Serena's Career Change
Serena's career journey went from opera singing, non-profit fundraising to career coaching. Her goal is to help people solve the problem of "I need to leave my job, but I have no idea what to do next!"
What is something that surprised you about your career change?
That even in the weirdest career pivots..there is always a through-line of your strengths.
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Music was used with permission. Credit:
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It’s really important when you’re trying to make a career change to figure out how you want to be interacting with your strengths on a day to day basis, like figuring out how you tick almost, and then picking a career that makes sure that you get to tick in that way, rather than you having to adjust yourself and fit yourself into a box for that job. Does that makes sense?
You’re listening to the work in progress podcast, and we’re your hosts, Dana in Angela. We believe your work and career should evolve with you. And it is therefore always a work in progress. In this podcast, you will hear stories of people who turn their careers from something that no longer serves them into something that complement who they are and their life goals. The way I like to think about it is that the careers are growing and stretching, just like they are. Our goal is to inspire you to get out there and to make the changes you want for yourself and your future. So let’s get started.
Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening, wherever you are. Welcome back to the work in progress podcast. Today we’re speaking with Serena who made several career transitions from opera singer to nonprofit fundraiser to career coach. That’s where she’s at right now. Serena helps people solve the problem of I need to leave my job, but I have no idea what to do next. So we are so excited to have Serena here today, because we’re going to have a lot of questions for her regarding the coaching sessions, what she does now and her career journey. So welcome to our podcast. Serena, how are you doing today?
Good. It’s so happy to be here with the both of you. Thank you for having me on.
Thank you for sharing some of your Sunday time with us. We’re really, really happy that you’re here. So, before we jump into the questions, usually I kind of like to get to know you a little bit. And I’m really curious. Have you always known that you might end up you know, coaching people?
Oh, god, no, not even if you had asked me this in my early 20s I didn’t even know what career coaching was like, I don’t actually don’t even think that this was really a fully formed industry as it is now. Like the coaching industry is booming. And but when I was got even I think like five years ago, if you would have told me that I probably would have had a very different idea of what career coaching is versus the business I run now. So yeah, I could have never anticipated this. There’s no way I could have prepared myself, um, I guess to like, I get to always more anticipated that this was going to be my journey, which I love.
Yeah, I mean, accidents, you know, and then you kind of end up where you are. And it’s very interesting to look back and kind of try to figure out how you ended up here. So what were you doing before?
So I, oh, gosh, where do you want me to start? Right before I started, get me out of this job, which is my coaching business. I was fundraising for a theater here in Los Angeles. I was the senior advancement officer. So basically, I asked, I found the donors, and then I asked them for the big dollars, I would cultivate the relationships, I would kind of figure out how to, I would I would woo them. Right? I would go raise the money for the organization. And I really enjoyed so much of it. But like everything on right, as we make career pivots, like something ended up not being right. But I was doing that about I was in the nonprofit industry for six years. And for the last like three years, I was really just solely focused on fundraising, corporate sponsorships, individual giving, which is donors, and like more high level donors as well.
Wow. And how long did you do that for?
So I mean, I was in the nonprofit industry for six years, and I was at, I was doing like the more high level donor asked, which was for about a year and a half, two years. And that’s like really, I was going to have to move up and I had to make a decision about which way I wanted to go. So either continue the fundraising path as a development director and move that which is like overseeing all of fundraising, or really specializing and what is called in this interest in the industry, a major gifts officer, which is dealing one on one with donors that usually depending on the size of the organization could be donors who give $10,000 annually all the way up to $100,000. You know, if you work for a larger hospital or huge a huge like University, they could be millions of dollars, so like but it probably would have been in like the more 25 grand to like hundred grand range. It said that would be like the next step if I wanted to continue on in that industry.
I see. And so did you at that point? was it? Was it a choice or like a personal choice to go like a different route? or How did you.
So I was about a year before I wanted to leave, I was feeling like fundraising, I was losing interest in it. And it didn’t really fulfill me in the same way that you have that feeling with a job when it fits, right. Like, I think we’ve all been there where something feels good. Like, obviously, there’s days there day to day aches and pains with any job like nothing is you’re not gonna be happy 24 like 24 seven, but there’s a difference between like, waking up and dreading Mondays, and then dreading third Tuesday’s and then dreading the Wednesday just dreading and then, you know, Friday, you’re like dreading every single day, there’s a difference between that. And like, having some quirks with your job. And I was getting to the point where I just wasn’t excited. And I wasn’t stimulated or fulfilled. And I was like, Well, something has to change. I’m something is off, and I need to figure it out. And I thought maybe it was the organization which we all do, right? This is the process we all go through, we’re like, well, is it the job, or maybe it’s the company, maybe it’s just the company. And so I went on, like, Oh my gosh, so many interviews, I got so many interviews, and I got to the last round in two organizations, and not didn’t end up getting it, which was weird, because I’m really good at interviewing. I very, it’s very rare that I don’t get jobs that interview for and I just realized that my heart was not in it at all. And I feel like I can sell a pen to you if I believe in the pen. But like if, if I like don’t believe in the thing, I can’t fake it. I am not a fake it till you make it type person. And so I just I that was a big trigger for me to really look at and say like, Okay, what isn’t working anymore? This is clearly not the path that I want to go down. I’m not interested interested in growing anymore. What do I want to do? And that’s when I really started thinking about like, what are my next steps? And then I started that journey there.
I see. Yeah. So you kind of hit a point in your career, and you started to notice that you are losing interest. And you realize that it’s time to change?
Yeah. And that’s happened to me multiple times. I think i think i think it’s happened to a lot of us, right? Yeah. I mean, even before you and I were talking, and you said that, you know, there was a point where you were kind of wondering, is this? Is this where I really want to be? Is this the right place? We have these questions, and we really need to go find the answer to see what else is out there to see if what is wrong, what isn’t, isn’t working. And for me, it was really like, won the 2016 election happened. And that changed kind of my the way I wanted to impact the world. And I wanted to make a larger impact for my for the people around me. And fundraising wasn’t cutting it. And I didn’t necessarily, I wanted to be more on the ground, rather than working with like one on one. And then like the rich donors, I was like, What is going to be met. And then I, I went through the process that I now use with my clients to figure out what was next. And for me, that was career coaching. So that it was like seems like a big one ad but there’s always a through line. And so there was like a through line with everything I did with even going back to singing opera, like the way I want to interact with people and the types of change I want to make. And the and I’ve always been really interested in professional development, even when I was singing opera I loved like the strategic strategy of like, Okay, how do I approach the situation? What do I need to do? How do I build these relationships? What is the trajectory here, and I realized my favorite parts about moving up in my career were like, it was literally the strategy and like the learning of tools and the professional development that came along with it, it wasn’t necessarily the job itself, which I found super fascinating. Um, and so yeah, then I carved out a path and then like, dove head on into career coaching, which is kind of what I do is I pick something and then I’m like, all in let’s do it.
Yeah. Yeah. That’s interesting. And, well, I want to just clarify something you said that it was, you notice that you like a job because of like, the strategy, and that part of it and not, was it? Do you think that it’s because you get to learn something new, or is it more focused? It’s because you get to, like, you get to strategize. You get to use that part of your brain. It’s not just about learning new things. Yeah,
totally. So I my strengths really revolve around one like I love building new relationships and meeting new people and like this. I feel like Everyone’s a friend, there’s no strangers, they’re just friends I haven’t met yet. And, and also, I love like living in the future, like, I’m a huge, futuristic thinker. I love like, strategizing anything that’s in the future. So I think that’s really what it is like when you’re thinking about your career, you’re really live living in like future land, you write this like future version of you. And that is really exciting to me. And that is super stimulating. And I loved talking with other people about their careers, I loved helping them figure out what was next because I really got to live in that version of whoever they want it to be. And so I knew what was really important to me is that I was going to, no matter what I needed to be working with people on like a, not an ongoing basis, but like on a rotating basis, because that’s, that’s who I am like, I love meeting new people, I love having like a revolving door of clients I love. I don’t like when really when things get too stagnant, when it feels like things are just repetitive. Like I always need that adaptability. And so like I noticed, I noticed these things about me. And I tried and I was really focused on finding a career that would combine all of these traits about myself that I really, that I loved living in. So I love that you asked that question, because I think it’s really important when you’re trying to make a career change to figure out how you want to be interacting with your strengths on a day to day basis. Like, like figuring out how you tick almost, and then picking a career that helps you make sure that you get to tick in that way, rather than you having to adjust yourself and fit yourself into a box for that job. Does that make sense?
Yeah, for sure. I think it’s so interesting that Monday, I have a ton of question about your like, last pivot, I guess, if you will, about how I kind of eventually found yourself. But can you walk us through how many interesting pivots that you’ve made thus far? And I guess the four you found kind of like your calling. Oh, my gosh, this part and I got people who don’t know you. So please, Yeah,
totally. So my first pivot, let’s go back, right. Let’s go back to 15 year old Serena. So I at 16 decided I wanted to sing opera. And that was like I was obsessed with it. I literally thought that this was my calling and my passion in life. I was like, I’m going to be an opera singer. And it was my sole focus. And so everything I did was around being an opera singer. And I so I supported myself through college. So I was a bartender and server which is super healthy for your voice side note, don’t do that. Remember, like working till 4am and had to sing the next day. Oh my gosh, not healthy. But so while I was in school, I was bartending I was serving. And then I actually took eight and a half years to graduate. It took me a very long time. I am not a school person. I was made to be an entrepreneur, I swear I like I’m somebody who likes to jump in headfirst and like, figure out things rather than like sitting in a classroom and learning things. So I when I got my degree, I was 26. And I was over opera singing because I had been doing summer programs and trying to network and trying to do all these other things. And the industry is just it just what it was going to take for me to be happy and to be a professional singer was just not the lifestyle I wanted to live I was going to have to sacrifice so much keep being a bartender and server. It’s so competitive. And I was like I’m not gonna be happy. This is not going to the singing isn’t enough, the performing isn’t enough. And so my first pivot was really, I was like, What am I going to do next? And so my last year in school, I dabbled in directing opera I dabbled in like maybe I should start my own opera company. Maybe I should, like what in the opera world Can I can I be part of and I had some friends who introduced me to nonprofit administration. I had never worked in an office. And my I had an entrepreneurship class my last semester and someone came to spoke about how she created a, a, an orchestra in a recession, basically, and she ran this theater company in the city in Glendale that I lived in, um, or she ran a performing arts center, I should say. And I basically went and I asked her, I got her card. I said, I’m gonna follow up with you. I’m interested in nonprofit management, had a meeting with her and asked her for like an internship. I was like, Do you have something that I can I’ll work for free? I’ll do whatever. And so she was like, actually, I have a paid internship because someone is leaving. It’s yours if you want it because you followed up and you ask no one I give my car to tons of people and nobody come. No one ever calls me. And so I got an internship as a I was just I was just an assistant In the, in this world and so I dove head in to it. And so that was like my first pivot from like opera singer bartender server to like an assistant to nonprofit world. And from there, I tried everything I tried fundraising, I tried Pro, like programming manager, Event Manager, marketing, I volunteered and joined a, an emerging arts leaders network called what’s called emerging arts leaders, Los Angeles, I’m still on the advisory board for that. But that is an all volunteer run to company organization to get professional development, actually. So I was sat on the development committee, the programming committee, I ended up taking over the programming committee and then ended up running the organization for a year and a half. And so because I was at this time, I was like, I’m going to be an executive director, like I like being in charge, I don’t like, like, I am not great at executing small details. I’m really great at delegating. Like I knew all of these things about myself. So in this world, I was moving up to be an executive director, and then landed in fundraising. So I at this point, like I in the leadership coach here for this emerging Earth leaders thing, I’m a now probably working for my third job in the nonprofit sphere. And that’s when I started getting like itchy again, like, okay, what’s next? Okay, think of it like he was getting like, I don’t know if I want to do this anymore. So I tried as a I was a marketing consultant for the TV show. Bob’s Burgers, I don’t even know.
I know Bob’s Burger!
One of our actor was like, I think you’d be great at marketing. You do such a good job. And I tried to explain to him I was like, I don’t do marketing here. I’m the, um, the fundraiser, he said, but you do such a good job, and we want someone to consult on something. So I said, Okay, so I took that on for like three months tried that out realize I didn’t really like doing that. I tried, I was thinking about doing kind of strategy like consulting, helping, like nonprofit consulting, because I really loved again, that strategy, right? That like futuristic thinking, looking at problems, seeing where the holes were. And I just really hated developing reports. Like, that’s just not what I do. So I was like, that’s not it. Oh, my gosh, what else did I dabble in? During this pivot, I also entertain the idea of Rickard as being a recruiter, being a producer in film and television because I, my father worked in film and television my entire life, I’m from Los Angeles, I have tons of friends who are doing it, and I thought producing would be super awesome. Again, because I’m good at asking for money. And so everyone needs that person. So I worked on a couple film sets and helped some friends with projects and got paid for some of those things. Before I landed on career coaching, so like, probably two major pivots in my life with a whole bunch of side hustles and side gigs in between.
Wow, yeah, that is a lot. I am. So I have like, a couple of questions. But I the first one I wanted to ask is, um, I feel like you were really brave. Like when it comes to pivoting and changing? Are you? Do you ever worry? Or are you ever nervous about it? Because I think for some people, it’s even hard to just get them to think about switching. And then you know, once they become once they get warmed up to the idea of the possibility of changing careers, and now, they actually have to get started. But I wonder if you ever had to go through that struggle, like that internal struggle with yourself? Or you don’t really think about that at all?
Oh, yeah. I mean, I think as you get older, this gets really hard, right? Because like, most of my clients I work with now we’re in our 30s, right? Like we have, we’ve had careers for 10 years we have a lot of us have families or a house, mortgage, right? There’s, there’s like financial responsibilities that you can’t just like, be like, Hey, I’m just gonna go try this thing, jump off a cliff, see what happens like that fear really kicks in. When I made these changes, I felt like I feel like for Mike, for me and my perspective, I am somebody who, like, can’t function when I am and like, once I make a decision to leave something and I’m unhappy, it’s all I can think about and I can’t stop, I’ve done it. And I will find a way to like land on my feet. I’m really actually grateful for my serving and bartending experience, because I’ve done it off and on this entire time, and it’s always something I get to lean back on and I have a network that I keep up with that I can just go get a job if I need it to have some extra money on the side when I’m transitioning. I feel very lucky to have that because it allows me some flexibility in my choices, but not everybody has that and so for My clients I like to call these mind Gremlins like these, you know, those like little creatures that are like inside your head? And they’re like saying, like, are you sure you want to do this? Like, I don’t know, responsible? Is that really realistic honey? Or like, I don’t know if you can go be an engineer when you are have been like an accountant for 10 years, right? Like, he’s, like assholes. I’m sorry, can I say assholes? Yeah. It’s like these assholes, like, are in your brain, and they’re yelling at you, and you really, and it’s like, it’s you the mindset you have to overcome to like, trust that you’re gonna be okay. And that there is a process for this, right? Like, you can do this responsibly. You can do this strategically, you don’t have to feel like you’re throwing spaghetti at a wall and you don’t have to feel like, like, it’s not going to work out. Like, we have to that we have to work within reality, and that reality is time and money. And so let’s figure out how to work within it and get you where you want to go. Um, that I think, yeah, it can be so scary, you just have to acknowledge that the fear is, exists. But it’s also a function of our like lizard brain trying to protect us because it’s going like, you know, evolutionary our brain is right fight or flight, like, either you need to eat or you need to run from danger, because you might get eaten and your brain when it when it triggers fear. when it sees fear, or it’s triggered in that way. It’s like, Oh, my God, don’t do it, you’re gonna die. When really, it’s like, oh, you’re not gonna die. You’re just gonna, like, go look at options. But your brain is like totally perceiving it as like, you’re gonna die. It’s just acknowledging what is going on? Like, what is the reality of the situation and stepping through the first door rather than trying to anticipate where you’re going to end up 50 doors down the line?
Got it. And you said that. So you briefly touched on how you started, like working as a career coach. But can you go into the specifics? Like, what point was there like a turning point, or like a very defining moment where you decided this is what you’re going to do? Or at least give it a try? And what was that process? Like?
Yeah, I don’t recommend this to any of my anybody I work with, but I and August 2018, I like quit my job, I had a part time development gig, which we want to talk about. I was horrible job, literally one of the worst jobs in my life, because in the red flags all over the place, but I took it because I was so desperate, which is why you don’t take things when you’re desperate. You because You ignore red flags. But so I had a part time gig that was going to pay for my, the, like the bass part of my bills. And I still haven’t figured out what I was going to do yet. I was just like, I need to leave. And I need to jump into the deep end and figure out how to swim. And so I figured I would take on some grant writing clients. Because I was a grant, I wrote grants, and I really didn’t like it, but I could do it. And I was going to figure this out and see what my next steps are. And I just like was like, okay, you’re not gonna be making money for a while, like, that’s, that’s what it is, um, and so that I did that. And then as I was at this other job, I actually hired a I was, I was thinking about coaching, it was in the back of my mind, but I didn’t really know if I was going to like it. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do yet. And so I hired a coach myself and got coach to see if I liked the coaching process. And I did and she, she, like, you know, we were talking about like, She’s like, well, what are you good at? What do you want to do? And I thought about being like a network coach, because I am really good at building relationships like, that is something that every business person needs any person, that’s anybody in your life, actually, like I believe, learning how to cultivate and leverage your relationships is one of the most important tools in your lifetime. And I was like, What am I gonna, how am I going to do this type of coaching and then I just really landed again on career coaching, because that’s the thing. I know, most of specifically career pivots, because I’ve done it. And I’ve done it in a way that, you know, I didn’t go to a really fancy school I didn’t have I’m not like I didn’t wasn’t first in my class, I didn’t have a job at Google. I like I am scrappy. And that has always been my life. And I think that people have this notion that you have to be this person who has all of these accolades and has had this like wildly successful career, whatever that means, because success is totally neutral, right? Like that’s, it’s just successes, what we perceive it to be so like, whatever you might perceive success to be and like, you can’t make a career pivot to something you really want to do, because you don’t have X, Y, and Z in order. And I just really reject that notion. And so I realized how passionate I was about it, and I started reading every question career change book I could get my hands on. And there was one I used earlier to help me in my pivot. And it’s pivot by Jenny Blake. And I use some and I just started reading everything listening to all the podcasts from all these career change experts and like, realized, I knew what the hell I was talking about. Right that that imposter syndrome totally came in for me. I was like, Who are you to do this? You don’t know what you’re doing? Like, you’re just going to start a career coaching business. And yeah, that’s what I did. So I just literally started a career coaching business, I was super lucky that I worked in nonprofits, small nonprofits. Because I knew how to build a website, I knew how to send emails I understand under had a basic knowledge of marketing, and understand what a campaign was, I knew how to build relationships. I knew how to create a brand, not beautifully, but like, and yeah, and so I actually started a podcast and I started a career coaching business first, under the name of ladies who do cool shit, which was fun, I write and I was like, all I want to do is talk to ladies who do cool shit, and I recently rebranded to get me out of this job back this August, so it’s fairly new. But that was my first thing. And I just dove head in and created an offer and started going on Facebook, getting into Facebook groups and asking an answer being the most valuable comment in a Facebook thread of people offering career advice. And then I would say, I’m a career coach, here is my website. And then I also started a networking meetup. So I could bring people to me, as well. So I just, I just dove in. And I was like, No, no, looking back, this is the only option I have? or want, really, because I really want to do anything else.
Yeah. Um, talk to me about the Facebook group that you created. Um, is it like a private one? And you invite people? Or was it? Is it public? And what was it like?
So I actually didn’t have a Facebook group right away, I have a Facebook group. Now there’s over 600 people in it. Um, but at the beginning, I literally joined Facebook group. So I was in something called inspiring women of Los Angeles. I was in freelancing females, I was in all of these sub podcast groups, I just joined tons of Facebook groups, I joined the ladies get paid Slack channel, I joined this thing called that, but it’s like the girl boss community platform. And like, I would just search for people asking career questions that you would use the search function and just search like career or job, and then put answer people’s questions of like, how do I make a career change, and I was like, here are the steps to make a career change. I’m a career coach, here’s my website, or you can join my free, you can join in come up to my free networking event that I have twice a month, on Monday nights, it’s free, you should come. And I literally built an audience very slowly that way over the year, so I just kept doing that every day, every day. And then I created my own Facebook group. And now I have that. In addition to other things, so yeah, so I just kind of Yeah, I just I went to other people’s Facebook groups.
yeah. Oh, actually, you mentioned that you kind of just like decided that, you know, this is what you want to do. And you like put all of basically all of your time and energy towards building this for yourself. And kind of just throughout this experience, and what you’ve seen, and you know, out of all of your clients that you’ve worked on, what is the number one thing that people ask you, when they come to you, if I’m assuming they are in that population of, you know, people in their 30s, with about 10 years of career already in some industry, and they want to kind of completely pivot to something that they’ve never done before.
So most all of my clients come to me because they lit like, they literally have the question of like, I know, I need to leave my job, but I have no idea what to do next. So they’re like, I don’t, I don’t know what I want to pivot to. Or sometimes they have so many different options. And they, they’re really seeking that clarity on next steps, which is my favorite thing to solve. Oh, my gosh, I love it so much. clarity, yeah, helping people find clarity in their next steps in their career is so fun. Because it’s so different for every single person. Right? And it’s, it’s really cool to watch my clients go from like, I have no confidence in my abilities to Oh, I am talented in very specific ways, and I’m going to leverage that. And I’m going to find a job that fits into my life rather than me trying to fit a job myself into a job or career because that’s what we do, right? We like how we’re taught to job hunt. It’s so messed up, right? Like, you’re like, Okay, go to school. Go learn the thing. Then. Go find The job and how you find the job is you like go online and you go on indeed, and you start searching right for all of these different jobs. And then you start, your brain gets so overwhelmed by all the options, because you’re looking at these jobs. And you’re like, Well, I’m not, I don’t have qualified like on paper, I don’t I, you’re, I can’t meet these qualifications. And so your brain convinces yourself that you are not worthy and that you’re not capable. And then you like, shut the computer and anger and you’re like, ah, and you’re like, well, I guess I’m gonna stay at my soul sucking job because I can’t, the things I’m interested in, I can’t I’m not qualified for and I, there’s no way I can be qualified without going back to school. And so or like, spending years and years getting experienced, so I’m just not even going to try. And that that’s like, I totally understand why again, our brains are assholes. And it’s like, meant to, like, protect us and not do the scary thing. But it’s because we’re opening up all the doors at once. And we just really need to figure out one like, what is it that you want out of work? Like, do you want to be working at an office every day? From a nine to five, from nine to five? Or do you want to be working from home, those are, those are two really important things you have to figure out. And so like, let’s like, for the first first month, I work with my clients, we don’t even talk about potential jobs at all. at all, we just focus on like building what I call the career compass, which is like, your strengths, your values and your non negotiables. And like identifying what you’re interested in. That’s it. Like, we don’t talk about anything else, because it’s, it’s too much too soon. And it’s no wonder we get overwhelmed. So like, I think that’s like, what Yeah, what is my passion? What is my What is my next steps? Um, that is really where most people come to me because you know, we are in our 30s. And we don’t want to start over from the beginning. So how do we do that? And feel confident about how we move through our careers.
That’s excellent. And I’m really curious, can you kind of walk us through a session? Or, like, how you usually go about helping your clients to find clarity and their next career?
Yeah, totally. I think there’s like five steps to making a career pivot one, identifying your career compass, which is your strengths, your non negotiables, and your values. And these are really important, like your strengths are, you know, we kind of already talked about this, but your strengths like, like, think about a moment where you have like, lost track of time at your job or in life, where, or you really enjoyed something about your job, like, I’m sure you guys can think of something, right? You’re like, oh, like, I mean, like, maybe this is podcasting for you. Right? Like, maybe it’s, what is the thing that energizes your brain and like, makes it active and like, activates it. Those are where your strengths lie. That is where you should like, we need to identify and distill what the processes and what is actually going on for you, and figure out what makes you tick. And that’s step one. So that’s figure out your strengths, your values, I say, like, if you’re a value of sustainability, and you go work for Amazon, like, there’s gonna be a problem there. Right? Like, you’re gonna, you’re gonna be unhappy, like, period. And then like, also with your non negotiables. These are like non negotiables, for salary for your commute. Again, do you want to work in an office? Do you want to work at home? Do you want to have a boss? Do you want to be your own boss, if you go against your career compass, and you add all of these up, and you pick jobs that that fundamentally go against this, you will be unhappy. And if you pick a job where one of these is out of place, if you like, so many people, and I’m sure if I tell me if you guys have been in this situation where you’re like, you know, I really don’t like that it’s an hour commute, but I’m sure but like, I like other things about it. So I’m sure it’ll be fine. Right? I’ll suck it up. Right. Have you have you guys done that before? Because I have,
yeah, Yes, I have. I’ve had terrible commutes I’ve had our commutes before,
right. And like, what it does is like it can take honestly a really good work situation. And I think of it as like water. Like if you’re on a cliff and you have water just like hitting on it every single day, right? It’s gonna eventually erode that cliff. So I don’t care how perfect that that job is like, you will be miserable within a couple years. If you are, if you are stepping over one of your non negotiables or your strengths or your values if you don’t have those three things in place. You’re just asking for Korean happiness. So like, step one is to actually figure out what you want out of work. Instead of going to the job boards to help you figure it out because the job boards do not have the answer. They are not the magic just like the you know, the genie in the bottle like they will just make you more overwhelmed and miserable. So like step one is career compass. Step two is to start inviting. Once you have your career compass solid to start inviting jobs, potential Back in the picture, so like I say, this is like a joke. This module is like Space Pirate or astronaut, like, did you want to be a space pirate when you grew up? Like put it on the list? Did you want to be an ice cream scooper? Like, I wanted to be a ballerina, like, those things are so important because they give us an insight into our interests and like, our the things that we dreamed up when we were younger, right when our imagination wasn’t tainted by like reality. And once you start, but then also like, real things like I was always interested in project managers like what organizations excite you, what types of roles have interested you and like you mind dump these all on a list. And now you can take this list, and you can start, you can start comparing it to your career compass and basically creating a filter, right? Where you’re filtering these jobs through your career compass and being like what actually fits could potentially fit into what the work that I want. And then you only look at those options that fit in there. Everything else you throw away, you get rid of it, you Marie Kondo it, you go like thank you very much for like, serving me, like, thank you for bringing the joy to my life of like helping me be on this journey. But now you must go.
Like, so many people at this step, they get like stuck on like, Oh, no, but what happens if I want to I picked the wrong one like FOMO. Right? But like, what happens if I pick the wrong one, but the thing is, is that it will never be the right one if it does not align with what you actually want. And you don’t come back to you later in life when your priorities have changed. Because like, say you do have kids down the line, like your compass is going to change. These are all dynamic things, because we are dynamic creatures, thank God. We want to be dynamic creatures, but like, so you go through your career compass, you start looking at options. Step three is talk to everyone. You know, Dana, you and I were talking about this earlier about how like you, you said that you talk to you on all on informational interviews to figure out if you want your job, or if like you wanted a different career and talking to people is the best way to get on the ground information to see if a career path that you’re thinking about is actually right for you. So you can literally ask people, like, tell them about your compass and being like, do you think this would be a good fit for me? And they’ll tell you yes or no. Right? Um, so talk to everyone. And when I say talk to everyone, I’m like, if you’re in the process for career change, make a goal of talking to like 50 people in three months, like, I want you to talk to everyone, and make sure they’re in alignment with like, where you’re looking at, and talk to everyone in those industries, everyone in those jobs, as many people as you can, because the more people you talk to, the more refined you’re going to get with this information. And the better decisions you can make, right? Like, and as you’re talking to people, they might tell you about roles that you didn’t even know about, like you asked me earlier, like, would I could I have imagined I would have been a career coach. And it’s like, no, because I didn’t even know that job existed. There are jobs out there that you don’t even know exist. And you have to talk to people about your compass, and tell people what you want. So they can help you figure out the direction that you should head or the direction that you should possibly look. So that’s step three, step four. I call this like the testing, right? Like it’s like you wear the pants of the career. So rather than like jumping in headfirst, so like getting another degree or getting a job and then realizing you hate it in two years, or like going after the certification you like you wear the pants of the career you like, take on a side hustle for a short amount of time you take a small class, maybe you get a certification, maybe you talk to more people, can you shadow somebody, can you like how can you immerse yourself in this role to see if you actually like doing the thing that you are thinking you might like doing? Right? Like, yeah, and then finally, like, you just take a leap and you just go for it, right? You don’t look back, you you apply for the jobs, you network strategically, to make sure like, I’m a huge fan of networking, because I don’t like cover letters and resumes. I hate them so much. That’s why I hired somebody to help my clients right there is because I was like, I don’t wanna deal with this. Not my, this is not my jam. I will teach you how to build relationships and network your way into a job. And my colleague can help you make the perfect marketing materials to help you land that job. But like, but like I always got my jobs because of people I knew that is how I made every career pivot. That’s how I built my business is leveraging my network. And so leverage your network, be strategic, get in the get to know the industry. And there’s so many different ways you can do that. Oh my gosh, we could have an entire podcast about networking. If we wanted to talk about that, but like, but then you make the leap, and then you go about your life and you’re happy. And then when you start getting that itchy feeling again, you reevaluate your compass, you see what isn’t working. And then this way, like we’re gonna make career pivots our entire lives. I think our generation is like the stats or something like we’re gonna have seven different careers and like 15 different jobs in our lifetime. Oh, we might as well get really, really good at being able to pivot and make sure we can find work that fits us, rather than jumping into CIT job after job after job trying to, like, you know, desperately grasp onto something that’s going to make us happy. Like, there is a better way my friends.
Yeah, sure. So I love that you brought up the fact by for this generation, which is pretty different than I guess, our parents generation where they probably have like, one careers to industries on most and you know, like a very linear kind of path. But for us, it’s very different. And, you know, I’m definitely seeing a lot more people with like, very nonlinear careers and you know, very interesting pivots, you know, like yours.
I am, I am such a champion at the nonlinear career. I think it’s so interesting. I’m love a good career pivot. Like, I get so giddy about it. I think it’s fascinating where people can find through lines in their career and like, and, like, I mean, I come from also the arts, right? So like, we are people who have crazy projects and interesting paths, and, and honestly, don’t take a linear path to our career, and you were an angel, you’re like, you’re so right about, like, our parents, ideas of success, a successful career just don’t fly anymore. Like, we don’t have jobs where you can have a 50 years job security, like, that doesn’t happen. Um, I’m still, I, you know, there are pros and cons for that too, right? Like, I would be bored at a job for 50 years, like, I don’t even know, like, right now, this is what I want to do. But if you ask me what I want to do next, like, or if I’m gonna do this rest of my life, like, I have no idea I let I let the career Gods take it. And I will be doing this as long as it doesn’t make me itchy. And then if it does, I will find I will pivot to something else. Because I anticipate that that will happen in the future. Or maybe I’ll just like keep growing this. And it’ll be a amazing learning curve. And I’ll always be growing enough where I don’t need to pivot. Who knows? I don’t, I can’t I’m not a fortune teller. I can’t predict anything. But I do know how to I do feel confident that if that time comes, like, I’ll be, I’ll be fine. Because I know how to pivot before it gets bad.
I really love this. Do you have any advice for introverts like myself, you know, because you mentioned networking? And you know, absolutely, it’s so important, but I always do still struggle, like I have that inner struggle every time. I guess, when I used to go to events, when the events were like a safe thing to do in person I like would get there. And then outside of the venue, I would be like, Oh, I’m here, and it’s starting in 10 minutes. But oh, gosh, you know, what am I going to tell people? You know, that words, like it’s so straightforward when you think about it, but it’s so hard to do for, you know, people like me, I guess we’re kind of just like introvert, by nature. And sometimes I think, I don’t know, I because I have also made pivots myself. And I feel like it’s just takes me a long time to really gain that confidence. You know, it’s like, hard for me to tell people that, you know, even after I have, quote, unquote, made my transition, it’s so hard for me to say, Oh, I am now I’m a product manager. But you know, just because I don’t have 10 years of experience to tell you and I don’t work at Google, and I never feel like I’m good enough.
Yeah. So I have two answers for you. Because I feel like they’re two separate questions, right. One is like, how do I have confidence in my career pivot? And then the next one is like, how do I network as an introvert, networking as an introvert, I think it’s a little easier to answer the truth. This is like, I’m super extroverted, and I hate those events. Oh, my God. They’re exhausting. And yeah, they’re fine. But like, I usually just go for the free wine and cheese. Like, let’s be real. And I’m like, hopefully, I’ll make a friend but maybe not. What is really important is like, building relationships can be seen as like, especially now in the digital age, like one on one conversations is networking. Like that is networking. And it’s actually probably some of the most important networking that you will ever do. So if groups freak you out, then don’t go in groups, right? Like use your use your networking, sir. I think of it like circles, like, thing of like, we have three circles, right? That are all within the first the first ring of the circle is like your immediate family and friends, those people they’re great, but they’re not gonna really have a diverse network for you to really know would network in the way that you want to do like for strategically to make a career transition. So they’re great, but they’re probably not as helpful that second ring of people is like acquaintances, past co workers, current co workers people you went to college with like people you have in your that in your bit and like I don’t know in your circle that you could probably reach out to you might need to warm up the relationship a little bit but they probably hop on a call with you and be like, Oh my gosh, can we catch up and you can say like, I see that you work in x industry now. I’m thinking about pivoting Can I like talk to you about it. Because I don’t know if it’s the right fit for me, you could call up those people and have a 15 minute conversation. If you end the conversation with, do you think that there’s anybody else that I should talk to based on our conversation, they will probably be like, Oh, yeah, you should talk to this person, which means that you are now leaping into this. Now they’re network and they’re going to connect you to a network that you didn’t have access to before, so forth. And then the third circle is like those cold calls, right? The people on LinkedIn, you’ve never met the like, the random people you meet at maybe a networking event that those are just harder, they take a lot more effort. So focus on that second ring of people and do it one conversation at a time. And like, I like to say like, you’re like leapfrogging networks. And that person is going to know another person who’s going to know another person who’s going to know another person. And that like fourth person that you talk to is probably going to be the person that’s going to be like you’re in somewhere. So if you’re super introverted, utilize your friends and family like if that second ring is too scary, start with your inner circle, right? Ask them to introduce you to somebody that you don’t know, in a specific industry, see if they know somebody, but like, don’t, you don’t have to rely on big conferences and networking events? Like they’re, they’re exhausting. Don’t focus on that. And like if you’re scared, and if people like I know. So I said 50 people in three months like that is that is one year, like hardcore. I’m making a career pivot, like let’s do this, right. But if you want to take it slowly make a goal for one a week, or if that’s even too much do once a month, it whatever is comfortable for you that will take that anxiety out. That’s how I that’s how I strategize for networking. So did that feel less stressful?
Yeah, for sure, for sure. And I think I just really liked the concept of, you know, X number of people in y number of months, because then you actually have a goal versus now. Oh, I’m just going to try to talk to people, but then, you know, I don’t have like a number to hit.
So yeah, our goals. arbitrary goals are crap. They don’t serve us, right. I don’t care like nobody, nobody does well with them. So like, get specific, get specific with the with what the outcome you want is, and what I’m and what how many people you want to talk to you. I actually wrote an informational interview Bible, it’s like 20 something pages long that like walks you through an informational interview process and has like a workbook at the end to help you. And it has like 50 questions, you get to ask people during information, interview sample scripts for reaching out just because people, it’s it’s scary, right? Like it’s scary. So I totally understand. I totally understand it, I get imposter syndrome with people who are like, are like my icon, like people I want to meet. I’m like, Oh, God, like, I’m not good enough. So. But that leads us into your second question of how you have confidence. And one of my favorite things to ask my clients is like, let’s, or like do, like, let’s identify your superpower. So like, Angela, you said that like your Do you product management, you’d have 10 years. But like, if you had to synthesize one thing that you could say about yourself, like, what would you What would you say that like you’re incredible at like, I always say to people, like when they say like when I was fundraising and like what do you do for a living? Like I could say, like, I can make a friend out of a rock, like you put a rock in front of me, I will become friends with that rock, I will name it. And we’ll have a backstory. We’ll meet for you know, happy hour on Tuesday nights like that rock is my friend. And so like, what is the thing about you? That’s like you cannot stop doing regardless of any role you’re in.
Regardless of where you put me in, like in any situation, or like any scenario, I think I’m always going to be like, really, really good person to have on your team, because I’m really good at teamwork.
So you’re like a collaboration machine? Yeah. Yeah. And like, what happens if like someone, you went into a room, and you said, someone’s like, Oh, so what do you do? And you can be like, I’m an expert, collaborator. And they’d be like, what? And you’ll be like, yeah, and be like, they’ll be like, tell me more. And you can be like, Well, right now I’m a project manager for X, Y, and Z. But what I would I what how I really excel is because I’m great at making sure making sure everyone collaborates and I am such a great team member, that people I get projects done so fast and so efficiently, because I know how to work with people I know how to, you know, come like I’m like freelancing, I make enough freelancing, like in profit knows, like, like, stumbling my words, but like, you know, I can, I can bring people together on a common project to make sure get things done efficiently, which is why I’m so good at my job. I just started as a project manager, but I’m loving it because I really get really get to lean into collaboration on a daily basis. Right? That makes me sound like a badass
strategy of picking something that you’re really good so then you probably feel a little bit easier talking about why and how you’re good at it and then match that to this new thing that you’re maybe like not like super expert or have like decades of knowledge. is doing but then it makes that transition easier.
Yeah. And it gives you something to from a place of confidence to talk about because you are, you know about collaboration, you know how it works. And you know how it applies to your job now, so they can. So rather than focusing on whatever they want to talk about, like the specifics of like, project management, and also like, if you just say project management, unless they’re like an enthusiast, they might not be that interested in it. But if you can hook them in with something that you feel confident talking about, you’re going to exude more confidence. And that’s going to change the, the, the energy of the conversation, and then you have control and power over it, rather than letting them dictate the next question right there. They’re going to be more interested in it. So that’s my favorite thing to ask people to do. Because it just makes it Yeah, it’s like instant confidence boost. You’re like, like, Oh, hell yeah. I’m good.
That’s such a good tip. Thank you so much. Yeah.
Yeah, everyone. Yeah, me what your superpower is I’m talking.
Yeah. And I’m interested about the informational interview Bible. Where can people find it?
Yes. So it’s on my website, get me out of this job. co not calm. Co because.com was pokin. And I refuse to pay $300 for it like, whatever.
But ridiculous. And yeah, or you can email me at Serena at getting this job, CO and I’m happy to send it to you. So from my website, freebie, download exchange for your email. I think I’m funny and email. So I offer tips and tricks and doing away.
Yeah, thank you. Thank you. Um, we will, we’ll be sure to link that. Yeah. And I’m really curious. So I wonder if the clients that come to you are people who have already thought about making the, you know, making the change or the pivot? Or are they more or less on the fence? And if they’re on the fence? How do you help them, you know, kind of solidify that decision,
like to make to decide that they want to make a pivot or decide on clarity or decide that that they’re ready for the pivot? Yeah. I mean, the question
Or maybe they’re usually pretty ready to make the change. And that’s why they found you.
I made Yeah, so you’re right on that, okay. I see, you’re saying, um, most of my clients are like, I’m ready to make a change, I need to, I need to like, do something, I prefer my clients to come to me when the itchiness starts. Because when you are, like I keep saying he This is I’ve never called this issue before. But apparently, I’m going with this theme now. Like when you’re actually all over, when you’re like, full on, ready to leave and jump ship, that’s a really hard place to start your pivot because you’re starting from a place of scarcity and fear. And it’s really hard to move past that, because you’re going to be making choices, because you just want to get out so badly. And like I’ve been there, I made some really bad choices, like on jobs, because I just wanted to get out so bad. And that’s not a really healthy mindset to make your career pivot. So I say, start this process early. And I’ve had clients who actually came to me because they were like, I don’t know, if I want to leave my job, I might want to stay. But I want to make sure that I’m clear about what path I want to take moving forward. So um, so I’ve had clients who’ve come to me who are like, not really ready to leave their job, but they just want to start this process because they want again, that clarity and the next step, they want clarity and confidence in whatever choices they make. And so if somebody’s on the fence, I would tell them that I’m like, if you’re on the fence about leaving your job, and you’re kind of wondering, like, I think that’s a great time to start the career pivot process, or entertaining the idea and start working with a coach or like doing the research or start whatever process you need to do it and to be diligent about it. Because it’s going to make your life so much better. And you’re going to make you’re going to be able to make such a strong pivot. When you have a longer period of time, because a real pivot does not happen in three months, I get people coming to me, they’re like, I’m like, well, what’s your timeline? They’re like three months and I’m like, Okay, well, probably not gonna happen. Straight up. I’m not a miracle worker. Like, I’m a real career pivot takes anywhere from like six months to a year, depending on how intense your pivot is, right? If you’re going from like, like, I had a client who went it was going she was in marketing, and then we made the pivot to impact marketing. So really, like be corpse so we’d like that was a very that was a that was an easier pivot because she was taking all four years experience and just niching and harder to what she wanted. That didn’t take as much time that yes, three months pivot because that’s not a full crazy pivot. But if you’re looking at like, if you’re like maybe a an accountant, and you will Want to become a social media manager, then that’s going to take a longer time. Because we do have to build that resume, we do have to build that cloud, we do have to build those relationships, and get and help you gain experience. So you can make that pivot in a way that you want. Doesn’t you have to start all over, we can leverage experience that you’ve already had. But that’s going to take longer. And that’s fine. Just be aware of that. Yeah, so I would say, start early. And I’m just I’m very honest about people who come to me when we talk about that, because I just Yeah, I don’t know, I don’t, I’m not a manipulative seller. Like, I don’t want you to take my program or work with me if like, it’s not gonna be a good fit. Like, that’s, that’s a waste of everyone’s time and money.
Definitely, it’s good that, like, you keep people, I guess, fully aware of what to expect and to give them I mean, that’s part of why they’re talking to you anyway, is your expertise in this field. So unlike,
unlike clarity helps everything and sometimes you just gotta clear out the cobwebs and do that work. So you know what your next steps are? And I give people a framework, so they can, they don’t need me forever. Like, I don’t want to be somebody’s career coach for like, six years. Right? But yeah, like, Oh, no. Like, I want to have a framework that they can do this themselves again, and like, come to me when you need some, like pep talk or for like, a one off session, but like on for like, years and years and years. No, not interested. Yeah.
And have Has anyone ever come to you during the time of COVID, like, you know, sometime this year and really wanted to make a switch?
I mean, yeah, I’ve actually had so many people.
Tell us about it.
COVID has been really interesting, because I thought it was going to be Oh, I thought it was like, oh, gosh, people aren’t gonna pay for coaching right now. Right. But like no people, career coaching is, is good right now. Because a lot of people do have the time, right, they’re furloughed, they do have the time to think about these things. And so I think making a transition and COVID is not harder or easier than making a transition and any other time period, it might take longer. But the same things apply actually, in a recession. in something like this. When jobs are scarce. Making sure you have clarity and getting super specific is the most important thing you can do. A lot of people’s instinct is to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. But that is like a recipe for career and happiness like, and also because things are so competitive. If you are not very specific about who you are, what you want, what your goals are, you’re going to be lost in the noise. So how you stand out in a market like COVID is to get super clear is to get very specific. So I feel like that doing this work right now is even more important, because you are going to need to you are getting to shine out, shine everyone and have an Yeah. And like, if you if you are just applying for everything you will you will get lost in the noise. So I think it’s like, I think it’s a it’s no harder right now than it is later, it might take some more strategy, and then maybe it’s gonna take longer as if there is a longer lead time. But I mean, I’ve had in set what are we in October? Are we what are what month or October? What month? I keep saying in the last month, and then I’ve realized I’ve been saying that for two weeks. So like in September, I think it was I had four clients get jobs. And so and one was a pretty substantial career pivot. And so like, people are still hiring. People are still but like you got to get specific and network and do all the things that you would normally do to find a job. And those things don’t don’t go away because we’re in COVID.
And in your experience, how long does it take people to fly? Find clarity? Oh, gosh, that’s such a good question.
I think it depends on honestly, like how much how much work. They’re willing to like how committed they are to the process. And also a little bit of like, are they able to make decisions? It’s hard when like in this work, you have to make a decision clarity is just all about prioritization. There isn’t like magic, clarity wand that we wave over you and like all of a sudden light bulbs are going off. Right? I think that’s what people think clarity is they’re waiting for that aha moment. They’re waiting for that leg. Like oh my gosh, I have a soapbox about finding your passion. I actually think finding your passion is like trying to find your passion is bullshit because passion changes constantly and like passion is not sustainable. But like Really, it’s about prioritization. So again, like, if you can make decisions about what is important to you in this moment, like, again, do you want to work in a night in an office? Do you want to be working at home? Do you want to be traveling all the time? Do you not want to be traveling all the time? What are your values? What are your strengths when you can, when you make decisions about those choices and act on them, that’s when clarity starts to happen. So the more decisive you are, and the more you’re willing to trust that, like, I just have to make a decision and move forward. And that’s when I see people have the most clarity around their choices. Because Yeah, we we just create a lot of drama around it. And we like like to put in all these extra like what ifs and buts and ORS and create very complicated situations for our brain to handle. And I mean, our brain thrives off of drama, right? And so like, the more specific you can be in the more you can prioritize your needs first and get really drill down to what they are, the faster I think clarity will come. Mm hmm.
That is such a good suggestion. I think I’ve never thought about it that way. But now that I’ve, you know, listened to you talk to talk about this. I think that’s absolutely true. I think sometimes we just spend too much time trying to decide,
Oh, God, right. Oh, my gosh, so much time, so much time deciding for everything. like should I should I stop scrolling? Should I stop doing scrolling or scrolling? Like just the crap like that? Like? Yeah,
yeah. And then you’re like, Oh, I wasted, you know, I don’t know, three months trying to, you know, decide on this. And then you just kind of think, maybe I’ll just think about it later. I think
that, well, it’s just mission fatigue, right? You get tired, your brain gets tired, it’s like, and then it numbs out, because it’s so exhausted of making decisions. And like, I’m not gonna say like, I’m not I’m like, I’m, I still do this crap, right? Like, scared to reach out to someone not scared to reach out to someone, should I reach out to them? Should I not reach out to them? Right? Like, it’s just reach out to them, or don’t reach out to them. Just pick one, pick one decision and stop thinking about it. And like, move on. And it’s, I mean, I say that, like, it’s easy, but it’s not. And we have to acknowledge that there was like, again, the mind Gremlins that come in and it’s fear usually impacting and we’re, like, so scared to fail, so scared to fuck up in some way. And, you know, the thing is, is like I always like to, I always say that, like, the most important thing is to fail forward. Like you’re not, if you fail, you’re failing forward. Don’t think of it as going backwards. Like, you’re not going to go backwards. You’re, it’s again, nonlinear career, right? Nothing is ever in a straight line. So like, you’re just failing forward on the nonlinear path to wherever you want to go. You have to like make decisions and let and be okay with them being wrong. And that’s okay.
That’s, that’s so true. So, since you’re a coach, how do people reach you if they want to find out more about your service
has so many ways again, on my website, get me out of this job.co I’m also on Instagram at get me out of this job. I do like weekly i g stories on different topics. And like I love people dming me and talking to me again, please be my friend. I love new friends. Um, and yeah. And then also on Facebook, you can join my facebook group, which is getting me out of this job career goals. There’s over 600 people in there. Again, I like posts in there I put questions in just try to have dialogues around career and some people when they have questions around how to make a career pivot or like certain job searching techniques, you can go in there, everyone is super helpful. And if I don’t have an answer, somebody else will. Because I don’t pretend to know everything about careers. I’m really good at pivots. That’s my way. And then also superpower. Yeah, that’s my superpower is the pivot. Um, and like, they’re my my resume coach is also in there. And so she also helps answer so yeah, lots of ways to connect with me. You can learn about my services online. I have one on one coaching in January, I will have another round with my group program. Um, so yeah, so I have like one curriculum that you can either do one on one coaching or you can do group coaching. And yeah, so those are the ways to reach me all the ways and I’m, I can like, send you all the links to link to things too. Great.
All right. Thank you so much. terina for hanging out with this Saturday. I mean, Sunday afternoon, whatever day it is.
I know. It’s all it’s all one day.
I know it does feel that way. Yeah, I hope you have a rest of the day like you know, relaxing and enjoyable and thank you so much. Bye bye.