Should I Stay? Should I Quit To Pursue A Dream Job?
Ingrid says she's pretty close to knowing what she wants to do with her career. And she even has a list of potential employers collected. These are companies where she could put these new ideas to use.
Yet she's just not sure of the timing. She's afraid once she actually gets into the career change...will she still be happy? Will she have picked the right thing? Should she try to get happy in her current role before giving up on it?
She asked, "Is it okay to go after what I think (at least right now) my dream job is...simply because I need to have the experience of it to know what it is all about? Or do I need to know exactly what my dream job is before I go after it."
6 Things You'll Learn In This Episode On Dream Jobs
- Whether to take the risk of the grass not being greener in a new job. Sometimes you worry that you might be romanticizing the dream job or the company. Or you worry that the interview process is not what the "real" day-in-a-life will be like.
- How you can Happen To Your Career rather than slugging through your work days by letting career "happenings" get imposed upon you. Note: you'll get some super special Scott Anthony Barlow wisdom in this department. And you'll leave wanting to subscribe to his podcast.
Although you nearly always hear me say, "Don't quit yet! Try these other strategies!"...there are times when you feel called to a new role or a new career entirely. Sometimes this is internal to the same company, which is such a smooth transition. For all of this angst, Scott also created this epic Career Change Guide: HOW HIGH-PERFORMERS DISCOVER THEIR IDEAL CAREER AND FIND MEANINGFUL, WELL-PAID WORK WITHOUT STARTING OVER.
I hear complaints every week from people who don't know what they want to be when they grow up (even when they're 30 or 40 or 50 years old). Scott is so ninja at helping people figure out what fits. This guy rocks.
- Examples of times when a dream job didn't turn out as planned. Yup, even your hosts have experienced these "wrong" turns and came out on a great note. And why you should go for it...even if it turns out to be one of your "not it" roles you're bound to experience in your career.
- Why it's good to go through some career conflict and get outside of your comfort zone. You'll become more self-aware, you'll know better what your strengths are, and you'll get clearer on what you want.
- If you don't try it, you'll miss the chance of knowing whether this is "it" for you. And why not? Because what you want and need today won't be what you want and need in the future. You'll keep changing, growing, and evolving as a person. So go for what feels right today because it will change tomorrow.
- Humans are wired with a survival instinct. You'll tackle pain head on. It's your fight or flight response. You'll take risks to avoid pain. Yet when it comes to gain, humans take far less risk. That's why Ingrid's feelings and question are 100% normal. To get massive career happiness, sometimes you have to take risk on the gain side. And it's a lot tougher to muster up the courage on that end.
Resource of the Episode On Dream Jobs (AKA Work You Love)
If you don't even know where to start with this process, check out "What Career Fits You?" This 8 Day Figure It Out Mini Course helps you begin finding a strengths based career. There's no charge. What a super resource to get you started. Of course, we love that it is strengths based.
Here’s A Full Transcript Of The Dream Job Interview
Lisa Cummings: [00:00:01] You’re listening to Lead Through Strengths, where you’ll learn to apply your greatest strengths at work. I’m your host, Lisa Cummings, and I gotta tell you, whether you’re leading a team or leading yourself, it’s hard to find something more energizing than using your natural talents every day at work.
[00:00:27] I thought it would be fun for you guys to get some questions answered in a panel/co-host style, is my friend Scott Anthony Barlow. He’s the owner of a company called Happen to Your Career. And besides having serious chops in the career development and HR space, like leading HR teams at ConAgra Foods. On the less serious side he’s also super fun and he’s prone to shenanigans and malarkey, so you’re totally going to love that.
[00:00:58] He’s coming to you from the wetlands of Washington state with a backyard full of turtles and a sweet fire pit that he built with his own hands, and like me, he is a huge personal and professional development nerd, so I thought it would be cool to bring you someone else, someone else who also believes in working off your strengths, and finding work you love, and then comparing notes in the same career questions.
[00:01:25] So, Scott, please reveal our very first co-host style question and tell everyone if you oversimplified what you, let them get to know you a little bit, what you do at your company Happen to Your Career, how would you describe it to a person who is new to you?
Scott Barlow: [00:01:41] We help people go after work that they love. That’s really the core of what we do around here, whether it be more traditional type career, whether it be building something on your own, or something in between. This question comes from Ingrid, and this one in particular was actually an email that I just got and it’s one that I’ve probably gotten, I don’t know, probably 30 or so times in various different format.
[00:02:06] She thinks she’s pretty close to knowing what she wants, and even started a list of companies that fit that bill however she’s not really sure once she actually gets into that, that meaning her career, or that new career change, is what she will really want after she starts doing it. Okay, so here’s the actual question for you, “Is it okay to go after what I think right now as my dream job, just because I simply need to have the experience of it before I can know what it is all about? Or do I need to know exactly what I want right away which should be good for that kind of thing?”
[00:02:40] What do you think about that?
Lisa Cummings: [00:02:42] Hmm. You know it could be so paralyzing. I love it Ingrid asked this question about passions and dream jobs. I’ve been asked this a lot as well, and I’ve wrestled with it myself. My short answer is, “Go for it.” I mean, it seems like it’s something you want to do now, and it’s okay if you get into it and you’ve romanticized some idea about it and then you realized, “Oh, not it. Not it.” You’re always going to have, “not its” in your career and then it’s okay to shift and pivot and get prepared for the next thing.
[00:03:09] If you wait too long and you’re constantly thinking, “Oh, I have to wait until it’s the perfect thing,” well, then likely you’ve changed as a person by then, and two years later you won’t be the you that you are today, you’ll be a better and different person who’s grown, and your ideal situations keep changing so go for it now. That’s mine. What about you, Scott?
Scott Barlow: [00:03:30] Well, I don’t know that I’m far off. I want to ask you another question first, though, because I’m curious, and then I’ll tell you my answer. Have you had any of those “not its”? And if so, I’m kind of curious what they would be. You know, I’ve seen your resume or LinkedIn profile and everything like that, and you’ve been in a lot of different areas kind-of throughout different variations of HR and people type driven roles, but what were those “not its” for you that didn’t really line up?
Lisa Cummings: [00:03:56] I had one that was early in my career, I took a training position and I was going to train everything related to this company which was kind of like, it was kind of a blue-collar industry and I thought, “Oh, it’d be something different to learn,” and I realized how important the culture of the company was. It just didn’t fit my vibe at all, so once I got in and I saw how people were treated internally, and how the company culture was, I ended up leaving because it just wasn’t the right fit.
[00:04:24] And there was a bigger, bigger crazier one for me which was in more recent history, it was, let’s say, seven years ago. It was before I started my company Leader’s Lens, a leadership development company, I thought I had landed a dreamy job. And you’ll see, if you look at my LinkedIn profile, that it’s not even there. It just disappeared into the ether.
[00:04:45] I took this position and it was the ideal job. It sounded so perfect through the interview process, it was on the executive team, it was all about driving the culture of a company, it was all about people and talent management and making this the most fun place to work in Austin, and I could go on about what it was supposed to be.
[00:05:05] And when I got in, what had happened is the HR stuff was so broken inside, it kind of was like a situation where food, water and shelter were not being taken care of for a couple of years prior so when I got in it was just a glut of stuff, and there was really no one else other than me, who would’ve been capable of handling that part of things.
[00:05:27] So it turned from this very strategic, really cool my ideal role kind of thing into the – and we all idealized it. It’s what I wanted it to be and it’s what the executives who hired me wanted it to be, but you can’t be a Chief Culture Office when payroll is messed up and the 401k plan is not being administered right and these sorts of things, and those aren’t the kinds of things I enjoy at all.
[00:05:48] And it started ripping out my soul and my guts, so I really wrestled with it. I thought it was kind of a nightmare experience for me because I felt like for integrity purposes, man, they just went through a hiring process, I know how difficult, costly, timely, I know all of that, I don’t want to bail on these people. I really liked the people. It was just truly the job was a terrible fit because it couldn’t turn out to be what we all wanted it to be.
[00:06:16] And the story ends up great. I mean, I left. I became an entrepreneur. I had some of the most fun times in my life. I got to travel the country, travel the world rather like 15 different countries facilitating leadership development stuff. All these opportunities happened because I tried something. I left. That company actually became my first client so it all turned out fine, but, boy, it was a rough go, and it was a tough one.
[00:06:40] You know, I made the leap. I was in the same position as Ingrid trying to decide, “Should I go? Should I not? Should I go? Should I not?” I go and then, oh, complete failure.
Scott Barlow: [00:06:49] Yeah, that’s like perfect segue into my answer because I’ve experienced a lot of the same thing a couple of different times too, and it almost seems like – I’ll tell you the end and then I’ll tell you the beginning – it almost seems like you have to go through that type of process, and almost that type of conflict, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be in that type of format, but it has to get you enough outside of your comfort zone, and there has to be a little bit of pain in order to speed up the learning about yourself and what you want and self-awareness and everything that goes along with that.
[00:07:24] So my start to that was, geez, I guess about 10 years ago, when I had my first professional job really, and it was right after I had my first company, and I sold off all the assets to the business and everything like that. Went and got one of those stable jobs that you hear about and thought I was doing it for all the right reasons and then determined that I was really, really, really bad at the job.
[00:07:53] And because I was so bad at it and because I didn’t like so many elements of it, I mean, there were some stuff that I enjoyed but the vast majority of it just didn’t resonate with me at all. So that was kind of what kicked me off into now, I guess, where it was the beginning of the journey for, “How on earth do I figure out what it is that’s a good fit for me? And then how do I actually go get it?” Right?
Lisa Cummings: [00:08:18] Yeah.
Scott Barlow: [00:08:19] So, because of all that, I very much agree with your answer. I think that Ingrid has to jump in here, and she has to go for it, because if she doesn’t she’s not going to have that learning, and she could find that, hey, there’s a lot of the stuff in her dream career that does line up, and she could find that some of the stuff she didn’t anticipate doesn’t.
[00:08:40] But more importantly than that, I think it’s what you pointed out, Lisa, that situations change, life changes, wants and needs change, and all these other things, and it becomes so much a moving target, and what’s good for you now, isn’t necessarily a good thing for you, isn’t necessarily what you want and need five years from now.
Lisa Cummings: [00:08:59] Exactly. And you’re so wise, Scott, on the, “Just get in there and experience things to build your self-awareness, too,” because understanding your current place in life or your past experiences, what fuels you and what drains you, and those are really good things to know about, and if Ingrid takes this role, or takes this path that she’s looking at it sounds like she’s moving toward good stuff instead of moving away from bad stuff, and that’s always a better place to be.
[00:09:27] And then when she gets in it, she’ll find more things that fuel her and drain her. She'll know the dream job factors more clearly. And I think if you keep following those answers you get clearer and clearer and clearer over time and then you can, to use your company name, you can decide how you’re going to happen to your career with a lot more clarity, yeah. You can pay me that $20.
Scott Barlow: [00:09:48] Yeah, it’s coming via PayPal. It’s on the way.
Lisa Cummings: [00:09:51] [laughs]
Scott Barlow: [00:09:52] Yes, so, all right, anything else that we need to get out there for Ingrid that you think of? Any closing thoughts?
Lisa Cummings: [00:09:57] Press the go button, Ingrid.
Scott Barlow: [00:09:59] Get going! All right. Go happen to it.
Lisa Cummings: [00:10:02] Yes, happen to it, Ingrid. So very final thoughts. You know, we’re wired as humans to move quickly from pain. It’s part of our survival instinct, yet when it comes to seeking gain, we’re all less willing to take risks as a result of that so your reluctance is totally normal. Just start taking daily action toward your dreams and you’re going to love the outcome.
[00:10:25] All right, guys, remember, using your strengths makes you a stronger performer at work. If you’re always focused on fixing your weaknesses, then you’re choosing the path of most resistance, so claim your talents and share them with the world.
As an international speaker and facilitator, Lisa Cummings has delivered events to over 15,500 participants in 14 countries. You can see her featured in places like Harvard Business Publishing, Training Magazine, and Forbes. She specializes in virtual StrengthsFinder training for teams. When she’s not out spotting strengths in people, you’ll find her playing drums, rescuing dogs, or watching live music in Austin, TX. Her Top 5 StrengthsFinder Talents are: Strategic | Maximizer | Positivity | Individualization | Woo.