, Susan. I’d like to welcome Purple Ink Career Coach Peggy Hogan. Peggy is the Manager of Career Coaching Services and an HR consultant at Purple Ink. Peggy enjoys connecting the right person to the right place, whether she’s career coaching, recruiting, or working on site with a client. She is motivated to help create positive workspaces by offering creative solutions to problems in the workspace, resulting in reduced turnover, higher employee engagement, and increased productivity. Peggy joined the Purple Ink team in 2014 and has over 15 years of experience in HR. She’s a University of Michigan graduate, a SHRM Senior Certified Professional. She’s a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and the IndySHRM chapter. Peggy is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches, and a member of the Hamilton County Leadership Academy’s 28th class. Thanks for joining us today, Peggy. And in full disclosure, Peggy is both a personal and professional friend of mine and Susan.
Well, I’m excited to be here with you both today. Thank you for having me.
So glad to have you.
So Peggy, Susan, and I shared our story a little bit. So I want to ask you, how many positions have you had since the age of 18?
Well, that’s a great question. I actually felt very proud of the fact that I hadn’t changed jobs a lot until I counted. And again, I think it was the college years where sometimes I actually worked two jobs at the same time, or even when I had my first professional job, I sold shoes at night.
So I came up with 15 jobs, positions, and really professional positions, I would say three companies with a couple promotions in between. So I feel pretty good about it.
Yeah. Well, I think we’re right on that average, though, right?
I agree. You know, I can remember early in my career, we always looked to see how many jobs people had and we’d say, oh, dear, it’s a job hopper, we need to step away. Honestly, I think today, as a person who looks at resumes, I want to see that people have moved around and gotten fresh ideas and assimilated on a new team. So I don’t think there’s nearly that kind of phobia about somebody who’s had 15, 18, 20 jobs.
Right. Right. Right. I agree. So Peggy, well, you’re talking to lots of people about career coaching, and Susan, I know that you do as well, but how often do you see people wanting to make a true career shift, and is there a common time time that that happens?
Yeah, I’m actually seeing that a lot. I would say in terms of a common time, mid-career, is definitely a time that people, I think in their lives, in general, they’re kind of just reflecting on things, in terms of whether they’re doing things that are bringing them joy, whether their work has any meaning. Sometimes that can be initiated internally through your own reflection and sometimes there’s an external force that makes you look at, you know, the type of career that you want to be in, such as maybe job loss. And that can happen due to a number of reasons that you guys mentioned earlier, too. I think that sometimes people are re-entering the workforce, perhaps a stay at home mom or a stay at home dad who’s been home with the kids, and now they’re deciding they want to – either need to get back to earn some more money, or they’re ready to get back into the workforce, that it’s the right time for them and their families. So those would be the common times I see.
And Peggy I see the same thing. I, I’m going to say probably about 20, 25% of the time I’m working with a career coaching client, even if they’re not married to the idea I want to do something really different, they’re open to doing something really different. So I find that kind of exciting, and I get excited when I work with career coaching clients who say, yes, I’ve always been an XYZ, but I would be open to doing something differently. The issue usually becomes, can I enter a new career at the same approximate compensation level by leaving one that I’ve done for a number of years? And that’s where we have to really decide do you have the flexibility? Do you necessarily have to be exactly where you left? Because you usually, especially when people are in their 40s or 50s, they are earning a certain, you know, compensation level based on all those years of experience, and when you start fresh in something else, you know, it’s hard to actually match it. I don’t know if you see that same thing, Peggy.
I completely agree, that is a big challenge. So sometimes it is something where they really need to put some time and effort into planning this change. Now if it’s with a job loss, they might not be able to have as much of a luxury of planning this move, so they might have to do something in the interim. It’s still a good time to assess what do they want to do maybe down the road, though. But yeah, finances definitely come into play.
So Peggy, what are some reasons that people may want to consider changing careers?
Well, JoDee, they may feel that the job they’ve been doing really isn’t fulfilling to them anymore. A lot of people are starting to think about the type of company they’re going to work for. They’re looking for something that kind of speaks to their values, so they might be looking for a mission-driven or values-based organization to work in. They really want to see the job aligning with their personal values, and if not, they’re just less engaged in that position.
I often see people who when they have a major life change, all of a sudden they, they like to reassess, like, where are they? Am I doing the work that fulfills me? For example, when I see people get married, they sometimes say, oh, this is a major life change. Is this, my career which I used to spend 70 hours a week at, does it still make sense now that I’ve got a partner? When they have a child, I see people say, I’ve got to find work that balances better. I see people when they… maybe they’re caring for an elderly loved one. They say I need a job that’s a better fit. So I’ve found the people who come to me that really want to make a career switch, sometimes the trigger is a major life event for them.
Yeah, I would completely agree with that. The other thing that I think is if they’re not using their strengths, and I know that you guys speak about using your strengths a lot, but if you’re in a position and you’re not using your strengths, then you’re really feeling uninspired at work. And sometimes you might get to use those strengths, maybe in your leisure activities and decide, wow, I’m a really creative person. I’m not getting to exercise that at work, so I’m going to reevaluate and see if I can use that creativity. I actually have a nephew who is an architect, but loves woodworking, so he’s combining the two and now kind of doing that on the side. So… yeah, who knows where that will go. And kind of to your point, Susan, to the work life balance, work life harmony, I think that, you know, there’s certain jobs we can do early in our career, where maybe the travel, the stress, the billable hours, whatever it is, is fine. And then we get to a point and we say, this isn’t working for me anymore. And it might be then at the end of your career, you’re ready to do that again, because it works for you. So I think that’s a big reason. Surprisingly, I would say it’s not typically for financial reasons. Occasionally, people feel that they’re undervalued, underpaid. I’m seeing this a lot with teachers right now. Where, you know, I’ve had people’s spouses accost me at parties and say, you need to work with, you know, my wife, because she’s making $43,000 a year and she works all day long, and she’s there at night, and then she gets yelled at by the parents, and she has no more creativity in her role either. Yeah, so it’s not necessarily financial reasons. But sometimes feeling valued in your role can be a big part, we really need to, we need to worry about those teachers because they’re going to be gone if we don’t do something about it.
No, no, I have to agree. You know, my husband was an architect and then he went into project management, still in construction area, and he, I guess he must have been in his mid 40s. And a friend of his who was an architect who happened to be teaching construction management was going to be on vacation and asked him if he would substitute teach for him at a local university, and he went and did it. And you know, he was never the same. He said, I think I can do this, and he ended up deciding to quit his job, go back to school and got his master’s and started teaching in his early 50s. And I always say you are living the career change dream. And so whenever he’s having a low day I say you are living the career change dream. But I get it. I think it’s – you don’t know what’s gonna spur someone. But for him, it just ignited something inside of him: I love teaching.
Yeah. Well, kudos to you, because I’m sure he didn’t do that without your support.
Yeah, you know what, he told me he was going back to school to get his master’s when my daughter was a senior in college and my son was a freshman, and I remember thinking I was – all my life I planned to have two in college. I did not plan to have three in college at once! But it worked out very, very well.
Yeah. Good. Great. Well, what advice do you have for someone who isn’t happy in their career, but they don’t know what other types of jobs to target?
Yeah, that’s a tough one. I mean, you can certainly do your own research. You can talk to people, you can try to learn about careers that seem interesting. Really, I am a huge proponent of taking an actual career inventory assessment, because I think we only know what we’re exposed to, and that might be what our parents did for a career, it might be the neighbors, and there are so many jobs out there that we would never even think about. But if you are able to take a career inventory assessment, it’ll show you some positions and industries that you’ve never even thought about. The one that I really like is the Strong Interest Inventory®. And that one really is the most well investigated and universal interest inventory that kind of helps match people’s interests with potential educational, career, and even leisure activities. So I think taking an assessment is a great first step, and you really do need to have someone interpret that assessment, because it’s not just as cut and dry as you’re going to go do, you know, job number one on that list.
I think you’re right. And I love the Strong Inventory as well, because it’s connected to onetonline.org, and so when it suggests to you a profession, you can click on it as a result, and it will take you right out there to the Department of Labor’s information database about jobs and tell you, like, what the job pays, what’s the education you need for it, where in the country do these jobs exist, and so on and so forth. So I think it’s very comprehensive, very helpful. I do recommend Strong Inventory. When I’m doing career coaching for someone, I am not certified to interpret it, so I refer them to Purple Ink, who has people on staff able to do Strong Inventory interpretation.
Yeah, that’s great. The other assessment that I really like, and it’s not really specific to finding a career, but I do think CliftonStrengths® is great just for really learning more about you and what motivates you and what you’re really good at. Sometimes if we’re in a job that’s not using our strengths, that’s why we’re unhappy. So again, it’s not really linked to it, but it can help you in your job search, even if you’re looking at a job posting or interviewing, to kind of assess am I going to get to use my strengths every day in this job?
Peggy, I, when I’ve mentioned Strong to people before, the people who have been familiar with it, have thought of it as a tool for high school and college students. But can you share with us a little bit more that it’s available, really, at any point in your career, right?
Definitely, most definitely. There are some counselors for college who will recommend, based on a person’s responses, what type of college they want to go to for maybe some paths that they’re interested in, or even the size of college, but beyond that, it will break down at all different levels, like Susan said, so for example, it could say, you know, Peggy, you’d really be a great bartender, or – which I would be, by the way, and I have been, that was one of my jobs in college – but it would also maybe say that I would be a good school counselor, or maybe psychiatrist, so it kind of gives you everything at different levels. And then you can decide and do a little bit more research. You know, A, are they hiring school counselors? You can, to your point, Susan, look and do some of that research about are these jobs even needed, or do we have too many people who are already doing these positions? What do they pay? What parts of the country are more or less in need of these roles, and then what do I need to do to actually make that switch? So no, all different levels, all ages.
What I find fascinating, too, is for people not to take the positions too literally. For example, some of the skills that made you a great bartender, Peggy, also make you a good recruiter and a career coach. Right?
Excellent point. Yes. Definitely. And that’s really why you don’t want to just do the assessment and not have someone who’s certified reading it to you. What it does is it breaks it into different categories. So for example, one category would be investigative, and one would be enterprising. So regardless of if you choose a career that’s on that list, you’re going to know you need to look for things in a position that are going to speak to that need that you have.
So Peggy, what are the steps someone should take to begin a career change transition?
Well, ideally, I think if you’re going to make a total career change, you know, like you’re a teacher and you’re going to be a nurse, ideally, you want to put the plans in motion early. So I still would say start with that assessment to really see if that’s the career you want to pursue. You might want to begin taking classes for… either if there’s a new degree or a certification that you’re going for. So ideally, the assessment first. Once you’re ready to get on, start looking for positions, then you’re going to need a resume, perhaps a LinkedIn profile, if that’s what’s needed to make that change, I would say a career switch is trickier. So you can certainly do it on your own, but if you do have the ability to hire a career coach, they’re going to help you navigate through some of the challenges even in your messaging, as you, you know, talk to a new employer about why you’re making this change, and even what the skills are that you’re bringing to them. For example, if you’re a teacher, but you want to go into a business type position, you need to really look at, you know, what are your computer skills? Have you ever led a team of teachers? We’re going to try to translate those all into business skills. So I would definitely try to hire a career coach, if at all possible. And then really the most important thing when you’re making any job change, too, is networking. So you need to start talking about it with people who you trust. If it’s a confidential search, and you’re concerned about your employer finding out, you know, you need to be careful about that. But otherwise, networking is very important.
And we have a podcast dedicated to networking. For those of you who hear that word and you just shrivel because you think I don’t want to do it, please listen to our JoyPowered® networking episode.
Yeah. And I think part of that networking for a new position, right, it doesn’t mean, as we discussed on that networking podcast, that doesn’t mean walking into a room of 100 people that you don’t know. It’s getting back in touch with people that you maybe went to school with or that you formerly worked with or spouses or friends or family members or telling people at the grocery store that you’re looking for a new role. Right? I say tell everyone you know.
I completely agree. And that’s really one of those reasons to try to stay in touch, you know, people knock social media and feel like it’s it’s too impersonal, but really, just to reach out every once in a while to a former colleague and say, hey, hello, I noticed you got a promotion, even a like on somebody’s promotion or work anniversary says to them you care, you’re not going to feel as awkward asking them perhaps for a recommendation, or to even just sit down, have a cup of coffee, if you’ve at least done those little nudges from time to time.
Love it. Great advice. What are some common mistakes that you frequently see people making during their job search?
Well, not to repeat too much, but really networking. Not networking is the number one mistake, and it’s not really about asking people for a job, it’s keeping in touch with people and maybe asking for a meeting. So what you’re doing in that networking is you are telling them you’re in the market, and you’re picking their brain. Do they have any companies that they would recommend you follow? Do they know anybody who they think you should reach out to? So don’t feel like, gosh, you know, this is awkward, I have to ask them for a job. That’s not what networking is at all. It’s just kind of getting out there.
I like the idea of finding people in that new profession or that new industry that you’re interested in and saying, I just want to pick your brain. I think I want to be a nurse or I think I want to be a bank manager. Can I buy you a cup of coffee and just hear what the good, the bad, and the ugly is? You get a chance by that kind of networking to understand the job better. It helps prepare you for interviews. Because you understand it, you’ve done some research, and you never know that that person who happens to work in that clinic or happens to work in that organization will then be in advocate for you in that profession. So much value, I think, in networking all the time, but especially when you’re trying to break into a whole new industry or profession.
Definitely. And if you… if someone knows you in a certain context, maybe you’re on the PTO board together, and they own a company. If they see you as a good solid professional, they’re going to be more likely to kind of give you that break or introduction to a friend who owns a company, even than, perhaps, if they had just received your resume in cold and didn’t know anything about you, so all those impressions inside and outside of the workplace really make a huge difference.
Yeah, very good. Peggy, is there anything that we didn’t ask you about that you would like to share with our listeners?
Well, I would say we are talking about mistakes. I do think if you invest a little bit of time and money into the practice, it’s really going to pay off. You can certainly do your own resume, but it may be that if you’re doing your own resume, it’s not hitting all the marks. And it’s always hard to sort of judge the things that we’re producing ourselves, right? I love to write, but I also love for someone else to take a look at what I’ve written, because we we see things through our own perspective. So, if you can afford to, maybe invest in a career coach, get a resume professionally written, a cover letter, have someone practice with you what your elevator pitch is, those are things that are going to pay off very quickly. If you get a job that you love even a week earlier, you have well, you know, made that cost an efficient use of your money. So I would definitely recommend consider it an investment, don’t consider it money not well spent. And then I would also say personal branding is important. And again, I think if you get feedback from a friend or a colleague, and really ask them for honest feedback, that can be important, because your personal branding is the impression that you’re making with people both over social media, or the first time that they actually meet you. So you have to really decide what is my personal brand? What am I bringing to them in this position? And really solicit honest feedback. And then probably the last thing would be just having a lack of confidence and feeling like, well, nobody’s gonna hire me. I, you know, I’ve only been this for so many years. I see people so often undervaluing their contributions and their experience, asking for too little money, maybe, up front, and you have to go into this confident in what you can bring to someone knowing that you can learn, and that’s really the message you’re telling them is I haven’t done this, but this is what I have done, and I’m eager to do more.
Yeah, love it. Great advice.
That’s great. Peggy, how can our listeners reach out to you if they have more questions or perhaps they would be interested in working with you?
Yeah, they can definitely reach out to me at my email, Peggy, P-E-G-G-Y, at purpleinkllc.com. Or certainly contact, you know, via the website. We’ve got a page on career consulting as well. And we also do outplacement, too, for companies who might be looking to help their employees transition into a new role.
That website again is purple I-N-K LLC dot com. So Peggy, thanks so much for being with us today. I think you’ve given our listeners some great advice to think about in their own personal careers or in jumpstarting their careers, and we appreciate your comments.
Well, thank you for having me.
Susan and I also have talked to two individuals who have gone through this process of making a career switch, and we’ve invited them to join us so you can hear their story.
We have calling in today Barbara Quintana. Barbara is not only a good friend of mine, but a former colleague of a company that I was the Chief HR Officer for. Barbara was the Head of Training and Development. So what’s interesting is since Barbara and I worked together, she’s had a career journey that I think’s very interesting, and actually switched careers. So Barbara, we are so happy that you could join us.
Thank you. Thank you, Susan.
So Barbara, would you tell our listeners a little bit about your career journey?
Yes, yes. Thank you. Thank you so much. And thank you for having me. I’ll just share, you know, that I spent about 30 very highly rewarding years in, primarily in financial services for a large financial services firm. I had roles in, you know, line manager roles, but primarily, my, my career and my core competency is around human resources and training and development roles. I also spent two years in another company doing similar, similar types of jobs, and I loved every aspect of what I did all those years. I had the wonderful fortune, I’ll say, to work with an excellent career coach as part of my outplacement process, and that really inspired me to, you know, explore becoming a certified coach myself, and I have a specialty niche in career coaching. It’s just something that I feel is like a natural part of who I am. Very simply, I connect people all the time, and that’s one of the things that I like to do, is to connect people to help them in their, you know, job search and so forth. So I’ve also had the opportunity to get a real estate license. I’ve been practicing real estate for about three and a half years in New York, and I’m also in the process of obtaining a license here in Arizona, which, which is where I am right now, because we’ll be spending a few months each year here as a snowbird for now.
That’s fascinating. So when you went, it sounds like the outplacement that you had with your company is sort of what got you started, at least about the coaching. Did you even anticipate going through that process that you were thinking about doing something different, or were you thinking you’d move on to another company in the same field of learning and development and HR?
Yeah, I wasn’t really sure, you know, how things were going to evolve. And as I, you know, worked with my outplacement coach for nearly a year, my life just, like, transformed, and I, you know, just loved every engagement that we had together. I learned so much about myself and about what I wanted to do going forward, because you have all these possibilities in front of you and it’s, you know, it’s sometimes overwhelming to think about, well, what am I going to do next? And it just happened very, you know, organically as we worked together, and I just became more and more inspired to head down this path. I love it.
And then what about the real estate part? How did you get involved in real estate?
Yeah, well, my business is called New Beginnings Transition Coaching, and, you know, when people are buying and selling homes, they’re also, you know, engaged in new beginnings and transitioning. So it’s, it’s a very similar skill set and a very similar kind of conversation that you’re having with people around, you know, what, what are your goals, that’s the main thing, you know, in a real estate transaction is what is your goal? What – How can I help you? How can I serve you? That’s the word I use a lot, is how may I serve you, you know, to help you to obtain this next life goal.
Right. Right. I love it.
Yes. Barbara, what were some of the challenges that you faced as you were looking at making this career switch?
Sure. So, you know, there’s always a lot of emotional ups and downs, you know, as you’re going through major life transitions. And in any given day or week, you know, you can be up and down about how are you feeling, you know, about this major transition. And what I will say is that, you know, something that’s very core to who I am is that I am a lifelong learner, and I’ll be learning until the day they put me in the casket. I want to always be learning, I want to always be growing, I always want to have new challenges in front of me. So, you know, that was just something that at this time that I had, you know, the opportunity to explore new things I, you know, kind of immersed myself in learning to become a coach and then also in a whole, you know, new industry with with the real estate. So, those two things were just, you know, enough to fulfill me, and they continue to be, you know, wonderful ways of learning and growing and continuing to grow every day.
Could you share some advice for someone who might want to switch careers? Maybe some of our listeners are thinking about it.
Sure, you know, I mean, there’s so many things that I could share with folks, and really every conversation is different with each person, as we can all imagine and understand. I’d be delighted to speak to any of the listeners, and I’ll share, you know, my details if someone wants to reach out to me. But one of the things that I have come across very recently, through one of my coaching clients, is this concept of ikigai, and it is a book that I was introduced to and a whole methodology around the Japanese secret to a long and happy life. I am really immersing myself in this to bring this to my coaching clients. And ikigai could also be referred to as what is your purpose of life? And that’s what we all, you know, try to work on as we’re going through transitions and changes, you know, what really is my purpose? And there’s, you know, these wonderful four concentric circles or, you know, they’re all connected, and in the center is the concept of ikigai, which is what is your purpose, just basically shared, you know, very briefly what this is all about. It helps you to explore what are your passions.
Barbara, could you spell ikigai for our listeners?
Oh, sure. It’s I-K-I-G-A-I.
Okay, and there are two great books on this topic, one by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles, and then this little journal, which I’m loving and sharing it with people, I’m actually going to probably get multiple copies of it and just give it as gifts to people. It’s by Amanda Kudo, and it’s really fun and light and an entertaining way of walking yourself through this whole inventory of what are my passions? What are all the things that I love? What are my gifts? You know, where do I excel? What are my values? How do I see the world? And then, you know, where it all comes together is what are the possibilities? Where can I use all of this to make a difference? And you know, the place where the circles come together is called your ikigai. So this is something that I would share just because I’m so excited about it myself, and I’m working through the journal myself, and I’m sharing it, you know, with coaching clients, as well as other friends of mine that are going through major transitions. Like, I have one great friend who just retired from teaching, and she had, you know, a wonderful teaching career for 30 years, and now she’s trying to figure it out. How do I channel all these different passions and my energy into new and exciting things? So that’s what I’ll share.
That’s wonderful. Well, good. Well, if people do want to get a hold of you, Barbara, how can they reach you?
Sure. I mean, the easiest way is I’ll just share my cell phone, which is 631-561-5895. I have it attached to my hip all the time, because with real estate, you know, you always kind of have to be on call.
And my email is just barbaraquintana at gmail.com. I look forward to, you know, chatting with anyone.
That’s great. Well, thank you so very much for joining us and sharing your career transition journey. Really appreciate it.
Thanks Barb. Well, listeners, we’d like to introduce Molly Tekulve. Molly is a Strategic Partner Executive at Springbuk here in Indianapolis, and we are happy to welcome Molly to our show. Molly made a transition from the nonprofit world to the for profit world, so Molly, just give us an overview of your career path.
Sure. Thank you. And first of all, thank you so much for having me be a part of the show today. When it came to my career path, I went to a liberal arts college and graduated with a degree in writing and Spanish, and then I was a part of a journalism program where I had a particular focus on media ethics. So I knew a lot about a little, and when it came to establishing my career path, what I always knew about myself was that I was… I’ve always been driven by a mission. And so a natural progression for me then was to look into the nonprofit sector when I was first establishing my career. So I originally began working in more of a clinical environment in nonprofit, and then I moved more to the pipeline generation side and working on getting, externally, individuals excited about a mission that I’m excited about. About a year and a half ago, I recognized that I was ready to take on some new challenges, and then made that leap and made that transition into the the for profit world, as you’d mentioned before, with Springbuk, which is a local company here in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Well, Molly, first I have to say I’m very impressed that you’ve got a degree in media ethics. I can’t think of a time in our history where we need those people with those degrees more, so good for you.
Well, I don’t know if it helped, but I think it turned me off of the whole media kind of thing, because I think I realized that print, radio, or television production really wasn’t for me, but it’s a very well established program that I was a part of as an undergrad, and particularly what I liked about that program, and what made me really stick with it was a requirement to do a semester long internship where you’re working full time. I knew that I would love to have the opportunity to go abroad as well, so I did a full time internship in Rome with the United Nations World Food Program, for… I was originally supposed to be there about three months, I stayed almost closer to seven months, because I just fell in love with the NGO work that I was doing there, as well as, you know, of course, being in Rome was not a problem, though.
Yeah, no hazard pay for that!
It definitely opened my eyes up to sort of the more nonprofit side of that sector within thinking about that global umbrella of media.
Got it. Well, it’s very interesting, for not a lot of years in the workforce, you’ve certainly had some – a variety of jobs, which is very cool. So tell our listeners, why did you feel it was important to, or what were you thinking about when you decided to make that switch from the world of nonprofit into the current for profit world? What were some of the factors in play?
Sure. I think when it came to evaluating the timeline for my shift, as well, as you know, when I did end up making that shift, I was thinking about a few different things that I knew about myself. One, that as I mentioned before, I’m drawn to missions and I know where my strengths lie tend to be in getting other people excited about something that I’m excited about. So when I had decided that I was ready to move on from my career path in nonprofit, it wasn’t that I wasn’t excited about the mission or that I didn’t believe in the work that I was doing, but what I found that more consistently, I was running into some ceilings where it was difficult to grow within the organization. And so I, in being excited about that mission, and not to sound like a broken record there, you know, you sort of make yourself available to whatever the need is, and I found myself becoming more and more of a jack of all trades, master of none. And I knew that if I was going to fulfill myself personally, alongside fulfilling something that I felt strongly about, it might be worth it to start exploring the for profit sector. I think when I was determining where I could position myself well, then, in making that leap, not just looking for something that I was interested in, but making sure I’d be able to sell myself appropriately as a contributor to that, to a new company. The startup side, really, I was drawn to the startup mentality, because I think there’s a lot of alignment with nonprofit. It’s an all hands on deck, no job too small, we got to do what we got to do to get it done. And then I also knew that when I was starting to look for a new career, that I would have to find something that I could really feel passionate about. And that’s where Springbuk really spoke to me in, in being a very mission-driven company, which is to prevent disease with data. So I knew I could get excited about that, and I knew I could also use my strengths and what I had learned as a contributor in the nonprofit sector to really translate well over into that for profit realm as well.
Nice. And was there anything specific you had to do? I love hearing about your sort of your drive and what you could do, understanding what you could do in the for profit world. But was there anything you specifically had to do to market yourself to Springbuk, to say, hey, I came from a different kind of environment, but my… so, you might not have appeared to be a logical fit in their world, I guess that’s what I’m saying. So how – what did you do to convince them?
Sure. I’m not offended by that. But, yeah. And I do often joke now that as Springbuk has… it’s no longer a startup, now it’s scale up and has achieved a lot of success in the past year since I’ve been there, almost doubling in size. So I joke now to our leadership team that you wouldn’t have even printed off my resume. So I think, you know, what I, when I really sat down and said, it wasn’t just going back and forth on this idea anymore, I knew that I needed to make this shift. I obviously needed to get my resume in order, I needed to make sure my LinkedIn was updated, and then I really wanted to lean on my network. What is valuable about the nonprofit industry is that you do meet a lot of like minded individuals, and there’s a lot of that pay it forward mentality, too. So, you know, I knew I had developed some good relationships and mentorships in my industry and so I was leaning on some of those to help potentially make some introductions. So fortunately, I had a contact that was already hired and working at Springbuk that said, hey, to our VP of sales, you need to talk to Molly, she’d be interested in moving over, I think she may be a good fit, and so that really helped me get in the door. And I think it really made me recognize the importance, from a networking standpoint, especially when I am young in my career, I might not have the experience that others have, but, you know, being able to have those personal recommendations and personal vouches will go a really long way when it comes to getting noticed. And so that, you know, that helped me get in the door, but then I knew at that point it was up to me to actually get the job. So that’s when I really did a lot of research on the back end, as much as I could about the company, anything I could find in the media about them outside of just researching their website, what their growth had looked like in the past. And then on top of that, trying to write down, I remember writing down a list of everything I felt that I had accomplished in my prior role and then going through with a highlighter and saying, okay, these are things that would apply, and these are things that I could really use to market myself in this new role moving forward. So they may not have been what would come top of mind in a nonprofit job if I were applying for another nonprofit, but I knew they would be really valuable when it came to marketing myself well in the for profit sector, and then particularly with this job within Springbuk.
Wow, very impressive. Yeah.
Well done for you! Really did your homework, I think, is our… maybe the message to our listeners there.
Yeah. Impressive. Molly, how long did it actually take you from the time you said I need to do something different to when you actually landed that job? And I’m guessing there probably were some low points and some high points. How did you keep yourself motivated during the low points?
Well, I think, to be completely honest, I made up a lot of reasons why I shouldn’t do it in the beginning, and there were a lot of excuses, and I think what… because I felt, not just from a job standpoint, connected to what I was doing, but there’s an emotional investment there as well. You know, I knew people were relying on me, it’s not as if we had an excess of personnel. So when I was sort of trying to talk myself in and out of it in a couple of different ways, I knew that there was going to be a, from a timeline perspective, a point where I could achieve what I wanted to achieve and really set up the organization for success for anyone who would come in to replace me. Not that – I’m not calling myself irreplaceable in any means, but just when it comes to nonprofit in particular, you really have your own niche, and I just wanted to make sure that I was setting us up for success if I were to transition out, and so, you know, I was working backwards from that timeline and, and really set some serious deadlines for myself. I can sometimes be a procrastinator, so it helps to tell people what your deadlines are. But yeah, because I made other people hold me accountable to those deadlines, because it was really easy for me to talk myself in and out of actually sitting down and doing that homework. But I applied sort of here and there and I – initially, you’re right, it is a little frustrating, because I wasn’t getting a lot of response. If I’m being honest, I think a part of it was me not putting my best foot forward either, though, and kind of looking for a reason to to not do that scary thing of changing a career path. But then I really started tapping into my network, having lunches with individuals, and Sarah Norris is her name, the individual who, you know, I’d really always admired her and her career path, and our paths crossed professionally, you know, in the few years that I had been working since college, and so hearing her say that she would vouch for me and she wanted to introduce me. She said you can do this, I know you can do this, and I want you to do this. That certainly gave me the motivation I needed. And then going into that meeting, I knew, no, it’s not just about Molly and whether or not I can get this job, but, you know, if, if I have other people sticking their necks out for me, I owe it to them, as well, to put my best foot forward. And so that was certainly the confidence that I think I needed to move forward. And then it definitely helped when I was making that final decision to move forward with Springbuk.
Nice. Well, I think you’ve already given our listeners lots to think about and some, some great steps, but anything else that you would recommend that our listeners do if they’re considering making a career switch?
I think an area that I had to work on personally when I was doing it is not being afraid to assert myself and to acknowledge successes that I’d had. And not because I wasn’t proud of them personally, but just because it maybe isn’t necessarily in my nature to want to get credit for every single thing I’ve done. And so it was learning how to advocate for myself, but doing so in a way where I felt like I was approaching it with humility. So that was a big learning curve for me, and I think that was what I carried with me when I first started, because, you know, I went into that role knowing a whole lot of nothing. How I could achieve success. And so I, when I initially started, I was thinking to myself the first day, I’m in over my head, this is all so overwhelming, I can’t believe I went from this comfortable job to somewhere where now I just feel like I’m, I’m an outsider. So I made another list when I got home, I think it was my first or second day, and it was these are the things I know I’m good at. I know I’m good at learning. I know I’m good at listening. I know I’m good at homework. And I can apply those areas that I feel confident in to my learning in the beginning, so, you know, approaching it where it was… my goal right now, my role isn’t to be perfect at this job in the first two months, it’s to position myself as someone who can learn well, listen well, and start contributing in smaller ways. So I found that to really help me not just position myself externally, as someone, you know, within the company, they started to rely on me for certain areas, but also gave myself some little victories along the way where I think I would have been frustrated otherwise, to think like, I can’t do this. This is, there’s a big learning curve here. But allowing myself some of those little victories along the way, I think, you know, gave me some of the confidence that I needed to keep moving forward. And it was a very successful first year at Springbuk, and I think I’ve really found a great career path for myself.
Oh, that’s great. I was gonna ask you how long you’ve been there, but sounds like you’ve been there over a year.
I have and you are not… I’m basically a veteran at this point, you’re not new for long when it comes to…. Yeah, I had about a two week grace period before they were like, alright, sink or swim, so… I thrive on that, though. So that was definitely exciting for me, and I recently, just in 2019, I was promoted to a new role, that Strategic Partner Executive that you had mentioned, so I feel really confident in my abilities, and I think it really goes to show that creating a good network is important. Your resume isn’t always going to tell your whole story. Make sure that you’re talking to individuals, you’re positioning yourself well, you’re doing your homework so you know the right points to hit on, and it’ll fall into place.
Congratulations to you.
Really pleased for you.
Great message, Molly. And I think you can add one more thing now to your list of things you do well, and that is being a podcast guest.
Oh, thank you. It’s nice that I didn’t have to worry about… I could be in my PJs right now for all you know.
And we are.
Podcasts are great! Yeah.
Well, thanks so much for joining us, Molly. Thanks for being our guest.
Sure. My pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Yeah, much continued success.
Yeah, thank you.
JoDee, it’s time for our listener question, and this one is from Shakira in Fishers, Indiana. What is your advice on how to deal with a negative coworker?
Ah, yeah, nobody wants to deal with the negative coworker, right? I think no matter what your role, my thought is always to give that feed forward information to them. Right? What information do you have that can help someone be better going forward? So maybe not starting out with, wow, you’re really negative, how can I share this with you, but looking for opportunities. When do you see them being negative? Is it when… is it first thing in the morning, or is it when they have to deal with their boss, or is it in particular situations that you see that negativity coming out? And I would just encourage people to ask the question, it’s… my perception is that this situation is bothering you or this situation seems to bring you down, or this situation, whatever it might be, to sort of lead them, and then have a conversation with them about how might they get out of that. What do you think, Susan?
Yes. I love your advice. You know, I know that you, rather than say feedback, you always say feed forward. And so I think the feed forward I would do with this individual is I would use the old standard. You know, here’s what I appreciate about you, because I’d start with something that I do appreciate about that person’s performance or about how they do things, but then I would follow it up with and I believe you could be even more effective if…
When you make a negative comment in the meeting, I notice the other people in the room tend to bristle. I think it could be even more effective if we thought about using different words. So I would try that and give suggestions of how you could be even more effective. It lets the person, I think, start from a place of I’m good, I’m okay, but here’s how I can get better.
Yeah, Love it. Love it. Susan, in our in the news section, we have previously recorded a podcast on effective meetings. It’s Episode 23, posted in February of 2018. But I read an article recently from the Harvard Business Review in the January/February edition on meetings. Specifically, their title was “Why Your Meetings Stink and What To Do About It.” I like this title, because I believe, in fact, that many meetings stink. They repeated some of our ideas from our podcast, but they also had some new ones and some good statistics I thought we could share. Why don’t you share the first one, Susan?
Sure. They reported that 90% of people report daydreaming in a meeting, and 73% admit they use meeting time to do other work, yet 79% of managers said their meetings were extremely or very productive and only 56% of attendees said they thought they were productive. So kind of in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it?
Right. We think we’re better than we are. I really like this next one. They said attendees who are the most active are the ones who feel that meetings are most effective. So it’s the people who are participating in the meeting.
Good advice for us, gotta participate, right?
The third one they suggest is, who generally talks the most is the leader. If a leader assumes their meetings are going well, they are less apt to solicit feedback to improve. So they have some ideas for all of us. JoDee, why don’t you share those?
Yeah, so the first one was to assess your own meetings. Were the attendees participative? Were they distracted? Who did most of the talking? Did you stay on task or follow up with the attendees for their input? That goes back to that percentage that says 79% of managers think their meetings are effective, but are we really assessing who else was participating? They also suggest prepare, and I would say prepare and prepare again. Many times, I believe, when I’m doing a presentation, I spend lots of times preparing, yet when I’m leading a meeting, I don’t always take the time to prepare as much. And also, I like this one, since many view meetings as interruptions, thank the people for coming to the meeting, and start with a statement on why they are there, why you have invited them to the meeting, and try to engage them in the meeting. And then reassess again and reassess again the time after that.
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