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June 30, 2024

Someone has asked....

I know what a resume and cover letter is, but what do you mean when you suggest that I tell my Personal Career Story?

A Personal Career Story is a clear, concise explanation of your background. It's broken into three parts: Who you are, what you've done, and where you want to go next in your career. Using this three-part framework is a powerful way to help our story stand out in a crowded market. After all, humans love stories! That's why we read books, watch movies, and enjoy sharing stories with friends.


Here are some questions to help you begin developing your own Personal Career Story:

  • Who you are | What matters most to you in life and in work? When do you feel proud of what you've accomplished? What words would people use to describe you? 
  • What you've done | What activities did you most enjoy while growing up? What part of school came most naturally to you? What professional endeavours have you taken on?
  • Where you want to go next | If you could change two things about your personal career situation right now, what would it be? What type of environment do you need to be successful? 

With the answers to these kinds of questions, you can start to build a Personal Career Story that is memorable and makes your resume sound like an intentional journey, not a "random" set of experiences. Next time someone asks you to tell them about yourself, try using the Personal Career Story framework!

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May 9, 2024

Someone has asked....

My grandfather has offered to pay 100% of tuition for grad school if I want to go. I’ve never really seen it as worth it unless I go to a T20 school, mostly for the network and prestige. I got decent grades at a non-target university (3.3 GPA), so I’m not certain I would even get accepted to a top school. I currently make 90k in a HCOL area working in commercial banking. I like where I live, my friend group and my life in this city. I’m not really looking to move and don’t have a T20 school in my city, closet one would be 2 hours away.

Would you consider the smart move to get a masters, considering its 100% paid for, even if its not at a T20? I would love to continue working while getting my masters, don’t see any reason to stop earning income for 2 years. Or are masters just not really worth it especially if I’m not looking to change careers.

There's no right or wrong answer here. You need to look at (1) where you want to be in the future (generally speaking) and (2) what type of degree you'd be getting. An advanced degree can be a way to stand out in crowded markets, but on the whole, we're noticing that these degrees are holding less and less weight.

Ask yourself: what else could you do with that time and money? Would your grandfather support a loan to start your own business? Or to get a wider variety of certifications/trainings that are relevant to what you want to do? A degree is great, but it's a big commitment. Is it really the best use of the resources you have available to you?

Rooting for you!

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April 19, 2024

Someone has asked....

Recently offered a role as I was desiring upward mobility in my current location but the timeline was super unsteady (for reasons both within mgmt's control and out) so I sought opportunities externally. The offer letter has great pay hourly while training, that transitions into a solid salary but demands 50+ hours a week. It is slightly outside of my current industry, but has many transferable skills. Also, with this role, it would bar me from moving as soon as I'd like to. I had intentions on continuing my education out of state to a school that I was accepted to.

The same day my offer letter was sent, another role opened up in my company just under a different department. It completely aligns with my expertise and career goals too. The max pay is about a dollar less than the newly offered role, but I am open to negotiation/compromise. However, I'd have to start that interview process all over again- but at least I'd be an internal candidate. And this role would not prevent me from moving.

Honestly I'm just unsure of which to do and would love some career advice!

Obviously I can't make this decision for you, but it sounds like there's more to gain by giving it a go for the second offer.

That said, there's always a little risk in declining an open offer that stands.

Here's what I'd do:

Try to buy yourself a little time with offer 1 to think about it. If they are pushing you or give you a deadline to make a decision, accept the role.
Then, continue pursuing the second role even after you've accepted the first. Best case, it results in an offer which you can either take straight away or you can use as leverage to negotiate something you want in offer one (such as higher $ or the option to move).

It may feel a little shady to say yes and keep looking, but if you get to a place where you've got two offers on the table, that's a much better situation for you. And to be blunt - companies interview tons of candidates for roles. Why can't you interview tons of companies?

p.s. If you do end up with two offers, come back here and we can help you script how you'd share the news that you're retracting your "Yes" from offer 1!

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April 18, 2024

Someone has asked....

Hi,

I'm based in the UK. I graduated from university with a first-class master's degree in physics three years ago. I had a couple of pretty lame jobs as a software developer since graduating and have come to the realisation that I just can't do office jobs, they make me miserable.

So I am asking for any advice people have on what kind of career I can pursue now?

I have looked at learning a trade and training to become an electrician but the apprenticeship wage seems too small to support myself on.

Nothing worse than feeling lost like this.

I think it's important that you spend some time really thinking through two things:

  1. When do you lose track of time/enjoy getting lost in something?
  2. If you could invent a job, what do you think it might be?

Once you answer these two questions, you can look at the overlap between the two and start to see opportunities that might be a good fit for you. For example, if you're really into the outdoors and you loosely want to stay in the software space, you could consider applying for outdoor brands like Patagonia or North Face (not sure what equivalents are in the UK but you get the idea). Sometimes we can't always get the job we exactly want, but being in the right ecosystem (in this case, outdoor gear) can help give us a sense of purpose.

If you wanted to do something totally radical, you could look at something like National Park Rangers. I know here in the US they have a massive shortage of rangers and they're hiring folks any chance they can get. It most likely won't pay what you were experiencing at your SW jobs, but the upside of being outside, not being stuck behind a computer, and the sense of being on adventures each day might be well worth it.

The point here is to find spaces that your interests and skills overlap.

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April 18, 2024

Someone has asked....

Hi!!

I've been a waitress for the past almost decade and while I love it, I'm ready to move on. I love the feeling of connecting with people and making them smile, I just want something more stable.

Ideally, my career will let me:

  • Have lots of personal interaction
  • Help people and make an impact in their lives
  • Avoid desk work and let me be active or use my hands
  • Support myself and help provide for a family when I have one
  • Be stable and in-demand now and in the future

I know that that's sort of the golden job and it probably doesn't exist, but I'm hoping to get some suggestions for things that check off most of my boxes!! Thank you!!

Workplace experience teams might be an interesting one to check out, too! Or roles on People Teams, such as HR Operations Coordinators. Google both of those and see what you find! Happy to answer any Q's you might have once you get a better sense for these kinds of gigs!

Rooting for you, and I'm glad you're trying to move yourself closer to something that you feel really good about!

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April 18, 2024

Someone has asked....

My boss was fired last week - how do I protect myself?

Finding "shared goals" in moments like this can be really helpful. Then when you meet with your new manager, you can explain the state of the union in a factual way that puts you and them on the same team. That might sound something like:

"Hey BOSS. I've been looking forward to this time today, thanks for meeting with me. I know we've got a lot going on, so I wanted to dive right in.

Here's a high level view of what I'm focused on right now. (SHARE DETAILS)
I also know that with (Former Boss)'s departure, projects X, Y and Z now also need to get taken care of.

I would love to talk through which of all these projects are the most important to handle right away, and come up with a game plan to get the rest of these done well and on time. I'm not sure if you're planning on hiring a backfill for (Former Boss) or if you have another plan for this work/team, but I'd love to help however I can in getting things back on track."

Finding a common/shared goal (getting things done well and on time) makes you stand out (vs. someone who just says "I can't do this all by myself.") That said, you can't fully control the situation, so if you're getting the spidey-sense that things might get worse before they get better, you can decide whether or not you also want to start looking for other opportunities.

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April 18, 2024

Someone has asked....

Has anyone experienced this? I am a teacher and I love my work but I am constantly told I work too hard and that I will burn out…I love what I do and I want to be a principal one day. It is my dream…I literally have started hiding how much I work from everybody especially other colleagues…

Oh, this is a tricky one. Here's my quick thoughts:

  1. No one knows what's best for you more than you do. If you love what you do and you feel good about the level of energy you're committing to your work, then great.
  2. That said, I definitely recommend you check in on all parts of your life as a way to keep yourself honest. Diving deep into your career can be very rewarding, but it can become a slippery slope if other parts of your life (like friendships and physical health) start to get deprioritized.

And if this commentary is mostly from colleagues, the best case here is that they're just genuinely looking out for you. Worst case is that they may feel like they're having a hard time "keeping up" with you. Either way, you have to do what feels best for your life and your personal ambitions and just be kind to everyone along the way.

Good luck!


and p.s. Thanks for being a teacher... it's one of the most important jobs in the world.

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April 18, 2024

Someone has asked....

Can anyone point me in the right direction? I would like to try and find a mentor external to my organisation, in my field of interest (procurement) and unsure how to do this, short of randomly mailing people on LinkedIn who are high ranking procurement pros at large companies. I don't think this approach will yield much results, if any.

Any help would be fantastic. Please and thank you. I think this would benefit my career massively and would take another small step into progressing in this field.

First off - love that you're thinking about ways to grow and develop yourself. So good to see folks taking the reigns vs. waiting for someone to hand them the answer.. kudos to you!

Secondly - this is a great question and one that we see frequently. At the highest level, we recommend starting wider than just a single mentor for your learning. Here's two strategies that can unlock a ton of potential:

1. Finding resources that are already out there | Learning and growth doesn't always have to come from 1x1 time with an individual. There's a ton of free resources that Procurement companies and experts provide (a quick google search of "Procurement Development" got me this white paper for free), that can go a long way to help you expand your knowledge without having to rely on an individual.

2. Finding like minded folks | I'm not sure if you're found Procurious yet, but after a quick search, I was able to find this community of 45k+ people in the Procurement field who connect through events, mentorship, etc. This might be a great place for you to start engaging (meaning show up to events, comment on posts, etc.) and start to get your name out there. It won't lead to a 1x1 mentor overnight, but it could be a really powerful way for you to expand your perspective and your network over time.

Good luck.. rooting for you!

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April 18, 2024

Someone has asked....

Hi All,

I work in healthcare (4 years) and just started a new job in diabetes (I have my CDE but have not done a lot of complex care). I LOVED my old job but the workplace was toxic and my manager was a bit of a micromanager.

My new job of 1 week is overwhelming and so different and I've been having anxiety attacks every day about it. I even asked for my old job back but it's been radio silence (I was a great worker and left on good terms).

I'm part-time working from home (new to me), haven't met the team yet, and can hardly eat, sleep, move, let alone work. I have never felt like this about a new job and I'm so lost. My family has been very supportive but I feel so lost and alone. I have a bad feeling I made a huge mistake.

Struggling with how to move forward.

Oof. This sounds rough and I'm so sorry you're feeling this way.

Two things I assume are two:

  1. You want to be successful at this new job.
  2. The company you work for may not be supporting you well right now, but my most generous interpretation is that they don't have malintent.

That said, clearly and concisely asking for what you need might be the best way to handle this. It may sound something like this email to your manager:

"Hey Manager,

It's been about a week since I joined, and I wanted to check in to see how you're feeling about things. I'm really excited about the work that we're doing here at [Company Name] and I'm eager to continue my onboarding over the next few days and weeks.
In the spirit of clarity and making sure I'm delivering my best for you and the team, there's a few ideas/questions I have that I'd love to talk through with you.

Clear goals for the next 3-5 weeks | I'd love to pick your brain to understand what the key deliverables are that you need from me in the next few weeks. I never want to assume what is most important to you, so hearing from you what I should be focusing on would be super helpful.

A format for questions | I'd love to know how you prefer to answer questions that pop up from me. Should I keep a running list that we review all at once in our 1x1's, or should I just shoot you a direct message or email when a question pops up?

Team interactions | I'm excited to get to know the team and see how I can support them. Is there a team meeting or group chat that already exists that I could join?

Thanks in advance for your support here. I really appreciate it!"

Of course, you can modify that in any way you see fit, but I always recommend starting from a place of assuming good intent AND framing things in a way that makes it feel like you're trying to do the right thing by the company. This can really help put a manager/leader (esp inexperienced ones like you may have in this case) at ease and make them much more receptive to leaning in to support you.

Rooting for you!

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May 3, 2024

Someone has asked....

Person took a new job; not getting onboarding support and they're freaking out.

Assume good intent and ask for clear support such as crisp goals, intros to the team, and clarity on how your manager wants to recieve questions.

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