Sometimes people stick it out in toxic work environments for far too long. They don’t even realize how deleterious the situation has become because it’s been deteriorating bit by bit. And then when the situation is really horrible, they often become paralyzed and can’t, because of damage to their self-esteem, find the first step to a way out. So many clients are in this state when they come to us, like Chris. Since starting work four years earlier for a small technology marketing firm, he’d gradually become the go-to guy for tasks that ran the gamut from high-level strategy, complex project management and conceptualizing — while being kept at an arm’s length from clients — to administrative. The toxic work environment was a bit like a slow boil and a frog, a situation with teammates leaving and resulting in increasing responsibilities and tighter and tighter deadlines. And the persistent company attitude was “that’s just the way it is.” An affable go-with-the-flow guy, Chris’s company leaders took advantage of his good nature, talent and team spirit.
It was apparent from our first meeting with Chris that his talent as an art director and designer was off the charts. His portfolio demonstrated a gifted creative artist and skilled technologist. Ready for a radical change after being referred to us, he jumped at the chance to go through the Find Your Story, Own Your Voice program. His work schedule was exhausting, but Chris and his coach often worked their coaching time in the early morning, during lunch or after hours. Chris was asked to identify his top 12-15 contributions that made him the guru in his field. Then they blended in specifics: project metrics, leadership skills, and business impact for each example. They built a powerful story and resume conveying his creative chops. This elevated his career campaign, market value, and confidence to the highest levels. He reclaimed his power, and it showed in his determination, attitude (regardless of COVID-19), and the ability to communicate his compelling story in interview practices with his coach. When we finished, he was ready for prime time, and not a moment too soon.
In early May (when we were still in the midst of the pandemic) and within days of finalizing his resume, Chris saw a job posting for a position that seemed designed for him, a position that capitalized on his three passions: design, marketing and technology. It was show time and Chris was ready. In a two-week period, he nailed two Zoom interviews, an in-person interview, and a Zoom negotiation with the executive team (strategizing with his coach along the way). He had successfully landed his dream job with all the perks (including “you name your title” and an invitation for leader profit sharing). With offer in hand and ready to get started, Chris left us with the words that are magic to our ears: “You helped me find my voice and I am so grateful.”