Pivoting Your Career During A Global Pandemic

In this episode, Maggie chats with Lauren McGoodwin, who is the Founder and CEO of Career Contessa, a career resource helping women be more fulfilled, healthy, and successful at work. In this episode, they talk about the steps you can take to make a pivot in your career, even during the COVID-19 crisis. Plus, Lauren gives some fantastic tips on how to effectively and successfully network from afar.

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Lauren McGoodwin is Career Contessa’s CEO, #1 power move advocate, and has a life mission to help women build successful and fulfilling careers on their terms. Lauren launched Career Contessa in 2013 out of her master’s thesis project to close the gap in career development resources for women. Career Contessa now helps over 2 million women each year with their careers through content, online learning courses, and job listings.

Formerly, Lauren was a Recruiter for Hulu focused on hiring, employer branding, and talent development. She has a Bachelor’s in Education from University of Oregon and a Master’s in Communication Management from USC where she wrote her thesis on millennial women and career resources.

Lauren has spoken at TED Women, Watermark Conference for Women, and South by Southwest, appeared on Cheddar TV, Good Day LA, and regularly contributes on career advice to outlets like Good Morning America, Goop, and more. Lauren is also the host of Career Contessa’s podcast, The Femails, covering all things work, women, and traits of success, and just released her first book, Power Moves: How Women Can Pivot, Reboot, and Build a Career of Purpose, from Harper Business, and loves to stay in touch on Instagram.

To join the Money Circle Community, visit www.maggiegermano.com/moneycircle.

To learn more about Maggie and her coaching and speaking services, visit www.maggiegermano.com.

The theme music is called Escaping Light by Aaron Sprinkle. The podcast artwork design is by Maggie’s dear husband, Dan Rader.


Maggie Germano 0:07
Thanks for listening to the money circle Podcast. I am your host, Maggie Germano and I’m a financial coach for women. I’m passionate about helping women improve their relationship with money so that they can take better control of their futures. Part of that journey is making personal finance education more accessible and less judgmental, which is why this podcast exists. Each week we’ll discuss a new financial topic to help you explore how you can make a difference in your own financial life or in society as a whole. If you’re interested in diving deeper into issues like income inequality, debt or money, shame, check out my new money circle community. In this safe feminist space women gathered to talk about money without fear of being judged or shamed. We will break down shame and build community and safety for everyone so that you can find the support you need to gain control over your finances. Visit Maggiegermano.com/moneycircle to learn more and to join the community today. I can’t wait to see you there.

Hey there, and thanks for listening. I’m your host Maggie Germano. And this week, I’m chatting with Lauren McGoodwin, who is the founder and CEO of Career Contessa, a career resource helping women be more fulfilled healthy and successful at work. In this episode, we talk about the steps you can take to make a pivot in your career even during the covid 19 crisis. Plus, Lauren gives some fantastic tips on how to effectively and successfully network from afar. If you’re considering a career pivot at some point, this episode is for you. Enjoy.

Welcome, thank you so much for being here today.

Lauren McGoodwin 1:52
Yeah, thank you for having me. I’m thrilled to be here.

Maggie Germano 1:54
Great. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Lauren McGoodwin 1:59
Yeah, so my name is Lauren McGoodwin. I’m the founder and CEO of Career Contessa. And if you’ve never, never heard of us before, we kind of do a lot of things. We are a comprehensive career resource for women. So usually the next question I get is, that’s so cool. What does that mean? So we kind of do a little bit of everything, whether no matter what stage of your career you’re in, and we are focused and tailored to advice for women, by women. So we have a jobs board, we have daily articles, we have webinars, digital events, we even have something that’s really relevant to your podcast is our own salary databases called the salary project, online courses. career coaching service. So our whole goal is what we did at career contest. That is, we want to be the most trusted one stop shop, when it comes to figuring out whatever career challenge you’re having. As you can imagine, a lot of people come to us when they’re job searching. But, you know, there’s all this other stuff related to your career outside of job searching. So once you find the job, how do you succeed in the job? How do you ask for the raise? How do you deal with the life stuff? So that’s why we call ourselves a career resource.

Maggie Germano 3:09
I love that. And I love that you’re really helping people across the board. It’s not just about when you’re looking for a new job, or it’s not just about salary negotiation. It’s like the whole the whole spectrum.

Lauren McGoodwin 3:22
Yeah, exactly. I mean, I think being there for people through every stage of their career actually helps them be more successful throughout the stages in their career. It’s why we offer different learning tools for different learning styles, different learn different stages, because at the end of the day, careers are just so deeply personal, that you can’t have a one size fit all approach. And there are certainly people who do and who focus just on job search. And I think the challenge with that is that then that resources only goal for you is like the transaction of getting a job and you know, you can get a job and grow out of a job or you can get a job and find out six months later, it’s the wrong fit. So there’s so much that’s just like, personalized to each person’s career.

Maggie Germano 4:08
Yeah, I like I like what you said too, about how there isn’t really a one size fits all I’m, I take that approach with money as well. Like, I don’t believe that it is a one size fits all. There’s no solution that’s going to work for every single person. And like you said, it’s so personal, the same with career. So I like that you’re aware of that. And you make that an important point. Totally. And so how did you find yourself in this line of work?

Lauren McGoodwin 4:34
Yeah, so most people don’t just wake up and decide they’re going to do this. Um, and I definitely learned through trial and error. I graduated during a recession when they were very few jobs. It was 2009. Everyone remembers that because I actually sadly wasn’t that long ago. Um, kind of did the thing where you really do deal with this expectation hangover. Like you graduate and you think the world is your oyster. You’re gonna have this cool, amazing job, you know that Netflix show Emily in Paris. That’s not real life. I did not get that. So I graduated with zero job prospects, no idea what I wanted to do, but also the massive expectation that I, you know, career fulfillment and success was a formula, the this whole one plus one would equal two thing. And, and kind of to make a long story short, I eventually moved from Portland, Oregon to Los Angeles, I got a job working as an admin assistant for a university, not a dream job by any means. Definitely not glamorous, nothing that they show on TV, but I, you know, bills don’t pay themselves. And now I kind of refer to it as like my bridge job at the time. Um, and that actually was, I think being in a job I hated and feeling like I was kind of like, too good for the job actually, was a really good learning experience. Because I became sort of obsessed with like, how do people figure out what career they’re meant to have an going on that journey. And eventually, it led me to a random assignment in recruiting at the university, which then led me to be like, Oh, I want to be a recruiter, this is totally the career path that aligns with me, ended up having a reaching out over about a eight to nine month period, for informational interviews, I reached out to about 70 recruiters in the LA area, about 30 of them got back to me, and I was able to use all that information I learned. And the reason why I put this in the story is because none of it has to do with additional education, right? This is me having free conversations with people taking notes, and then leveraging that into a career opportunity where I eventually became a recruiter at Hulu and worked my way up at Hulu. And that is where I really emerged sort of my personal experience with the really tangible, relevant experience, aka recruitment. How do people actually jobs? What are employers looking for hiring managers? What’s that process like? And I kind of learned the nuts and bolts, but I was a young woman working for a tech company, I was looking around and saying, Oh, no, a lot of people look like me here. And, you know, while I work for the school, young company, right now, what what does this mean for the future. And so I eventually career contesta was built out of the prototype of a master’s thesis that I was writing and researching, which was millennial women and Career Resources. And just whether you’re a woman or not just really recognizing that how quickly the world was moving in one direction careers were moving to another, and how is the intersection going to combine and what resources people actually need to help them navigate it because career centers, they’re great, but they’re, they’re kind of, you know, in the dark ages, when it comes to advice, it’s actually relevant to what’s out there today.

Maggie Germano 7:41
I love that I love how you combined your work experience and like the recruiting piece, but also what you were learning through your own experiences. And, and I also really liked what you said about how you didn’t necessarily need continuing education that it was you were able to connect with people to learn to gather information and resources, because I hear that so much where someone, they maybe they don’t want to do the work that they’re doing anymore, maybe they’re not sure what they want to do instead. And like, the automatic assumption is you have to go get your master’s in something, even if it’s not like, you know what you want to go get your masters where it’s like, oh, I must have to go get masters who need in order to change my career.

Lauren McGoodwin 8:24
Totally. I mean, it goes back to the expectation of like, you’re hoping there’s some crystal ball or I was juggling a magic eight ball that you can shake, and it will tell you what to do. And whether you go for the immediate gratification of enrolling in a program and feeling like you’re checking that box, or you actually do the work. I mean, there’s no quick fix to this. You know, I just wrote an entire book, it’s called power moves, how women can pivot, reboot, build a career purpose. And the whole point of the book is to show like, hey, after all the time of me interviewing people and work and being in this career, of running career contessa, plus my own experience, I haven’t found a secret success formula. And that’s because it doesn’t exist. And so like, truly, this is about a, quote, unquote, career lifestyle that you have to take on it. Because there’s no quick fix. There’s no fad diet when it comes to work and your career. And I think the silver lining of that is actually you don’t want that that would mean that you don’t evolve as a person, your interests never change you, you know, never start your own business. Because whatever you started doing at 21, you do the rest of your life, right? So there’s a silver lining in that but also, you know, like with a lot of things in life, I think it comes down to sort of managing your expectations and learning how to, I like to use this metaphor of like, when people are surfing, they don’t ride this the whole same wave the whole time, right. The goal is to catch lots of different waves and to learn how to get up faster. That’s kind of the same thing with your career. We’re not trying to just ride one wave the rest of our life. We want to be able to To learn how to pit it, learn how to reboot. And those are those coping mechanisms that very few of us are taught especially because school is really formulaic. You know, there’s a schedule, there’s a syllabus, you are graded, like you always know how well your performance is because you get that report card or whatever. And like real life is unscheduled, real life doesn’t move as quickly in real life is not glamorous, and real life doesn’t always give you feedback. And you certainly don’t get a report card every three months, that tells you like, you’re great. And you get to move to the next grade, right? Like, sometimes you have the same job, and it doesn’t change for three years. So those are just realities that the, you know, the fantasy never includes in it.

Maggie Germano 10:46
Right. And, and I know like in my own experience, and then I think women more generally to like, not getting that report card, not getting those grades. It’s really hard to just like go about your life and be like, I think I’m doing a good job. But I’m not getting this like, you know, immediate gratification or immediate like pat on the head telling me that I’m doing the right things because life is not as structured and formulaic in school. And of course, we have things like performance reviews and things like that at work, usually, but that’s still not Oh, it’s like once a year.

Lauren McGoodwin 11:23
Yeah, there’s actually a name for two I think writers or researchers coined this term is called the Tiara syndrome is the belief that you’re going to work really hard. And someone’s going to come and drop that tiara on your head and woman or man, I don’t know, I don’t know. I can’t remember their research pointed out women. But I agree with you. My gut instinct is that this is definitely more of a woman thing, just from the fact that we know that there’s research that says women won’t apply for a job unless they need 100% of the qualification. So there’s just like, I think more risk adverse, we’re like a little bit more risk averse with that. But I think to your point, this trs and drum is something that you again, I don’t want to overuse the word expectations, but it’s like, I’ll work really hard to keep my head down and hard work equals success. And we just have seen time and time again, that’s not a guarantee. So your your good work might not be recognized.

Maggie Germano 12:21
Right. As much as we wish we lived in a meritocracy we don’t do a lot of people get plenty far ahead without actually necessarily working that hard. And there are so many people who are working as hard as they possibly can and still getting stuck. So yeah, yeah, it’s it’s kind of about playing the game in the right way, or just like knowing what you should and shouldn’t shouldn’t be doing to get ahead, unfortunately.

Lauren McGoodwin 12:45
Yeah, exactly.

Maggie Germano 12:47
And so you mentioned the word pivot a couple times. And the reason I am having you here today is to talk about taking not necessarily the opportunity of the COVID-19 crisis. But obviously a lot of people are losing their jobs, a lot of industries are really suffering. I think a lot of people are getting different perspectives as they’re kind of stuck at home and not able to, like do the things that they would normally do or see the people they would normally see. And I think a lot of our humanity and mortality is kind of more front of mind right now. Yeah. So I think a lot of people are also thinking like whether they need to pivot and career because they’ve lost a job. Or they’re getting a different perspective, and they want to pivot in their career. Are you hearing from people right now, where that is something that seems to be coming up more and more,

Lauren McGoodwin 13:43
yeah, all the above. And either you’ve been forced into a pivot because maybe you’ve been laid off due to COVID. Or you’re just having this ability to think about your time and what you want to do with your life and where you want to do it in a way where the world has never paused like this before, you know, and so, I’m, I’m sure everyone hates the word silver lining at this point. But like it is a silver lining of this is that the world was on a hamster wheel. I mean, think of imagine having, like going back to the pace of life you were at nine months ago before the pandemic, you know, like it seems unfathomable right now, but we were we all had so many distractions in our life, whether we’re aware of it or not, it could be the long commute. It could be you know, the constant happy hours are social this or that or whatever it was that you were doing with your free time. So I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. The pivot is something that people some people are forced into it totally and other people aren’t but they are forcing themselves into involved. It’s a voluntary, voluntarily pivoting situation for them. I think. I think these moments are really good. And I think that very few of us especially like I think about my generation where We graduated in oh nine with no job. So there was never a feeling of like jobs are there go take the summer off and, you know, find yourself or whatever whatever people do in that situation like we never had that. So this is a really unique experience, depending on how people want to use it for sure.

Maggie Germano 15:19
Yeah, I agree. And I, I also graduated in 2009. And so same kind of thing of like, nothing’s necessarily a given in terms of what the opportunities are. And unfortunately, I think a lot of the people graduating this year are going to have a similar experience,

Lauren McGoodwin 15:37
I think they might even have it worse than we did. I think the only thing that’s maybe positive is that I felt like it was only happening to some of us, whereas like for them, I think it’s happening to everybody. So Only time will tell who got the better end of that stick. And regardless, it you know, changes like this changes uncomfortable for people, it makes everyone I think, the inner critic, like all the worst parts of your inner critic, your you know, negativity bias, all that stuff is like comes up all at once. So I think there’s a challenge. Also, that comes with it, this change on the horizon feeling too

Maggie Germano 16:22
Yeah, so related to that, what do you what are you recommending to people as like, initial first step, so whether it is a forced pivot, or a chosen pivot, if that is something that people need to start considering, right now, what are some of those first steps you recommend?

Lauren McGoodwin 16:39
Yeah, so the first step I recommend, which I know people are gonna be anti is really to stop and pause and reflect, I think, and I’m like this, especially when I’m feeling anxious, it makes me feel better to be moving and doing something and just like feeling like I’m accomplishing something. But the The trick here is to be really purposeful, and be really proactive about what your next moves are going to be and not just reactive. And the only way to do that is to actually start with reflection first. So that means that that really tough internal work of maybe having informational interviews with people who worked with you before maybe going through like a Strengths Finder, you know, work, whether that’s hiring a Strengths Finder expert to help you kind of learn more about what your strengths are just even like sitting down with a piece of paper and thinking about them. If you’re still working, I always highly recommend that people keep a work journal, because what you didn’t do day in and day out is actually ultimately what shapes kind of your overall actions and who you are. And so we actually have a really hard time remembering anything in our days or weeks. So keeping a work journal can actually help you recognize what are the interpersonal challenges that you come up against? What are the things that really energize you? Where are the places that you consistently see, like, you know, successes with that that’s required for your job. So I always tell people to start with reflection, um, there’s a caveat to that is that if you’ve been laid off and you need a job right away, I’m always going to tell someone like, hey, before you do the reflection, or go find a job, because there’s this thing called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And what it means is like, if you don’t have basic needs, shelter, food, and you know, emotional support, if you don’t have some of the basic stuff, you’re not gonna be able to do any of the other things that I’m talking about successfully. And you can always kind of figure out what is that bridge job that you’re going to get, which is literally just a job that you’re taking to help you support yourself. For now, it’s a bridge to where you want to go, and then carve out time, where and how you can to focus on this reflection stuff that I’m talking about. So that’s where I always tell people to start. You know, people think the Rebbe is about the hustle, like how can you Hustle, Hustle, Hustle, the reboot is about stepping backwards and say, Wait, timeout, let me let me see this through, you know, a new lens that I haven’t seen it before. And that’s just something where it’s like, our society tells us that hustle culture is the answer to things. But I can tell you from interviewing a lot of people, very few people actually got clarity from, you know, buisiness and checking things off a list just for the sake of checking things off the list. It leads to what I was talking about, which is this really like very reactive moves versus really proactive moves, which are very different. I know they sound similar, but they’re very different.

Maggie Germano 19:38
Yeah, and, and being more reactive instead of proactive and not taking the time to reflect and just getting right back on that hamster wheel that you refer to. It sounds like it’s more likely to end up where you were already that maybe you weren’t happy with to begin with.

Lauren McGoodwin 19:56
Yeah, and that’s why I always say people hate when I say You’re not going to like this because it’s the tough internal work. But it’s like, we are a culture of immediate gratification, like, I know that you can do most things on demand careers are not that. And so you need to gear up for this to be something that might take six to 12 months for you to really nail down and figure out, but it will be totally worth it, taking one year out to find the job that is really a good fit for you and fulfilling and hits your purpose aligns with your values means that you could have 30 years of a successful career doing stuff that you like. So it’s like, you have to also think about this in the big picture, you know, take that 30,000 viewpoint, versus the 10,000 viewpoint. And that is something that you always say like even with running my own business. And so I guess this is like a good metaphor is like, the hardest part of my job isn’t all the things I can do. It’s all the things I have to say no to and where do you focus, same focus on what your goal is, especially when day in and day out, you’re not getting like a gold star is really hard. And it takes a discipline and a, you know, a mental endurance that is 10 times harder than me going out and like making a ton of landing pages or sending a bunch of emails or making a bunch of Instagram post or something like that.

Maggie Germano 21:26
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And and First, I want to say I like what you said, and I really appreciated what you said about like, if you’ve been laid off, and you just need to support yourself and cover your needs and get those bills paid. Like getting the first job you can get is the first step I I think that it’s easy for people to gloss over that sometimes people who are more privileged to can dissolve, just like wait and get your dream job like don’t take a bridge job. And that’s just very unrealistic for most people. Most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck anyway. So I appreciated you saying that. And then another thing that you said that I really liked is that it can take a while like, especially if you’re already working, and you’re trying to figure out what you want to do next, and figuring out a way into that new career, letting it take a while as you’re kind of building it up. I know that that can be really hard for a lot of people, especially if you’re kind of a go getter who was like, okay, I’ve made this decision, now I need to execute it. But there’s nothing wrong with methodically working towards where you want to end up being and making sure you’re doing it the right way.

Lauren McGoodwin 22:33
Yeah, and I find that. So in the book, I call them power moves for this exact reason. They’re habits or actions that help you build toward a successful and fulfilling career in your term. So maybe you have your big power move, but there’s also a daily power moves and medium power moves, right. So if the big power move is to find that next job that you know, checks all these boxes, but there’s some daily power moves that you could be doing, it could be keeping a morning routine, consistently, it could be keeping a workday, like there are daily things that you can be doing, where you get the satisfaction of the habit and build the build up. But recognizing that, okay, I get the satisfaction of the daily, but I’m still working towards a big one. And so that’s something to really understand is that prepare yourself and find ways, especially with creating habits that do create this forward momentum. It’s why you see names all over the internet that say focus on progress, not perfection. Perfection is sort of this, it doesn’t exist. And so what it does is it’s another one of those distractions where you’re focused on the thing so far ahead in the future, that of course, you’re going to change directions 100 times and guess what they’ve also found that people become so psychologically attached to that angle, that actually changing in any way, shape, or form becomes painful for them. That’s why the person who never wanted to become a lawyer comes a lawyer, and then goes, Oh, I’m a lawyer, and I’m unhappy or whatever, poor lawyers, they always get that used for their metaphor of like, bad jobs. But the point being is like, if you get too attached to that long term thing, and you’re not willing to have the daily and medium power moves that help you edit, or kind of turn the dial the volume dial where and how you need it, then you end up in a sticky spot. And I’ve referred to this as the ambition trap, you know, like, yes, you’re ambitious. Yes, you’ve checked all these boxes. Yes, you look really amazing on LinkedIn, and you sound great at a cocktail party, but you’re unhappy, you’re miserable. There are a lot of people that are successful, but being successful and fulfilled in a job is truly unique.

Maggie Germano 24:43
I yeah, I hear you there. And that really resonates. Um, so I was in a meeting earlier today with a few of my other entrepreneur friends and something that’s been coming up I think across the board for a lot of small business owners during COVID is a lot of people have had to kind of decide if they’re going to keep going with their business and if they need to get a job. And, and I and I’ve said this before with other folks on the podcast, there’s no, there’s no shame in going back to the nine to five. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that.

Lauren McGoodwin 25:17
People ask me this all the time. They’re like, could you ever go back tonight? I’m like, Yeah, very quickly, like really easily it. So I agree, there’s absolutely no shame, like having a job is incredible.

Maggie Germano 25:29
Yeah, it’s predictable. You get your paychecks every two weeks, you have your benefits, and they take care of your taxes for you, which is probably the best part one of the best parts. Um, so yeah, all of us. You know, just to put that out there. There’s no shame in that. But a lot of people do feel like they’re, they have to do that right now. Do you have any advice for folks who are going from being self employed to trying to get back into the nine to five workforce because a friend of mine in particular, she was like, I’ve been out of the workforce for over a decade, I don’t even know how to like, sell myself to these people. Like, do you have tips for that?

Lauren McGoodwin 26:07
Yeah. So right away, just in her comment, I hear a lot of like, self doubt and limiting beliefs, right. So the narratives we tell ourselves are so important, because they truly can be be in charge of driving the car, and you’re the car, right? So you want to be in the driver’s seat of your car. And so the first thing I would say is that for anyone who’s thinking about making that transition, you’re going to have to confront a lot of your fear based thoughts. And one of the best way and I would say similar to like, when people are trying to confront imposter syndrome, one of the best things you can do is confront these things with facts. So I’m amazing. And here are the facts on why I’m amazing or like, I’m a really, let’s say, it’s a money person, like, I’m a great accountant, or I’m great with money, like getting a job in the financial sector, here’s why I would be a great asset to somebody. So I think that’s kind of the first thing I would tell them is like, hey, maybe spend some time working through those fear based thoughts. And a big piece of that too, just so people don’t think I’m getting too woo is like, writing down. Like when you have that thought pop in your head, just write it down. So that you start to understand, like, what are these thoughts, and also, sometimes putting the thought to paper makes it so that it doesn’t exist anymore, because you look at it on paper, you’re like, that’s so silly, right? But in your head, you get to have things all of a sudden become the most important thing ever, right? You get to overanalyze something. So, um, first is sort of kind of a self care s piece of this, which is create good habits that help set you up to be mentally and emotionally and maybe even spiritually prepared for what you’re about to go through. And then the next steps I always get into are like super tangible and the logistics of like, okay, but other workforce for a few years, you’ve been working for yourself? Um, do you have a resume? Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Do you have a portfolio site? Do you know what you want to do? Do you know what kind of companies you want to work for? Who do you know, in your network? Can you start networking, right? Like then I get into these like heavy duty tangible things. But one of the reasons why I focus so much on the narratives and the self limiting beliefs and kind of focusing on that stuff, and what are the triggers, like when you become really envious of somebody and start the comparison, you know, compare and despair situation? What is it about that that you’re envious of? The reason why this work is so important is because confidence is going to be really important for you for the interview for selling yourself. Nobody wants to hire the desperate employee, right? They want to hire the person who’s like, Look, I’ve been kicking ass in my own business for the last 10 years, I’m not doing this out of desperation, I’m doing this because I want to add value to this organization. Here’s where you guys are getting all these things wrong. Because you’ve worked in 100 person organization, you haven’t had to be, you know, scrappy, the way I’ve had to be scrappy. And here’s how I can offer that insight to you. Right, like so one. One is like super impressive. And you’re like, whatever you’re having, I’m having like, I want that. And the other is a, I just don’t know where the right culture and all the other buzzwords that people come up with, to say that a person isn’t right for the role. So I would say the first thing is to also like the self limiting beliefs and kind of focus on that. But also, I would say, get some clarity on what it is that you want to do next and start networking. And especially I see that the networking strategy is really important when you are returning to the workforce versus when you remained in the workforce.

Maggie Germano 29:44
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And so related to the networking piece, especially because we are still in a global pandemic, we’re not sure if well, it when it will go back. It’ll cut we’ll be able to see each other in person again, safely. But how do you recommend folks, make those connections? Do the networking keep up and, you know, start engaging with people as they’re either trying to get a job now or trying to pivot down the line?

Lauren McGoodwin 30:13
Well, first of all, no one wants to network with someone where the person is like, delighted and has no idea what they want. And they’re just like, sort of at the other end of the line, right? So I would say, in order to be a successful network, you have to know a little bit about what it is that you want and why. So for example, let’s say you want to go work for a fin tech company in business development. Amazing, you’ve narrowed it down enough that you can focus on networking with people who work for FinTech companies, or people who work in business development for maybe tech startups of some sort. And learn more about what is business development look like? What skills are required for them, what when they look at resumes, what really impresses them, for example. And the reason why I say this is because you really want to have a learning goal in mind before you start networking. Um, learning goal doesn’t have to be like a paragraph long, maybe it’s just, I want to know what it’s like to work at XYZ company because I’ve been working for myself and I love it. The last thing I want to do is go work for a company that I hate, right? Or I want to learn about why this person transition their career from here to there. Like it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Um, as far as networking, I think people are totally on board with virtual networking over zoom phone, I think to be a good networker. I think you want to make it easy for that person to say yes. Okay. They want to know, how can I add value? How can I help if they have no idea what it is that you want from them, or how they can help, they’ll probably very easily ignore your email, warm network and warm connections are always great. So being able to say to your friend, like, Hi, I know, you know, so um, so who works at fin tech company. Here’s my background. By the way, on Career Contessa. We have free email templates for everything I’m talking about. Go to career contessa.com, click on downloads, and you’ll see tons of worksheets and even email templates on how to let your network know that you’re job searching, how to reach out to someone for an informational interview, what questions to ask an informational interview. So those are all kind of, I’m trying not to make this too overwhelming and broad, but at the end of the day networking, whether it’s virtual or in person, I don’t think matters. I think what always will matter is how good of a networker are you. And the key is making it easy for them to say yes, having a learning goal in mind, being really clear about what you’re trying to get out of it. And then also maintaining that network, right. So if you’ve formed, maybe it was a warm connection, stay in touch with them. If it’s a cold connection, stay in touch with them, thank them for their time. True story, the girl who took my job. When I left Hulu was the one I had an informational interview with about nine months earlier. We didn’t know that I was leaving my job at that time. But she was super impressive. And she stayed in touch with me. And then when I was leaving my job, and she happened to just stay like randomly stay in touch. I was like, Oh my gosh, maybe she would be a good fit for the role. And she was and she got the job. So that’s why staying Top of Mind and like not getting your own head about a female this person too many times like, stop, stop, stop, stop, write it down on paper, look at how ridiculous that sounds. And send the email. Like just send the damn email like the worst thing that’s going to happen. I kid you not. I reached out to someone a year ago for a press opportunity. And they got back to me today. say oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. I let this email slide. This was a year ago, right. And so my point being is like, people sometimes as long as you’re not too obnoxious with it, like every other day, like, they appreciate the follow up too. And that’s sort of required in today’s world.

Maggie Germano 33:46
That’s really good advice. And I agree to it. Sometimes people just let things get lost in their inbox or they have other things going on. Like we all have other things going on. One of the best pieces of advice I got from a sales coach was like, you never really know what’s going on in someone’s life. If they’re ignoring you, it probably literally has nothing to do with you.

Lauren McGoodwin 34:09
I caught Brene Brown says this and one of her books she gives a story of like people in a meeting and like you say something the boss like looks down like with a pissed off face. And you like overanalyze it the rest of the day, like how did I say that wrong that I make a face whatever. And literally later on you find out that the boss had just gotten a text message from their son that he got a tattoo and she hated it and she was disgusted and that’s why she was making the Pit Stop. It had nothing to do with you. So like, it’s so important also to like, not make up someone else’s story right like to your sales coaches points like you don’t know what’s going on in other people’s lives. And also everyone is pivoting and putting it out there right now. Like there’s never been a better time in my opinion, to make a pivot and a change because the storyline of why you’re leaving Your business to go in house somewhere, has never made more sense or like people who want to transition careers. It’s never made more sense. So just know like, You’re not the only person out there doing this right now either.

Maggie Germano 35:13
Right? Exactly. And, and something else that you said that I think it’s important for people to remember is, as long as you’re being polite and respectful when you’re reaching out and not harassing someone every single day or every other day and being demanding and your messages, I think, if you’re being straightforward, like you said about what you’re looking for, and how they can help you and respectful of their time in their inbox, I there’s no reason to assume anyone’s gonna have a negative reaction to you, even if they ignore you.

Lauren McGoodwin 35:42
Totally. And I would say always start this stuff. I mean, look, the you know, the thing in sales, are they always be closing, it’s like, well, you should always be networking, because building relationships before you need something, is really the best. I recognize that that’s now hindsight for some people, but and it’s always best if you can do this stuff without the expectation of something on the other end, because I think what really bums people out and kills their confidence is I sent five emails, nobody got back to me today. It’s like, I’m a loser. That’s why no one got asked me. It’s like, no, but you sent five emails and their timeline doesn’t exist, like your email is not their to do lists item, you know what I mean? Like, you don’t control their to do list, they control it. So, um, yeah, I think being respectful. And having managing your own expectations is, is really, really important for sure. And I would say there’s like a sense of entitlement with that that happens, where you’re like, I’m entitled to getting this email back from a person because I found their email on the internet, it’s like, this is one of my pet peeves with email is like just anybody can find your email and send something to your inbox, it’s like, then you also have to expect that because it’s that easy to find them that you’re not entitled to a response from a complete stranger, they get to decide when and how. And if you don’t like that, then sorry, that’s just the reality of the world we live in.

Maggie Germano 37:04
Yeah, totally. I think that’s an important thing to remember. And because people are so accessible now, through the internet, whether it’s a LinkedIn message, or email, or Slack, or whatever else it might be, because we’re more accessible, I think it makes it harder to hear back from people either at all or in a timely manner, or in a way that we prefer. And that’s just kind of how it is now. And we just have to kind of accept that, I think as we’re moving along.

Lauren McGoodwin 37:35
Yeah, totally.

Maggie Germano 37:37
So is there anything else that you would recommend to folks that you haven’t touched on yet, you know, in terms of making that pivot, whether it’s trying to figure out how they want to pivot or actually taking action on the pivot, anything you haven’t already touched on?

Lauren McGoodwin 37:55
Um, how I would say, someone who’s a recruiter before, you know, there’s a lot of competition. So I think these are tangible things, but it’s like tailor your resume, your LinkedIn and whatever else you’re going to send us, for us, the employer, it’s about us not about you, you know, and when you are applying for jobs online, if you’re doing that, apply online, but then find somebody to send your resume directly to because a lot of those systems are applicant tracking systems, and maybe somebody is going through them, but maybe somebody is not. And you’d be shocked at how few people ever actually do the actual work to like find someone to actually send their resume to the person you send it to, you can do some research, sometimes it will say in the job posting who the double we be reporting to, you can also do some LinkedIn research to find out okay, who else works in that department might be able to find the recruiter for the role. So like, for example, at Hulu, I would say I’m a tech recruiter. So if you reached out to me for a PR opportunity, I wasn’t at all the right contacts. So you know, read the details, if someone’s saying that. And so I think that those are again, just like how can you be a little bit more successful with your efforts? I think it’s also really valuable to like find an accountability partners, find someone who can be a support, like the fact that you have a group that you talk to, like those are so so so valuable to helping people stick with their long term goals. So the person who is trying to make that career transition, I would also say like for the person in your group who wants to make that transition, yes, they want to network with people who can potentially get them the job, but also network with people who have maybe already made a transition and learn what was their strategy, what did they find to be the most successful? What helps them stand out? You know, just be become like a sponge of information to think about how can you go about this a different way? And I think going back to the point I made earlier, let’s just remember, like staying focused on something is 10 times harder than it is to easily get distracted and be like, Oh, I got this and Amazing, like partnership in my inbox, partnership opportunity, my inbox and now in Devon, my job search, I’m going to stick to this right. So and that happens, I think often is like one bad day leads people down a certain rabbit hole. So I think the problem with that is that you’re not really making progress in either of those areas. So sometimes it’s about like, picking a lane and sticking with it. And, and not having that the picking of the lane be this, again, reactive career move.

Maggie Germano 40:32
Yeah, I think that’s really good advice. And just even one small comment you made of like, just because you had a bad day doesn’t mean you need to like throw away all the plans and all the effort.

Lauren McGoodwin 40:44
Entrepreneurs are quitting all the time, just say,

Maggie Germano 40:48
especially during a year like this, but even in normal years, like whether you’re an entrepreneur or a person, you know, at a nine to five job like you can have bad days, that doesn’t mean you’ve ever been putting. Exactly. And it doesn’t even just apply to career like any like relationship or other choice you’ve made like just not making those immediate changes, because some you had a bad day or someone didn’t get back to you in a way that you wanted them to, or you didn’t get the job offer that you wanted. And I think that’s why that touches back to why it’s so important to do that reflection in the beginning to really understand what it is that you want and why. And then you’ll be able to, like reconnect with that even when you’re having bad days.

Lauren McGoodwin 41:34
Yeah, and that’s why the support system is so important. Sometimes you need another even though you’re you’re not really going to quit, sometimes you just want to hear someone say, Oh, don’t quit, you’re amazing, you should stick with it. Like, I think maybe this is a female thing. But like, I think especially for women, it’s like having someone you can vent to and someone who’s going to be the cheerleader, and the friend group who’s on the text email chain hyping you up like you need that do not like underestimate the power of that. And also, I just want everyone to know, it feels just as amazing to give that support as it does to receive that support. So maybe you are looking for that. And you’re like, well, how can I create that start by giving it to somebody or a group of friends or something like that.

Maggie Germano 42:19
I like that a lot. And that keeps that accountability. It also keeps you from feeling so isolated alone, which I know that like pivoting or doing a job search or anything like that can feel really isolating, especially now that we’re stuck at home. So yeah, even just having it as a text chain or, you know, a monthly Google Hangout or something can be really helpful.

Lauren McGoodwin 42:43
Yep, totally agree.

Maggie Germano 42:45
So is there anything that you’re working on right now or that’s going on over at career Contessa that you want to make sure folks know about?

Lauren McGoodwin 42:52
You know, I launched my book in May. And it took me two years to write. So my promise myself was, I’m going to focus on that for as many years as it took me to write it. So while we’re not doing and I would say just like, I get this question a lot. And it’s, it’s a great question. But I also think it’s funny that this question is something that our society so like, I guess, like, obsessed with is like, what are you doing next? What are you doing next, I’m trying really hard in my business to not have an obsession with launching something new and always doing something new. And I look now I’ve been doing this for seven years. So I at least have enough years where I can like look back and like do a like comparison and recognize that like the years that I’ve like, been kind of scatterbrained or trying a lot of new things. And while there’s always a lot of new learnings from that, like sometimes you it’s better for me to stay focused on just keeping the momentum of what we’re doing, versus trying to do something it does that make sense? So it’s like I, the question is good. And I think it’s also a fun question like what’s new that’s happening. But I also think that, with that, and all the glamorous answers that people always give, it distracts people into thinking that they always have to have this amazing answer to that. I don’t have an amazing answer to that I don’t have any plans except to survive this year, and hopefully survive next year. You know, as an entrepreneur. There’s nothing glamorous and glitzy of that. But that is the reality of running a business, especially right now. And also, I’m happy about that, if that makes sense. Like I’m happy about trying to find things that are working and do more of those than trying to just find more things to offer. And I would say in general for entrepreneurs, I would hope that advice kind of like resonates with people is that you don’t always have to be launching something or building something new or like planning something and maybe kind of start to recognize like when you you’re doing that and how what your anxiety levels are and see if you can find a correlation for me there’s a direct correlation between like Probably being anxious about the future work or something like that, to building this thing and doing this thing and launching this thing and news? No, no, no, no, no, no. And so whether you have a good answer to that or not, I just want to preface like, I don’t have a good answer to that. But also, I’m okay with not having a good answer to that. And I do feel like took me two years to write a book, I should at least take the two years to like, put it out there and share it and enjoy it. Because that’s another thing is like, then your accomplishments, what happens is like, they’re over like that, you know, you you finish this thing. And you’re like, Okay, on to the next on to the next on to the next style. I’m in a phase of do what I say not always do as I do, but I’m trying to, to do that more and subscribe to that more often.

Maggie Germano 45:49
I really appreciate that. And I mean, like you said, writing a book is a huge accomplishment. And like you were saying, we tend to, if we’re always looking at our next best thing, it’s really hard to appreciate the things we have achieved. And you took two years to write a book if you only talked about it for like the first month after it published. Like, what a bummer. Yeah, cuz now you’re like, Okay, well, that’s over. Guess I have to do something else now. And so yeah, I think, yeah, talk about your book for two years, it’s gonna be just as helpful for people for a long time, you know?

Lauren McGoodwin 46:23
Yeah, unfortunately, career books are very helpful right now. And I also feel just a little bit to your point of like, accomplishments go by so quickly for people. So if you have other things that you’re excited about, start working on those, but if not, don’t force yourself into working building and launching something or whatever it is that you want to do, just for the sake of having something new. It all goes back to sort of the distractions and our society is great at distractions. It’s like, Oh, you don’t haven’t put anything on your Instagram in a while, like, you better find something pretty cool to do. And it’s like, why are you driving for four hours to a pumpkin patch on a 90 degree day when you don’t want to do this anyways? Right, like, so. And that’s a bad example. I live in LA. So it’s really hot right now. But, um, it’s just, it’s just sort of like a bad habit that I hope we can help ourselves break.

Maggie Germano 47:16
I totally agree. And I think we’ll all be much happier for it. Because then we’ll actually pay attention to the things we have done, and appreciate them and be proud of ourselves for longer. And instead of it always being, again, this like hamster wheel of what’s next. How do I prove myself and not thinking about what we’ve actually done? And how to be proud of ourselves in the moment?

Lauren McGoodwin 47:37
I can’t even imagine a world like that, but I think we should try it.

Maggie Germano 47:40
I totally agree. So how can folks follow along with you and the work you’re doing?

Lauren McGoodwin 47:47
Yeah, so, you can go to careercontessa.com. We are @careercontessa on every social media platform. you can think of my book is powermovesbook.com. And we also have a weekly podcast, it’s called the femails so you can subscribe to that, we spell it a little funky is f e m, ai LS, so female and emails get at women and work. I feel like if you have to explain it, then it doesn’t work like that. But anyway, that’s our show. With weekly created by so that those are all the ways to find and stay in touch.

Maggie Germano 48:23
Wonderful. And I will link to all of those in the show notes so that folks have easy access to that. But I really appreciate you taking the time. I know that this is going to be really helpful for a lot of people out there who are thinking about changing or needing to change what they’re doing. I think you really had some great insight. I’m excited for everyone to hear.

Lauren McGoodwin 48:42
Yeah, thank you for the opportunity,

Maggie Germano 48:44
of course.

Thank you so much for listening to the money circle podcast this week. If you like the conversations we’re having here and you’d like to go even deeper. Join the new money circle community. In this safe intersectional feminist space. We will break down money shame and build community and safety for everyone so that you can find the support you need to gain control over your finances. Visit Maggiegermano.com/moneycircle to learn more. And to join. If you’d like to get more connected with me, subscribe to my weekly newsletter at Maggiegermano.com/subscribe. To learn more about my financial coaching services, my speaking and workshop offerings or just to read my blog visit Maggiegermano.com. You can also follow me on instagram and twitter @MaggieGermano. I look forward to hearing from you. Bye bye