In this headline picture, my poor cat doesn’t know what to do. For G-D’s sake, Basil, sh*t or get off the pot. Inertia will leave you just hanging.
I was in a bad place with a cold calling job at the age of 40. I wanted to jump out my window, or into the toilet. I complained so much to my family and friends that I started to alienate everyone, compounding the problem.
My yoga instructor took me aside and explained that if I actually put all that negativity into looking for a new job, going about job search the right way, I could transform my life.
This is my story of how I did just that and landed a great job at SolarCity in project finance, Elon Musk’s company. See happy Frank in the left picture.
I hated my cold calling job so much that I got up every day wishing I were dead. For me, the job was a total mismatch since I was heavily analytical and couldn’t sell cold water to beach-goers (see picture on right).
I complained to anyone and everyone who would listen. It felt so good to get these feelings off my chest. I felt:
- Ashamed that I was once a mighty banker now doing an entry level job
- Demoralized that I was paid a fraction of what I used to make
- Angry that nobody would hire me for my real skills
My caring family and friends only had so much tolerance for hearing the same stuff over and over.
My yoga instructor sat me down, woke me out of my slumber, and gave me the plan below.
To say I hated my job is a broad statement without much helpful detail.
Although my job was occupying 40-50 hours a week and my kids (ages 4, 7, 10) were demanding of my time, I still dedicated time after hours and on the weekends, even skipping a run or two, just to soul search.
What did I hate most?
- My boss?
- The company?
- My job?
- The Industry?
I came to understand that I was working for a great company. My boss was a huge supporter of mine. The industry of specialized recruiting was interesting. Only one more item left…
The job responsibilities of cold calling were the problem. I was not a sales person. I excelled with my analytical and relationship management skills (certainly not looks!)
Sales required a level of emotional intelligence which I lacked at the age of 40 (I can hear my kids saying, “hey, still do dad”). I really admire good sales people since they read people so well.
I asked myself 3 key questions:
- What skills do I possess that are really strong, stronger than the average person?
- What am I most passionate about in my personal life?
- What job combines the two?
After thinking, I concluded that I really wanted to help the world using my analytical mind and love of mentoring junior people.
Ok, great. However, an idea does not pay the bills.
After hours and on weekends, I went into high gear talking to friends, former colleagues and anybody who would listen about my new “revelation”. I actually did this during work hours too, don’t tell my old boss Bill!
I dove head first into (not the toilet):
- Attending physical networking functions with people who worked for some sort of social justice organization
- Networking on LinkedIn with professionals who were in finance but pivoted to companies that were more socially minded
- Creating a list of both for-profit and non-profit companies that were trying to solve the world’s problems
I spread the word: “Mike wants to use his finance skills at a company trying to help the world”
Alberto, a former colleague, caught the energy I threw out into the universe.
He forwarded a call he got from a recruiter for a position with Elon Musk’s SolarCity, the company that accelerated solar adoption among homeowners and corporations.
The job was project finance for helping homeowners save money on installing solar and energy efficiency measures (think insulation, Nest Thermostat, etc.) I would manage/mentor a small staff.
I went through the interview process and got the job.
- Working for climate change
- Using my analytical skills
- Mentoring junior folks
Broke out into my happy dance.