Changing Careers. Career Change. Whichever way you refer to it, people are often paralyzed, stuck where they are. Dr. Garrett Hope is someone who went through a significant career change and speaks from personal experience about moving FORWARD. This is really the best career change advice to help you get unstuck. Garrett offers a discount to attending his online conference. Go to thepivotadventure.com and enter the code altman25. This is NOT an affiliate link

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Jeff
My guest today is Dr. Garrett Hope, who's a composer and former university professor. He uses his music to create emotional experiences, whether writing for students or media. Folks coming in there, this is going to make sense in a moment.

When not composing, he speaks on the business of music and how to move forward through challenging times. Garrett, welcome, I appreciate you making time today.

Garrett
Thank you for letting me on the show, Jeff. It's really my pleasure to be here.

Jeff
Thank you. And I appreciate you making time. And what are we talking about today? What are you doing? How does this work together? Oh yeah, somewhere along the line you changed your career. What portion of the point of changing careers? What was going on or not going on?

Garrett
Oh man, this is a story. And I think this is true for a lot of people is as you start moving it forward in life and you have a plan and life happens. Right? And what happened to me is I never, well let's stay way back. I never wanted to be a teacher. My mother was a teacher. I wanted to be a musician. I wanted to write music and perform music, and then when I was in graduate school, I got these crazy opportunities to teach. They bypass the doctoral students while I was a master student to give me a teaching assistantship. And at the same time, I got hired at a local community college in Colorado to begin teaching, and all of a sudden I realized I really liked this teaching gig. Not only does it naturally resonate with who I am as an individual, as a mentor and communicator, but I love helping students come along and grow.

Long story short, I continue on in this. I go and get a doctorate in music so I can become a professor and then things change. I ended up leaving academia and then kind of re-entering it a little bit recently as a lecturer part-time. But what happens is, as I was discovering more of who I am, and what I do and building my career, I made these pivots. And that's why the story sometimes doesn't make sense, but it does when you begin to realize that all I did is I took my skill set, and my passion and my interest in helping people and just shifted it a few degrees to the right or to the left. And so that's why it sounds kind of crazy, but yeah, I'm a former university professor. I am a composer by training. I still write music all the time, mainly for educational ensembles, but I've taken that passion for teaching and mentoring and helping other people moving forward. And I've become a coach and lately, I'm helping people with the career side because, as you know, and as you've been talking about on your podcast, the industry careers all across the country is in turmoil.

Jeff
Turmoil, to say the least, after all, as we're recording this, millions of people has lost their jobs. Some have been able to get back, but obviously not enough. The world is changing, where we changings, and how we work is changing, and we have to think creatively because some jobs are just gone.

Garrett
They are! I saw a report, was at the University of Chicago, I think, and published this: something up to 42% of the jobs that went away during the shutdowns are not coming back. So if you lost your job and you're in one of those industries, that are deeply affected, you have to pivot because you don't have a choice.

Jeff
And thus, we're going to be speaking about some of the roadblocks to change, some of the ways to move forward; things along those lines folks, because we want to help you take steps to move ahead.

So what sort of things get in the way, what sort of action should people say? And it's funny in that intro that I read, the word forward is capitalized because that's really the model that we're going to be working with right?

Garrett
That's Right. So I've created this framework called moving forward. And the forward is an acronym and it stands for: fear, opportunities, re-imagining and I'll elaborate that in a second, web, action results and then dreaming. But to answer your question before we get into the forward a little bit, I think some of the things that really get in our way from pivoting is the fallacy of the sunk cost, which is the idea that, Oh, I've invested all this time, all this energy to get to where I am. And this happens with people who have graduate degrees, specialized training, time invested, maybe you're 15, 20 years into a career; and now that industry is just done and you feel like you've wasted your money and you cannot pivot, that's the fallacy of sunk costs

Jeff
Interrupt for a second real quick story. And I, believe I told this somewhere else, but I remember years ago, there was someone else who was also doing recruiting as I used to do. And technology was changing from, and folks, if you're a whole time technologists, you'll recognize this language: COBOL to something else.

And this friend of mine from the other search firm called up and said, I got all these great COBOL programmers. I don't know what the deal with them. I said, burn the resume because you're not going to be able to do anything with them. It's done!

And folks for a lot of you, what you’re doing, aren’t going to be needed anymore. If it is, it's going to be needed in far fewer numbers, is that the gamble you want to take.

Garrett
Right! But I don't want people to like, wallow in that fear and because that's our first part of forward, right? Is fear is not about becoming less fearful, it's about becoming braver. And when we're in these places that are also emotionally Laden, being unemployed, having no pay check to look forward to in the future, we let the fear become a real obstacle. And that fear really is not going to go away, but what we can do is learn to deal with it. And I know you talk about this on your show and your listeners have heard about it. It's about putting one foot in front of the other and taking the next step. And so that's part of what I'm doing is helping people become braver. And then I think if we reframe what's happening, we can have opportunities.

Opportunities are all around us if you start looking for them. Even in the midst of this pandemic, and the fear sometimes stops us from seeing these, but whenever your passions and interest and skillset and where that intersects with people who have a need, that's an opportunity.

And if we start by thinking of others before we think of ourselves and how we can serve others, we begin to find opportunities everywhere. So even for those COBOL programmers, they already know so much, right? They know at least one programming language. I guarantee you, they know more than that. They're computer experts. They are probably networked within an industry, but where are the needs and how can they serve them, even if that means acquiring a new skill. Does that make sense? Like there are really opportunities, it’s an abundance, but we just sometimes can't see them.

Jeff
Yes. And I think of all the chefs that have been affected around the country and you know, let's assume they're not a celebrity chef in a big restaurant, in a major city where you're going to become a private chef to a celebrity. There are lots of opportunities in the food industry. Maybe its commercial food, maybe it's in one of the services, the meal kit services. We're not present preparing meals each night for a full house or a 25% full restaurant as is mandated right now in a lot of places. But what you are doing is remaining in the game, leveraging your skills in a different way. Maybe you start something on your own and market it in our area. The things to think creatively about, then most people in their fear get stuck with.

Garrett
Stuck, right? I know where we live. I'm in Lincoln, Nebraska. A lot of these restaurants, not a lot, but a few really did think creatively. And some of them began to; because the state changed the rules here to make help restaurants stay alive, but they ended up becoming suppliers. So where the grocery stores had empty shelves, you could now buy raw ingredients from the restaurants, or those let's say who made buns and rolls for their restaurant, now you can go to them and they'll act like a bakery. So drive up very little interaction, right? But now you have freshly baked bread from the steakhouse that made buns. So it's all about thinking creatively and finding those opportunities. 09:04 [Cross talking]. Oh, go ahead.

Jeff
No, no, you.

Garrett
And that leads me to the R, which is re-imagining; and I'm talking about the past. And re-imagining your skillset and not getting stuck in that fallacy of the sunk cost.

And Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert cartoon has this fascinating idea called the talent stack. And that's where you take individual skills, and we all are so unique. What makes you stand out from the rest?

And as a former university professor, this is one of my biggest beefs with schooling is that we try to make everybody fit into the same box. And for the listeners out there, you don't, you're not a box. You are somebody unique with a special skillset and experiences that you can use, if you frame it correctly, to serve a need in a way that nobody else can. It's the knowledge, you know, the skills you have and the experience that you have under your belt.

Jeff
And I'll add-in, and who you are as a person and letting it out. Because so often with the Universities, with the school system and in general, you know, the story is that they were training people for the factory. So, you know, you're sitting at your desk, you shut up, you do what you're told, regurgitate a bunch of things, when we tell you to do it or else. And or else is: you're not going to get to the next level of the University, the next level of school. once you're in the university, you're not going to get a good job. You carry that message forward into the workplace where you do what you're told; and then one day they bring into an office and let you go, "You go, what did I do wrong"?

Garrett
You did nothing wrong.

Jeff
I did what I was told to do.

Garrett
Yep!

Jeff
Why isn't this working?

Garrett
Yeah. Seth Godin, are you familiar with Seth Godin?

Jeff
Of course!

Garrett
Right? He has this great statement because he's super critical of higher education and education in general. And he says that we're teaching kids, there's a right and wrong answer to problems. And the better thing we should be teaching these people is to find the questions and then the answers to the questions. And if you seek the answer or you seek the question, there's not really a wrong, right? It's not like a test answer where you either were correct or incorrect. Instead, we opened up the world to an abundance of opportunities and that's really what education should do.

Jeff
And I always think, you know, Seth also says a lot of what education teachers once are in the workplace, you can Google it. It's how you apply knowledge and creative ways that get extraordinary results, not where they can regurgitate the facts. That's irrelevant anymore because Google's there.

Garrett
Right!

Jeff
So what could we do differently? How can you take that experience that you have and apply it in different ways; and stand out from the millions of other people who in theory do what you do, but aren't you?

Garrett
Yeah. So a part of what I did at the university, Jeff, is I taught the history of rock and roll. And I got to tell you that was fun because I basically got paid to play music, videos, and talk about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But when we're in the seventies and we're talking about our rock, I make a point of watching the wall by pink Floyd. And you, everyone knows the chorus, right? We don't need any education; we don't need any force to control. And if you watch that video, you have all these students who are individuals walking into the factory, and when they come out, they're faceless, they've lost their identity. And even pink Floyd in the seventies was pointing this out about the education, and it's still true today.

So remove that mask, like Jeff was saying, find your unique personality, who you are, your skills, your knowledge, and experience, that's how you can move forward. And you intersect that with the people who have needs and problems and how you can solve them and that what opportunities about

Jeff
So far, we've talked about fear, right? Opportunities. You mentioned some costs, which I believe you referred to as re-imagining your skillsets.

Garrett
Yes, sir.

Jeff
Oh, you were raised to be polite. Please call me Jeff. No need to call me, sir. So we've got the beginning of forward, F-O-R. The next letter is W

Garrett
W and this is something that I know you speak and write about abundantly, and that is what I call the web meaning networking. It's who, you know, is more important than what you know, or more specifically, maybe Jeff, you have some deep thoughts on this, but it's who knows what you know, that really matters. And I think what happens when you go to an education, like when you're these kids who go to these Ivy League schools, they're not rarely paying for the education at Harvard, they're paying for the network that opens new opportunities. And we all have networks of our own and we can grow them, and there are things we can do to nurture them and make them healthier. But I think one of the mistakes, a lot of people make when they're thinking about their network is to ask things of their network, instead of providing things to your network. It's about being of service to others.

If you know, one person in your network, who's working on a project or has a problem of their own, and you know, somebody else on the other side of your network who can help solve that problem, or they can work together, it's about connecting these people. And the more you can act as the connector and the center of your web, again, more opportunities present them.

Jeff
So I think, you use the most important word so far, and it's one that people don't think in terms of is becoming a connector. People just think of gimme, gimme, gimme. I need, I need, I need as opposed to give more, get more.

Garrett
Right!

Jeff
And how does someone shift or what can someone do to shift their mindset from gimme, gimme to helping others?

Garrett
Well, a really simple thing is to begin reaching out to the people who are in your closest sphere of your network and just checking in, seeing what they're going through; and again, trying to find solutions to their problems. And I'm not saying you're going to find the solution, but you might know somebody else who can help with that. For instance, if you knew someone who was working on a redesign for their business website, but they're not a programmer. They're not a designer, but you have a web designer and another part of your network, put the two people together.

I'm doing this right now for myself. With one of my, the listeners of my podcast was looking for a graphic designer. "Hey, I've got a graphic designer friend". And it's not about me, I'm not gaining from this, at least not directly. And what happens is we begin to just provide resources. And every once in a while you reach out and you find an article and you say, "Hey, I think this is right up someone's interest or right up their alley". And just send it out, say," I'm thinking about you". You might like this and that's it. You just kind of touch base and you try to enrich other people's lives. It sounds like a lot of work, but it's really simple, and the dividends are huge.

Jeff
And sometimes it can be as simple as connecting people with information.

Garrett
Yes, yeah.

Jeff
I remember there was a woman I knew many years ago who was like the first woman commodities broker, at a major wall street firm.

Garrett
Really!

Jeff
And it was a heck of a position to be in because she was the one who was made to look like the secretary when people came in. So she was always front and center in every bullpen environment, so if the visitor was coming in, they think she was the secretary. But what she tried to do was as part of her business development, this is pre-internet days folks. She would send articles to people that she was prospecting that she thought might be of interest to. And slowly but surely, she was able to get meetings with some very wealthy investors and government agencies, because she was doing commodities trading and thought that there would be information there that would be helpful. Sometimes that's all it takes is sharing without expectation on return.

Garrett
Right! We often call that providing value. Right ?

Jeff
That's a great term, provide value. Oh, okay. So when people are thinking of their network, they tend to think in terms of more, I need more people, as opposed to servicing who they have.

Garrett
Who they have! Yeah, Judy Robinett wrote this book about how to be a power connector. And she has this idea that we have the five closest people on our network. And these are the people we interact with daily and they're probably going to be our nuclear family, best friends; and then you, you move out from that to the most critical 50, really. And these are the people you interact with weekly, maybe even biweekly; they're your greatest sphere within your vocation. And then there's another hundred, a little bit outside are some more slightly removed that, you know, intimately, but you don't interact with every day.

And we top out as humans around 150 people in a network, beyond that, we can't really know that many more people, and there's a whole lot of research that backs this up. So people can move in and out of your network, but it's not about providing value to 5,000 people. It's about being that critical information provider or that connector for that small group of people.

Jeff
Excellent! So we've got F-O-R-W, we are on to A.

Garrett
It's about taking steps. We can plan, we can think, we can reimagine our skillset and our histories, but if we're not actually putting one forward in front of the other, then nothing's going to happen. And I want to encourage people to take action.

As a good friend told me what a coach does is they deepen understanding and learning and they help further action. And I want to help people further action. And sometimes we don't really know what's going to happen or where we're going, but once you start moving, things become clearer. And it's a whole lot easier to pivot when you're in action.

Jeff
I agree.

Garrett
20:04 [Inaudible] of the car and the steering wheel completely works right here.

Jeff
So often people get stuck, you know, we're talking about pivoting, and changing careers; and changing things in your life. And while they're thinking, you know, "I don't like this anymore" , They become inert; because they don't know what to do next. And to me, one of the best things that you can do to move forward is move forward. Do something, even if it wants to do it is what doctors do when they're trying to diagnose an illness, which is rule things out.

Garrett
Yeah.

Jeff
Yeah. That's moving forward because you are eliminating possibilities that are leaving you paralyze about what to do. You're eliminating choices. Unless you are able to take action because if you've got 20 things that you're deciding between, let's get it down to a manageable number,

Garrett
Right! And one way is to kind of start where we just lend and had the conversation is reach out to people, give information, that's actually action, it’s moving things forward one small step at a time. And the R in forward here is results. And this gets into mindset training. The results we get in our life are a result of the actions we take, which in turn are a result of what we're thinking about the circumstances we find ourselves in; all that to say is if you want different results, you have to start at the beginning with your thoughts.

The circumstances we can't change; like right now, there's a pandemic. Certain States are shut down. Jobs have been lost. Your industry might be decimated. But if your thought is, Woe is me, complete panic, that's going to lead you probably to inaction. And what are the results you're going to get from that, Jeff?

Jeff
Nada!

Garrett
Nada, right? So instead if you begin to think about things as, wow, okay. I have a certain skillset, experience, personality that allows me to serve these people, there are some opportunities. And now you can start taking action towards those opportunities, and you're going to get a different set of results; and that's the key

Jeff
People spend a lot of time reflecting upon the past. "Oh, I made a terrible mistake, oh, I should have done this . Oh, I could have done a whole bunch of stuff", that's self-deprecating. The thing to rejigger with that is, okay what do you learn from that? What learn from that? What wouldn't you do in the future if you were presented with that circumstance? Right! Now that you know that let's move ahead. What can you do now? Let's move forward.

Garrett
This works in the midst of complete evil and tragedy. Viktor Frankl, who was himself, a Holocaust survivor. He wrote this amazing book called man's search for meaning and what he discovered while he himself was a victim of the concentration camps, is that some people got trapped in the past, trapped in the fear, and they literally died from withering away. And even though he was battling that complete evil and tragedy, there's a way forward. And it's not about pretending the evil doesn't exist, or that the pandemic isn't here, or that people haven't lost their job. It's not about faking anything. It's about thinking the thoughts that are going to be more fruitful and the opportunities

Jeff
So true! It was a great book. And folks, if you haven't read it, short book, very, very powerful book.

Garrett
Very powerful, super powerful. And I think Victor Frankl would agree with my D here, the end of the word though, as we both know, it really should be at the beginning, but then the word doesn't spell correctly, and that's the idea of dreaming big. And you don't want to play small when you're pivoting. Don't just think, "Oh, I'm going to make a lateral move in my career". Why think so small, dream big and the bigger your dream, the more action is going to inspire you to take. And that dream should light a fire under you. And if it doesn't terrify you just a little bit, your dream is not big enough. You have a unique combination of things to serve the world and the world needs you. Don't dream small, dream big.

Jeff
There's a wonderful book. I read while I was in coach training. It's a book called the spark, the flame and the torch by Lance Secretan. The metaphor of spark, flaming and torch is what you try to do is find the spark within you or combust the spark within you, and give it oxygen, give it air so it can burst into a flame.

Garrett
Yeah!

Jeff
And once the flame is lit, you want to carry a torch into the world and have people following you. What can you do folks along those lines? Because you've got the spark within you. If you're watching a show about career change, there's something here that really resonates for you. Write it down, start thinking about it and who you can ask to do research. What you can read, what you could watch to do research, to find out what it's really like, not what you think it's like. So that way, once you have that knowledge, you can start making decisions and taking action to move forward in that direction; because right now you have a lot of ideas. Like there are people like coach who've had wonderful ideas about careers until they talk to people, and they said, "Oh, that doesn't sound so good.
Like how many lawyers have left the law within a year of graduation? Because they discovered the reality of what it's like to be at first in a second year Lawyer

Garrett
Happens in education too when we pump teachers out and we're still hiring teachers like crazy because the burnout rate is really high.

Jeff
Torture for Fox, so fear, opportunity, results, the web, meaning your network, A for taking action, getting results. I want to encourage you folks get quantifiable results here and could be small things, but just keep moving forward and in your action, they'll get results and keep dreaming.

Garrett
Dreaming! It's all right.

Jeff
Don't allow yourself to get stuck because the results are not immediate.

Garrett
Right! That is another thing that people, a lot of my coaching clients struggle with this too, because we lay out a framework and we lay out a system, but it didn't happen tomorrow, and so they want to throw in the towel. And sometimes it can take a while to complete the pivot, but stay with it.

Jeff
So true. What haven't I asked you about so far that I should that would help my audience today?

Garrett
Sure! Well, thanks for asking. My colleagues and I are putting together a conference at the end of September. This is September 26th and 27th. It's a virtual conference to help people make their pivot. If you're stuck in your career, or if you don't know how to move forward yourself, this is the conference for you. You can find out more at the pivotadventure.com, all one word.

And Jeff, just for your listeners, I've created a coupon so you can get 25% off the regular ticket admission right now. And that coupon code, if you're ready is Altman 25, all lower case, so ALTMAN25 that'll give you 25% off the regular ticket price.

Jeff
Super, thanks for making time today. I appreciate it.

Garrett
Thank you. This has been a real joy for me. You're a great person to speak with and a wonderful interviewer.

Jeff
Thank you. And folks, we'll be back soon with someone else and more. I'm Jeffa Altman, the big game Hunter. And if you're interested in my coaching, you, you can schedule a time for a free discovery call. They're scheduled time for coaching at my website, which is the big game Hunter dot U S.

If you just have a question for me, you can message me using a link in the show notes, and we can schedule a, an opportunity for you to ask the question for which I'll respond with a video or a 15, 20 minute conversation directly with me. Just because he had a question, it's a discounted price.

Lastly, subscribe to my channel on YouTube. Click the small icon, a lower right are the picture of me in the upper left and get notified when I release something new. I hope you have a great day. And most importantly, I want to encourage you be great. Take care.

ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER

JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter
JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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