Client Success Story: Career Transition From Consulting to Program Management

In this series, we talk with previous clients to get an honest look at what it was like to work with a coach, what challenges they were encountering, and how the journey unfolded along the way to accomplishing their greatest career goals. 

This success story is about someone who was willing to look deeply and honestly within themself to gain the type of clarity that "shook their previously held values to their core." Natalie approached her job search and career transition with patience, curiosity, and abundance to find enjoyment in the process and ultimate land her ideal role while also changing their company, industry, location......and entire life. If you're looking for career inspiration as you answer your own deep career questions, learn more about her story below.




What's your name?

Natalie Hall

What's your title or function?

Sr. Program Manager at Go Nimbly

What industry do you work in?

Technology

What led you to reach out for help with your career?

In Spring of 2021 after years of working in education, I was ready to change my relationship with work.  I felt a deep emotional connection to my work as a teacher and then education consultant, but found that that emotion bled into my personal life in ways that disrupted my mental health and overall well-being.  Making this transition was tough, and required me to ask questions that shook my previously held values to their core.  In my life, I was in the midst of various changes as well: I had recently ended a long-term relationship, the world was on fire with COVID, and I was considering moving across the country for a fresh start.  In short, finding a new job felt like a way for me to hold a mirror up to myself in ways I was doing in other areas of my life. 


"..finding a new job felt like a way for me to hold a mirror up to myself in ways I was doing in other areas of my life."


What made you decide to work with me as a coach?

When I looked at other coaching services, I was often taken aback by price point, empty platitudes about finding your ‘dream job’, or flashy branding vs. concrete strategies and frameworks that I could use in my journey to finding a new role.  I happened to see Jenni lead a LinkedIn profile updating session for my alma mater, and was taken aback by her calm demeanor, non-nonsense delivery, and concrete take-aways I could implement that day.  I knew then that I wanted to work more closely with Fink Development in order to up-level my job search.

What were your hesitations about hiring a career coach?

I didn’t hesitate!  I knew that it’d be hard work, but was ready for it and ready for change. I tend to enjoy the experience of coaching and having a cheerleader, and looked forward to the experience.


"Jenni encouraged me to think more about having a patient, abundant mindset towards the job search, and to have that search grounded in knowing what I actually care about."


What made you take the leap of faith to work with a coach?

My leap of faith was trusting my gut that this experience would be worthwhile, even if it took longer than I was used to.  In previous job searches, I’d been really scrappy and unorganized.  I’d reach out to folks on LinkedIn, go down rabbit holes, make a connection, and secure a position.  Then a year or two later, I’d find myself dissatisfied and wondering why I’d taken that job in the first place.  I was ready to take a more methodical approach with a coach, and knew that this would require trusting myself, the process, and my coach.

What was the process like working together?

The process felt structured and intentional from the start.  Starting with deep reflection and clarity was new for me.  Previously I’d taken a very fear-based approach to the job search, often running away from a position full of resentment and a scarcity mindset.  Jenni encouraged me to think more about having a patient, abundant mindset towards the job search, and to have that search grounded in knowing what I actually care about. I learned that I care about community, flexibility, authenticity, and opportunities to learn new things.  Overall, I felt very supported by Jenni and that no question or fear was too small to share with her.  She truly created a psychologically safe environment for me to learn and grow.


"I was surprised by how kind people were along the way!  Taking a different approach really shifted my mind about how to reach out to folks for networking chats, and honestly restored my faith in humanity..."


What, if anything, surprised you?

I was surprised by how kind people were along the way!  Taking a different approach really shifted my mind about how to reach out to folks for networking chats, and honestly restored my faith in humanity during a time where things felt really hard and scary around the world and in this country. 

I was also surprised by how enjoyable the process felt at certain points! Joining conversations and feeling excited to learn about a person, what they do, and why they do it didn't feel like a chore, because those conversations were aligned with my values, and I had a clear 'why' with the search.

 

What did you find most difficult during the process, and how did we alleviate it?

Jenni warned me that there would be really tough moments, potential rejections, lost leads, etc. and there certainly were.  There was a time when I felt like I had been reaching out to folks and was hitting dead ends, or plateauing in conversations and not gaining new information or connections.  There were companies that I thought I had my foot in the door at, and that door suddenly closed.  There were plenty of times where I thought I was in the process of setting up time with a great networking contact, and a call would never materialize.  To alleviate it, I reminded myself that I was still employed and didn’t NEED a job at that very moment (and that this is lucky!!), that the process being difficult isn’t a sign of my failure or lack of self worth, and that people are human - a ‘no’ or ‘not right now’ isn’t a reflection of my progress in reaching my goals.

What were the three most impactful lessons you learned during working together? Especially ones that will impact your career going forward?

I think the number 1 lesson was that knowing your ‘why’ and strengths, values, and true interests must be a precursor of your job search.  This is something I’ll take with me.  Secondly, I learned that these strengths, values, and interests can and should change!  And once they do, that it’s healthy to re-evaluate your current state, and ask yourself if your current position really serves you.  Thirdly, that people want to help!  Being clear about what you need while networking, and coming to conversations prepared helps the people you’re chatting with show up for you better, too. 


"I got swept into the dream of becoming a product manager, and early clarity work and networking conversations helped me learn that that kind of role wasn’t ideal for me."


What was the outcome of working together? Did it meet your expectations?

The outcome was that I landed a position at a tech company as a program manager, something I didn’t start my journey thinking I’d be interested in.  I got swept into the dream of becoming a product manager, and early clarity work and networking conversations helped me learn that that kind of role wasn’t ideal for me.

Was the investment worth it?

Absolutely!  I’ve spoken highly about this experience to many friends and peers, and would certainly do it again when the time is right. 


"What Jenni has taught me is that having a mindset of ‘going slow, so we can go fast later’ is key: starting with intention, asking yourself tough questions...." 

Beyond the outcome of coaching, the process is often the most powerful part. Did you find that to be true for you?

Yes, absolutely.  The journey was far more impactful for me than the destination.  While my current position definitely better aligns to my values in life right now (flexibility, community, learning, etc.), I recognize that this may not be a ‘forever job’, and that I now have the tools to go through a healthier and more intentional job search at some point in the future.

What’s the most exciting part of the work you’re doing now?

I get to work with companies doing really great work in the SaaS space, and are industry leaders.  Even more exciting for me though, is that I get to work closely with folks who enjoy their work, enjoy connecting, and appreciate a healthy work-life balance.  The company culture of where I work values employees doing good work, and having a full personal life as well…this was not necessarily my reality while working in education, and I’m so appreciative of this change!

What would you say to others who are considering working with me as a coach, or Fink Development as a company?

I’d say to take the leap of faith!  I think many (including myself) are guilty of wanting a job search to be quick and easy.  What Jenni has taught me is that having a mindset of ‘going slow, so we can go fast later’ is key: starting with intention, asking yourself tough questions, and setting up networking conversations will eventually snowball into an offer that you have the tools to move quickly on.

Navigating your career is challenging. What piece of advice would you give to other jobseekers or professionals trying to be intentional with their career?

Hmm…my best piece of advice would be to not expect quick results, and that this process takes A LOT of work along the way!  Quick isn’t always better.  This is a process that is more of a slow burn, but yields results that are much more fruitful.  If that’s not the kind of process you’re looking for, then I’d encourage someone to look for a different kind of coach 🙂





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