Leading Your Career with Alison Cardy

 

Save

Have you ever felt like you were just drifting in your career without any real sense of direction, purpose, or intention? Perhaps you’ve felt stuck working at a job you’re simply not happy doing. According to a recent study conducted by the University of Phoenix School of Business, 73% of professionals in their 30s are wanting to change their career paths. Our guest today, Alison Cardy, is the founder and CEO of Cardy Career Coaching and the author of Career Grease: How to Get Unstuck and Pivot Your Career.

Alison has worked with hundreds of individuals and professionals to find innovative and functional career solutions that help balance the “see-saw” scale of the workforce. Today, we’ll talk about some of the bad reasons people choose a career path and how to avoid them, the various levels of figuring out where you want your career to go, the steps to take to successfully change your career, and how Alison helps her clients through the “drifting phase” to find a career path that works for them.

 

“We all want to be happy, healthy, and wealthy.” – Alison Cardy

 

This Week on The Aspiring New Leader Podcast:

  • We discuss the common warning signs of a person stuck in their career.
  • Alison shares why she believes our careers are an “evolution based on the experiences we have.”
  • Dan and Jacob share how they chose their career paths and how it worked out for them.
  • Alison explains how she helps clients overcome the “drifting phase” and move toward a more intentional and purposeful career path.
  • Alison explains the four levels of figuring out your career.
  • She explains the differences between your “social self” and your “essential self” and how she uses this concept to help her clients.
  • We discuss feeling stuck in your career due to financial burdens like student loans or personal commitments like family.

 

8 Steps to Changing Your Career:

  1. Start with your “why”
  2. Get clear on the “what”
  3. Figure out what it will take
  4. Make an action plan
  5. Track your efforts
  6. Shift your brand
  7. Utilize your connections
  8. Make new connections with the right people

 

Alison’s Tips for Aspiring New Leaders:

  • Think about what is most important to you right now.
  • What “hunches” do you have about yourself?
  • Pick a career and get started.

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

 

Key Takeaways:

  • You are the boss of your career. Take ownership of it.
  • Take time to consider the direction of your career. Ask for help if you need to, but try to put more of “you” into it.

 

Reach Out to Alison Cardy:

 

Subscribe & Review The Aspiring New Leader Podcast!

 

Thank you for joining us on this week’s episode of The Aspiring New Leader Podcast! We’re happy you joined us and hope the information, interviews, tools, and tips we share have helped you learn new, creative ways to improve your leadership skills.

 

If you found the content in this episode inspirational or helpful, please help us reach even more aspiring new leaders by subscribing to the show on iTunes or Stitcher, leaving your honest feedback, and sharing it with your friends. Be sure to check out our website at NewToLeadership.com to download your free PDF on ways to help you improve your sleep habits as well as other helpful guides to help you lead a better life, business, and career.  Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn!

 

Read Podcast Transcript

012 – Leading Your Career with Alison Cardy

 

DAN:

Welcome to The Aspiring New Leader podcast, the podcast focused solely on leadership, education and development for those of you new to leadership or those of you considering a leadership career. I am your host, Dan Perryman, and you have joined us for Episode 12. Today we are interviewing Alison Cardy. Alison is Founder and CEO of Cardy Career Coaching. She is author of Career Grease: How to Get Unstuck and Pivot Your Career. She’s an expert career coach who has guided hundreds of people to innovative and functional career solutions. She is a practical advocate for achieving your heart’s desires, improving your work week and making a difference all while keeping an eye on your financial success. Her superpower is creating clear structures to guide clients through the challenging process of career change and to the results they crave. She’s a former swimmer, soccer player and ultimate Frisbee player, and she loves all things athletic. Her two current hobbies are CrossFit and yoga. So we’re going to try to do something different. We interviewed Alison about a week ago. Jacob, welcome.

JACOB:

Thank you.

 

DAN:

So we’re going to go in and out of the interview with a little bit of commentary. Please let us know if you like this, and you can leave feedback at dan@thelowcarbleader.com. On to Alison’s interview.

 

Okay, Alison, do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself?

 

ALISON:

Definitely. So my formal bio is that I am a career coach. I lead a team of coaches, and we help people who are kind of at that point in their life where they are questioning if not this, then what? And they are trying to figure out at this crossroads moment what to do next with their career. So that’s my formal bio. But I thought I would share kind of behind the curtains, an informal piece of my bio is that if you think about on a scale of 0 to 100 in terms of how engaged somebody is with their career, zero being not at all and 100 being somebody who’s really proactive and really engaged, I started my career at like a drop dead zero in terms of how much thought I was putting into it, the goals, the networking were just not there. I was really drifting along in my career, and I wanted to share that because I think that some of your listeners might be at a lower kind of point in terms of leading their career and really making conscious choices about it. And wherever you are, it’s okay. You can definitely get better as you go along. Now I’m at a much higher point, but I didn’t start there.

 

 

JACOB:

Sure, so what are common warning signs that you see from someone that’s stuck in their career?

 

ALISON:

A lot of times people are thinking about their career direction a lot. So it’s kind of this perpetual weight in their mind. They’re kind of questioning what should I be doing differently? They might be answering personality assessments or quizzes, kind of doing those reflection questions but not really getting anywhere. They might be looking at jobs a lot and just kind of scrolling and scrolling but never really applying or latching onto something. And those are all a lot of symptoms that somebody is lacking clarity about what it is that they want to be doing next with their career. So they’re just kind of spinning in these other activities that feel productive but actually aren’t getting them anywhere.

 

DAN:

Do you think that a lot of people choose their careers just based on a feeling?

 

ALISON:

I think it really depends on the individual. One kind of common career myth that I see is oftentimes people think that there’s going to be like a flash of insight where you get clarity into your career direction. Like you might have a friend who seemed to always know what they wanted to do when they were a young kid, and then they pursued it and it worked out great. But what really happens with careers is we learn our way through them. So in all likelihood that friend who seemed to have it all figured out at a really young age probably was put in an environment that moved them closer to something that they really enjoyed or that caught their interest, and it was that movement and that engagement that kind of started to show them a path. And then they moved toward it and moved toward it, and they actually got onto something that fit really well for them.

 

So I think that’s a big myth to think that it’s just going to pop into your head if you think about it long enough. Certainly basing your career on who you are, the things that you enjoy, doing some introspection can be a good starting point. But in terms of actually figuring it out, our careers are really an evolution. Every experience that we have teaches us something. If you’re paying attention, you can move things in kind of a better direction for yourself and avoid the things that weren’t so great. And over time hopefully you kind of get onto a path that works for you.

 

Why People Choose Their Careers

 

DAN:

So we’re going to talk about why people choose their careers. So I came across an article called “Seven Common but Bad Reasons to Choose a Career”, and it’s by lifehack.org. So number one, these are the wrong reasons to choose your career, exclusively. I think there are supposed to be other personal reasons why you choose your career, but here is the list. Choosing your career for status and money. How many people have chosen a career of medicine or law because they wanted to make money and then they hate their jobs? Perks and validation. So becoming a CEO, you know, you might get treated differently than an entry-level person, but that may be a mistake if that’s the only reason you want it is because of validation. But you’re so good at it, choosing something that you’re really good at for your lifelong career, following what your friends think, and number five, making your parents happy. I think a lot of people follow the career advice of their parents.

 

JACOB:

Or follow in the footsteps of their parents.

 

DAN:

Yeah, because we have a lot of nurses at the hospital who have nurses as moms, nurses as grandmas, and that’s not a great reason to choose your career.

 

JACOB:

You see that a lot with nurses, and you see it a lot with dentists, as well.

 

DAN:

Yeah, true, true. Job security. And because you’re interested in it. So I think these are reasons they’re arguing it may be a hobby, but you’ve got to think through what you’re going to do for your lifelong career.

 

JACOB:

Okay.

 

DAN:

All right, so Jacob, why did you choose your career?

 

JACOB:

I don’t know if I really chose my career, but it wasn’t on that list. My mother kind of helped choose my career, so that’s probably number eight is letting your parents pick what you’re going to do.

 

DAN:

So your mother said you are going to be an HR executive?

 

JACOB:

I don’t know if she sounds like that.

 

DAN:

Jacob, you’re going to be an HR executive.

 

JACOB:

No, still not there. We’ll have to work on that later. So when I started my undergrad I wasn’t really sure what to do. I kind of – when I started my undergrad I didn’t know what to do. I felt that I was good at science. My mom thought that that wasn’t my best class in school. Going back now she’s actually looked at my past report cards and found out I was pretty good at science, so validation that I was right there. But I chose business management because I really wasn’t sure what to get into, and then within my undergrad of business management you had to pick a track to go into, and there were three tracks. And I only remember two of them. And one was HR, human resources, and the other was entrepreneurship. And I didn’t know which track to go from. Those were the two I had narrowed it down, and my mom said Jacob, you’re good with people. Try human resources.

 

DAN:

And that’s how you chose your career.

 

JACOB:

Yeah, that’s how I chose my career. And it’s done well. I mean, I ended up with an internship in college and then got a job right out of college, which a lot of my friends didn’t, and have progressed through my career. So she made a really good choice for me. I’ve done well, and it’s something I’ve enjoyed and has propelled me further into healthcare and executive leadership. So it’s been good.

 

DAN:

So let’s see, did you choose it based on status and money?

 

JACOB:

No.

 

DAN:

Perks and validation?

 

JACOB:

There are no perks.

 

DAN:

But you’re so good at it?

 

JACOB:

You know, I’m happy you said that and recorded. Please don’t edit that out. You just said I was good at my job.

 

DAN:

No, I was asking a question.

 

JACOB:

Oh.

 

DAN:

Following your friends?

JACOB:

No.

 

DAN:

Number five, making your parents happy?

 

JACOB:

That’s probably a little bit of it. I checked that box, a half check.

 

DAN:

Job security?

 

JACOB:

No.

 

DAN:

And because you are interested in it?

 

JACOB:

No.

 

DAN:

So who knows? All right, so I chose my career kind of last-minute. The story was I went through undergraduate, and I studied politics and economics, and I was going to go to law school, and I was – I don’t know why I chose law school, probably because –

 

JACOB:

Money.

 

DAN:

It seemed like a career where I could get a job. Looking back now there’s no way that law would have been the right career for me. It would have been a disaster.

 

JACOB:

I can’t even picture you as a lawyer.

 

DAN:

Yeah, if you listen to the previous podcast on strengths, every strength I have is the opposite of what a lawyer would actually do. So I was almost done with my undergraduate and studying for the LSAT for the law school entrance exam, and my brother who was a couple years older than me, he just completed his undergraduate degree in healthcare administration, and at that time called me or whatever. I don’t think texting was there. I don’t know, can’t remember. I doubt it. Asked me the question, have you ever thought about healthcare administration because at that time it was kind of this booming career. Job security was definitely there for healthcare administration. This was 20 years ago. It’s a little different now. So at the last minute I started looking into this and said all right; I’m not going to law school. And I actually started to apply to grad schools like almost past the deadline trying to get into graduate school. So I got into the University of Iowa’s program. So I went from what I thought was a law career into healthcare administration, and at the last minute he changed and went into law school. So now I’m in healthcare, and he’s in law.

 

JACOB:

Roles reversed.

 

DAN:

Yeah, and it’s like the perfect career for both of us. It matches our personalities. If we would have went in the opposite direction it would’ve been bad for both of us. So kind of an interesting story. So there are so many people in healthcare that say, you know, I chose this career when I was young. I always wanted to be a nurse or a doctor, and it’s kind of my lifelong passion. I didn’t really have that. I just was looking for a career. It turned out that I really love what I do, but that may just be by happenstance. I mean, it could be that I didn’t enjoy my career as much as I have.

 

JACOB:

So both of us landed in by happenstance, and both enjoy it, which is good.

 

DAN:

Yeah, okay. So that’s a little bit about choosing career. Now back to the interview.

 

Drifting in Your Career and Finding a Better Fit

 

ALISON: And something that you said that I want to piggyback on is the idea of drifting into a career. So it’s an interesting idea because oftentimes we drift into things that are familiar, that maybe a family member has gone down that route before, and you can be working really hard, applying yourself at school or at work and actually be drifting like just kind of following along without really thinking about where you’re going. So I think that’s a kind of interesting distinction. And if somebody feels like they are drifting and they’ve drifted themselves into a career path that’s not a great fit, then that’s really a good time to kind of poke your head up and think about a little bit more consciously well if not this, what would be a better fit for me?

 

JACOB:

How do you help your clients find that better fit? Because I know myself, I kind of drifted into my starting career of human resources, which then, since I was paying attention, got into hospital administration. This is something I enjoyed better. But then being in a world of healthcare where there are so many different options and seeing so many different jobs now that I was never exposed to, being like oh, that possibly could have been interesting. How do you manage all that with them?

ALISON:

Definitely. So there are kind of four levels of figuring out a career. You’ve probably heard of the first two. So the first one is just introspection. So I’m sure you guys are familiar with questions, like what are your strengths, what are you interested in, all of those kinds of things. If somebody has never considered that type of information before, it can be a really informative and good starting place to kind of start thinking those things through. So from that hopefully you can get some general ideas about what you’re looking for. And then the next step, kind of the next level, is career exploration. And I don’t know if you guys come across this, but I hear about it a lot in kind of the career realm where people talk about taking on a side hustle or trying out a project, kind of that agile mentality of experimentation. Start small, try something, see what happens from it. So that’s another way that people can explore and kind of test hypotheses without quitting their job tomorrow and throwing everything to the wayside.

 

So those are kind of the two most common. But then there are two other levels that can really help people in terms of clarifying their career, and that’s where my team and I come in. So sometimes people are trying to answer these questions and getting a bit stuck. They’re not coming up with answers, or their brain just gets foggy as they try to figure that out. Or they’re not taking action; they’re just kind of stalled out and stuck. And so at that point it’s a really good idea to involve somebody else in the process. You can take it in terms of one of two levels. One level is just to talk doing things through with somebody else. You want to talk it through with somebody who is nonjudgmental, who can be objective, who doesn’t have an agenda for you of this is what you should do, but who can really listen to your work experiences, to your history, to the things that you care about and help you to make connections and identify themes that you might not see on your own. Just by doing that it’s often like taking an out of focus telescope and putting it into focus. Everything was already there, but you just needed that help to kind of focus it. That’s one service that we provide our clients with.

 

The other level of service is for people who it’s harder than normal to figure out what they’re wanting, and the reason why that’s happening is because something is not working in their career and in all likelihood because something is not working. Like maybe they have a crazy schedule and they’re really low on energy. Maybe they have a micromanaging boss and they are just frustrated. Maybe they’re bored; they haven’t been challenged in years. So some other factor is going on that’s both driving a change and also making it harder than normal to make a change because that difficult factor is affecting the person’s self-assessment. So it’s not that they’re not capable and wonderful individuals, but they’re kind of coming into this process of trying to figure out what’s next with an inaccurate assessment of their own abilities. And so that’s really when you want to get some further support and coaching. There can be other factors as well. Like I’ve had clients who went full force for a career goal, got it and then it didn’t turn out to be what they thought it was going to be, and just dealing with like the emotional ramifications of that needs to happen before you can really get that clarity. So that’s kind of big picture of how you can go about it.

 

DAN:

How did you apply this to yourself? You now have your own business, and before that did you always want to be a career coach? Kind of take us through your journey.

Alison’s Career Journey

 

ALISON:

As I mentioned, when I first started my career I was not in a great place. I really wasn’t all that engaged. I had just kind of followed along a path that my amazing and very well-meaning parents had set forth for me. My mom had actually gone through a career change. She used to be a teacher, and then she switched into being and accountant, and that change was wonderful for her. So my parents, in a well-meaning way, said well, you know why don’t you just start in accounting? We’ll save you from having to go through a career change, save you from having to figure this out. Here’s the answer for you. And I followed along with that, but I didn’t really engage with it. I just kind of went through the motions.

 

In my case what a real turning point was for me was a couple years into working in accounting – I had been struggling for a long time about clearly this isn’t what I want to do, but what do I want to do? I stumbled into volunteering at a crisis and suicide hotline, so I did some of that exploratory like the level II action that I talked about, something in the real world that gave me a new experience, a new data point that I didn’t have before. When I did that I learned that I loved helping people. I also learned that I was really good at it, which was something that I had never known before. And that was really a big catalyst for me that then led me into coach training and into doing the work that I do because I really sympathize with how painful it is when your career isn’t fitting who you are because I went through that myself.

 

Signs You Need a Career Change

 

JACOB:

Now we’re going to talk about warning signs you are unhappy in your job. So I’ve got an article from Forbes that’s titled, “Seven Warning Signs Your Current Job Isn’t Right For You.” And the first one is there is no room to grow. So you have lack of development or upward mobility. Number two, you aren’t happy to show up in the morning. You take long breaks. You watch the clock during the day. You wake up in the morning and you don’t want to go. You’re thinking of every single way you can get out of the job. Number three, your job doesn’t align with your personal mission statement, something close to your heart. You can’t align with how your heart feels with the work you’re doing. Number four, you’re bored or you have strained work relationships. And that would be you go to work, but it still bores you, or there’s really not anyone at work that you like. Number five, you suffer from the grass is greener syndrome. I really like this one. It kind of made me laugh a little bit. And that is that you’re constantly looking for jobs online while you should be working. You have many distractions when your focus normally isn’t an issue for you during the day. Number six, the snooze button becomes a way of life. And I think that aligns up there with number two, you’re unhappy to show up in the morning. You’re dreading to wake up and go to work. You frequently call in sick to avoid work. And the last one, number seven, work feels like an itchy shirt.

 

DAN:

Like the episode of Big Bang Theory where Leonard had to wear the sweater.

JACOB:

Yeah, the itchy wool sweater. You start feeling anxiety Sunday evening before the weekend is even over about your job that you go to on Monday, and that you’re constantly looking for an exit strategy out of that job. Those are the seven warnings signs your current job isn’t right for you.

 

DAN:

Okay, so let’s go through them real quick with each other. Real quick.

 

JACOB:

There’s no room to grow.

 

DAN:

I think there’s plenty of room to grow in my career, don’t you?

 

JACOB:

I agree. You aren’t happy to show up in the morning.

 

DAN:

Oh, when I get there at 11:45 AM I’m very happy.

 

JACOB:

Yeah, I usually have three hours of work before the time you show up, so that’s good. Your job doesn’t align with your personal mission statement.

 

DAN:

Mine does.

 

JACOB:

Mine does, too. I think it’s hard not to align with the mission statement in our career or at our facility.

 

DAN:

Yeah, because we work in a Catholic Franciscan healthcare system, and it’s all about the mission. So it very much matches.

 

JACOB:

You’re bored or you have strained work relationships.

 

DAN:

Only when people wake me up I yell at them in the office.

 

JACOB:

You suffer from the grass is greener syndrome.

DAN:

You know, I used to suffer from that seriously. I used to be in a certain job and think oh if I was only in another job. I think this is the first time in my career where I’m really happy and settled actually.

 

JACOB:

Yeah, you know, looking through this list I’ve gone back in my jobs that I’ve had, and there are times that I’ve gotten these warning signs. Right now is not one of them, but there are times that I’ve related to these and it was kind of a validation that I did leave that job for the right reasons.

 

DAN:

Yeah, and moving jobs now would be very difficult because I’m not sure I could put all this podcast equipment back together.

 

JACOB:

And I do not want to help you load it up into a U-Haul. The snooze button becomes a way of life.

 

DAN:

Never a problem for me. I wake up before my alarm.

 

JACOB:

Same here. And work feels like an itchy shirt.

 

DAN:

Not really. I mean, I enjoy my job. For those that are not familiar with healthcare, healthcare is pretty challenging. I mean, we could do several episodes on how challenging healthcare is, but even despite the challenges I like going to work. I like the people I work with. I would miss going to work.

 

JACOB:

I would miss going to work, too. And you mentioned healthcare being challenging. I think that’s why I do enjoy it so much is every day is different. It’s not monotonous. I don’t come in and just run through my calendar all day from the next task to the next task. There is something that challenges me at each and every corner as the day proceeds.

 

DAN:

Yeah, we would really like to hear from you. You can send your feedback to dan@thelowcarbleader.com. I’d be curious, are you happy with your career, what stage of career you’re in and just to get to know all our listeners a little bit better. All right, Jacob, back to the interview.

 

JACOB:

How often do you find that the clients that you have, all their problems started with well-meaning parents?

 

Aligning Your Social and Essential Self

 

ALISON:

Great question. You know, it’s a mixed bag. That can certainly be a big factor, your social environment. And when – there’s a concept that we use that’s called your social self and your essential self. So your social self is basically that part of you that really wants to please the people around you. It’s influenced heavily by parents, by professors, mentors, peers, even people that you admire. And then there’s your essential self. That’s kind of who you are at your core. When these two things are in alignment, like say you love engineering, and engineering is a hot field at the moment, and your parents are excited about it, and they set you up with an experience that moves you closer to it, when these are in alignment it can really give you some gas and get you moving. But when those are out of alignment with what your social world is telling you, what they’re valuing, what they want from you and what you really want are out of alignment, it can really stall people out. So that’s definitely one way that people can get stuck. When I said that when people are having trouble identifying things or trying things out, it may very well be because somebody told them at a certain point in their life that’s not a worthwhile pursuit or you shouldn’t do that, and they really took it to heart. And we have to come in and kind of clean that up and say well, you know, that was their perspective, but let’s really honor who you are and help you to thrive.

 

DAN:

There’s a lot of people that maybe want to change careers but they feel stuck not only in their career, but they feel that high student loans and family commitments will prevent them from ever changing. How do you work through that with clients?

 

Balancing the Career Seesaw

 

ALISON:

I love this question. If you think about it, there are really three big areas that our careers hit upon. They hit upon our level of fulfillment and that day-to-day enjoyment with your work, our financial health, how much money we’re bringing in and how well we can take care of ourselves, and then also our personal time and well-being. So you know, does your job run into the weekends, or does it take a big toll on your health?

 

Now with these three areas we all want to be in that sweet spot in the intersection of all three. You know, we want to be happy, wealthy and healthy. But in the workforce, in my experience, there’s kind of a career seesaw in effect. So on one end of the seesaw is financial compensation, and on the other end of the seesaw is fulfillment and personal time and well-being. And in general jobs that involve longer hours, more education, more responsibility, more stress, more risk, things that might take a hit on fulfillment or personal time and well-being, if it’s a job that we as a society need, we compensate for those kind of not so fun factors financially. So it’s kind of a seesaw. They move in opposition. So what that means for people, in my opinion, there’s not a right or a wrong place to be in that seesaw, and I think that’s one thing that is a little bit different about me as a career coach. I think a lot of coaches really aim for do what you love. That’s the answer. But I think careers and jobs can have a really wide variety of purposes for people, and the way that people want to prioritize what they’re going after in their career is really personal. It depends on their priorities, their work history, their values, what they care about.

 

So in a case where somebody maybe has a priority of I want to pay off this student loan or I want to make sure I’m saving enough for my kids in college, that financial piece is really high, then I think it’s totally fine to honor that in the workforce and to also know that just because that’s a priority now, it doesn’t mean that it’s something that you’re going to have to do for the rest of your life. If you’re consciously choosing it and working towards a financial goal, that’s great, and you can also honor the things that bring you fulfillment in places outside of work.

 

I think too often people think about it in kind of a black and white extreme. Either I am doing what I love, or I’m making a ton of money. And it’s kind of either/or, and there’s no wiggle room. A lot of the times what we do with clients is find that gray area. Let’s have a short-term goal that gets you where you want to be financially or whatever, and then let’s work toward that longer-term goal of building to something more fulfilling. Or let’s acknowledge that fulfillment is the most important thing to you right now. You don’t care as much about the financial piece, and if that’s the case then let’s figure out what’s holding you back from going for what you really want and help you to get there.

 

DAN:

Do most people want to do something slightly different in their career, or do they want to make just major changes?

 

ALISON:

My clients make pretty major changes. That’s not necessarily representative of the whole population, just the people who are coming to us who are feeling really stuck and dissatisfied, they’re generally craving a pretty big change that they’re needing some support with because it is a bigger deal than just kind of switching companies.

 

Steps Toward Career Change

 

JACOB:

The last thing we want to talk about is how to switch jobs or careers. And before we get to talking about how you switch jobs or careers I think it’s important to define a job versus a career. A job is an activity through which an individual can earn money. It is a regular activity in exchange of payment. So your job is exactly that. It’s just the physical job. A career is the pursuit of a lifelong ambition or the general course of progression towards lifelong goals. So the career is each step you take in establishing what your goals in your lifetime are going to be.

 

Now that we have defined a job versus a career, let’s talk about the steps we take to change a career. And I found on TheMuse, “8 Steps to an Utterly Successful Career Change.” The first one is start with the why. Why is it you want to change your career?

Second, get clear on the what, what type of career are you looking for? Why is it that you’re looking for that specific career?

 

Number three, figure out the what’s it going to take, and that is looking back at your career now and the progression you’ve made, what type of education and skills you have, how big is the change going to be from what your career already is, and what will it take to get that next career you aspire to begin?

 

Number four, make an action plan. And that would be to track each step of the way to change that career. So I have skill A. I need skill B. How am I going to get to skill B? I have an undergrad degree in business, but I need a chemistry background. How am I going to get to the chemistry background?

 

Number five, track the effort. How far along is your action plan? Does it have due dates? Are they defined? Are there specific goals within that action plan? Are you checking the boxes through?

 

Number six, shift your brand. It’s important as you change your career and you’ve been in a career for a long time you have a resume. You have your brand on LinkedIn, out on Facebook. You have your bread with your friends and your social connections. They know you as this person that is in career A and has these skills. You’re trying to get to career B, and how do you have to change how you look on paper to somebody else if you’re changing that career?

 

Number seven, mobilize your posse. And that talks about how can you take your connections to spread the word that you’ve changed careers to connect with people they know in the career field you’re going into so you can eventually get a job within that specific career you’re looking for?

 

And then number eight, get in cahoots with the right people, and that is making that connection with those that your posse knows.

 

DAN:

As Alison was talking about, anybody can make a career change. I mean it’s always possible. I think there’s complicating factors now, though. Student loans are really expensive, so if you go through four years of college you have a lot of student loans, and especially if you’ve landed a good job and you’re just not happy in that job, it’s hard to change jobs because you have $100,000 or $200,000 worth of student loans. I think that’s a – especially in healthcare, we see some doctors coming out with $350,000 in loans. It’s pretty hard to change your career if you don’t like it at that point.

 

JACOB:

For me to think about changing my career gives me great anxiety in the fact that my wife is a stay-at-home mother, so we have one income. I’ve got two young children. I start thinking of okay, my degree is in business. If I wanted to change to anything else I’m going to have to do a great amount of college work to get a change. I can’t just change to a nurse or something in the healthcare field because I have no base of biology or chemistry credits to fall back on.

 

DAN:

So you’d have to start over.

 

JACOB:

Yeah, I would basically have to start over.

 

DAN:

All right, Jacob. Back to the interview.

 

What Drives Career Change

 

ALISON:

Right, so I think that really fits into what I was describing earlier in terms of what drives career change. When I spoke about those three areas, what really drives a change is when what you’re getting in those three areas, fulfillment, financial health and personal time/well-being does not match up with what you are most wanting. So in an instance with a CEO, they’re probably getting the financial piece that they’re enjoying, but if what they’re most wanting at that point in their life is to feel on purpose or to feel a sense of mission, then that fulfillment piece may not be high enough, and that’s really what’s driving them to make a change.

 

So yes, we’ve certainly worked with people who are in that type of situation and wanting to figure out what’s going to be more meaningful for me. And I just have to add a little asterisk. I’ve also worked with people in the other direction. I’m in the DC area. We have a big nonprofit community, and oftentimes people go into nonprofit work where the pay is a bit less for that mission or meaning. They get to a certain point in their life where they realize rent is high, they want to start a family, and their priority shifts to more of a financial piece. And they might say I don’t really want to do this mission-driven work and low paycheck anymore. I want to do something that’s going to take care of me and my family. So it can go in either direction. And again, I don’t think there’s a right or a wrong. I think it’s just paying attention to what your priority is in the moment and then honoring that with your career choices.

 

DAN:

This podcast is directed primarily to younger leaders. What would be the tips you would give them to make the right decision about their career?

 

ALISON:

I think the first tip kind of piggybacks on your question in terms of making the right decision, which is I don’t know that there’s one perfect answer out there for us. I think we can have career satisfaction in a lot of different areas. So I think the first thing to think about is in those three bubbles, fulfillment, financial health and personal time and well-being, what’s most important to you right now? Like if you had to put something in the lead, what would you put? I think that’s a really good place to start. And then from there to think about, in general, like what hunches do you have about yourself, about who you are, about what you want? You don’t have to know an exact answer. Like I think so often people want like the job title immediately. But if you just generally know like there’s a whole sphere or world of work, Jacob as you were saying, there’s a lot out there.

 

But I always think people kind of have a wedge that theirs. So maybe you know you really like analytical work, or maybe you really like being with people, helping, creating, so kind of identify just what is your wedge. That’s a good place to start. I’d offer – there’s a website called insidejobs.com where people can take that general information and kind of dig around. It’s like a database of jobs that will pop up videos and descriptions. They can just see what jobs kind of matchup with their interests and what they most are wanting to do. And then from that place I think it’s getting started, picking one. It doesn’t have to necessarily be perfect or the right one, but if you pick something that’s in alignment with what you most care about, your priorities, with who you are and you get started with it, then that’s going to be a really good way to get more information and to learn. And over time you’re going to continue to develop your career path and to refine it and hopefully to make it a better and better fit for you.

 

DAN:

So what would be your final message to our listeners?

 

ALISON:

To take ownership of your career. I know this podcast is all about leadership, and I just want the listeners to realize that there is no boss leading your career except for you. So I’d really encourage them to take some time to consider the direction, ask for help if you need help, but overall to try to put more of you into your career and more of your choice into it versus just drifting along.

 

DAN:

If somebody wants to get a hold of you or learn more about you, how can they do that?

 

Career Transition Resources

 

ALISON:

Our website is cardycareercoaching.com. That’s Cardy, C-A-R-D-Ycareercoaching.com, and if you have been thinking about making a change but feeling, you’ve been feeling kind of stuck, we actually have a free resource on the site. It is a step-by-step career change e-course, and it basically sends you a weekly reminder of a small step that you can take, some encouragement to keep you moving so that you can actually be proactive and pay attention to your career just by following along with a very friendly email course.

 

DAN:

Oh, very cool. And we’ll put that on our show notes. So if Jacob signs up for this will you tell me?

 

ALISON:

No!

 

JACOB:

My secret’s safe with Alison.

 

DAN:

I think he’s logging on right now.

 

JACOB:

I already filled out the initial email.

 

DAN:

I know. Well, Jacob, any final comments?

 

JACOB:

I think you had great perspective for our listeners, Alison. You know, like Dan had mentioned, it’s all about finding that underlying issue and helping them be that voice that no one else would be to them.

 

DAN:

Yeah, so Alison, thank you so much. This has been an awesome interview. And please visit Alison at her website, cardcareercoaching.com, and get a hold of her if you are looking for career transition advice. And Alison, thank you so much for being on our show today.

 

ALISON:

Thank you for having me. You guys are amazing. Keep doing the great work you’re doing.

 

DAN:

Well thank you.

 

JACOB:

Thank you.

 

DAN:

Thank you for joining us on the show today. We hope you enjoyed the interview with Alison. I know Jacob and I both learned a lot from her, and we really appreciate her being on the show. If you enjoyed the podcast, please subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher Radio, and that way the latest episodes will be delivered directly to you. If you didn’t know, they actually will get to you six hours before they post on iTunes, so you have a six-hour head start on learning.

 

Also visit us at thelowcarbleader.com where you can find links to our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn page. As I said several times before, we’re in the process of reformatting the website, and you can actually start to see changes now. So any feedback you have about the website, please send to me at dan@thelowcarbleader.com. Until next time, take care and keep learning.

0 Comments

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. January Guest Post Roundup | Cardy Career Coaching - […] was also featured on The Aspiring New Leader Podcast with Dan Perryman, where we talked about Leading Your Career,…