Executive Strategist Maureen McCann on Career Transitions

Being Prepared For Your Career Transitions with Maureen McCann

In this episode of Relationships at Work, Russel chats with Executive Career Strategist Maureen McCann on taking the right steps for your career transition.

 

A few reasons she is awesome – She’s the owner of Promotion Career Solutions, an 11x Canadian Certified Career & Job Search Strategist, 15x award-winning executive resume writer, an instructor and Senior Board Member at Career Professionals of Canada, as part of their Career Development Certification program, published career researcher, lots of awards, lots of book contributions and she’s been featured in Forbes, Globe and Mail, Global News and numerous other news outlets.

 

Connect and learn more about Maureen on her platforms:

PLAY AND SUBSCRIBE

Or, listen on:

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • How do you know when it’s time for a career transition.
  • What you need to have in place before you start looking for your next job.
  • The importance of understanding your values to others.
  • How to build your network to help you.
  • What you need to know to understand if you’re finding the right culture for you.
  • The role of mental health when determining when it’s time to leave.
  • The many myths of career transitions.

“You’re really just trying to get to the place where you feel like ‘I’m making the right decision. I’m heading in the right direction for me… for what I need.'”

– Maureen McCann

FULL TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW

Russel Lolacher
And on the show, that’s Maureen McCann. And here is why she’s awesome. She’s the Executive Career Strategist and owner of promotion career solutions. 11 times 11 times 11 times left. I’m not gonna go through it all but 11 times Canadian certified career and job search strategist. She’s a 15 times award winning executive resume writer, and instructor and a senior board member at career professionals of Canada as part of the career development certificate program. She’s a published career researcher, lots of book things, lots of award things, lots of media coverage, things. And now relationships at work guest to editor portfolio. Hello, Maureen.

Maureen McCann
Good morning. Thank you so much for that wonderful introduction. Look at me.

Russel Lolacher
Like a little jazzed up to start the show, because it gets it gets rolling into the first question that sometimes is not always the easiest. So I do a little, you know, hype man preparation. Maureen! What is the worst or best employee experience you’ve ever had?

Maureen McCann
Yeah, so I am going to tell you the story of the best, but it happened because of the worst. So I left the worst. I was working in a nonprofit organization. And I was volunteering in career development in between gigs. And to make a long story really short, a woman called me up and said, Would you be interested in working here? I got your name from the woman that you’re volunteering with? And I was like, Oh, that’s great. How did you find me? And it was so interesting, because the reason that she heard about as about me was because she had hired someone from that role. And now there was a vacancy, and this is how it all shook out. And so that was really great. And when I came to the person I was volunteering with, she said, Oh, my gosh, are you going to be working with so and so? And I was like, yeah, they were like, He is the great, his name is Wayne Fergana, I’m gonna throw a plug out there. He is the greatest person in this industry. Right now. He’s always talking to people. He’s connecting people and resources. And so I had a really great mentor. So I got to know the team. Betty Woodman, Paul Roche, Wayne Gagne, and it was just a phenomenal team who really cared about each other really connected, really wanted to do great work for the participants in our employment program. And I know it’s so cheesy to say it sounded like they were like family, but they like we are very close still to this day.

Russel Lolacher
When I asked that question, and the the answers have been wide, and back and forth, whether the good and the bad, it’s always interesting, because a lot of people will mention an organization or just say shall not be named because of anger. But people don’t realize or trauma a lot of the time, what people don’t realize is that it’s such a personal thing. So I love that your name dropping, because I know a lot of people sort of cringe at that idea. But it is a personal thing. It’s not the organization that made it great. It’s the people that made it great and specific people that made it great. So I love the fact that you’re going no, no, no, I’m going to drop their names, I’m gonna make an effort to really showcase that person.

Maureen McCann
Yeah, and I think too, you know, had the organization not been supportive. I mean, it’s, it’s got to be both because they can be really great people and work for a leader or an organization that just, you know, didn’t mesh with where they were at. And so yeah, I agree, work is personal.

Russel Lolacher
And it’s true, it could be within a horrible shitty organization that you have a bubble of love. And that does happen a lot of times because I’ve, I’ve had people ask questions about what it’s like to work for X organization, or X organization or like, it depends on who your boss is. It depends on what level of the building you work in, it depends on so many factors. So it is so personal. But you’re right, it also has to kind of be nurtured within a culture that gets it. Yeah. And that’s actually going to be a part of what we’re talking about today. Because we’re talking about career transitions. I love this idea, because we are talking the podcast is about relationships at work and the employee culture experience. But the employee journey has so many twists and turns to it. And a lot of people think beginning middle end, not necessarily that those beginnings, those middles and those ends could shift as part of the greater journey. So maybe it’s best if we just first defined what a transition is. Because I’m also trying not to say career change. Are they not the exact same thing? Am I just not thesaursus exercising here?

Maureen McCann
Yeah, you know what, I think it’s, again, it’s really personal. Because it could be a pivot, it could be a transition, like when I think of transition, I think it’s gonna be big. But there can be small little transitions. You know, internal changes, like personal internal, not just the company internal, but your changes for what your priorities are like, think about, you know, when your life shifts a little bit, then the way you look at work or your relationship with work shifts a little bit as well, your priorities, change your values shift a little bit. And so yeah, I think anytime there’s a shift to change a pivot, whatever you want to name it, that could be construed as a career transition. But it’s all part of career development and career management.

Russel Lolacher
What do you think is the right time for someone to consider or pull the trigger on making that decision? Is it just any life change? Is it what’s the writing on the wall that you’re like, Okay, you know, might now be the time to reconsider.

Maureen McCann
I think if you’re doing any research on anything with that has to do with your career, you are already there, you’re already deciding, okay, there’s something’s going on. Even when you just landed a new role. You might think, Okay, this is really great. But I want to get to the next thing. And so career development, it’s always happening. It’s fluid. It’s, it’s not this one time, and then you do this other time. I mean, yes, we do tend to think, oh, it’s when I change jobs. But it’s really like any, anything that’s happening throughout your career, there’s this really great book that talks about squiggly careers, like there’s no straight line anymore, like you’re gonna go all over the place, you’re gonna get things that are right things that aren’t right. So I think of an example where, you know, you could get the company, right, you could get the work that you’re doing, right, but the leader is not for you. And so you got those things, those two things, right. You might be thinking, Okay, I want to do the same work. But I want to do it for a different organization, because I don’t gel with this leader.

Russel Lolacher
I also was talking to a friend of mine recently, who has always loved his job always loved the people he works with, but he now has a newborn. And the world has shifted for him and his spouse to the point where they may even take a step back for how much money they make, or the amount of stress that has been heaped on them, because their priorities have shifted, more so than they even realize. So. Yeah, I mean, it could be a life thing. It can also be exactly that. Yeah. Lots, lots lots of factors.

Maureen McCann
Yeah. So I’m a military spouse. A lot of people don’t know that about me. So we move around every couple of years. And so that that’s a lot. That’s a lot of change, almost chaos. And so I had to choose a career that was somewhat flexible and adaptable. Do I love every aspect of it? I mean, I do. But you can see where there’s some challenges for me that I maybe don’t embrace as much when we moved our teenagers as when we moved our young children who were sort of preschool age. And so yeah, as your life changes, your career will adapt, because like, like your friends example, your priorities, your values shift a little bit. And so of course, it only makes sense that you’ll be thinking differently about the way about your relationship with work.

Russel Lolacher
Are there different ways of looking at that this based on where you are in your career? Or perhaps generational? Like, when you’re just starting versus a mid career versus I’m leaving, or an executive versus middle management? Is it all the same steps from beginning to end when it comes to a transition? Or change or pivot? Or is it you know what, maybe you should hold off a couple of years or you know, what, maybe give an executive two years tops, and then move on? Is there anything about that… to that?

Maureen McCann
You know, what everyone’s different. And there’s lots of generic, like, advice that you can offer. But really, it comes down to do you know yourself well enough to know what your priorities are right now. And if you do great, and sometimes your priority is I need to stay put, I need stability. And so while the baby’s young, or while I’m going to school, or whatever, I’m just gonna put up with X, Y, and Z. And then once that piece is over, and I have a little bit more stability, then I can make a shift, we all make these decisions for ourselves. And there’s so many different factors or variables about what constitutes our relationship with work, right? So there’s pay there’s benefits, there’s time off, there’s relationships with leaders, relationships with your colleagues, the actual work that you’re doing, how valuing you feel, how valued you feel at work. But I think too, sometimes as like, as a general rule, people like to focus on the money. Right? And so when we’re starting off, there’s this myth that in order for you to be okay, you need to earn a certain amount of money, right? And so, parents, my parents anyway, they really encouraged me to find a stable career, so that they would feel okay, that they felt like I was doing okay, so they didn’t have to worry, that’s fear based, and many of us are living that and that’s fine. We’ll go through that phase. Hopefully, at some point, we’ll get to the point where and again, this is sort of Maslow’s hierarchy, where it’s like, you need to feel safe and secure, and then you can move up, you know, to basically, you know, self awareness and self improvement. But we’re all at different stages of that. And the thing that I’ll say here, and then I’ll end on this is, and we can go back and forth, like we don’t have we don’t go straight up. Sometimes we go up sometimes we go down. There’s so many variables at play. It’s hard to say “Here’s a general rule of thumb.”

Russel Lolacher
And even boomerang employees, which is a term that’s becoming more and more common, where people will leave organizations and then return to them. Because either in a new role or the same role just because it wasn’t a fit at the time, the lines, the stars did not align, but you know, years needed to pass skills needed to be made for them to return. So there is no cookie cutter. I appreciate you saying that. But have you ever encountered where it’s a bad idea to be doing career transitions? And people are like, no, now is the time that I need to die, I need to pivot I need to do something different. Is there a wrong way to do it?

Maureen McCann
No, but I will say this, because I’m going to support everybody where they’re at, like, if they feel like they need to go, then they need to go. But here’s what I’ll say. Have you exhausted every opportunity where you are before you start looking elsewhere? Because sometimes the grass is not greener. And you really, you really need to do your research in terms of labor market your information. Is it true that it’s the grass is greener? Or is it just your perception. And so what I will caution people with is, don’t run away from a job, run to a job. So be excited about going to a place as opposed to this is the worst job ever. I got it, I gotta get out of here as fast as possible. Now, that’s not to say that people aren’t in that position. And they do feel the sense of urgency to have to get out. But again, I’ll caution them. Let’s make sure we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Take all the things you love about what you’re doing. And make sure you incorporate those. And the thing that’s driving you crazy where you are, we got to figure out a way to make sure that when you’re interviewing and you’re getting to know that company, you don’t do it doesn’t doesn’t wind up the exact same. So trading a bad leader for a bad leader or a bad fit for a bad fit. Yeah,

Russel Lolacher
we’re talking at a really interesting time here where new buzzy phrase words like quiet, quitting, and great resignation are getting thrown around like crazy. Like there’s suddenly new things other than just have suddenly better PR departments that can give them their names. However, I’m just kind of curious in your world, if there is some influence coming from younger generations that are not necessarily sticking around jobs, just because they have a good pension. And they’re like, “You know what, no peace out. I’m done. I don’t want to do this for longer than a year and leaving.” Meanwhile, your Gen X is going “you can do that? How was it happening in your world that you’re seeing this… Is there been a shift?

Maureen McCann
I think it’s the permission to talk about it. I think for the first time we are talking and quiet quitting to me is basically employee experience /employee engagement, right? And so people are like, Yeah, I’m not putting up with that. Why would I work for 15 bucks an hour and be killing myself and burn myself out and have nothing left for my family? And watch my parents do that? I’m not gonna do that. And so I think, bravely we now have people in our workforce who are having those starting those conversations and basically showing us just Gen X. Yeah, you can do this. And we’re gobsmacked. Oh, okay. And again, it’s not like we didn’t know, but maybe we needed to see other people be successful with it. And in order for it to be okay, because I was raised by boomers. And that was not the way that I was raised. Like you get a job, you stay with a job and you do what you said you were going to do.

Russel Lolacher
You live here, you die here. This is… this is the you know, the years and decades you put in because of x or that’s the way it’s always been done before. So thank you, Gen Zers, for mixing things up a little bit more for us, as Gen Xers really actually do approve it.

Maureen McCann
This message is approved by Gen X.

Russel Lolacher
Yes, me and Maureen have talked. We’re speaking for the entire generation. Yeah. So what does a typical career transition look like? I know we’ve already established there’s no typical I know it personalizes. But there is that moment from Hey, I’m just going to Google to something’s changed. So what generally happens from from beginning to end?

Maureen McCann
Um, generally speaking, people want to have a good understanding of what they want, like, what does success look like? And so then they can go out to the labor market and figure out how they fit in the labor market. What tends to happen is people do the reverse. They go out to the job boards, they realize they don’t fit any of the things that are out there, they panic, and then they’re they take it personal, and it’s not it’s not personal at all. It’s just information. It’s just data points. And so generally speaking, when you when you work with me, step one, do Are you clear about what it is that you’re looking for? Like what does success look like? Let’s be very clear about that. And the most common one response I get to that is, well, I’m open to everything. And while that is wonderful, great, you, what happens is you can’t give everything, your full attention. So when you specialize, then you’re able to, to articulate a much clearer message to this to the niche audience that you want to talk with, right? This is branding. And so if you’re like, Oh, I’m a gamer, and I’m an accountant, and I’m a bookkeeper. And I do like financial literacy training on the side, some of those things are not like the others, right. And so it’s really important to make your message very clear for people so that they can understand what you’re capable of doing. So that’s, I think, step two is have that really clear message defined for your audience, because you can’t be all things to all people all the time, right. And from there, it’s a matter of putting together basically a plan, much like a business plan, okay, if I’m gonna be looking for work, here are all the criteria that I and this is custom, this is personalized, I need to do and I need to talk to Betty and I not need to talk to Mohammed. I mean, he talked to Sal, about, you know, what they’re doing, because those are varying companies that I’m targeting. And again, this is the market the labor market information. So you’re getting a sense here of again, and this is the founding father of career guidance. Number one, what is it that makes you tick? What is it that’s most important to you? Number two, what is going on in the market? And then number three, how do you pair those two things together, the market and yourself and develop an offering. And that’s really where those are the steps that people go through generally, again, very generally and vaguely when it comes to career transition.

Russel Lolacher
I had a conversation with a mentor of mine, and he gave me some amazing advice, which was figure out what problems you fix. Because and this totally, you know, piles on to what you said is, initially we were all talking about we wanted generalists, you know, oh, I can do everything for anybody just put me in let me go. But that’s hard to sell that. And that’s really what you’re doing with this is selling yourself and you want some executive somewhere to go, oh, I have a problem. who fixes this problem? Who is the kind of person that would do this kind of thing. And so it’s an interesting exercise, even for yourself to understand, oh, I don’t do this. Oh, actually, I do do this. Oh, it is only three or four bullets, not 170 bullets, which makes a lot of sense. And the other the other piece was figure out what your perfect day looks like. And what Jazz’s you, what excites you what kind of day I mean, most people will be like, wake up, don’t go to work. That’s my perfect, quote, sure. doesn’t pay the bills, but sounds fantastic. So I like the idea of just making it about yourself, because you’re the one you have to live with and work with, and make that perfect fit. But not everybody has those things lined up. So as someone who say looking for a transition, what would you recommend that they sort of have in place? Because you kind of mentioned branding, but not everybody just goes okay, now I’m started, what’s my brand? Like? There’s some things they need to have in place before they move forward? What would you recommend they do that with any pivot?

Maureen McCann
So your mission, right, your I believe statement, or your like, this is the problem that I saw, first and foremost, priority number one, and then do the research around? What are the people that you’re targeting? What’s the problem that they need solved, and define what you do, and what you don’t do. So for example, they might have, they might require people to do 10 different skills, you see it on a job post, or we need these 10 different skills. You might be like, the, the most amazing person at six of those skills, but the other four just drive you absolute, like you’re not a fan, you’ll do them. But it’s just not your cup of tea. It’s not in your perfect day scenario. Focus on the six, sell the six, make sure those that’s what you’re pitching. And because and this is an interesting part of job search. Nobody likes that. Nobody really, I mean, I like it. I think it’s amazing. But it’s hard to do, because you’re not jazzed about it. You’re not excited about it. So if you align yourself, you know, hey, this is the stuff this is a work I want to do. These are types of organizations. You’ve done all those pieces. I’m not saying magically like, Oh, it’s so much fun now, but it’s way easier to get yourself motivated, then, oh my god, I have to apply to the job boards again. And like these faceless and I don’t get any responses. And this is horrible on my self esteem, like all of all of those pieces. So I think yeah, definitely again, knowing with clarity, and then we get into some of the tactical places, right. So assuming you have a strategy. We get into things like resumes LinkedIn profiles, again, having a job search plan Doing information interviews with different organizations to learn. Is this really the organization that I think they are? Are they really doing cool projects? Or is this all like media hype, you’re really just trying to get to the place where you feel like I’m making the right decision, I’m heading in the in the right direction for me, for what I need.

Russel Lolacher
I want to deep dive into a few things you’ve touched on and just a little deeper of branding being one of them first, and I see that as a branding, not only branding yourself within the organization you’re already in, but also online, because as you’ve mentioned, LinkedIn is now a powerhouse for a lot of recruiters. And for those looking for work. I mean, you can even put a little frame around you’re facing hiring or open to work. I mean, that’s pretty huge. So from a branding perspective, a lot of people aren’t immediately think like an organization not themselves individually. What are some things people can do both internally and externally to help with this process?

Maureen McCann
Know what it is that you’re offering to an organization? Like, what’s the value? What’s the thing that you, I think of Jim Collins here? And I know, we talked about him yesterday. But, you know, he talks about the hedgehog concept, which is basically like, what is the thing that you do best? And who’s willing to pay for that? Like, how do we make a business out of that, but it’s also something that you that you love, and you want to make money doing? Because it does, maybe it doesn’t feel like work? I think you have to start from branding perspective, I think you have to start with, what are the things that I know I do really, really well. And this is really tough for people, because people, well, I just do whatever they tell me or I do whatever’s in my job description, or I do it all. And so I’ll encourage you to take a step back and really think on, you know, your perfect day scenario, or you’re like, when does the time fly by like, what am I doing when time flies by? These are things that we don’t really deep dive for ourselves. And I think some introspection is needed. Whereas we generally try to just sort of, we just get on the escalator and just keep going, like they send us more projects, we do more projects. And so take a deep breath, sit back and figure out what is it that you have to offer, that’s a value to the world of work, and start there, then, you know, it’s a matter of putting that message together. But I will say this, you have to believe it. If you don’t believe that you’re good at whatever it is, you are going to have a really hard time convincing anybody else.

Russel Lolacher
A trick I’ve heard a few people do to sort of convince themselves is write a list of things you do and have accomplished in your organization. You know, what, what are your wins over a period of time? How is your organization better because you were there might help shape that brand a little bit better for for them just to tangibly

Maureen McCann
And ask your colleagues and your friends. I mean, go take a look at thank you emails that you’ve gotten or work relationships that you have, you know, think about, again, the things that you got really excited about, when people describe you, what words are they using, I mean, you can do all kinds of like, exercises, I do one where I encourage people to do like five, im statements, I am helpful, I am courageous, I have statements, I have this many years of experience, I have, you know, this credential or this qualifications, I love or I’m inspired, or I’m motivated when or I work well with like fill in some of those blanks. Again, we don’t spend a lot of time working on that piece. It’s a it’s a self discovery, self assessment exercise. And we’re all busy, like who has time for that it’s like exercise who has time for that, you got to make the time.

Russel Lolacher
I’ve always set up a Kudos Folder at work in my email, where I just start like I call it I literally call it “kudos.” And anytime I get an email from somebody that’s not beyond the just thank you, but literally highlights how I helped or you know, to move the dial a little bit, but at the folder, put it in the folder, put it in a folder, it’s not only a really good tool for your like self. Oh, you know, I’m actually pretty good this thing, but also in selling yourself going. I’m basically creating my own validator quotes for myself. Yeah, to sell myself. So that’s been a really good toolkit for me. Yeah, I want to dive into what you’ve talked about, which is talk to other people, rules of relationships. Hey, the bloody podcast is called relationships at work. So I couldn’t not talk about relationships, especially around career transition. How important is a network? How important is not being a dick at work so you can make friends. How important is this?

Maureen McCann
It’s really important because, you know, I remember many years ago, my brother in law was changing jobs. And he said, It’s your network that saves you. And I’ve thought, Oh, that’s really interesting, especially given my line of work, but I’ve seen it time and time I’m again, anyone who’s ever been laid off, who’s experienced that who’s stressed, it really is the quality of your network to introduce you to other people. And that’s not to say you can’t develop that as you’re in job search. But yeah, those relationships are so important. I think, again, if I go back to that example, that we that we shared right off the top, my mentor, Wayne pulled me into a couple of really great contracts when I first started my own business, you know, every once in a while I get emails from from some of the other folks. And it’s just really encouraging and really inspiring. And it’s a reminder of, you know, like your loved me file or your kudos file, I call it my love me file. And so I think it’s really important to grow and develop that network and not just think, Oh, well, I have good people. So I’m good, I think you should always be trying to meet new people. And that’s one of the great things about LinkedIn is that you can do that. And you can cherry pick who you want to maybe develop a relationship with based on some of the things that they’re sharing online. One of the things I’ll encourage people to do, too, is, as you’re learning more about different people, ask them at the end, you know, once you’ve summarized and you’ve had a good conversation with them, is there anyone else who’s doing this really cool work that we’re talking about, that you would suggest that I speak with. And so then you’re both developing your network, right. And so yeah, as a general rule of thumb, try and do that wherever you are.

Russel Lolacher
And you never know who will help you.

Maureen McCann
You never know!

Russel Lolacher
I’ve been drinking when I was 18 with a friend of mine, 30 years ago, that has now turned into a Chief Technical Officer of an amazingly huge organization, I just know them because we got tipsy one time, like over years ago, but we’ve kept in touch as friends. And you don’t know who they know, by being their friends with them, they could have friends of helping you out. So it’s, it’s a long game, as much as it’s the short game. I love that sort of as much while you’re doing that research, but also look at your history, your childhood, you’d be amazed if you keep and sustain those organized, you know, those connections, which social is really good for Yeah, you’d be amazed at who’s connected to who, as you progress.

Maureen McCann
And I’ll add to that LinkedIn released a study yesterday, and there was one already done, I think they did in the 90s, about the importance of weak ties, so not your first level of connections, but your second level of connections, and how statistically, they will introduce you to your next opportunity. So it’s always great to have people who are like, I always describe them as I gotta go for that, like, oh, marine, you need your transmission done. I gotta go for that. Like, I have people in my, in my network, in my, you know, small town community upbringing, who they got to person, I should say, person, they got a person for that, who could take care of that for me. And so those connectors, I mean, yeah, having a couple of those in your network, they can really introduce you to a lot of different people.

Russel Lolacher
Now, we’ve basically just talked about the kind of, you know, connections that we want to nurture. And that’s where culture comes in a lot of this and when you’re looking for that, even within your own organization, or you’re looking to move to another, how do you know you’re landing? What is the research that people should be looking for, to understand if a culture fit works, when you’re looking at other organizations, and so forth.

Maureen McCann
I’m gonna sound like a broken record here, but you have to know what your values are. So if your values are truth, honesty, and integrity, work life balance, and you start doing your research about this organization, and they talk about how, you know, we’re focused on this adrenaline you know, like, we’re gonna go and 24/7, you’re like, “Okay, that’s cool. That might not be for me.” And so again, you know, when you know, with clarity, what’s most important to you, then as you’re doing your research, you can figure some of those things out, will you have 100% accuracy, know, If a company wants to do a snow job, and they want to bring you in, they’re going to, you know, that’s going to happen, but this is where your network and information interviews come in real handy, is if you know, so and so no, so and so inside the company, then you ask for a meeting, and you’re like, I just want to pick your brain. I’m thinking about this organization. Tell me a little bit about and then talk about what’s important to you. What’s the leadership? Like, what kind of autonomy Do you have? What do you like most about it? You know, how do they demonstrate things that are important? Like how do they live their values, or their mission statement or their vision? So these are just some of the ways that you can do it. But there’s all kinds of different ways that you can talk to different people and learn more about the organization.

Russel Lolacher
Thank God you said that, because I’m always worried that you look at values on a website, and you’re like, Well, that’s nice propaganda. So what does it actually mean on the inside of that organization? Because yeah, if anything on this podcast, it’s always the story of values on a poster versus values. You’re actually being demonstrated. So as an employee looking for a new place to land in your journey, it’s hard to know if it’s a lie or not.

Maureen McCann
It is hard. Yeah. I mean you can do your very best and still get it wrong. But I think it’s important to be grounded and sure of what’s most important to you. So that if you do get it wrong, you know, you give them the benefit of the doubt you try and make it work. And then you go, yeah, no, this is not for me, like, I have talked to people who, you know, a couple of months into a job, they’re like, this is not the right fit. Seven years later, they’re still there. And I think I’m glad you made it work. I understand, like how that comes about. But how did you do that, like that is that must be hard for you.

Russel Lolacher
Mental Health… I don’t think it’s talked about enough when it comes to career transitions.. is staying in an organization that is poisonous for you, whether it’s a new one or an old one can impact a lot more than just your, quote unquote, nine to five (Old World speaking). So yeah, I don’t think mental health gets talked about nearly enough is it being talked about more?

Maureen McCann
I think I’ve, since the beginning of the pandemic, I think I’ve, I’ve seen it a lot more. And we’re certainly paying attention to it as career professionals. We’ve developed some new training around it. Now, we are not counselors, unless those of us who are counselors, clearly, but we do understand that this is, like I always say, you’ll spend more hours at work than with the people that you, your family, your loved ones, the people you choose. I mean, you choose your work, too. But it’s so important to get this right. And so I encourage people, I have a couple of clients right now who are in a toxic work environment. And I tell them, you need to figure out what your breaking point is, you need to say this is it, this is what I am capable of doing. And once it gets to this point, then even though I’ve been raised never to quit a job till I have a job or some there’s something going on in your head that says I can’t do this, how could I possibly do, then you have to step away for your own mental wellness, because the other part of that Russell is that people, people in that weakened state where they’re feeling really insecure and imposter syndrome and what have you, it’s really hard to get the energy and enthusiasm you need to conduct a job search because you’re already exhausted, you’re already burnt out. And so you’re not giving your very best first impression. So back to the mental health question. I think we should be talking about it all the time, a lot more than we are. And I encourage people to seek out the resources that they need. If they’re experiencing burnout, toxic workplace, or need any assistance in terms of mental wellness,

Russel Lolacher
I want to talk myths and any myths that’s pissing you off Maureen, because I’ve even the one that popped into my head of how maybe possibly career transitions have changed so much in the last few years. IE, oh, I have a gap in my resume, or I have a new new job every couple of years. Oh, you hop around too much. You aren’t committed to anything. This was how I was raised in working in in a career or transitions. What’s changed? What are some myths we should just put to rest now?

Maureen McCann
Oh, my gosh, where do I start? There’s so many like, I guess, I guess where what I’ll say is it’s all baloney. Actually, I’m gonna I’m gonna clarify that it’s all bullshit. It can’t all be but like some of the some of the requirements for jobs, like you need to have 27 different things and be left handed and wear a red jacket and all of these things that like that is such No, I had a really good friend apply to a government. Pardon me, it was a Crown Corporation. And one of the requirements was she needed have a college or university degree. And she didn’t. And they met her and they loved her. And they hired her on the spot. If they if you have what they’re looking for, they will work around the requirements. Does it happen all the time? No. And I’m sure there’s some HR people pulling their hair out like oh, my gosh, no, please don’t say this. That’s not true. It’s true in some organizations. It’s not true in all organizations. And so I mean, we could talk about ATS (applicant tracking system) myths and job search myths and compensation, like where do you want to start? There’s just, there’s so much out there in terms of living, limiting beliefs that we got from our upbringing that we got from our guidance counselor that we got from school that we got from society, here’s where I’m at. You can do whatever you want short of needing like, like a medical, like certification or an accounting certification. Whatever you want to do, you can do it. I’m going to share a story with you. I went to high school with this guy who uses smaller I don’t wanna say he was short. He wasn’t short but for a basketball player and he was a basketball player. He was not taught and, but he just stuck with it. And he I know really gave him any thought until the Toronto Raptors were playing for the championship. And guess who’s sitting on the bench of the Toronto Raptors on their championship night, like, and so this guy’s got the ring and all that, but he stuck with it. And so I would always encourage people, it might not be the way you think it’s going to be. But if you get your the thing that you really want to do the problem that you want to solve, if you get that right, it can take you to some pretty amazing places.

Russel Lolacher
What would you say to someone who’s been in it for a while those with impostor syndrome, that are probably getting in their own way of applying for other jobs? Because I mean, to say, apply to anything. Sure. But there’s also those with over what is it an earned competence, I think that you know, that are just applying to everything and going I can work in any job. But there’s a lot of people that don’t, they’re introverted, they’re neurodiverse, they are just imposter syndrome they suffer from and they sit in those jobs that they shouldn’t be in for far too long. Because anything outside of that comfort zone is frightening. What would you say to those people?

Maureen McCann
What would it feel like if? I would say, what would it feel like if? And I would, I would, and I know that’s really sort of flip and it’s not really fair. Oprah has had impostor syndrome. Famous actors and actresses have had impostor syndrome. You can have impostor syndrome, and still do hard things. You can take the fear with you. Elise Myers said it on tick tock. Do it scared? Like, yes, this is uncomfortable. And if you you know, need support, then reach out to career professional friends, like some a mentor. But do it like, don’t be the reason that you didn’t apply for the dream job, or like the best case scenario. That’s one of my questions. I ask people all the time, what’s the best case scenario for you? Like, if you could do best case scenario, right now? What is the best case? What does that look like? And maybe I’m too optimistic, or I think it’s I’m oversimplifying it, but I’ve seen it time and time again, people get these amazing jobs. And they they’re like, I can’t believe how this all unfolded. But it’s again, it’s tiny, little steps. It’s not, you know, like, I’m, I’m over here. And I see this thing way over here. And I’m just going to leap. No, it’s there’s stepping stones along the way, obviously. But do it scared? Yeah, go for it.

Russel Lolacher
Any resources you’d recommend to people? Because I know, I really liked that you’re saying start with yourself? Because people are immediately jumping on Indeed or Glassdoor?

Maureen McCann
Oh stop! No, really, you’re just hurting yourself, you’re hurting your self esteem, you’re hurting your self confidence. It’s adding to your imposter syndrome. Here’s what a friend of mine, JP Michelle said, go to the job search boards. As a researcher, you’re not looking for work, you’re looking to see what’s out there that might be of interest to me. And then you’re collecting those data points to see if there’s a pattern of jobs that are available that are of interest to me, but don’t go trying to figure out? Will they like me, but will they like me? Like do I have enough to be able to do their thing? Start with you first. Sorry to interrupt but yes.

Russel Lolacher
No, not at all. So as someone who has clients who have sort of pivoted moved into those new roles, give me some warm and fuzzies, Maureen, like, where are the light bulb moments that you’ve seen where it’s sort of, oh, it is better? Or if I just water here, it’s better the grass is greener, or if I go somewhere else, where have you seen such a transformation that has been so beneficial to do this? Because there are a lot of people listening to this going, “Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t, yeah. Career Transitions. I’m miserable. But I’m still, you know, I’ve got security.”

Maureen McCann
Yeah. Yeah. Well, again, this comes down to what’s most important to you. If security is most important, then don’t listen to anything. I have to say you’re fine. You’re absolutely fine. Here’s where I see the light bulb go off. I do executive resume writing for people. And I basically take all of their amazingness I take their kudos list. And I put it into a document. And I present it in a way that targets their potential employer. And I send it back to them and they’re like, oh, my gosh, like, I would hire me. That’s I love that feeling. By the way that was that’s amazing. I’m like, and again, I’m I’m a little bit like what’s the, what’s the Glinda from The Wizard of Oz? I’m like, Oh, you had this all along? Like, I couldn’t have done it for you. If you didn’t give me the information, but you had to go on this journey, in order for you to be able to see you are amazing. Like you have incredible talents and ability. So I think that number one is that shift of being able to see themselves, you know, like they just think oh, I can do this job description, and they just list those things. But when you talk about the job description, and you tie it to a result, like when you talk to people, they love you like those types of things. When you put it all together, they’re like, amazing. So that’s number one. And number two is people who are leaving organizations where they don’t feel valued. And much like my own, you know, best best employee experience, they move into an organization that values the things that are important to them. So we’re all working together to accomplish X, Y, and Z. And they’re in an organization like that. That’s where people Oh, yeah, they light up like their whole everything. It just it feels right. I don’t know how else to describe it, except they just feel they explained to me that it feels right.

Russel Lolacher
I see employee journey all the time. But I don’t think I don’t think people understand that it’s their own journey we’re talking about, it’s not something over there that somebody else is dealing with. It’s your employee journey. And do you want to be the hero of the story or the villain keeps you in the job you’re not enjoying? Yeah. I have one more question to ask because truthfully, you’ve used a Glinda, the Good Witch reference, and an Elise Myers Tiktok reference for Two Gen -Xers that still got that. So Nicely played. Nicely done. We’re hitting generations here. Yeah. Maureen, what’s one simple action people can do right now to improve their relationships at work?

Maureen McCann
Oh, great question. Oh, the most obvious, I’m going to tell you the most obvious thing that comes to mind first, is purposeful kindness. Like just be decent recognize. Bonnie Henry said this, we’re all doing our best. Recognize that everyone is doing the best that they can for where they’re at right now. And so you might not love everybody at work. But if you can just show compassion and empathy for the people that you work with. I think that’s incredibly powerful.

Russel Lolacher
And it’ll certainly help that network when you’re trying to do your career transitions later on.

Maureen McCann
Yeah, yeah, for sure.

Russel Lolacher
That’s Maureen McCann. She is Executive Career Strategist and owner of Promotion Career Solutions. And she’s been a damn delight. Thank you very much for being here and helping us learn a little bit more about career transitions.

Maureen McCann
My pleasure. Thanks so much.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *