030: Win Big Promotions by Communicating Your Value with Julie Schaller

What makes you the best candidate for that big promotion?  Common interview questions like this often trip up engineering career growth.

How do you communicate your value in a way that differentiates you from your competition?  

Has emotional congruence been a barrier and blind spot in your career?

In this episode, discover the power of positioning your value with Career Growth Coach, Julie Schaller.

She is a Professional Certified Coach through the ICF, and her clients have received next-level promotions, increased confidence and credibility, and great jobs that are fulfilling, lucrative and challenging – within an average of 4 months!

Julie has also felt the pain of burnout first hand.

Prior to coaching, she spent 12 years at Microsoft in operational and business leadership roles. She understands the challenges busy professionals like you face.

So press play and let’s chat… and get unstuck in your career growth!

 

The Happy Engineer Podcast

WATCH EPISODE 030: WIN BIG PROMOTIONS BY COMMUNICATING YOUR VALUE WITH JULIE SCHALLER

LISTEN TO EPISODE 030: WIN BIG PROMOTIONS BY COMMUNICATING YOUR VALUE INTERVIEW WITH ZACH’S DEBRIEF

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WIN BIG PROMOTIONS BY COMMUNICATING YOUR VALUE

Your brain, your psychology, your nervous system, is wired for survival, not success.

Let me say that again. It is absolutely essential that you understand this. The natural, automatic behaviors of your psychology are wired for survival, not success.

That need for safety manifests in your thinking as a craving for certainty.  When you don’t know what you want to do next, when you don’t know how to proceed, when you feel overwhelmed and uneasy and uncertain about how to move forward… You are going to experience being stuck, frustrated, uneasy, or unhappy. All of that is triggered when you don’t have the certainty that you’re looking for. 

Do you have clarity on what you want?

You need to learn how to trust yourself to answer that question.

Make sure that you are not hiding behind the blind spot of emotional congruence. I think that is a really useful model that Julie put in front of us in this episode.  If you have not listened yet, I encourage you to do so.  Clarity is not just about logical, rational, analytical dimensions of your career. It is also about the values, feelings, emotions, and the quality of your life.

The quality of your life depends on the quality of your work life. 

Know where you want to go, but having trouble getting there? Two things are blocking you. 

Positioning and mindset. 

I love this simple and actionable framework.

Do you have clear positioning for yourself?  In how you communicate, how you network and how you portray your value into the organization? Go back and listen again to how Julie described what it really means to communicate your value through a clear personal career position. Who you are with key adjectives, what you do in the language of meaningful results.

Every engineer wants to have “more” results. But consider this instead.

Better is worth more than more.

And DIFFERENT is better than better. 

You want to be able to say with clarity, what makes you different? 

Mindset. The mental blocks most of you face to the next level are not about intelligence. Nobody here is questioning your intelligence.  But, if you are limited at the level of your beliefs, then no amount of intelligence can overcome it. 

What questions do you need to be asking yourself to uncover limiting beliefs?

Do you actually believe that you are ready and capable to perform at the next level?

It’s about beliefs. I’m an engineer at heart, but I’m also a coach. So I’ve seen both sides of this. If you’re not consistently taking action to level up your mindset and beliefs at the same pace that you’re leveling up your intelligence, your certifications, and your degrees… Then you are limiting yourself.

Reach out and connect any time with Julie or myself. I would be honored to meet you, to connect with you, to support you in your career growth, your career journey, but also to help you have the life that you dream about and desire.

Be courageous, crush, comfort. Let’s do this.

Previous Episode 29: Hypnosis for Happy Careers and Huge Results with Leslie Thornton

Back to ALL EPISODES

 

ABOUT JULIE SCHALLER

Julie Schaller is a Career Growth Coach with a natural talent for inspiring her clients to new levels in their careers. When coaching with Julie, you’ll get results. Her clients have received next-level promotions, increased confidence and credibility, and great jobs that are fulfilling, lucrative and challenging – within an average of 4 months.

Prior to coaching, Julie spent 12 years at Microsoft in operational and business leadership roles, so she understands the challenges busy professionals face. Her specialty is partnering with leaders who are seeking career growth and higher levels of impact.

Julie is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coach Federation and holds certifications in Myers-Briggs and Personal Branding.

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

 

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: Happy Engineers… Welcome back, the amazing Julie Schaller is with me today. Julie, thanks a ton for being here with me and the engineering leaders listening today. 

[00:00:10] Julie Schaller: Happy to be here. And Zach, yeah, Zach and I had a chance to spend time together at an event in San Diego last month.

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:18] And. Hit it off right away so I’m, I’m really thrilled and honored to be able to be here and speak to your audience. 

[00:00:25] Zach White: Oh, you’re so welcome. Let’s start with a space that I really picked up is a zone of genius for you and also a passion, Julie. And it’s around the idea of clear. And it’s a word that we as coaches use a lot, , we’ve got to get clarity on things and I’m not sure everybody always knows what that means, but you had a quote on your LinkedIn profile that really resonated for me that for years during my corporate life, speaking of yourself, I struggled with a sense of uncertainty and now you help leaders get absolutely clear.

[00:00:57] Can you just talk to us about this concept of clarity and how does it show up as a barrier in career? For the average person out there who wants to get to the next level and their goals. Like, just talk to us. What is clarity? 

[00:01:13] Julie Schaller: Yeah. It’s such a big thing when I have calls with people who are considering coaching, I take notes.

[00:01:20] And so over the years I’ve kept all of those notes. And on last count, I probably had 193 or something like pages of paper of notes. I went back through and looked at the theme. Of what people said and why they were stuck because I asked them this question, what are your pain points? And overwhelmingly one of the top things that comes up is that people don’t, they either don’t know what they want

[00:01:45] They’re unhappy where they are but they don’t know what they really want. That would make them happy or they don’t know how to get them. So they may have an idea of what they want, but the process of going from where I am now to this utopia, like I have no idea how to get there and either way.

[00:02:03] What they said they were missing was clarity so you mean, this is just brain science, you know, we have to give our brains a clear set of instructions. a clear set, program, And without that, in the absence of that clarity of that quote unquote program, we will stay where we are. And we won’t make a change, even if we say we want to.

[00:02:24] So, it’s a big theme and something that people overwhelmingly have said, That they really want more of 

[00:02:31] Zach White: Julie. You said brain science and my engineering nerd perked up a little bit. So can we dig into that just within reason? I know we’re not going to get a PhD in neuroscience today, but when you say it’s brain science that we need to give ourselves a clear direction.

[00:02:49] Can you unpack that more for us? What is the science?

[00:02:53] Julie Schaller: I don’t have research studies memorized, but certainly your audience I know is very resourceful and can go and dig into this. Um, but in terms of overall themes, we humans in terms of the brain science at the core psychological place, we are wired.

[00:03:09] To look for threat to prepare ourselves for threat, to stay safe, as a species, essentially, but the way that that plays out in career, we don’t think about it this way, but our brains need certainty. We need clarity and clarity provides certainty. So if I have certainty around what my ideal next job looks like.

[00:03:34] Then my brain says, okay, I can give this the green light. I can take those steps because I feel certain, therefore safe at a core human level, psychological level, emotional level to be able to take those next steps. And so that’s where people get stuck Oftentimes they come and they may say to me, well, you know, it’s just that, I don’t know what the ideal job is, but what it really is is that it comes back to what’s in what’s between their ears and essentially their brain and studies have shown that we’re wired to stay safe.

[00:04:08] And if we have clarity, then we have more certainty. And if we have certainty, then we feel safe and ready to take those next 

[00:04:15] steps. 

[00:04:17] Zach White: I love this and I’m not sure I’ve ever drawn the words in this order, but the idea that safety as a priority, our survival instinct to feel that demands certainty in our psychology and to feel certain in our career, we need the clarity.

[00:04:37] And I love that, that link. So Julie, for you as a coach, if you’re talking to a new. Or for the engineering leader, listening, if they want to ask themselves, do I have that clarity? What for you distinguish as someone who’s truly very clear in what they want in their career versus someone who either. it’s a total fog.

[00:05:00] I have no idea. Or maybe it seems like clarity, but it’s actually missing something that might be the more interesting case. What defines that for you? 

[00:05:09] Julie Schaller: Well, I’ll answer it in two parts. So the first one. It’s not up to me, like pretty much everyone that I would talk to and probably you do as well. Like they’re pretty straight up about whether they’re clear about where they want to go.

[00:05:22] So I’ve had people that I’ve gotten onto a call with and they say, I want to be a VP level. In three years, I want to work for a major tech firm. I want to have this level of compensation and salary I want to have an organization of X, so they have absolute clarity of where they want to go.

[00:05:41] that’s pretty evident, pretty much right off the bat. And though those people are the stuck in the how to get there. But what I also find that is really interesting theme is that people will, people will have ideas of what they logically want. But what I’m finding in the coaching process, that’s really powerful is oftentimes what’s missing is the emotional congruence.

[00:06:06] And what I mean by that is that I’ll go, I’ll take clients through an exercise of just listing out and defining what’s most important to them in their career. And they’ll say title, and they’ll say compensation, maybe it’s a specific. Type of product or industry or role that they want to be in.

[00:06:21] So very logical answers of course, but what we also prompt in this process of what gets people to really feel happy in their career is what do they need? is there an element of growth or purpose or meaning that’s missing? What qualities do they want from the kind of culture or the organization that they’re going to work in?

[00:06:44] Does that matter or not? For a lot of people, it does. What are the qualities of the upper leadership and the direct manager that you work with on a day-to-day basis? What kind of flexibility or work life? Is important for you to really enjoy the rest of your life outside of work as well. So there’s these other themes that often people don’t think of right off the bat, that when they’re prompted to really think about these, and then we go through a stack ranking process, it’s been.

[00:07:16] Mind boggling to me how often compensation starts at the top of the list. But then when you really say what’s most important to you, it ends up falling down the list, somewhere lower than the number one slot. It depends on the person. So really getting that clarity of defining what’s most important.

[00:07:34] And then how specifically do you define that? So then that’s the real forcing function with the clarity people may think that they know what they want, but then when we dig deeper and go down to that, the devil’s in the details you end up finding that there’s a lot more, that’s actually important to you when you do the work.

[00:07:51] That’s a fascinating process. 

[00:07:54] Zach White: This idea of emotional congruence is really. Interesting and I’ll just be blunt that engineers, as a group are stereotyped for good reason as having low emotional intelligence for all my listeners out there, don’t be insulted. It’s just the truth around how we’re looked at.

[00:08:12] And, and we have our own responsibility to step up in that area. But Julie, I’m curious is emotional congruence as a, as a gap, is it that people just have not brought awareness? To that emotional side or are they maybe I’ll use the phrase lying to themselves or pretending that something is true, that isn’t, and they’re saying this logically, but something different emotionally and they need to reconcile the two, which is the situation.

[00:08:42] Julie Schaller: Do you think? I find the situation is that it’s a blind spot. It’s not that they don’t see it as important to sit. They hadn’t thought about it. It’s just a blind spot, So asking, real easy things are, how much money do I want to make or what title do I want or what kind of work do I want to do?

[00:09:01] but even some of these questions that are identifying just the more human side or maybe emotional side, Okay. What kind of a manager do I actually want to work for? Have I actually thought about that? What are the qualities of that kind of person, are they direct and honest? Do they have my back, just really thinking through these kinds of things.

[00:09:21] What about the team that I work with does that matter to me? And even as we get down to some of those core needs, do I feel like I want a sense of growth? In my role. So interestingly, sometimes people will prioritize growth. Like they’ll take a job that has gives them more trajectory, more career growth, even if in the short-term it might not be the title that they initially want, but if they have a belief and they’ve really vetted out through the interview process that they can have that growth or that it gives them a sense of greater purpose.

[00:09:55] In what they’re doing that there’s meaning behind it, rather than just a transactional kind of role. These are kinds of things that end up being really important in terms of what I need to be fulfilled in my work. That maybe I hadn’t even thought of let’s face it, you know, we’re all working probably a minimum of 40 hours and most people, especially in your audience, it’s a lot more than that.

[00:10:19] Yeah. So it’s like, as a percentage of my life, is it, is it fulfilling? Do I get the return on my investment of how much time I’m spending at my workplace? 

[00:10:30] Zach White: Yes. So we have. Important need for certainty and therefore clarity. Once a leader gets to that understanding of what they want, tell us Julie, and the coaching you do.

[00:10:46] What are the main blocks and barriers that hold people back from actually going to get 

[00:10:52] Julie Schaller: it? The biggest block is communicating my value. I call it positioning. And so people could be really clear on what they want, but it’s the. How am I going to get there? And that ends up being it’s either one or the other for most people.

[00:11:13] And so the biggest block and the biggest challenge that I have, people that come to me for is how do I communicate myself? How do I, what is my story? And how do I tell that in a way that differentiates me from all the other candidates that are interviewing for this job or that, um, sets me apart and has my management team hear me?

[00:11:40] And believe that I’m capable of taking on that big promotion. And so there is a lot in the how I’m talking about myself, my value, my strengths, uh, what I’m capable of, that’s a real blind spot for a lot of people. They just don’t know how. To build that message together. 

[00:11:58] Zach White: Yeah. I want to dig deeper into this one because I know for myself, when I was in my engineering career, this was huge in terms of setting a completely new trajectory for my results.

[00:12:09] But before we do, are there one or two other really common blocks that we would want to introduce that people want to ought to consider as they’re considered. 

[00:12:20] Julie Schaller: Yeah, I’d say the other block. some of it is the positioning and the communicating, like we just talked about the other big block that I would say comes up is more on the mental side.

[00:12:31] And this is also often a blind spot for people because again, they’re focused on what’s the job I want. And then there may be frustration. It’s not there, or I’m not getting that role but really what I have found in the coaching work is the people that are advancing and moving on to the jobs that they want.

[00:12:51] It’s not as much about. Their experience, their education, their credentials, their training, their specialized area of expertise. It’s more around what they believe that they’re capable of doing we talk a lot about this concept of the growth mindset and people have probably heard that thrown around a lot, but essentially that is what it comes down to.

[00:13:16] because if in the back of your mind, there’s any level of doubt. That’s going to sabotage the whole process. 

[00:13:26] Zach White: I want to repeat this because it’s so important for engineering leaders to hear it. 

[00:13:29] , and this is something that I hit home with every single client that I work with. It’s not about your intelligence.

[00:13:39] It’s not about your IQ. It’s not about how many degrees, how many certifications, et cetera, the primary block. Is your own belief about what’s possible for you with what you have? what am I capable of? And can I succeed in this next role, et cetera? What I’ve found? Julia, why don’t you tell me if you agree with this or not?

[00:14:01] Is that someone will go out and get another degree or certification? And by earning that cert, it alters their belief in themselves and they get a new result. And the assumption that is the cert led to the result or the degree led to the result. When in reality, if you had simply adopted that belief in your capability beforehand, you probably could.

[00:14:29] Got in there anyway, it’s really, we’re kind of muddying the distinction between that actual mental confidence and these outward indicators of intelligence. What are your thoughts about that? 

[00:14:42] Julie Schaller: I would say that again, it comes back to that theme that we just talked about with the clarity. So going and getting certifications or additional trainings, just for the purpose of having collecting a number of letters behind my name.

[00:14:56] No you, and then you’re still going to sabotage yourself potentially if there’s a mindset block there. Now, if I know where I want to go. And there’s a gap. And actually, if I want to go onto that next engineering level, and I have a gap in terms of actual expertise or certification that I need to be able to master that role, making that sure.

[00:15:20] Absolutely. Yes. And essentially that ends up being very empowering because then I know I’m taking action on behalf of where I want to go. So there’s a clarity there of what the needs are that are filling that gap. But also there’s a confidence that comes from taking action on that completing. Depth of training and certification.

[00:15:41] And so you’re right. There is a level of, mindset and confidence that comes from it. But if it’s just taking trainings for the sake of trainings, because they feel like they’re trying to fill in a. That doesn’t 

[00:15:53] Zach White: provide a solution. Yeah. Or another classic that I see a lot is, you know, I’ve been in this same job for three years, four years, five years.

[00:16:01] I feel like my career has plateaued. So I’m going to go get an MBA. It’s like, well, why, what do you actually want to do with that MBA? Why is that MBA going to support your career path? There’s no clarity to support the decision. There’s just a discomfort around being in a plateau. And so I take some action, which happens to be that to your point, not a bad thing, necessarily if it is directly related to what you need, but could be a complete waste of time, money, and energy.

[00:16:28] If what you actually want to do next doesn’t require that next advanced degree. So. this idea then of positioning. I said, I want to come back to this because I know it’s, it’s really foreign engineers. We want to solve problems. Y equals F of X, it’s giving me the root cause analysis, five whys, et cetera.

[00:16:46] And then we talk about brand positioning or personal branding or communicating value, and it’s a lot of blank stares. So what does that actually look like? For someone in their career growth journey. 

[00:17:01] Julie Schaller: Yeah. I’ll speak to that. And you’re emphasizing a really important point early on in my, in my coaching. I was coaching people through the process.

[00:17:10] And what I was realizing is that there was a gap like in the, getting the job prospects. And that was that they didn’t know how to communicate their value. So I actually went back. This was an example of tying back to what you just said in terms of additional training. I went back and got certification in personal branding because I knew that it was going to be of such great service to my clients and it’s proven to be so, but when I’m working with clients and helping them with this space of, of the positioning, what we will do.

[00:17:39] Is to what I say, define their brand statement. So at the most simplistic level, that’s defining who you are professionally. So maybe that’s engineer and, you specify a certain area of the business that you’re doing your work in, and really come up with an adjective to describe. What kind of an engineer are you?

[00:17:59] I just did this with a client earlier today and purposeful was her word, strategic, you know, whatever is true for you that really mostly ties off of one of your strengths or even your, one of your core values. And then it’s the, what you do. And this is an important piece to be aware of because at an upper level management perspective, Especially in a corporate type of any type of business or corporate environment, they’re speaking in the language of results.

[00:18:27] And so if you think about your role as an engineer, what met, what business metric or result that the business cares about? Does your work lead to, is. Uh, increased revenue. Is it cost effectiveness? Is it, brand aware? You know, I mean, there could be a lot of different metrics, that are related to the engineering work or the systems work, but defining that specifically is helpful rather than just saying.

[00:18:56] Doing great work. You know what I mean? That’s way too vague. You want to be precise and then the, how you do it part. And so this is where the uniqueness comes in and some of the positioning, because you start to build off of where you’re really great. And so is that by. Leading teams or, I had one client that said epic attention to detail, and that was one of his superpowers.

[00:19:21] Like he just truly had this epic attention to detail, um, or at another one that it was bridging technology. and teams, you know, it was this connection of the technology plus giving, bringing the teams along so that they could embrace the technology. So there’s a lot of different ways you can build that out, but essentially you’re coming up with this brand statement or positioning statement for you yourself.

[00:19:45] I mean, you could actually call it a value prop. 

[00:19:48] Zach White: I love this and such a big distinction between. Well, the way, most engineering leaders who I talked to and you ask them the question, let’s say, you’re at a networking event, you’re at a conference. You walk up to somebody and you say hi. And of course everybody asks, so what do you do?

[00:20:03] You know, the proverbial? What do you do? Question and 99.9, 9% of the people I meet. The first answer they’ll give to that is I am a design engineering manager. Fill in the blank organization, Whirlpool corporations, where I worked. So I’m a design engineering manager at Whirlpool. That’s the response versus what I just heard you say was don’t tell me what you do in a language of a title.

[00:20:30] What’s the result like you’re a design engineering manager. Great. But, but what actual business results. Have accountability and responsibility to drive and that’s super power for you. And then the how in a way, that’s attention grabbing and unique to your strengths. So if, instead of I’m a design engineering manager, I came in and said, you know, I multiply the effectiveness of engineers.

[00:20:53] You know, designers and CAD teams through my epic attention to detail and ability to translate emotional intelligence to problem solving or something. I just totally made that up. 

[00:21:05] Julie Schaller: But the point exactly. Yep. Now, if you and I were meeting at a networking meeting and you told me that. I’d be like, whoa, tell me more.

[00:21:13] Tell me more. Exactly. And so then you start the conversation, not to mention the fact that that was really intriguing and so much different than the 15 or 20 other people I talked to at that event, I would just. Kind of, they kind of get drowned out in the noise. And so just spending the time, um, you know, there’s different opinions on personal branding and you can make it what you want to, but just this theme of really knowing how coming up with a way to define your own value proposition essentially, or your brand statement.

[00:21:46] Is a really powerful theme. I mean, it turns into the networking conversation. It turns into the headline on your LinkedIn profile, which is much more interesting than the default that LinkedIn gives you, which is your last job title. And it can even turn into the headline on your resume. So kind of the way to think about it is if there was one sentence that you wanted people to know about.

[00:22:13] How would that read? It’s just, it’s just this, that’s what I call the brand statement. What you just riffed on there. 

[00:22:18] Zach White: That’s awesome. So, Julie, I want to play the other side for a moment to kind of devil’s advocate on this and I’m going to speak from the skeptical jaded engineering perspective, and that is.

[00:22:31] I don’t want to do that. I I’m an engineer. I just want to be good at engineering and do great work and get paid great money for being really good at what I do and all this personal branding and positioning nonsense. Like I don’t want to waste my time with that. If that’s the mindset I have, Julie, what would you say to that person?

[00:22:55] Julie Schaller: I would say what matters most? And if you said, just heads down doing great work, making my great salary, having my title, I’d be, I’d be like, amen. Game over. But if you said what matters most to me is advancing and growing in my career or what matters most to me is having the kind of role where I feel like I go home at the end of the day with.

[00:23:23] With a smile on my face, feeling like I did something that mattered, like I made impact in some way to the business or to the team, then I would say, well, let’s have a conversation around how you can get into a role where you can do that. And you know, I’ve been coaching for over a decade. And so I’ve played over time with what are the conversations that really make the biggest.

[00:23:49] And I’ve sorted off the ones that don’t really make that big of a difference. And I’ve elevated those that are the real game changers and this kind of concept of defining your story or your we’re calling it a value statement or a value of brand right now. That’s one of the game-changers. Cause if you do want to move into a new role where you either have more battles, And you can get home and see your family and have dinner with them at the end of the night.

[00:24:17] Or you want to be in a role where you really feel like it mattered. You know, like you’re making you go home. And, you know, I made this great impact to the business and that’s not the role that you’re in right now. The knowing how to get to that role is really important. And so it means that it might mean spending some time on the things that you were like, ah, okay, I need to go through this process and that, you know, there’s a couple of ways of looking at it.

[00:24:45] It could be just a check the box. Okay. I have to do this to get from point a to point B. I w I would encourage my clients to come into it and really just be in this learning. You know, I mean, I know all of your audience. Just have an appetite for learning and for knowledge and for growth. like I talked to my clients about this concept of growth and we think about it in terms of like, am I getting promoted to the next level that equals growth, but it’s interesting because growth could even be emotional growth.

[00:25:15] Am I comfortable having that really difficult, hard conversation with one of my direct reports? Or do I shy and back away from it, like that can be growth or am I, how do I think about growth in terms of my own self-awareness and professional development in some of these new areas that I hadn’t even paid any attention to, or maybe were blind spots.

[00:25:38] So, yeah, that would be the feedback I would give to the skeptic. And I’m smiling because honestly I love the scale. I really do because they’re the ones that are asking the hard questions. They’re the ones that are challenging the status quo. But what I have learned also is that those skeptic. When they’re committed when they have their own learning of what worked for them, they are the biggest advocates.

[00:26:05] Zach White: Yes. I love it. When you’re, you’re in the presence of many skeptics when you’re with a room full of engineers. Cheerly so, and honestly all out, I’ll just say to the engineering leader, listening. You know, if you’re intrigued by this, please connect with Julie and we’ll give you the ways to do that at the end of the conversation today, but she’s fantastic at helping guide you through this process and getting to it.

[00:26:27] So, Julia, it’s obvious you have a lot of both skill and passion in this area. Tell us a little bit about your own journey into becoming the world-class coach that you are. Were there any defining moments in your own story that really unlocked this part of who you are? 

[00:26:44] Julie Schaller: Yeah. How much time do we have that?

[00:26:49] Zach White: Yeah, no, 

[00:26:50] Julie Schaller: I mean, I like to say that my coaching business started on the back of a bar napkin. Um, yeah, that’s, 

[00:26:59] Zach White: uh, 

[00:26:59] Julie Schaller: that’s a longer story, but, um, like I like to think about that as. Seed that was planted. I, I was sitting in a bar, a happy hour, waiting for my husband to get off work and meet me. And I was just kind of, I brought all my, it came right from work.

[00:27:13] So I brought all my work stuff and I had a notebook and I was just sitting there kind of doodling on a paper, just absentmindedly. And I wrote, um, I drew this flower and then I wrote underneath it. I help people bloom. And I looked back and I was like, what the heck was that? Like, where did that come from?

[00:27:34] Even? And the weird thing was is that it resonated so much, but I had no idea what, cause at the time I was working at Microsoft, um, in a leadership, very stressful. Uh, I was in the Xbox division, which was a great time and a ton of massive growth, um, really quickly. But, um, I was burning out pretty fast. Um, and so I didn’t know what this, this resonated, but I didn’t know why.

[00:27:58] And I carried it around in my notebook or in my. Um, computer bag for a long, long time. And so essentially what ended up happening was that that burnout grew and grew and grew to the extent that I couldn’t ignore it anymore. Um, I had two little kids at home and, um, my son was acting out and I couldn’t quite make the connection, but ultimately what I ended up realizing was that it was time for me to step away.

[00:28:20] Um, at that time it was more escaping from the pain that I was feeling in my role. Looking back on it. Now, I just believe that I was being called and pulled into a, do a new place. I know you’re nodding because that’s similar to your story as well. Um, but ultimately I think coaching found me, um, I did a stint in between after leaving my corporate role as a consultant, um, which was great.

[00:28:45] And we just, one of my colleagues and I took, she said, Hey, Julie, let’s take this class on coaching. I think it’ll help us be better consultants. And I was like, that sounds great. And so we went into this class and she got everything that she needed. And for me, It was literally like it opened up this whole new world and I kind of tripped over it, but I do believe that things happen on purpose and each step of our journey leads us to the next place.

[00:29:13] And that was very much true for me. And so it’s been an evolution, but. Am very passionate about now. You know what took me probably, I don’t know, seven three is probably about seven years to figure out. Now it’s me fast tracking that for my clients, because most people don’t want to take seven years to go through a career transition.

[00:29:36] So, you know, I can help them do it in 30 days or in, you know, within 90 days now. 

[00:29:42] Zach White: So Julia, this, I know this resonates with engineers listening, especially. Where we are in history and you know, it’s late October 20, 21 at the time of this recording. So if someone’s listening years from now, maybe it’s not as relevant, but coming out of a long stint of being in quarantine and a COVID environment and burnout has manifested in all sorts of ways.

[00:30:07] During this period and what’s happening right now in the job market is we see a lot of people changing jobs and there’s even phrases like the great resignation being thrown out where people are just desperate to find something new. And in a way, the shuffling of talent has never been at a higher pace than it is right now.

[00:30:27] Do you think. This is in response to, to burnout and challenges from COVID. Is this related to something else? Just what are you seeing in the job market as it relates to the current environment? 

[00:30:39] Julie Schaller: Yeah, it’s been interesting time because what I’m finding, what I’m hearing from people in the conversations that I’m having is that COVID or the forced quarantine that we’ve all had has been this, I’ll say a pause point.

[00:30:56] I mean, definitely a pause point in the bigger circle of life, but for each individual, I’ve had to pause what my normal routine was in my work and in my day, and in that pause in that space there, in that pause, there has been space for me to think and to really say, You know, I kinda got into the day-to-day, uh, rat race and the routine running the wheel of leading the large organization at the large company.

[00:31:29] And this was, you know, making great money and having a cool title. But now that I have the space to think, it’s just been this pause point to say, is this still what I want? And so what’s been interesting is like what I’m finding and what people are telling me. Is that they’ve had these thoughts in the back of their mind for usually even before the quarantine of like, gosh, do I want to pivot?

[00:32:00] Am I fulfilled in my career? Am I making the kind of impact in how I define impact now? Am I doing what matters am I making a difference for people for the business, whatever? Or do I have. A lot of times what’s happened is that people have had a dream that they’ve been harboring for a long time, but they’ve never acted on it.

[00:32:23] And so this pause point that we were all forced to stay home is just allowing this kind of moment of saying, what is. And then what I’m finding is that people are also realizing that life is short don’t. We know that for sure. And so it’s no longer I can wait another number of months or a number of years, like I just saw.

[00:32:50] My best friend’s mother or my great aunt, or whoever just pass away from COVID in the matter of weeks. And so it’s just like, wow, I’m not going to wait around anymore to start taking action and really start talking about what I really want to do. And so that’s a lot of what I’ve been finding and what I’ve been hearing from people is that there’s this big shift that’s happening.

[00:33:16] And so they’re calling it the great resignation. But probably for lots of different reasons, some burnout, some just because they’re finally saying like, I’m going to put myself first now I’m going to, I’m going to, you know, I’m going to stop saying yes to the man and, and what I’ve, what I’ve everyone else wants of me, you know, I’m, I’m going to take the ownership and the reins of taking some steps towards exploring.

[00:33:39] What I might want to do and how I can potentially get there. 

[00:33:42] Zach White: Yeah. That’s so interesting. And I hate to tease our listeners. There’s, there’s probably a lot of great stuff we could dig into, but I do want to leave it there in the interest of respecting your time. And, and I’ll just say this, that, you know, the, the idea that these thoughts existed even before the quarantine is something that I have seen as well.

[00:34:03] And it’s just interesting. It’s not as. Yeah, the quarantine itself was the cause of the concept or the dream as much as the pause and the opportunity to get present to that dream. And of course there’s a lot more at play, but if you’re resonating with this, you know, engineering leader, listening, you know, connect with Julie connect with me and let’s take action on that.

[00:34:24] Don’t, don’t sit around and let that dream stay in the Harbor. Julie, this has been awesome. I want to wrap it up and I, I really believe great engineering. It’s just like great coaching and, and, you know, great coaching for sure that questions lead and then the answers follow. So if we want. Great answers.

[00:34:45] And you know, if the engineering leader listening wants to be happy, they want that fulfillment, that, that energizing, meaningful career, what would be the best question that you would lead them with today? 

[00:34:58] Julie Schaller: You know, one of the best questions that has resonated for me is asking the question of who not, what meaning, who can I talk to?

[00:35:12] Who can help me? Who do I want to have in my circle? It, and this has been a huge thing, even just in, in job search networking studies show that the who like who do I know professionally 70 to 85% of jobs are found through professional relationships. And only like, you know, a much lower percentage are actually found from actual, just cold applications.

[00:35:38] And so my point is, when you’re asking the question of who do I need to talk to? Who do I need, who can help me? Who can I, who has an expertise that I need to learn from? And taking action from that place is going to be a really powerful way to help you move forward with your goals. 

[00:35:58] Zach White: I love that. And it’s a question that you can ask in every situation, engineers, regardless of the problem you face.

[00:36:06] Don’t just ask what and how, but who, Julie, thank you so much for your time. And I know people listening are going to want to connect with you and find out more about your work and how they can immediately hire you as their coach, because you’re suspend tastic. So where computer. Get more and get connected to you.

[00:36:25] Julie Schaller: find me on LinkedIn if you’re on LinkedIn. So I know Zach, you’re going to share this 

[00:36:30] Zach White: listener. If you’re 

[00:36:31] Julie Schaller: not on LinkedIn, go to my website, which is just Julie shaler.com. 

[00:36:36] Zach White: All right. Fantastic. Those specific links in the show [email protected], where you always go to get connected with the latest episodes and what we have happening here at Oak.

[00:36:49] Julie, thank you again so much for your time. This has been tremendous and we’re going to have to do it again sometime. 

[00:36:54] Julie Schaller: Totally a pleasure. Pleasure’s all mine. I appreciate the opportunity.

 

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