Have you ever met someone for the first time and said to yourself: “This person is a winner!” Well that’s the way I felt upon meeting Abby Loughery for our “free, no-obligation” session. Throughout our journey, my impression never wavered; in fact, I became even more impressed with the commitment, work ethic and just plain talent she displayed from start to finish. My idea of paradise: to have all my clients turn out like Abby. Read the story of a winner.
In spring 2012 I sought Neal’s coaching services as an impending career move approached. I had recently obtained a one-year contract position out of graduate school, but wanted to prepare for my next career move as the position came to a close. Through my work with Neal, I gained a better understanding of the job market, the talent and skills I have to offer, and my needs as an employee. Below are the three most salient points from this experience, which I share each time I am asked about my work with Neal.
Commit to a Process
The first step I took toward a successful career transition was committing to Neal’s process. With his process in my back pocket I was able to set aside the stresses of the unknown. I met with Neal weekly and completed his assignments. When not working on my career transition, I put those concerns back on the shelf and focused my energies elsewhere. This was a relief from anxieties about whether I was doing “enough” or “the right things.” I had a process that I trusted and I scheduled time for it.
There are numerous different processes for a career transition, but Neal’s method resonated with my beliefs about the inability to separate my career and life. I certainly like to keep the two separate in my weekly schedule, but I recognize that they’re co-dependent and can’t be planned for independently.
Talk it Out
The second part of my successful career transition was talking about the process with everyone. Anytime I was casually asked, “What’s new?” I shared my experiences working with a career coach. More often than not, people responded by sharing leads and then picking my brain for second-hand advice from Neal. These conversations helped to refine the way I spoke about my skills and expertise, and the type of career that I was looking for.
If I need something (anything), I usually communicate this need with the people around me. I do this because I recognize that I don’t have all the answers—even when enhanced by Google—and that the combined knowledge and resources of everyone I know is limitless. So, why not ask for help?
Use Your Network
Along with talking about Neal’s process with everyone I met, I also examined my network and sought out specific individuals for advice. As Neal regularly reminded me, people are more likely to find a job through their social network than through any job posting. Remember, your social network includes the people you know, the people who know the people you know, and one step out from there (according to the only required reading assigned by Neal).
And no, nepotism generally isn’t the reason people find jobs through their social network. Instead, it’s because employers trust the people they know. A character reference passed between an established relationship tends to pull more weight than an excellent interview, kickass resume, or a stranger’s mind-blowing recommendation.
Thanks to my work with Neal I landed an excellent un-posted position that matched 90% of the “ideal workday” description that I wrote last spring. Since working in my new position I’ve learned that the missing 10% is something that I didn’t actually need in the first place. So, I guess you could say that my average workday is now better than my ideal workday.