Enough is enough. You have been tolerating your career and have realized that you have to change careers. How do you do it. This part 1 of 2 interviews I did with Scott Anthony Barlow of the Happen to Your Career Podcast and HappentoYourCareer.com. It is a terrific conversation with much there.

Finding The Career That Fits You | JobSearchTV.com

If you are over 50, here are five mistakes to avoid making that would doom your career change.

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This is an automated transcript. I'm sure will contain a few errors.

And you are watching Job Search TV, perhaps listen to it as No BS Job Search Advice Radio I like to spend some time regularly talking with you about job hunting because frankly, to me, it doesn't have to be hard, difficult, painful, or take a long time, the skills needed to find the job are different than those need to do a job. And you may have noticed, I'm sorry to blame in some experts in different areas to talk with you that different elements of the job search. And in this case, it's career transition. So you may never have seen his face before. But Scott Anthony Barlow of the happened to your career podcast, and happened to your career.com is my guest for what will be the first it's gonna be two parts that I do with him about career transition. Scott, welcome.

Thank you very much. I am thrilled to be here.

Thank you. Can I describe you pretty well there?

Yeah, absolutely. Right on Thank you.

Ooh, right on right back to the 60s. So when I was looking at your bio, your you have an interesting background that brings me to this point. And the thing that I saw that was my eyes just zeroed in on was the fact that you yourself have had Shall we politely say a career failure along the way where you realize you're barking up the wrong tree need to get out and shall we say skin journeys professionally?

Yes, yes, I would say many times over

how did you go from there to here and how long have you been in here?

That is a that's a great question. And you know the first big time I would say and I think the one that you're referring to that I skinned my knees and it was more like a full fledged face first on the ground type after a sprint rather than just skin knees was one of my first professional roles and this is when you know I I dragged my brand new bride Alyssa down it down to Portland Oregon and moved her down there because I had what most people would consider to be a pretty great opportunity in AI wasn't that far out of college and they had they were paying me pretty well to manage a team of 20 and all kinds of great things and my friends and family are telling me how great of an opportunity this was and I got in there and realize it might be great for some people but it was a pretty terrible fit for me right and to the point where it was causing me health issues I gained literally 50 pounds and yeah, it was it was that bad I remember one day even here swagging 50 pounds because I was working 70 to 80 hour weeks and stressed out the entire time not getting to see my brand new bride and I ended up actually one day I remember looking at the restaurant next door and they had amazing Huckleberry shakes I went over ordered this massive Huckleberry Shea like three cheeseburgers a set of fries because in this is how bad it was in my head I was justifying that if I could make myself sick at least I could go home for the day and have an excuse to get away so that I could just have a break like that is I know that doesn't make any sense and clearly it was unhealthy but that's how bad it wasn't that's how little it lined up with what was going to create a great situation for me so at some point after about a year into this Yes It took me a full year and I realized look I gotta do something about this I can't just keep like going next door and buying Huckleberry shakes right and I ended up going and having a conversation with my boss I finally got the courage and said hey you know I'm not sure if this job is a great fit for me and apparently he thought so too because three weeks later he fired me

for reconsidered with him. Yeah, if you weren't going to go on your own volition if he was going to make sure that you did

yes yes it was a in your reading very well into it there not only was it a bad fit for me because it was such a bad fit I was not performing to my capability at all my boss recognize that and what sounds like a pretty terrible situation and it was a pretty terrible situation honestly was probably one of the best gifts that my boss could have given me at the time even though it felt horrific. Yeah. So that's that's what was the kickoff or the impetus because after that I remember driving home as you know in Portland, Oregon, so it's raining and I had to call my wife my brand new bride and tell her that Look, I know I moved you down here away from your family, but I don't even have a job anymore to to like justify this. So that was the point in time where I swore I would never ever ever do this in the same way again.

This is my memory correct that you eventually started working in HR or was my memory faulty?

I did. I was working in operations at the time, it was a rolling operations and I was what they would consider like our regional manager for all intensive purposes in that role. But I ended up making the transition from operations to HR to really what was what was I consider my dream job at the time.

Yeah. And, you know, folks, our show today, this first one is going to be about finding the career that fits you. Because for those of you who are unhappy doing the work that you do, it's so important, at least in my thinking, I suspect is the Scots as well, the not just simply take the job. Now, with all that awful template of a job and work, life is too short. And in case you haven't noticed, this face is not 24 anymore. And just started to realize that a lifetime isn't the long time. And if you're going to spend as much time as you are at work, better be doing something that interests you, they'll be doing something that you really enjoy. So how did you start off? And how do you help people start off finding that job that really fits them finding the career that really fits them? Where Where does this all begin?

Yeah, yeah. And this is such a great question too, because you have done such a great job giving people tools and resources for the job search. And what I also have found over the years and I think what you're alluding to as well is that if you're doing a great job job searching but you're going after the thing that doesn't actually fit you then it's kind of all for naught right.

I know for myself, I worked in search for more than 40 years and now after a while the realization hit that this wasn't what I wanted to do. And my story involves a point where went back to grad school going to understudy to become a therapist in private practice and I had the good fortune of meeting my wife there which in my way of thinking was we were you know, it was an older individual at that point we were going to do the house the kid and the What have you I put that transition on hold and really came back through the few years ago not as a therapist there's a coach leveraging all the experiences and all the training I have to go into this one now I think to you in the work that you do you know doing a careers transition starts off with how do you figure this out? Yeah, how do you go about this process because now people have a million ideas and then they become paralyzed not knowing what to do first? Where do I start

with this is such a great question. In fact, I would say is the question and to give you some context here when we help somebody through this type of process, it is not necessarily a you know, I spend an hour over a weekend and I pop out on the other side and it's clear as day that I should be working as an HR VP, right? You and I both know that it doesn't work that way now when we help somebody through it we find that we usually will work with them over a period of like two to four months to arrive at some of those answers and I say answers because often the big question of what should I be doing How should I be spending my time is really what we find a series of many other questions. So let me give you let me give you an example. And what we call the puzzle method that helps guide people through how to even think about this process and how to think about this massive question of what should I be doing next? or What should I be doing with my time in a way that you know I really want to in line up is much more fulfilling, more purposeful, and all of the other things right? So my, my son and for anybody that's ever put together a puzzle, you probably have thought about some of these pieces but my son when he was first learning to get put together puzzles he was doing what most little kids do when they put together puzzles and they like grab a piece on one side and grab another random piece. And yeah, exactly like they're in holding their hands and they're like jam them together and realize that they don't fit and yeah, exactly, throw it throw it back over the shoulder grab another piece. So in this case, you know my son was making little noises and and he's like, it's not working at all. He's getting pretty frustrated by the process. So I went over, sat down next to him and showed him what most people figure out when you put together a puzzle you start with the corner pieces, because there's not too many of them on a on a rectangular puzzle. There's only four of them right? And then you pull out those edge pieces and once you pull out the edge pieces, you can begin to assemble the frame like you see the different colors and you can begin to assemble the frame. Now the funny thing about once you do that, it gets so much easier, even if you don't know what the picture is in the middle to put the Gather the rest of the puzzle, right? Is that how you put together puzzles?

Well, I remember with my, my son when he was young, there were four piece puzzles,

or corner pieces.

There's 750,000 piece puzzles, and my eyes glaze over. But that's the reality for most people. They, they are starting off with a 750,000 piece puzzle. And normally when I work with people, I have them do like with doctors, they they rule out things. Yes, very quickly. Yeah, yeah, we can start eliminating things and what it is about them that they don't really care for, is that what you do? Or how do you go about it?

Yeah, well, let me put this in context for you. So just like putting together a puzzle in the way that we talked about, we use this type of method because we find most people are doing what Grayson my son was doing. And we are grabbing and saying, I want to make more money. And I want to be able to have more flexibility. And I need a boss that isn't, you know, horrific to me. And we're like trying to mash those together in is not working. And so we're hooking them over our shoulder and still frustrated and don't know where to go beyond that. So instead, when we begin to put together what we want out of our career in our next steps, just like we put together the puzzle, we start with those corner pieces. And in this case, our corner pieces are what we are great at or have the potential to be great at. And these are what we call signature strengths. And then from there, those edge pieces are prioritizing what you want in need most in your life and career. Now some of these pieces are things that we've got great data and research that we don't necessarily know we need or must have. Like, for example, we know that no matter how great a job is, if if you have a commute that is more than 60 minutes, then eventually there's going to be an expiration on that for the average person. Most people eventually no matter how great the job is, if you've got a commute for more than 60 minutes, eventually it's going to make that job less fun for you and less fulfilling and less purposeful for you. And so there's all of these pieces of data that we know and then some of the things that we have to figure out for ourselves that are most important to us, like I need, you know, a high degree of autonomy and flexibility in decision making ability within my role on the how the work gets done. And that's very, very important to me, I know for myself, you know, just over here, it's off off camera, but I have a window because I get grumpy if I don't have exposure to sunlight. And I know that's a weirdo thing. But that's something that I know that I need. And if I don't have, eventually I'm going to have less fun in whatever it is that I'm doing right? You probably have some of those things that you know, you need to write. Yeah,

absolutely. And I'm a two window guy and one window guy, I love it. There's one over there over my left shoulder and this one directly in front of me, the idea of being locked up in a cube with no sunlight in an interior office drives me crazy, no contact with people. Now, in the work that I do, my contact comes with coaching. But you know, for others, they need to be in an office environment where they're in contact with individuals, because the nature of the work that they do is maybe analytical or takes them away from people. So yeah, I know the kind of stuff that I really enjoy. Yeah,

yeah, absolutely. So what we do within those within those edge pieces is we help break it down into much smaller categories, because we already acknowledged that the question of what should I be doing is way too big. So instead, we break those into what what is most important to me in the categories of people or relationships or finance? What what amounts? Do I need to accomplish some of my other goals and things that are important? Or, you know, what areas do I want to grow the most and or, you know, what do I need within my environment, not just the windows, but whatever that happens to be for you. And once we start to break it down, and then we put it back together. And now we've got now we've got the ability to start connecting it together into that frame. And once we have the frame just like we put together a puzzle, it becomes so much easier to identify what could be a potential fit. And as you said earlier, to to rule out a huge amount of stuff that is going to become obvious that is not going to fit. And then the really good.

I was about to say one of the things I asked is what's most important to the next job or organization, what we need to see you're here to believe it's a good choice for you. And I'll say to folks, you know, don't worry about putting in any order. Don't just give me the long list because the next thing we'll do is start to prioritize. Exactly. So the first thing is just let's get the long list out there. We can add on to it or we can eliminate things but the first thing is about prioritizing and then from there, how will you recognize it? Once you're talking to a firm? What will they need? tell you about her, or show you that's going to allow you to feel comfortable that this is the right choice for you, or the right organization. Yeah,

that's fantastic. And I'm so glad that you say that because it really, in order to get to that point where you have the ability to prioritize, sometimes you do have to get all of the stuff out first. And then that gives you the ability to use what we call, we call the glasses technique, like if you've ever have glasses. So you know, if you go into BIOS, you go in, you buy a set of glasses, somebody who has done this many times before in helping you pick classes, they're not going to like lay them all out on the counter. And they're not going to say, Okay, which one do you want? Instead, they're going to go, do you like this set better, or this set better, because once you break it down into smaller decisions, it becomes much easier to say I like the red ones better. So then let's keep the red ones in the yes pile, and then let's move the other ones off the table. And then that having that off the table list does in fact help you prioritize through each one of these categories, like we were talking about. So we get all the stuff on the table, get all the glasses on the table. And then we can start to say which of these is in fact most important? Which set of glasses do I like best? Do I do I actually really, really? Yes, it's important for me to? Yes, it's important for me to have a high degree of flexibility. But what is it? Is it more important that I have the flexibility during the day? Or is it more important that I you know, have seven weeks of vacation during the year like what does that actually mean? And where do the priorities lie for me? So yeah, I love that.

So we're at the point, it sounds like, we've got this big list of options, and we're starting to eliminate things along the way. Kind of like the eyeglasses example that you gave. Yep. And how many options? Do you store a ruling thing or eliminating out? Or how many options you can try to get to, in order to begin this process of actually going deeper? To find out what it's really like in the field?

There's not very fun answer is it depends on each person. However, let me give you a more more fun answer that that may be more helpful in our context today and say that initially, what we do after we've made all these decisions, we put them into a tool that we call an ideal career profile, like literally a profile of what your ideal career is, that isn't necessarily attached to a specific job title or isn't necessarily attached to a specific industry. The reason that we do that is because once we free it up from those other things that we think must go along with it, it opens us up to additional possibilities that maybe we haven't considered before. And then we can see that, Oh, yes, actually, it's way more important for me to have that type of flexibility that I mentioned earlier than it is for me to specifically be working in sales. And if I know that, then maybe I should consider some of these other options that are available out here. So then, the reason I said it depends earlier on, you know, we might say, Okay, let's go after three, three or five different situations that we suspect line up with this ideal career profile. Sometimes we recognize that those might be specific types of work, like, I want to be in HR, or like, I want to be in innovation, or like, you know, I want to be whatever it is insert your insert your type of occupation, or title or section here. But more often than that, we realize that what's far more important than the specific type of work is those environmental pieces, or those cultural pieces, or those things that might be dictated on a company by company basis, or organization by organization basis, instead of simply an occupation. And we also know that like, what is, you know, in a HR generalist role in one company is drastically different, it might not even look even remotely close to the same and another organization. So there's that factor too. And that's the other reason why we look at

it, and then just said something that I think folks need to hear. And that is environments tend to win. You know, as much as we like to think that, you know, we can force our way and make it happen. I know for myself, I went from one search firm to another, and as usual, was sold a bill of goods. And, you know, the environment was one that although they talked about wanting to hire people and support them with excelling, the reality was very different. And it made no sense to me and I still Excel better but not as easily as I might have otherwise, because I kept finding the systems there. And what I'm hearing Scott, you're talking about is the notion that it's more important that that identify the attributes than the specific job necessarily? What are the attributes of that role? Because four or five or 10, or 12 positions, might have those attributes, weighted maybe a little bit differently from one to another. So that this way, use it as a career changer have a choice? Yeah, you have options and you're not locked into Oh, I'm going to be a quant? I want to be mathematically oriented. And I don't like talking to communicating with other people. I should be a quant?

Yeah, that's it's such an important point in a way that I think a lot of people don't realize, too. But everything you say, totally agree with. For even an additional reason, one of the things that we've seen happen over and over again, is that the role that not the role, necessarily, what comes out on someone's ideal career profile that we might work with, isn't necessarily a standard role, it doesn't necessarily fit into the clear lines. And people are like, Well, what do you do with that? Well, many times, that means that you might have to go have a role created for you, or customize something during the job offer process. And we've been able to do that again, and again, and again. But what we've learned is that if you don't know what you want, it makes it impossible to ask for what you want. And when you do ask for what you want. And you put yourself in the right time and place and with the right people to be able to ask for what you want, you have a heck of a lot more likelihood of being able to get what you want.

If you don't know what you want, they are more than happy to tell you what you should.

Yes, yes, that's right on. I love that.

Because that's the way the systems work. Yeah, we want to hire a square peg because we have a square hole to fill. And as such, you know, if you're not going to tell us you want it to be a little curved on the edges. We're just going to stick in a square hole. It's really that simple. So we've been talking so far about a process that gets people narrowed down to the attributes of the role. And then from there to Am I correct in assuming they start talking to people who are doing that kind of work to see whether their assumptions about these attributes in certain roles are true?

Yeah. So what we what we do from there is, once we have that profile of the most important elements of their ideal career, which sometimes that is role specific, sometimes that is environmental specific, sometimes that is other things that we haven't even delved into yet, like, Who are the people that I really want to be surrounded by? And where do those people actually hang out? What types of organizations are they in, which may be more important than actually the work itself, not always, we see about a roughly between 60 and 70% of people, the non work specific attributes are actually far more important to them, not that the work itself that they're doing is unimportant. That's not what I'm saying. But the other pieces are more important to them than than the exact role and the exact work itself, where we say about 30 to 40% of the other side, where the work is actually the more important

thing. I'm curious in terms of the people because it's the first time I've really heard, it's rare that someone's ever said to me, now I want to really work with a team of dumbbells. The dumber the better. I want to stand out from all the automobiles, what sort of attributes the people look for in other people that makes that the priority?

Well, this is this is something that on the outset, everybody, I find that everybody's answers start out to be very similar. And once we get into the specifics, and we get to the deeper of why do they want to work with this particular type of person or set of people or type of people in one way or another, then it starts to get more specific and then those other attributes come out. So here's an example. Eric suspected that he wanted to be working in the solar industry with like, really highly intelligent engineers and people that we're working on like really fun projects and, and just are very, very innovative. And, you know, he was he was living in Las Vegas. And in his particular case, we said, okay, Eric, totally understand. We've built out your ideal career profile, we suspect we know what you want to need. And then after we started experimenting, which I we're going to delve into here and another episode I if I understand correctly, but then after we started experimenting with this and going and testing this out in the real world, we recognized that really what Eric actually wanted is he wanted to be a part of a team that really felt and functioned like a he called it a family style environment. Not family owned, but family style environment where in his mind that was close knit everybody kind of had each Back in one way or another, and that was far, far, far more important to him than having all of the smart people that were working on innovative things like cutting edge technology every step of the day. And and we realized only by really getting into the nitty gritty, what was what was the priority, therefore, does that help give a little color

it does. And, you know, I started to think that myself, I never heard anyone say to me, I want to work with a bunch of renegades loose cannons, it's kind of like the organization that talks about, we want to, we want to have people who are, can work very well as part of a team. And, you know, every time I hear about a team player, I translate it into my head is someone who want to hire a bunch of people who don't have an original thought, will just be told what to do, and expect them to go out and do it. And that's not what I'm taking away from you. I'm hearing you talk about a legitimate attribute to a group of people, and what it would be like working with them. And this case, I kind of interpreted as a collaborative environment where people genuinely care for one another. Yeah,

in that particular case, and he had a really specific once we really evaluate, he had a really specific set of definitions around what that meant to him. That was drastically different than my definition or the next person's.

So what Haven't I asked you so far, that I really should in order to suss out I love that phrase, suss out, identifying a career, how someone might find a career that fits them.

You know, I I appreciate that question. as a as a podcast host and interviewer I very much appreciate that question on many different levels. But I really think that the thing that I wish I would have known, and the thing that many people don't ask, but I think that they should know, is when you're embarking on trying to identify what really does create a not just ideal career, but since your career impacts your life in so many different ways, really, you're talking about your ideal life. And as it relates to your career. When you're going about that, it is always more difficult. I've yet to find somebody that we've worked with, or that has gone through any type of version of this on their own. Because like, Oh, yeah, that's, that's way easier than I thought ways it like, took care of that in a weekend boom, done over with no, it is more difficult than what people think. But also, it's an ongoing evolution. And the perception that I think a lot of people have in their mind is, look, I'm going to go, I'm going to lock myself in the closet, I'm going to like figure out or I'm going to like take some time off or something like that, or take a little bit of a vacation, and I'm going to go away, and I'm going to figure this out, and then I'm going to come back and life is going to be good. And I'm gonna have all the answers. And that's not how it happens, it becomes an evolution, as you develop your ideal career profile, or as you develop that idea of what it is that you really want, it's going to change what I wanted before I had children. And what I want now are very different. And that's okay. And there's nothing wrong with that. And the sooner that you can learn the skills behind identifying what you want, and turning that into a reality. And that's going to serve you well, not just for this next change, but also for the entire rest of your life because it is an ongoing, continual evolution.

And the one thing I'll conclude before bringing it back to you, Scott, is folks, you can do this by yourself. But it's a lot easier to do with support. Because I know in American culture, the desire to figure it out by yourself, and to tough it out, is so ingrained in the culture. And you can do it more easily. Why do you have to be battling Oh, I've got so many distractions. Somehow rather, my coaching clients always tell me when they see my name on the calendar, in the next two days, they start pulling things together for the mayor. And the same can be true of you too. Rather than trying to find it. Rather than trying to force yourself to do something, make it easier. And unfortunately, your friends, your colleagues, your boss, your wife, husband or partner, as well meaning as they are, aren't as skilled as someone like Scott or I might be. So I'll just simply say get some help. Don't try and figure this all out on. So thank you for allowing me to do that. Scott, how can people find out more about you? You know, the

easiest way is to go to happen to your career.com or you know if you want to get a head start on this if you're in the position where you're like this is hitting you right at the right time. And you're like, Hi, yeah, I need to I need to figure out what I really want so that I can use all the good stuff that Jeff has put out there about how to go through the job search and make that much more effective, then one thing you can do is we actually have an eight day mini course that gets you started in identifying some of the most important pieces to think about and decide for yourself. And you can do that, where you'll get just an email each day that guides you through a specific exercise, it's at figure it out.co Let's figure it out.co. And that eight day mini course will give you one exercise each day, Jeff, I think you had told me that you had you'd actually check this out.

I was curious about Yeah, yeah. Before, I want to make sure that there's nothing weird about someone I bring onto the show. I took it a while ago. And it was folks, it's fabulous. It's it's good basic stuff. And you're going to need more. You're gonna need more so a good launch point for you. So I'll have a link to that in the show notes. Scott. Thank you. And folks, we'll be back soon with part two of this, where we start looking on looking at designing career experiments so that you don't wind up just leaping from a fire frying pan into a barbecue pit. I'm Jeff Alton, the big game hunter. If you're interested in connecting with me, find me on LinkedIn at LinkedIn comm forward slash i n forward slash the big game hunter mentioned that you saw the video mentioned that she listened to the podcast. I like knowing that I'm helping some folks. Once we're connected, you can message me, we'll set up a time for a free discovery call. Hope you have a great day. Take care


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2200 episodes. He is a former member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. JobSearchTV.com was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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