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In this episode Joel and Antonia tell their stories of how they navigated their career life.

In this podcast you’ll find:

We live in a different world now. Our parents/grandparents typically worked in the same career all their lives and retired from that same career in their 60s.

Many Gen Xers and Millennials are finding themselves shifting between careers.

The Internet has enabled us to expand our entrepreneurial options.

The unstable economy keeps us shifting careers as jobs change or cease to exist.

The traditional way of earning money is shifting.

Antonia’s Story:

  • Raised in an extremely religious environment that discouraged college. She was encouraged to volunteer her time toward a ministry that had zero financial reciprocation.
  • She had to subsidize her full-time ministry job with a part time job.
  • Her goal was to make the most money in the least amount of time.
  • Went to a trade school to learn radiology. It was a means to an end.
  • She dropped college in preference for what she believed was a higher priority – ministry.
  • She did a bunch of random part-time jobs to support herself. Temp work.
  • Learned a lot in the ministry: the art of persuasion, public speaking, sharing unpopular messages, living counter-culture, etc.
  • Her family never encouraged her to think in terms of a career.
  • When she left the religion, it occurred to her that she could finally have a career. She could focus on generating money.
  • So she started attending seminars and events for self-education.
  • Moved from Alaska to Las Vegas to live in an internet marketing incubator.
  • She made a lot of mistakes along the way by getting involved in dead end projects.
  • After meeting Joel, as they were growing Personality Hacker, they were starving artists.
  • She just keeps going until circumstances force her to stop, and nothing has forced her to stop yet.

Do something outrageous. Don’t force yourself to fit into the templatized world.

Don’t feel like you have to fit into the mold. Careers and the business industry are just as broken as the school system. Square pegs into the round holes. Most companies hire on the stupidest criteria.

Bypass the entire system and do something outrageous.

Remove the limiting beliefs that things should be done a certain way.

We shouldn’t be looking at the older generation’s concept of career as a model for modern behavior.

Joel’s Story:

  • He grew up in a very religious paradigm. He didn’t get the message it was wrong to have a career.
  • As long as he weaved God into his career, it was okay.
  • His parents decided to start a non-profit youth ministry camp.
  • Lots of creative outlets.
  • He was encouraged to follow creative pursuits. His father was on the radio in Pittsburgh doing a religious based program.
  • Joel was taught to produce and script radio programs at 12-13 years old.
  • He wanted to go into that creative field. He was encouraged to do so.
  • He went to college and got his masters in leadership to work as a leader in ministry. He has a Masters in theology. Bachelor’s in communication.
  • He worked in his parent’s ministry for three years and got married.
  • She wanted to move to her hometown Baltimore, so Joel ripped himself away from his career path and went to work at the Baltimore Zoo.
  • He had been homeschooled and employed in his parent’s ministry. He never had a day job where he had to report to a boss and clock in and clock out.
  • He worked at the zoo for five years. Every time he brought up creative ideas, he was usually shot down in preference for the status quo.
  • His marriage ended. After having two children.
  • He never lost the desire to be creative. He felt trapped.
  • Joel would leverage his experience in his job by going to pod camps or take on any public speaking opportunities to harness new opportunities.
  • He started doing video work for other companies in Baltimore in an attempt to broaden his options.
  • He would reframe his experience at the zoo, so he didn’t focus on the misery of the job. He would view it as CEO training. He would listen to personal growth podcasts when he could. He would spend weekends and evenings working on other opportunities.
  • He met Antonia at an NLP event in LA.  Moves to Las Vegas to start connecting with what he felt he was meant to do.
  • Five years later they are running PH, focused on personal growth and helping others to create a better world.
  • Joel worked a job that was depressing to him, but he kept telling himself it would be okay and he never gave up. He never stopped hustling.

Try new things. If they fail, try again. A lot of entrepreneurs have a ton of false starts before they hit the thing that works.

At some point, they both decided the status quo was not for them.

If you are not going to go the traditional route, you are going to have to hustle and try new things and be willing to struggle.

Most people go down the traditional road because it is a well-worn path. Tried and true.

If a traditional career feels good to you, go for it.

Give yourself permission to do other things if the traditional path is not what you want.

Don’t let what you think you have to do get in the way of what you want to do.

It isn’t the only path. There are always other options.

We live in an ever-changing world, and more possibilities are coming. There are no rules about what you have to do.

If your inner wisdom tells you to do something different than what you are doing, listen to that voice.

Anytime the stakes are high we create a lot of narratives to make sure everyone stays on track. Otherwise, things may get destabilized.

There are a lot of narratives around safety and security.

If a voice inside says you want to do something else, turn up the volume. Give it a try. Your one regret at the end of your life may be that you didn’t listen to that voice.

Ask yourself:

If you could duplicate your exact income right now, but you didn’t have to do your current job, what would you do?

If your answer isn’t “I would be doing what I’m doing now,” you may need to reevaluate.

Where are you at right now? Are you passionate about what you are doing? How did you get there?

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We want to hear from you. Leave your comments below…

Showing 13 comments
  • Amy
    Reply

    The topic of this podcast couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I don’t feel the message is really anything different than what you’ve been teaching all along but it’s more focused and in depth and in your face truth about the why I feel the unhappiness and that stuck feeling in my life and what I need to do to change it. Which means following my gut on what I already have known to be my truth but have been too indoctrinated into the one way of doing it professional model that really never worked for me.

    It looks like this:
    • You go to some sort of trade school or college and then you work hard at your profession, or • You don’t go to school, you just work hard for someone else in order to pay the bills and be a “productive member” of society.
    • You don’t hop around from job to
    Job because that makes you seem wishywashy and looks bad on a resume.
    • You find a job where you’re lucky enough to make more than minimum wage and get a good benefits package so you can provide for your family.
    • Working at a “job” you love is resebed for celebrities.
    • Those lucky billionaires who invented the computer or made it big with an internet startup were just that, lucky, or in the right place at the right time and 9 out of 10 people who try to make their own path that way end up broke and then back working for “the man” anyway. They are cautionary tales.
    • Your self worth and reputation is directly tied to your loyal years at your place of employment where you’re lucky enough to be allowed to show up everyday and collect a paycheck.
    • Why not just pursue your passions as a hobby on the side and don’t throw away your security?

    I just turned in my resignation to my corporate employer of the past almost 17 years last week. The more I have learned about myself, the more I’ve experienced my own self growth and development through your various programs and podcasts the louder that inner voice has become for me. I feel so free and conflicted at the same time. Breaking out of that “in the box” way of assigning values and purpose is hard to do. I’m throwing away my obvious path of security in order to pursue something that only I can feel (from a gut level) is the right path for me. It’s disappointing to so many people who matter to me and that really hits me hard yet at the same time I feel so excited and hopeful. As I said, it’s a range of conflicting thoughts and emotions.

    I can’t thank you enough for the work you do and for being virtual mentors to so many of us.

  • Anne
    Reply

    Hi Joel and Antonia,
    I want to start off by saying you two and the podcast has made such a difference in my life. I first took the MB test when i was in third grade. My mom brought it home from her counselors. Since i was so young i didn’t complete it but i answered enough they could some what type me as an INFP. I again took it in college I then was typed as an INFP. I always assumed I was an introvert because Im not obnoxiously wanting attention and crowds. I ammused extroverts were like this. Growing up i would play alone but not because I wanted to but because I didn;t always get the attention I craved. Listening to many of your podcasts i began to feel that typing not the best fit. Something was off. I took the genesis test and came out as an ENFP. (Im always glad to here Joels input as an ENFP) After looking more into it and wrapping my head around that type. I believe it is the best fit. Since then it has changed the way i see myself in the world and in my current career as a middle school art teacher. I feel unleashed now. Before i had been carrying around the idea that i was the shy, weird quiet girl. It was the story i had always told myself growing up. I felt trapped by the introvert category. and now i realize it was just a label that was put on me. I also see introverts in a different light after learning more from PH/ My husband is an introvert and it really helps me understand him.

    Im also writing about the career episode. I felt so ‘juiced’ up-as you two would put it after listening on my commute this morning. like i said i am currently an art teacher. This is my 7th year at the same school and i substitute taught for 3 years before this job. Teaching art has been my dream and goal since i was about 16. I am now 32. Growing up i was ingrained with the idea that you pick a career and stick with it and that’s what makes you successful. My mom job hopped for awhile and seemed so defeated doing that. My dad recently retired after 40 years of being a dentist in his own practice. So i thought when i finally got my teaching job that it would give me purpose and meaning for the rest of my life.

    2 1/2 years ago my son was born. I had a very traumatic labor. It was 28 hrs. There was no sleep involved and many interventions. About 10 days after labor I had not been sleeping much and this triggered a very serious illness called postpartum psychosis. I was hospitalized for 10 days. Scariest thing that has ever happened to me. Being wrongfully imprisoned used to be my worst nightmare and it literally happened. Mental illness was not something I had experienced before so this was a whole new ballgame. After treatment I became very depressed had a second hospitalization. Thankfully we were one summer vacation for months during the thick of it. During my recovery time I began pursuing personal growth. I was recommended to Wayne Dyer by a pastor in the hospital and i literally clung to his teaching for months. From there I was led to many podcasts and typology systems like the Enneagram. Im a (social) 4. and Spiral Dynamics then to the MB and you guys. Along the way i am keeping several therapists in business! The more personal growth I do the more uncomfortable I am at my job. Finally now i see why Ive been forcing and convincing myself to stay there year after year when I know its not the best place for me. About 2 months ago it hit me what I wanted to do. I love home decorating, interior design and real estate. Considering those 3 loves combined with enoying working with people I an going to start a home staging business. I want to focus on helping people prepare their homes for sale. I have been going back an forth about this for weeks about should i quit my job and do the staging full time. And i have decided this will be my last year as a teacher.I know to fully commit all of my working hours is the only way to go. Otherwise there isn’t enough hours in the day. Your podcast today really helped strengthen my belief of…I can do this! Yes its not a conventional career and that’s ok! I have saved this episode and I know I will refer back to it as needed.

    Being an entrepreneur has always been a concept that has seemed way out of reach for me. Also being someone who makes a lot of money and charges their true value has been very intimidating. As an artist I always under value my pricing. Ive really enjoyed your episodes on money. I was one of the people that equated money with snobbery and corruption. I still am searching for the root of my belief around that. As someone who will be charging others I need to do some work on money issues. Im looking forward to reading ‘Think and grow rich’.

    Love you two, Keep up the great work!

    Also I do have a request for an episode. Since I do a lot of personal growth and work sometimes I get frustrated with friends and family that put zero effort into it. Not sure if PH ever gets into Astrology? I know its out there but i love it! Just an idea. Thanks

    Anne

  • Megan
    Reply

    If I could do anything making the salary I make now, I would write and travel. As a kid my dream was to travel the world and interview the people I met and tell their stories. Right now I’m working full-time in marketing and writing and blogging on the side. I like it but I realize this is a stepping stone to getting where I want to be – writing full time about things I’m passionate about and managing my own schedule. The marketing experience is really beneficial but not what I want to do for the rest of my life. Thanks for sharing your personal stories! I love the podcast!

  • Bryce MacDonald
    Reply

    “Listen to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World, and it will one day return there.”
    – the Alchemist

    If I received my current paycheck doing anything on the planet for 1 year I would read and write everyday.

    INFJ, 4w5, HSP, Empath, Graves 3.142 🙂

  • Alicia Poroa
    Reply

    I would practice yoga daily and create a flexible business that enables the space to make connections and innovation with yogic philosophy, for people to apply in leadership, personal development and education for themselves to support transformation.

    ENFP, Indigenous maori woman.

    Thank you Joel and Antonia this is a fabulous podcast and incredibly timely for me. I like your references to the constructed paradigms we grow up with and how they form what we think is ‘the right way’ these nodes are incredibly powerful in disengaging ourselves from the inner voice. lately I have been consciously practicing connecting with Anahat, the heart center. Trying to hear this inner voice, to find what will get me “juiced up” as the process is unfolding, I essentially know what it is, but I continually ignore the voice, in favor of ingrained voice that wants to maintain the status quo. Favoring the simplistic or expected form of normal. What I notice I that I also try and construct the desired career path using the criteria of the tried and true format of what this career needs to look like. This in itself arrests the momentum. Antonia you mentioned about feeling hamstrung by not having a college qualification, which is one of those elements I am referring to as being arresting. I like how you consciously chose not to care about that and keep focused on what you want to create rather than what you don’t have. I have an education degree which I feel is a tied hamstring for me because I feel expectations of myself and others to use this and obtain the career I spent so much money on getting. I have gone back to school and completed some post graduate work in Education, which I really enjoyed, but, I don’t actually want to be a teacher in mainstream education, in fact I despise the whole system. Yet because I have this it’s my go to for getting a regular income. However, I do love helping people connect with their inner creative selves and so this experience could feed into and I think has culminated into what I want to do. I think the degree is like a crutch for me and I fall back on it when I don’t want to let go of the branch and swing into the unknown.

  • Barbara
    Reply

    I loved everything in this podcast except the part about “hustling.” (I’m an INFP 😛 ) Seriously, I’m going to take some time to think about the questions you asked at the end. Currently, I work as staff in a group home. My schedule is 31.5 hours a week, with extra hours optional. Frankly, it’s a pretty good fit for me, although I am sometimes not happy with the work. I get by financially, but if my kids didn’t pay me rent, I’m not sure I could pay the bills!

    I was a stay-at-home-mom for about 25 years m/l, and that job was just about perfect for me! I LOVED the freedom and flexibility. I loved the potential—the NEED—for creativity! I made all kinds of cool things like homemade soap from leftover hamburger grease, fabric storage bags and wall-hangings, breads and soups, homeschool lessons, etc., etc. We didn’t have a lot of money, per se, but money never has seemed to me like the be all end all. Happiness and contentment have always been my “bottom line.”

    So when my husband’s disability got so bad he had to go into a nursing home, I decided I needed to work again. My undergraduate degree is in Special Education, but I’m not very good with classroom control, so I went back into group home work, which was the other kind of work I did before getting married (besides teaching). My biggest hang-ups in life have always been anxiety, particularly social anxiety, and my own self-doubts. I think I like people with developmental disabilities because they don’t have as high of standards for you as regular people do. I consider the clients I work with as some of my best friends. Some of the co-workers and company drama I could do without. I’m also getting too old to be moving non-ambulatory people around. The work is hard and makes my body hurt. If they’re not non-ambulatory, then they often have challenging behaviors, and I can do without that scene, too!

    So what would I do if I could get by on the same income doing something different? I think I would love living communally with gentle, quiet people who loved spiritual things and self-development. I would love to be cooking vegetarian food for an appreciative group of people. I would also like to teach people about contentment and joy. I would like ample time to write poetry and create things from upcycled materials. Someone else would be responsible for yard work, gardening, and cleaning.

    Like you two, I have always been an avid self-educator. I earned a Master of Theology before my own faith crisis, but it included a lot of counseling classes, and feel like I could be of benefit to someone as an adviser or spiritual coach of some sort. I’m a Reiki master now and am self-educating myself in life-coaching. I have made little efforts in creating a solo-preneurship as a blogger, writer, teacher, spiritual coach-type person. But I must admit I have not been much of one to “hustle.” Mostly I write and dream and think and sit and look out the window.

    Another hurdle I might mention is my age. I will be 60 next year. My inner doubts tell me that I really need to be a licensed professional counselor to do the kind of work I want to do in my “business.” But I am much too old to take on the kind of debt it would take to get an official license to counsel. (I was encouraged by all you’ve accomplished without a degree, Antonia!) Deep inside, I believe I have something to offer. I have trouble pinning it down and giving it a name, however.

    Thank you for such a wonderful and insightful podcast! I always enjoy your podcasts so much!

  • Jonnie
    Reply

    A & J 4ever!
    You two have to know how coincidental this podcast’s timing was in my life, as the case with so many of your Pcasts before.
    I’ve been listening since I got “into” podcasts, approximately a year ago.
    PH opened up my eyes to an entirely different realm of understanding myself.
    I felt incomparable relief when I had my ENFJness explained and all the sudden so many things made sense to me, my life, my core paradigm.
    It wasn’t necessarily “justification” for my actions or weird ass ways of thinking but more components of my psyche starting to come together to where I could find some acceptance…
    I’d go as far to say it cushioned the embrace of my lifelong villain—
    Acceptance (dramatic gasp!)

    Your Pcasts resonated with the inner layer of my Shrek Onion (because ONIONS. HAVE. LAYERS!).
    Notably due to my religious background as a Jehovah’s Witness, I can relate with MUCH being discussed. I’m not here to publicly ridicule but I am freely willing to broadcast the issues derived from a young malleable brain being raised in such a religion.
    JW’s teachings, self-proclaimed as “The Truth”, was a bad html code that was embedded in my impressionable and naive mind. Higher education was shunned. Any extra time and focus was allotted and dedicated solely to studying the bible, publications and going door-to-door to spread the “good news”.
    I was to turn away from any pursuit other than serving Jehovah and the congregation and was to “pray away” the mere DESIRE to explore avenues that would deviate from servitude. Needless to say, no time or thought was invested towards being able to actually support myself financially because “God provides”.
    Long story short-ish, when I left, I was left with nothing. Nothing 2nd-take worthy to put on my resume. Although I gained a great deal of skill and experience researching for public talks I’d composed since age 8, not to mention using youth innocence and verbal charisma to get strangers I’d interrupted their dinner for to read my propaganda, how the hell was I supposed to convey that on a resume? Non-translatable. Nothing to offer the thick processes of the real world.

    Although I have successfully managed to maintain employment at jobs and remained employed until I threw in the towel, I sell myself short CONSTANTLY. I have no metric to understand how much I really offer. Part of me is still thankful I just have a job but as a result, I have worked for awful people for dollars fewer than what I really deserve for WAY. TOO. LONG. I have no belief that I can outshine my competition, therefore, suffocating my potential.
    It’s heartbreaking to come across jobs I want to apply for that require some breed of education or degree. I sometimes feel sorry myself going “I wonder where I’d be or who I’d be if I was allowed to nourish my potential”…but I can’t think like that. That means I’m still losing that battle if that makes sense.
    I quit an extremely abusive job 3 months ago where I experienced things I wouldn’t wish upon my own worst enemy. To shed some light, one of my coworkers was murdered in that building and I had to step foot in it every single day after( I was there for 3.5 years). Needless to say, with every day that passed, more and more of my soul was depleted.
    The good news…I have been given the opportunity by my very loving significant other to pursue what fuels me the most…
    to write.
    I’m currently just another freelance writer in the sea of many but I am so damn fulfilled. The whites of my eyes are whiter. They sparkle. I feel, finally at 32, that I am able to live the life I want to live. No religious ropes. No evil bosses. I’m doing me. I can’t feel sad that this didn’t happen sooner. I’m just glad it’s happening.

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Congratulations Jonnie! I am happy to hear that you have found a more satisfying life. Freedom is pretty amazing, isn’t it? 🙂

  • Ben
    Reply

    Hi Joel and Antonia

    Wow, this was a very timely podcast for me.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story as I am in a very similar predicament.
    Your whole podcast is so inspiring and just what I needed as I was getting completely bogged down in the internal conflict of what is to be seen as the right move as opposed to what is the right move for me long term.

    Just recently I also lost my religion which was a big deal. It caused a lot of anxiety and many many regrets as I had been very involved and loyal to it.
    However when evidence becomes so overwhelming it is time to let it go.
    If you haven’t already guessed, I’m an INTJ.

    I also have this burning fire in my belly, but also feel so trapped in my current situation.
    I have had a number of failed business ventures which has not been able to generate stable income. So now I’m gearing up to go back on the hamster wheel (working a job). It just feels so wrong in my gut and feels like I’m heading in the completely wrong direction. I have been very depressed of late as I could not see any other way out than going back on the hamster wheel, even though my gut is twisting and turning over it. I do feel a strong commitment to meet my obligations to my family, but this in turn seems to kill the creativity that will eventually lead to being able to create the value necessary to live a fulfilling life.

    If I had a stable income and could do whatever I wanted for the next 12 month, I would work on bringing new sustainable energy sources to market. I watched a Leonardo DiCaprio documentary the other day called: “Before the Flood” where he travels around the world to document how we humans are in the process of destroying our planet and its environment. He also interviews President Barack Obama, who goes on to say that we have to wait 20 years until new technologies comes online to replace our current fossil fuel dependence. What President Obama never said anything about is that there are over 5300 Patents currently being withheld by the US Patent office which could very quickly transition the world away from fossil fuels and over to clean sustainable energy sources. Clean sustainable energy sources has been invented and available for many years, but are being withheld on the grounds of National Security.
    This is totally insane and should be addressed ASAP for the sake of humanity and the planet.

    I have a friend who owns technology which can totally eliminate CO emissions from current coal fired power plants and totally eliminate CO2, CO, SO2 and NOx.
    That is just one example for two major areas, but vested interests fight to maintain status que.
    As you can probably tell creating a sustainable environment for humanity and the planet is where my passion is. Why are humans the only species on this planet who diligently work towards destroying their own habitat???

  • Jenny Brandt
    Reply

    This was a really cool Podcast. Thank yous so much for sharing your stories, it gives me hope that I don’t have to be stuck in cubicle forever. I’m going to give the question “If you could duplicate your exact income right now, but you didn’t have to do your current job, what would you do?” some serious thought. I love the idea of being able to break free of the 8-5 job and pursuing my passions. Thank you for your great questions and insights!

  • D. A. Meyers
    Reply

    This is the first episode of your podcast that I have listened to, and man, you guys resonated with me so much. I feel the universe provided this piece of inspiration exactly when I needed it.

    My story seems like a combination of both of yours, interestingly enough. I just don’t have a supportive partner, yet, haha.

    I am “uneducated” I have a few certificates, including one from a college, but I never received my high school diploma (I would have graduated about 11 years ago). I struggle with this because I feel that people don’t take you as seriously. I have a high enough intelligence level that a university degree would not be academically challenging, but it seems to be hard for people to take your intelligence and/or drive seriously without that piece of paper.

    I have a kid from a separated marriage, which adds its challenges.

    I also came up from a fairly religious household, which I am finding has left some marks that effect my confidence and drive, as well as a reluctance to come out with my adult-formed beliefs, which can clash considerably with how I was raised.

    If I could duplicate my exact salary for a year… I would be doing more of exactly what I am doing in my free time. I volunteer at a local, independent community radio station. Man, what I wouldn’t do to do it full time. I also volunteer the rest of my time and talents to my passion, which I will get to.

    You ask where I am at… I am at the edge. I am currently slaving my time to a corporation that doesn’t jive with my ethics, treats its employees poorly and is very physically demanding. But it’s the highest paying, securest job I could find that fits my education level (none worth mentioning). I am not passionate about this job at all… but I am working on my passion.

    In the time I have that I can call my own, aside from volunteering at the station, I volunteer my time to myself, essentially. I have a dream of starting a non-profit. I am an ENTP, like you, Antonia, and so the daily grind is… a real grind. So, the non-profit is fairly broad based, with a number of things to do. Don’t worry, I have an INFJ for a best friend to keep me focused. I am currently producing a podcast (already started, 10 episodes in). I also plan to produce mostly educational video content and blog work. I will work for my wage doing design and consultation, and oversee a foundation striving to promote equality, community and permaculture through a variety of programs.

    I am very passionate about this work. It is all based on a concept called Permaculture.

    How did I get here? It’s a long and complex story. I was in a rough state for a while. Depression and anxiety were a daily struggle and financial and & time burdens that were beginning to feel like too much. My marriage failed for a variety of reasons, and contributed a number of factors to my current state. Then I found some community, and a spark of that passion. I received my first permaculture certificate (I say first, because it is the first of many to come) in May of this year. I was surrounded by love and support. When came back to daily life after the course, which was in the forest, surrounded by people, situations dragged me back down and I didn’t do much. I produced a few shows of my podcast, but even that felt lackluster. I lacked direction.

    Things stayed like that for a little while, aimlessly trying to do something creative, something bigger… but without purpose, it was beginning to become very grey, just like everything else.

    It all changed, recently, the day I found my magic. I found in me a piece of positivity that can’t be contained. It has a physical manifestation in a charm, but I know it’s all inside me. That day was filled with community again. I felt the generosity of the city come out during the radio station’s funding drive, and it inspired me to pursue the non-profit path.

    So, I’m on the edge. I’m living both the daily grind that I dislike very strongly and I’m currently following my passion. I am hoping soon I can transition to full time following my passion.

    Long story short: I am both living the daily grind, struggling for my wage to pay for my bills, but also living my passion.

  • Michelle
    Reply

    Hello! This episode is just what I needed. Thank you 🙂

    I am currently struggling with what to do next. I got my degree in Computer Science and after graduating I got a programming job that I kept for 3 years. I just quit in April to travel around the country to rock climb. I feel incredibly conflicted about what I should do with my life after the trip.

    I have a lot of phases. I love researching new things and picking up new skills. I get so excited about a new thing that I can’t sleep because I’m thinking about it and then it’s the first thing I think about when I wake up. But sadly, eventually I lose interest. I have some recurring phases, things that I will get out of for a while but then they always come back.

    I could easily go back to the software industry. But I don’t want to just get another programming job because it’s more exciting to me to start something new. But it feels silly to go and start a new career because I know eventually I will just want something new again. (I don’t remember which episode, but I know there was one where you guys specifically referenced this struggle for Exploration types)

    My current struggle is to come up with how to make money and also satisfy my need to consistently have new and exciting things.

    Thank you so much for bringing Personality Hacker into the world!

  • Adrienne
    Reply

    Great episode! I especially loved your question Joel about doing whatever you want on the same salary and actually surprised myself to think, actually I’m where I want to be right now. Its been a struggle to get here, and its not a smooth life path I’ve chosen, so sometimes its hard to recognise.

    My story is that as a teenager I was pretty depressed, not terribly well supported by my parents (some emotional neglect), and I started realising I was gay when I was around 14. I put hardly any effort into school and would drink a lot on weekends and some drugs, and got really low grades, just scraping through.

    In my last year of high school I went to a career counsellor just so I could get a day off of school, and at the end of the day I decided I wanted to get a PhD in psychology and become a psychologist. All I really knew was that I was the person people would always come to for help, advice and support, and the psychologist idea really resonated.

    It was a major about face, but from then on I was driven to get a PhD (which I got two years ago, fourteen years later). I battled my inner demons the whole way down that path. I had to do extra years of community college to qualify for university. I struggled with classes I didn’t really connect with but I put a huge amount of pressure on myself to do well so I could get into a PhD program. I experienced my first serious burnout at the end of my honours year (I’ve experienced several more major burnouts since).

    I decided in my undergrad that I didn’t want to do clinical psychology and become a psychologist when I volunteered for a suicide helpline. I was good at the job, but it took a major toll on me emotionally–i couldn’t separate myself, and was given no support to try. I continued to be the rock for everyone in my life and didn’t really want to give that up either (who would I be otherwise??) and didn’t think I’d be able to cope with supporting others and taking on that emotion both personally and professionally.

    Instead I decided to pursue research and understand prejudice and intergroup relations, and figure out how we can eradicate or lessen racism and discrimination as a society. Eventually that led me to New Zealand (from Canada) where I did a PhD in cross cultural psychology focusing on Canadian multicultarism, Canadian identity and inclusion/exclusion.

    The PhD was tough. The process was gruelling. I suffered from imposter syndrome, like everyone else, but for me I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t smart enough, especially since I barely passed high school (whereas almost everyone else was an A student their whole life). I had a terrible supervisor who just served to intensify my anxiety and doubt, and I experienceed crippling self doubt and burnt out regularly. I also went to counselling and developed a strong understanding of myself, my reactions, my patterns, and I started silently building up my self confidence.

    The other thing that got me through was my love and passion for my topic of study. I wanted to understand (my) society and intergroup relations deeply, historically, at a high level, and I wanted to do something with the findings. Not just publish it in an academic journal but do something meaningful for people experiencing exclusion.

    When I finished two years ago I thought screw this, I’m done with academia. I didn’t really know what i wanted but I knew it wasn’t that. But my north star had always been the PhD, what now?? I got out and I organised a parade. I wanted to do something fun and completely different. My new city of Wellington NZ hadn’t had a gay/LGBTIQ pride parade in almost twenty years and I jumped at the chance to get involved. Before long (8 months) I was heading the whole pride event (multi day festival, fair and parade) and it turned out running a festival like that was hugely related to what I’d spent the last decade or so studying.

    The festival celebrates and showcases the lgbtiq community and raises visibility of the community and issues we’re still facing..aiming for recognition and acceptance and inclusion in wider society. But more than that, the community is a sub society characterised by a huge amount of diversity. There is sexual, gender, cultural and age diversity among others. Daily I am faced with the challenge of how to make sure everyone feels included, but genuinely included, and it turns out in practice that is no easy feat!

    All the work i do for the festival is volunteer. My paid work is as a researcher and evaluator in a government department, evaluating social programmes and whether they are helping people the way they are supposed to. I find the combination of trying to create change from within a mainstream organisation coupled with doing working as a minority for a large minority sub society full of tensions but also deeply satisfying.

    I surprised myself when I answered Joel’s question with a “yes, I am doing what I want to be doing” because the work itself (especially the community work) is so stressful. Someone the other day told me that she sees our pride committee as the civic politicians for the lgbtiq community, and it feels that way. We are held to account, and every move we make is scrutinised. There’s a lot of in fitting in the community and on the committee. People always wonder why I do something for free that is so stressful, and its sometimes hard to answer. But bringing communities together is something I’m passionate about, and building bridges or helping facilitate open and genuine communication, especially listening and hearing each other.

    Im realising im good at all this too, but it does sometimes have a detrimental effect on me. The PH site, blogs and podcasts have helped me build a lot of confidence in my strengths as an ENFJ, and its also taught me which areas to focus on and develop. I am deliberating choosing this path for myself but am learning to be clear about my boundaries, ask for help, get support, prioritise my needs and not feel such a great weight of responsibility for others. I am currently on the hunt for a coach to develop my leadership skills further and my paid work is giving me a lot of opportunities for leadership and leadership training as well. Thank you for your help in getting me here, and especially for allowing me to recognise that I’m right where I want to be right now.

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