May 27, 2020

Navigating a Career Transition with Darrell Fincher

Navigating a Career Transition with Darrell Fincher

Navigating a Career Transition can be a daunting thought without the right guidance. Have you ever felt like you're not happy in your job, but you don't really know what else is out there or how to even start thinking about the next step?

In this episode, Darrell and I put on our Career Coaching hats and discuss practical strategies for identifying what matters to you in a job, and how to go for it. With no shortage of personal examples, this conversation will give you some serious motivation and real action steps to take if you're ready for your next move.

About Our Guest:
Darrell Fincher is a father, brother, son, friend and Sr. HR Leader at a Fortune 100 company. At 31 he began a professional journey of self discovery that led him to a career in which he loves and is able to leverage this strengths to help leaders win. He is now on a new journey of personal discovery that honors his authentic self, creatIng space for vulnerability and compassion, and being present for all that life has to offer.
You can connect with Darrell on LinkedIn (

Mentioned in this Episode:

Connect with us @lyvshow on social to continue the values conversation!


003 Interview

[00:00:00] IntroBagel: Hey, it's Bagel here. I just wanted to say thanks for checking out this episode of the live your values podcast. You probably clicked on this episode because you are, or at some point you will consider a career transition in your life. I, for one, know how hard it can be sometimes to even entertain the thought of switching jobs or careers.

It can be daunting, nerve wracking, insert difficult emotion here. I'm hoping that this episode with Darell Fincher will  give you a starting point and some useful tools to help you first, use some introspection to identify what matters to you in a job and then use that knowledge to really go for it.

Darell is one of my favorite people and incredible mentor and honestly, I'm not kidding when I say I don't know where I would be without him.   Pour yourself a nice brew and gear up for episode three of the live your values podcast. [00:01:00] 

Welcome to the live your values podcast. I'm your host Mike Bagel, and today I am beyond excited to welcome our guests for today's episode. A long time mentor and friend Darrell Fincher. Darrell is a father, brother, son, friend, and senior HR leader at a fortune 100 company. At 31 he began a professional journey of self discovery that led him to a career in which he loves and is able to leverage these strengths to help leaders win. He is now on a new journey of personal discovery that honors his authentic self, creating space for vulnerability and compassion and being present for all that life has to offer.

And I know that I can say I feel really lucky to have met Darrell my summer going into senior year of college. When we were working at a financial institution in Delaware, when I was a student at USD and Darrell was assigned as my, I forget the official title, I think it was like campus leadership [00:02:00] mentor or something along those lines, for me and a couple others at the branch we were at. But we've developed a relationship and stayed in touch over the years. And Darrell has, has always been my go to for anything career related, pretty much. Especially career transitions over over pretty much the length of my professional career, especially when I've faced some crises.

So, Darrell, I'm really excited to have you, to have you on the show and to talk a little bit about careers and navigating things and, yeah, so, so thanks for being here.

Darrell: No, thank you so much for having me. I was, I'm really honored when you reached out for me to do this one because it's, it is a personal topic for me cause I've gone through a couple of transitions in my career. And I've just felt just being able to have this conversation with you it's kind of very meaningful and it's really timely because I've just gone through another career transition not that long ago.

So I'm looking forward to sharing what I've learned and some of my mistakes. Some of the lessons learned that, with this [00:03:00] group. So thank you.

Bagel: Yeah, that's great. And we're definitely going to get to hear some of your own career transitions and things like that, so I'm glad that you're ready to talk about those. Before we dive into that, do you want to share a little bit of just kind of, maybe like your recent, journey?  

I know, you're still relatively new to Charlotte and you made a big move down here from Delaware a couple years ago. And, selfishly I'm very happy that you're here and in the town that I've been in now for a couple of years. So it was just a little icebreaker maybe to help people get to know you a little bit. w what have been your initial impressions of North Carolina, and maybe what's your favorite thing so far about Charlotte?

Darrell: Okay. So I'm going to start with the last thing. The food is amazing, right? I'd probably put on more weight in the last two years because of sweet tea and barbecue.

Bagel: Oh, yeah.

Darrell: You know, I think the thing that I'm, I appreciate so much about Charlotte is the diversity. There's a [00:04:00] lot of different people that have moved here over the last several years.

So they're still kind of like honoring kind of old traditions, but then an influx of new people with new ideas. And, you know, and I think what I also appreciate is that with so many different people, coming to the. The state or the city, you know, there's just a general openness to kind of create new relationships and friendships.

And so I think that's been a really nice thing to see, and I really enjoy that and that part of it. And then obviously the food. Amazing.

Bagel: The food is pretty great. That's really cool to hear. I think there's, it's funny hearing the piece about the diversity and kind of bringing people together. And I feel like in some way, Charlotte definitely does feel like such a melting pot of people. You know, it's rare to meet someone who's from Charlotte, let alone, you know, even this part of North Carolina.

Those are the unicorns and there's so many people that have moved here over the last probably 20 years or so. That it's just a huge influx in [00:05:00] population to the area. But it's funny in some ways I, you know, growing up in Jersey, kind of closer to New York, I almost feel like there's this lack of diversity in some ways in Charlotte compared to up there.

But then again, compare it to other places I've lived, like on the coast in Wilmington, North Carolina. Like, yeah, Charlotte has a lot more of that and a lot more going on in a lot of different perspectives and, and that sort of thing. So, so it's interesting to hear someone who's moved here more recently and kind of their impression of that.

Yeah. Lots of great barbecue, lots of great food. so what are some of, You know, this show is about living your values. And one of the things that I'm really interested to hear from all of our guests when they come on the show is,  a little bit about your own values in your life, and maybe those have shifted a little bit over time.

But I'm really curious, and I know you and I have had some really great conversations over the years about why this matters, but, are there a couple of values that are most important to you right now that you'd like to share.

Darrell: Yeah, I think so. And I think you actually, as you [00:06:00] started the conversation and you kind of read my bio, you started off with, I'm a father, son, brother, all that sort of stuff. Versus really, like what I do during the day for my full time employment. And I would have to say my, over the last couple of years, some of the things that have resonated with me most as far as values are concerned is authenticity.

And, at 45 years old, I think I'm finally getting comfortable in my own skin. Professionally, but also personally. And, that's one thing that I think is super important. As you know, you bring your best self to wherever that may be, whether it's at home or at work, and you really do live a better life by doing that.

And, so authenticity is important. Flexibility and adaptability have been super important to me in the last, you know, 10, 15 years. And, you know, just from the standpoint of, you know, as we were getting set up for this session, there were some technical difficulties. But hey, those things happen and we can't allow sometimes [00:07:00] challenges to get in our way of carrying through what we need to carry through.

Resilience and grit. I've had more no's than yeses, earlier in my career. And, being able to kind of quickly rebound and understand the no. But not letting the know last forever has been important to just be able to move forward and not letting a chip grow my shoulder around why can't continue to move forward in my career or my personal life or whatever the case may be.

Now, listen, I'm going to be very honest. I have my moments where I need to let the hurt or the anger or whatever kind of happen. But I try not to let that last longer than an evening and then on the next day I'm up and at it. And then, you know, the other thing too, you know, just, and I know we're just talking about moving to Charlotte, just being open to new things and inclusive.

I mean, those things are important to me because, you know, life is different. You know, we're in an environment now that we've [00:08:00] never seen, and we just have to be able to be open to other perspectives and ideas, and that's how we grow as professionals, but as human beings. And those four to five values have become kind of my center piece or center post of how I try to operate as a human being.

Bagel: Yeah, that's really cool to hear. And I don't think we've ever like had a direct conversation about your values. I know that I've, I've been able to kind of like see some of those played out and, you know, the course of our friendship and stuff, but it's cool to hear them pointed more specifically.

I do think the resilience and grit is going to come back up in our conversation, because that's definitely something I think about with, with career and entrepreneurship and lots of different things in life and just such a valuable skill to have. But I do want to just kind of drill into the last one you mentioned, which is being open to new things.

As you were describing that as being important to you and why. I just realized I think that that's something that [00:09:00] I know I've taken for granted about myself and maybe didn't realize that like maybe not everybody is this open to new ideas, new perspectives, new experiences as I am. And sometimes I have to stop and think like, okay, not everybody's the same.

And so, you know, Charlotte, like you were mentioning maybe as a place where people may be a little bit more. Open, maybe value that more where they are more open to things and wanting to meet new people and wanting to go out and try the different breweries and the different restaurants and things like that.

But if you go maybe 30 miles outside of Charlotte or really any big metropolitan area, you might see people with a lot more traditional stay at home values. And it may not be that similar thing, not to stereotype, but that's just an example. So I think it's interesting how you're saying like, those things matter, but Hey, maybe, maybe that's not important to everybody.

Maybe someone moves somewhere and doesn't need to be open.

Darrell: It may not, but I did. And then, you know, and I like to try to keep this conversation. We can make it so focused on like professional careers, but I want to kind of broaden [00:10:00] out to make it around life too. But even as you're thinking about a career transition, think about the workplace where we are today.

I mean, we have five generations in the workforce, right? We have technology that moves at the speed of light. We have, you know, we're in the middle of a pandemic where we have to quickly adjust to be able to serve customers and our own personal needs. So if we're not open to new ways of doing things or different perspectives, we're going to become irrelevant super quick.

So it's an imperative that we're more open and inclusive than ever before because there's just so many different variables that are kind of out there that we have to be able to kind of quickly understand and address. And you know, I'm a firm believer that, even in the work that I do during the day and my full time job, that you do get a better product, a better service when you have more people at the table with their ideas, right, and their suggestions, you get less resistance, more buy [00:11:00] in, and you get to a faster resolution. Sometimes it can be painful, but by just being open and inclusive to other's perspectives.

Bagel: Interesting. I think, You know, corporations and businesses of different size might value those things more or less. But you're right, that there's just so, there's so many different generations and, and different people with different values within an organization. That it's like you almost have to be open to understanding that people have different priorities and a different motivator, motivators and things like that too.

 That segues us pretty nicely into the topic, I think for today, which is navigating a career transition. And we started to go into that a bit and, and for context, I know I mentioned this before. So Darrell has been, very helping and in my life through many career transitions. And, you know, I think to sort of set the table here a little bit, one of the things that you've helped me with over over the many career transitions that [00:12:00] I've already had in my life is just, asking the right questions and, reflecting back and helping me understand better, what my values are when it comes to a career. And also just helping me gain some clarity about what it is that  I'm truly looking for. So we can  talk about sort of your role as a career counselor or someone who helps people with that. But first, I'm a little curious to know about your own careers that you've navigated through yourself and any transitions that you've went through and maybe, you know, some good and some bad that came along with that in any lessons as well.

Darrell: Sure. So it's funny because I think as we start to talk a little bit about career transitions, one of the things I was thinking about as I was prepared for our talk today was, you know, even as you and I have had conversations about what your next step will be as far as career.

We never really started with like, Oh, did you take some exam [00:13:00] or an assessment to understand what your personality is going to be? And then it equates to this and that, and it's never been that formulaic for me. But I think as I started to think about my career, it's just, it's a composite of many different experiences that have really allowed me to say, what are the things that I love and what are the things that I'm passionate about?

And passion is okay, you can be passionate about your work. But just to talk a little bit about some of my kind of career experiences. So I started working at 12 and a video store. It was a really great experience for me. And you probably didn't think I was gonna go this far, but I think it's important because it was, it was a really good experience for me to be able to do work at a very early age to learn what it was like to interact with customers, deal with a little bit of conflict because there were certain things that sometimes I didn't agree with, but I had to kind of roll with the punches.

Ultimately kind of the fast forward I worked in a supermarket for about 10 years, and really had a lot of different experiences there. [00:14:00] dealing with unions and angry customers sometimes. But ultimately I ended up working in financial services. I dropped out of college to take this job because you know, I was in high school.

I was like, you know what, my job, I'm going to just, I just want to wear suits and look nice and look professional. That was like what my career aspiration was, but I didn't have any indication as to what that meant. So I became an accounting major in college and failed miserably at it. I literally dropped out of college because my grades were so bad because I just couldn't seem to get my head around what that was going to be. And it was a struggle for me because, you know, I was someone up until that point that was a hard worker, did very well in a high school. And I just said, you know what? I can just do anything, right? I can be an accountant. Why not be an accountant? I'm gonna wear a suit. I'm gonna look nice.

That's great. But as the rubber hit the road and I got older. It became much more [00:15:00] difficult to really dedicate the time or really understanding because I just wasn't passionate about it.  And it wasn't anything I really wanted to do, but I, the lesson I learned in that was, you know, I failed miserably and I felt super bad about that because I was just like, how come I couldn't make this work?

But it wasn't until years later. That, you know, I realized that that just wasn't for me. And I ended up dropping out of college at the time and I started at this company as a financial services company in Delaware. I worked there for nine years, did a variety of different jobs. I think I did pretty well.

And there came a point where the company was bought by another company and I really started to do some soul searching. And again, thinking about what are those experiences? What were those things that I love to do? And and talking to some mentors, about what that looks like. And I decided to go back to school.

And, over a four year period, I went back to school and [00:16:00] finished my undergraduate degree and my master's degree in organizational development. And that was absolutely investment at time. But it was a very focused, decision because I was able to kind of reflect back and say, okay. What are the things that I really enjoyed about all of those experiences and it kind of related to change.

I love change. I love helping, and I realized that I didn't need to be front and center with people. I could help be behind the scenes. I really enjoy communication and really kind of problem solving and looking at big picture issues and trying to solve them on a very tactical level. And so the two degrees that I went after really helped kind of do more of a kickstart into the career I'm in today. Cause I knew ultimately I wanted to get into HR. And so just to kind of speed this up a little bit, you know, I think the thing that was really helpful was as I was going back to school, I felt this energy about like I felt [00:17:00] like I was for the first time in my career that I was really doing something that resonated with me and I enjoy the feeling and it came really easy. And I took that as a way to say, look, there's something here. 

And so as I finished my undergraduate and my masters and which was quite a challenge at the time because I was working, I actually had to go back to work. I was working full time and I'm going to school full time, and I had a family, small kids and you know, life. And it was a bit of a balance, but I loved it because I felt like I was moving in the right direction. After I graduated, I was like, you know what? It's time for me to go and be an HR because that's what I want to do. And I wasn't getting HR jobs. I was applying like crazy when I'm like, what is this?

This is crazy. I have two degrees and I should be in HR. And again, another lesson learned is that you know, for me to be resilient, but be flexible. And  through [00:18:00] some good guidance from folks, I started to think that, you know, to go from point A to point Z overnight is not realistic. I had to start to think about what are those transitional jobs that I can take that can get me from A to like C to then F.

And over time. And so I was really intentional about what those jobs were, because they were focused on continuing to hone my craft of what it would be like to be an HR professional. So I took a couple of project management roles and change management roles. And then ultimately, probably about, I would say about five years, five or six years after I got my my masters, I got my first HR role and have been in it ever since and loved it.

And I've been, think people would say pretty successful at it. Because I feel like, you know, I'm in a role that aligns to my strengths, to my skills. I'm very passionate about it and as [00:19:00] a result of that, I'm able to kind of do it pretty well. 

Bagel:  So I think that's really great and I appreciated kind of hearing the trajectory there. It sounds like there was a sort of an idealistic, you know, I should be an accounting major and I want to dress up and all this stuff.

When you're young, you kind of don't really know what a career looks like. And you know, I mean, I can say the same, like when I was in college, I don't think I truly understood what it meant to work in a job. I just knew what it meant to get a paycheck. And I knew what it meant to like show up to work, but having a career as a whole different story.

And so it's interesting to hear how you've kind of worked over time and there were probably, I'm sure, there were some more bumps in the road that you didn't share. Where you kind of figured like, Oh wait, I'm going to try this, but maybe that didn't work so well, let me, let me kind of narrow my focus a bit.

And so, I think  the sort of rounding out PCs at the end of talking about how, you know, HR and the roles that you're in now align more with your strengths and your skill set and that sort of [00:20:00] thing are crucially important, just as, as much as values probably. So what are some of the things, and I know you kind of joked about, assessments not really being part of the conversations you and I have had, although I'm sure we've both taken and maybe administered them ourselves.

And I definitely had used that in my toolbox as a career counselor when I was doing that on college campuses for a while. But, I am curious, so when you do have conversations with professionals like you did with me, and I'm sure many others, where do you start? When someone talks to you about, like, you know, whether they're on your staff or someone you know personally, like where might you start with someone who's considering making a change.

Darrell: Yeah. And so, listen, my bread and butter is sometimes some of these assessments. So I do, I love them. They're great. But you know, one of the things that I always try to talk to people about is, you know, let's start on the inside first, outside second. Right. And I say that from the standpoint of [00:21:00] you know yourself better than anyone. And so before we go into the land of assessments, start to ask yourself some common questions, such as, what do I want to do? Like what do I love? And it doesn't necessarily start with a job. There's sometimes experiences that you've had where you're like, you know, I feel really good about getting in front of people.

I feel really good about supporting that person in the volunteer effort. Right. And I think sometimes we try to put so many names on things too prematurely versus really getting to the heart of. Where is it that I get enjoyment? Where is it that I feel like I can excel? And even kind of broadening that out next to like significant others or siblings or friends or people that got to stick it to see you at your best and sometimes at your worst too.  Say, listen, can you tell me where you see me excel? You'd be surprised with what people sometimes can tell you. And so when I say sometimes starting from the inside first versus the outside, [00:22:00] it does start with some reflection. And then really building upon that. And I actually went through a really similar exercise when I was trying to figure out, you know, what I wanted to do and ended up going back to college. It started with just that basic set of like, what have been some of the things that I've won, like where I've won professionally? And those things have helped me to start to say, Oh, okay, great. Let me start to build on that and start to name it.

And then as you start to name those skills, you can then quickly align to what are those professions or those careers that I want to kind of help or try to get to it. 

Bagel: Yeah. 


This self reflection exercise that Darrell is describing. It's important to pay attention to. I remember having a similar discussion with him a year into my first professional full time job. Darrell was asking me to talk about some moments where I felt like things were coming easy.

And I felt energized. And coincidentally, I talked about times where I helped a few friends and brothers in my [00:23:00] fraternity shape up their resume and prepare for job interviews.

  This was, at the time, what led me to pursue a master's degree and become a career counselor. All because I was able to point to something and say, this felt right. Do you feel that about the job you're in now? How important is that to you? 

Yeah, I think that's great advice. You know, I recall when I was getting set to graduate and you had walked me through a very similar exercise and you know, definitely starting with that self reflection and kind of aligning skills. And I think I was at the time pretty clear on like where my strengths were.

But the harder part for me was, was when I was sort of deliberating between a couple offers, which I was lucky enough to have. I remember just feeling so stuck. And it was a combination of advice from you and my stepmom, you know, of saying, you know, this is not your last job. In fact, it's your first one.

So don't think that this is the rest of your life. [00:24:00] And, and then also where you were really helpful for me was just saying, you know, even if you just wrote down on a piece of paper the benefits and the pros and cons of these two jobs on both sides and just had them listed out in front of you, you'd be surprised at how much more clear you'd be able to view that and to have perspective on it.

And sort of just that, that action of getting it on paper along with advice to start journaling, which I'm still doing to this day. And you actually were the one who first, pushed me in that direction as well. And that's been a really helpful skill. So I would echo that. I really liked that, that focused on internal first and reflection first and then sort of figuring out that alignment piece from there.

Darrell: Yeah, and I think the other thing too is, I mean, as we think about the title of your podcast, which is living your values, right? Is the values become, you know, an important piece of it. Because you don't want to put yourself in a situation or role that compromises your values and 

it's [00:25:00] hard for you to step into something without knowing what you value and who you are as a person. And I have definitely had experiences one or two in particular where I've quickly gone into jobs, I'm like, oops. This isn't going to work.

Bagel: Yeah.

Darrell: And I've had to, backtrack and obviously always leaving on good terms is super important and whatever you do right. Again, part of, you know, a value of being authentic. But, you know, not staying in something that you know, doesn't have a long tail is also important.

Bagel: Yeah. I'm curious if you care to share, obviously you don't have to mention names of companies or anything like that. But what were the clues for you when you figured out that that was not the right fit.

Darrell: Yeah. And you, and the thing is, it's so funny, as you kind of know, like right 

away. Like right away, I had this one situation where I, [00:26:00] you know, I was at a really, I was at a good gig at one company. I felt like, you know, I was growing, but I really wanted to get into another kind of aspect of a profession. And I, and it's funny cause some people are going to listen to this podcast and they're going to know exactly which company I'm talking about. But, or organization, but I remember taking a huge leap. it was a pay cut and  it was a long commute, and I didn't really do all of my due diligence. I was just so eager to say that I'm getting into this field that I just jumped. And I remember the very first day coming home and my wife at the time was like, I don't think this is going to work. Cause like she could tell like the drain already. So you know I think that's an example of, you know, yes this is what I want to do but when I look in the whole picture, what are like all of the variables, does [00:27:00] this really make sense? Does this really honor what I'm trying to do? Am I willing to, is this sacrifice really big enough for me to take it where I'm going to get a return on investment that will make it work and I become.

You know, and listen, even since that point, I made mistakes, but I think the whole thing about resilience and saying, I'm going to call it and I'm gonna do the right thing and do good work while I'm there, but I got to have an exit strategy and move on to the next thing.


Bagel: I get goosebumps listening to this last segment, that first job I mentioned that I had right out of school. It was tormenting me for many, many reasons. It only took me about nine months to realize it wasn't the right fit, but I absolutely went into panic mode when I made that realization. At 22 years old, I felt like the rest of my life was going to be miserable. Because this was my only experience so far as an adult, and quite honestly, it sucked. [00:28:00] Thankfully, I had a mentor like Darrell to help me realize that I could make a change. Even though I stayed in my job for another year I got the exit plan in motion once I did that self-reflection, used my sounding board, envisioned the next phase in life as a career counselor and then did the work to get there. Have you had situations where you felt trapped in a job or a career, or maybe you're there now? What did you, or what will you do next?

For sure. And I think that those experiences, we can call them failures or we can just call them experiences where you figured out what doesn't work for you, especially in a career, I think are just so crucial and so important. You know all too well about my struggles in my first professional job after college. And I quickly realized that, like you said, it was pretty early on that I realized I wasn't cut out for it and it wasn't the right fit. But it still took awhile to kind of figure out that exit strategy and to figure out what was next and [00:29:00] almost that crippling fear and anxiety of admitting to myself. Like, wait, I don't have a plan for what's next. And there's stuff that comes with that too. But looking back, I mean, I still to this day I have no regret and I'm not upset in any way that I went through that experience. Because I know how much it helped me then kind of craft the ideal of what I did want in a career, what I did want on a job and what was important to me. And I think sometimes, especially younger people, maybe early in their career  maybe don't have that perspective yet. And so it's important for them to know like, Hey, that first job is not your last one, like we said. But also like pay attention to the little things  that you do enjoy about each job you have on each experience you have and you know, don't discount that because that could actually still help you craft the next step.

Darrell: That's right. And you know, I think the thing that's unfortunate sometimes is we feel like because we've made a bad decision, a mistake, [00:30:00] whatever we want to call it, we feel like we have to stay in it. And you never have to stay in it, right? What you have to do, what's a must is you have to do good work while you're there. But you never have to stay. Right. We all have a choice. And you know, the ramifications of staying are far beyond the dissatisfaction you have at work that carries into your personal life. And, you know, I think we've all, we've both been in situations where we've not enjoyed what we did for our work and there is some, there is some impact that happens when you come home, right? So you don't have to stay, you do have to do good work while you're there. So that you leave on good terms, you don't burn bridges, but you find your way to something that is more suitable for you, and that's okay.

That's absolutely okay.

Bagel: Yeah, for sure. And I think it's like seeing each experience or each job that you're in as a stepping stone, even if it feels like [00:31:00] you're on a downward slope because it's miserable or there's aspects of it that she can't stand or hate even. It's still a professional experience.

And like you said, I think the idea of not burning those bridges and making sure that you're still performing to some extent. So that A, so that you're, you got a good reference, but also just like you're still in the mode of work and producing and, you don't want to carry the momentum of being, excuse my language, but a shit worker into your next job because you know, that's not gonna help anyone either.

Darrell: That's absolutely right.

Bagel: So you mentioned, the resiliency piece, and I think that that's a nice transition to talk a little bit more about values in a career. And obviously, with the show, kind of the theme around living your values. So I think there are probably some instances where your personal values bleed into your work values and vice versa. You talked a little bit about the suggestion [00:32:00] of looking inward first when considering what it is that you want. So what are some, some ways that people can start to identify their values and how might they align that with a career? Like what they're looking to do work-wise.

Darrell: Yeah. I mean, I'm a big reflection person. Right. I know we talked a little bit about journaling and. It's for some people, it's not their thing, but that's okay. But I mean, I think the best way of really understanding who you are and what you bring to the table, it's really to go back and think about some of those experiences that you've had and really kind of dig in a bit and say, why didn't this work? Or why did this work? Right? And how could I have made it better? What was at the core of why I made that decision? And I think that's a huge piece of it. And I was just thinking, again, around preparing for this conversation, I remember I used to be a, it was in a role and I was kinda like the chief of staff, in a business. And, one of my mentor at the [00:33:00] time, he was like, you know, Darrell you know, and when we get in staff meetings, you know, you're pretty quiet because I was really junior in my career and I was supporting a very senior executive, and all of his direct reports were very senior. And I was like, well, because you know, I, you know, I'm just this and I just come in and I organize your meeting, I take the meeting notes, I do the followup.

And he said, well, you're sitting at that table for a reason and you are adding value. I want you here because your perspective is valued. Okay. And I need you to say things. I need you to speak up. And I'm like, but I don't have anything to say. He was like, we all have something to say. And so I think from a very early point in my career, I've learned that for me to be sitting around any table, it doesn't have to, regardless of the size, regardless of who's around the table, it's important for me to be able to contribute and have something to say and have a perspective.

And it may not always be welcomed, but especially now in the world that I have, is that I have an [00:34:00] obligation to speak truth to what I'm seeing. And so if I'm in a situation where I don't feel like that can happen, or we can be able to speak truth then that's not an environment I want to be in. And I've been in situations like that. So I think that's kind of an awareness.  But I think everybody has their own journey and their own experiences. And I think as you're trying to make a career transition, you really have to do a little bit of look back to say, you know, what have I enjoyed? What have I not enjoyed, where I've been in bad situations?

Because that'll be your guide to figure out where you go next. Now, for folks that are newer in their careers, don't be fooled about the experiences that you've had in high school or elementary or middle school. Those are still experiences that are very, very valuable, right? And sometimes we kind of underestimate what those experiences are.

So think about those times where you were in sports or [00:35:00] doing volunteer work. All that stuff counts. And those are situations that you've been in that can help guide you to what works best for you.

Bagel: Yeah, absolutely. I think that that can't be stated enough is, you know, all of those experiences, it doesn't have to be work related, but those situations where you're in your groove, you're in your zone. Whether it's with other people or even on your own things that you're practicing, skills and things like that. They can come into play, you know, they can be translated into a work scenario. And I think that that's really good advice.

Darrell: Let me give you an example. This just came back to me, and this is, and I'm not, I'm being very humble when I say this. I was in fourth grade, so my name is spelled like Daryl, so I get that a lot. But when I was in elementary, I never had to tell the teachers what my name was. Like just think about kind of first day of school in September, the teachers [00:36:00] reading off the roster, such and such Jones that, that, that, that, that whatever.

Whenever it got to me, Darryl. I knew the people in my class would always say, Nope, that's not his name. His name is Darrell. And it's spelled like Darrell, but it's Darrell. And when you think about that though, right? I know it seems pretty kind of like silly, right, to bring it up. But what it was was I had built relationships with, you know, really strong set of friends that worked on my behalf.

Now I should still have felt comfortable to kind of correct my own name, 

but think about even in. In fourth grade, right? You're creating a set of experiences. You're pulling from a toolbox of skills, whether you know it or not, that have some value. Right? So I share that as an example.

Bagel: Yeah. That's a great, that's a funny story. I'm glad you shared that one. If, but it's interesting. You can, you can look back sometimes to childhood and realize that she did [00:37:00] things that, that came into play later in your life.  that's just made me think about another silly story that I'll share. I was asked about it an early childhood memory or something from childhood where I may have started to develop a skill that I'm using a lot now. And I remember when I was like nine or 10 years old, I used to play shop in my room. So I would like go around and find all the things that I wanted to sell, quote unquote, from my room, and put little posted notes with price tags on them. And then I even made a little like spreadsheet on my computer. I don't even remember what computer I had back then. It was probably an old Apple. And I put like the name of the, you know, the name of the item and the price and all that and how many I had. And it's funny how, you know, I started a virtual assistant business where I do bookkeeping. And I'm obviously like doing so, so many things that relate to spreadsheets and organizing.

And it's funny, you know, I think we both sort of brought up these examples because there's, there's probably [00:38:00] some clues earlier in our life. That point us to, these are the things that we're either good at, that bring us joy, that make us feel fulfilled, that provides some meaning for us. And it's amazing what you can tap into if you actually just take that time to sit down and reflect and whether it's journaling or just sort of sharing, like we're having, someone asks you those questions 

Darrell: right. 

Bagel: helpful.

Darrell: And you know, it's like, it's one of those things where, you know, people may have heard the adage around everybody has a toolbox, a toolkit of skills, right? And at that early age, there was something that you had that was entrepreneurial that you just naturally just did. And being able to know that is super powerful, right?

Because if you know that, then you can hone that skill. You can practice your craft, you can continue to capitalize on it and master it, right? And and be able to then say, okay, now here's the type of work I want to do.

Bagel: Yeah, for sure. I think [00:39:00] that's a real testament to what we've been talking about. That first step is to take the time to get to know yourself and what's important to you and that sort of thing. I'm curious, your perspective, and we've touched on this a little bit with some of your stories, but what happens when you're in a job and you feel like your values are not aligning. Like you're already in the job it's not that you're thinking about the next step, but you're in it and you're realizing like the values are not aligning. There's something that doesn't feel right, whether it's about the job, the work, or the people. What are some, what are some strategies for how to navigate whether you should remain in that role or maybe consider a move and that sort of thing. Has that come up for you or anyone that you've helped?

Darrell: Yeah, absolutely. I think we've all been in that situation. And I would tell you one of the greatest gifts that one could have are people in your life that you trust, that you can have conversation with, right? [00:40:00] And it's not always your boss, let's just be honest, right? But it can be your... people have like you have your work, husbands and wives, right?

People that you work with that you see every day that you formed a relationship. They have your best at heart. They can tell you that brutally honest truth, whether you're great or you're a hot mess. But sometimes you need those people in your life. That can help you can kind of bounce things off because sometimes you know, your perspective may be way off because you have maybe reading into something that's not right and they can help correct you.

And sometimes it's, it's those people that are there with you in the trenches at work, sometimes it's people outside of work that know you, they've have a track record of seeing you at different periods of time in your career that can sometimes just give you some perspective that's really valuable. So I think that's the, that's one thing that I think is important. You know, the other thing too, I would say is kind of, you have to trust your gut. I mean, because [00:41:00] sometimes our intuition tells us when something's not right. And you have to be able to kind of explore that. And listen, we all have times where we have bad days. I mean, that's not unusual. But over periods of time if you're starting to feel uneasy or this just doesn't feel right, there's something there that you need to explore.

And I think that's where you kind of tap into your network, tap into the people around you to kind of validate.  Validate your thinking around that and if you need to formulate a plan, an exit plan.

Bagel: Yeah. Yeah. I agree. And I think the feedback loop is so critical, whether you're a job seeker or just, in a job and in a career, just to make sure that you're getting that feedback. Just, we can get in our heads so easily sometimes where we are too far in the trenches. So to have someone else be able to observe or sort of be our mirror, I think is so valuable.

Darrell: I think the other thing too is like, let's be practical, right? Cause like not everybody can just pick up and go to another [00:42:00] job. There's never been a time where I'm like, I'm just leaving and I don't have a job. Or I have kids, I can't afford that. Right? There's bills, there's cable and there's good barbecue to eat down here in Charlotte, but.

And so what I, one of the things that I, I've also tried to do is like when I've been in situations where I'm like, Hmm, I don't feel like my strengths are being used appropriately. Or, you know, I may have just gotten into a job and I need to sit it out for a little bit or kind of hang in there for a bit.

What I've tried to do is to do other things outside of that job to help

allow me to tap into some of my skills. So, you know, after I got my master's, I was in a job at another financial institution and I was applying for roles to try to get into HR. And I wasn't having a lot of success. I started teaching part time at one of the local universities on the topic of organizational behavior, which aligned to my masters.

And that was a wonderful outlet for me to practice my craft. To get really into a [00:43:00] topic that I loved and was passionate about and allow me to do something that I also enjoy, which was teaching. Which also helped me build my resume, which was a good way of kind of using time, right? Using that time period of saying, look, it actually even made the job that I didn't like bearable because I had a creative outlet to use my skills and talents. And it actually made me better as I was trying to get into HR because it not only showed my ability to do good work and my day job, but it also showed some of the extracurricular things in an area that you know, was seen as very valuable. And so, look, it may not always be about going on teaching a class, but it could be about going and volunteer in an organization. Kind of focused on a skill. It could be a lot of companies have employee networking groups where they have different committees and you can help out on certain aspects of that. I mean, there's ways to be super [00:44:00] creative on how you can leverage your skills. It doesn't always have to be your day job and actually that's not a bad thing because you can practice and ale and learn and be able to move on.


Bagel: I can't stress enough the importance of finding areas in life, even if outside of work, to follow those passions and interests and hone your skills. In fact, it might even be easier to do if it's not tied to a job. Maybe you realize you love talking to people and helping them solve technical problems.

You might be the best man or maid of honor and find that you have a knack for giving dramatic speeches. Maybe you watch a neighbor's kids and decide that planning activities for seven year olds is your thing. Let yourself free and pay attention to what drives you and it makes you feel fulfilled.  

For sure. And I think it's great to have other outlets besides work, because we do tend to, we spend most of our waking hours at work. Most of us do at least. And [00:45:00] you know, sometimes people like to have a little bit of separation between their job and something that they're actually happy to be doing or feel like excited for.

And so it's not that you have to have every one of your values fulfilled at work, but having these other things that maybe do make you feel fulfilled or things that are meaningful to you that you can work on or test or, you know, put time to beyond that maybe is related but not exactly the same as your day job can be a really, really nice outlet.

Darrell: Well, I'm ...shouldn't call you Bagel anymore, but you were bagel

Bagel: That's okay. I'm reclaiming it for this  podcast. I'm going by it 

Darrell: So you are Bagel and you were Bagel when I met you 12 years ago. But even just thinking about our relationship, right? I mean me being a part of your life and vice versa was a way for me to be able to continue to hone my skills. And so it wasn't necessarily like I had some ulterior motive to use you to get better at consulting. Right? [00:46:00] But you obviously saw value in what I could offer. I enjoyed helping you and being a part of your life. And at the same time, one of the benefits of that is that by being able to partner with you I've gotten better at being able to do some of the things I do on a day to day basis. And that was a way of giving back, but at the same time, allowing me to be a better and what I do. So it all kind of works out.

Bagel: It does. And I'm, as you know, very grateful for it.

Darrell: I don't want anything to returned at 

-darrell_3_04-22-2020_182132: all. 

Darrell: It's been a great pleasure seeing you grow and develop to who you are today.

It's amazing.

Bagel: I appreciate that. It's, it's always nice to hear, to have that person, you know, I feel lucky obviously to have you as a mentor over the years. But I, I know what you mean, like there, and I think that's a really cool lesson in there too.  The idea that you can kind of set, like, when you do something that does feel fulfilling. [00:47:00] And you don't expect anything in return. There's sort of this sense of like, this is just what I want to be doing, or this is what I'm meant to be doing. And you can pursue that obviously if you, if you have the time and the resources to do it. Like those are the things I think more people should pursue


Darrell: No, I think you're right. And I think the, you know, the other thing too is that, you know, I think whenever there's a part of this right, that's about complete selflessness, right? I mean, we talk about career transitions and there's a part of it that's, listen, I have a plan. There's a goal that I have in my life that I have to achieve. But I think we also have to be very cognizant that in order for us to get where we want to be, we also have to be very open. Again, open to the fact that there's a a gift back that we always have to be intentional about because it's not always about getting yours. It's about getting to a place where you would like to be, but being gracious to say, wherever I can help someone else, I have to. It's a must because someone's doing the same thing for me. [00:48:00]

And then in return, I mean, you get to use some of those skills at the same time.

Bagel: I really liked that perspective. And I think the more that we are able to figure out ways to give to others, you know, not just in life. But even in a career, like the more we kind of put ourselves out there to help a fellow coworker, obviously to help our team, our boss, or organization as a whole. You'd be surprised at how things start to come back your way. And it's cool to see that even if it's not a job that you love or that you're like totally, you know, excited to get up every day to do . Those are the things you do have control over is kind of your attitude and how you approach your work and your day, and the people that you have to spend eight to 12 hours with, you know, five days a week. And those are the things that make a difference and can make the experience more enjoyable. And so I think that's a cool way of how you, you actually can affect your environment with, with your values and share those.

Cool.  [00:49:00] The only other  question I wanted to bring up, just is more from the practical sense. Do you have, since you've been helpful for me over the years with interviewing and all that kind of stuff. Is there any last tip that you might give some of the listeners in terms of like, how to approach  aligning their values when actually going through the process of applying for a job or interviewing for a job.

Darrell: Yeah. There's a couple things that I think are important. One is, I think we talked a lot about it in this call, which is really getting a sense of, you know, who you are, what are your strengths, what's your story. Because I'm going to tell you like, no one tells their story better than you. And if you're dependent on someone else to be able to articulate your value, you're, you're wrong right now. Listen, we need advocates and sponsors. Don't get me wrong, we do, right? But you have to be super intentional about what's the message you want them to convey. And it's not always about, it's not about you [00:50:00] scripting someone and saying, tell people that I'm fabulous. But it's how you show up in your actions, which matter.

So be very thoughtful in really being able to craft what your brand or what your story is right. Because that's really 90% of it, right?  the other thing I think is super important is, always finding ways to practice your craft. And so getting to a point where you've mastered what you've mastered is not good enough because it's always about how do you get better? Right? It's how do you continue to employ the skills that you love, whether it's in your day job, night job, whatever, volunteer. I think you also have to be practical about understanding transferable skills. And so, you know, the lesson I learned pretty quickly is that, yes, I want to get an HR. But I had to say, well, what are the skills of an HR professional? How can I start to build those skills in, in the current job I'm in. So that when [00:51:00] I'm ready to take on that role, I can be able to articulate those skills, and say, here's what I've been working on. And then the last thing that I would say as a tip is you gotta formulate, people said, board of directors, you know, circle of excellence, whatever. But you've got to start to think about who are the people that you have in your life, personally and professionally. that can help. Guide you that you can go and give, get feedback, get you know, honest hardcore truths. That you can give back too, because sometimes they're ones that can help open doors for you and share perspectives about who you are that are really important for you as you're trying to make a career transition. So those are a couple of things that come to top of mind.

Bagel: Yeah. The sounding board, the board of trustees, I think you said executive board. People that you can trust and, who are going to be honest with you and kind of share that real feedback that you need, that's so [00:52:00] crucial to your growth. 

So awesome. Is there any way that people can connect with you or reach out to you that you wanted to share.

Darrell: Sure. I am a big LinkedIn user, so I can be found on LinkedIn. I've, published a couple articles, as a way to practice my craft.  I can absolutely be reached on LinkedIn. I'd love to chat with folks and, talk about career stuff or how I may be of service, or exchange ideas.

So that's how I can be found.

Bagel: Awesome. I appreciate that. And I just want to say thank you so much Darrell for coming on the live your values podcast. I was very excited to have this conversation. I think it's one that I, especially right now, as we're going through a crisis, when the day of recording, this is a really important for people to be hearing and thinking about.

But, I really appreciate you sharing your wisdom with us, so thanks for being here. 

Darrell: Thank you very much. Appreciate you.


 [00:53:00] Bagel: I hope you enjoyed this episode of the live your values podcast.

   If you like what you heard, please hit subscribe in your podcast app so you get notified about all new episodes of the Live Your Values podcast with me, "Bagel." 

Special thanks to Emma Peck for logo design, danielle Gelber for marketing strategy, and my team at Free Your Time Virtual Assistants for operations support. Until next time.... 

Get out there and LYV!