1. Can Sarah Repurpose Her Career? Part 1 of 4 #093 Marc Miller 44:32

In Part 1 of this series, Marc covers the first half of the first feedback session with Sarah for her personality assessment.


Key Takeaways:

[1:35] Marc welcomes you to Episode 93 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast.[1:48] If you’re enjoying this podcast, Marc invites you to share this podcast with like-minded souls.

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[2:12] The next two weeks, Marc will present the next career pivot evaluation series with “Can Sarah Repurpose Her Career?” Sarah (not her real name) is employed, a closet creative, and a structured anarchist. Her personality is quite interesting. Marc has seen all aspects of her personality in other clients, but not in this combination.

[2:37] This week, Marc will play the first half of the first feedback session and next week, Marc will play the second half. Then Marc will take a break with a Q&A episode and maybe an interview before concluding the series “Can Sarah Repurpose Her Career?”.

You will find all of the reports for this episode at https://careerpivot.com/sara

[2:57] Marc welcomes Sarah to the podcast and invites Sarah to give her background for the audience.

[3:13] Sarah is a group leader in marketing communications. She manages the company’s advertising and promotion process. She works closely with marketing managers, sales training managers, and account reps in the field to create and distribute collateral that helps sell products and services to customers.

[3:49] Sarah is a creative and her current role does not allow her to use as much creativity as she would like. She feels frustrated.

[4:08] Sarah looks at the signature summary for the Birkman Assessment. Marc explains the two numbers for each component. ‘The usual’ is how Sarah described herself; ‘your needs’ is how Sarah wants to be treated in that same area.[4:33] A big gap between the numbers means you don’t behave the way you want to be treated. It often indicates you are not treated as you want to be. A narrow gap very often means a blind spot. Marc says the science of the assessment is that how you describe other people is actually how you want to be treated.

[5:07] In components where the numbers are close to equal, that means Sarah believes she is just like everybody else. Marc says, we know that’s not true. Marc notes Sarah has some very low, low scores. He says this session will be very informative for Sarah.

[5:28] Next is the Birkman Interests, showing what you are interested in, not necessarily what you are good at doing. Things that you are really interested in, make you happy and give you energy when you do them. Things that are really low, you may be able to do them, but when you do them too much, they drain you.

[5:56] Sarah is very low in numerical, which does not surprise her. She is also introverted according to the Birkman map.

[6:19] On the signature report, page 13, Sarah has a 99 rating for artistic. Anything over 90 is something you have to have in your life. Sarah started her career as a floral designer. She loves art projects, gardening, and making things around her pretty and interesting to look at. She loves working with her hands.

[7:10] This doesn’t play out at Sarah’s work, which is a point of increasing frustration. However, there is a lot of creation going on, but in her role, she supports other people’s projects. She doesn’t like being in the role of an order taker. She has been doing it for 10 years. She does decorate her cubicle.

[8:57] Marc finds people who have high creative interests go into the corporate world and don’t get to fulfill those, and then, what happens is, the life gets sucked out of them.

[9:16] Sarah is rated 95 literary. Sarah loves to read. She got into communication from writing and editing. One of her first roles out of college was writing and editing corporate publications and she misses that. Sarah reads business publications and fiction, especially forensic novels.

[10:59] Sarah reads for enjoyment, relaxation, and education. She reads before she goes to bed. It’s undisturbed time.

[12:09] Marc gives Sarah a suggestion. When Sarah goes into a soul-sucking meeting, or all-day events, that she take 15-minute reading breaks and schedule them into her day. This comes from a book, Quiet, by Susan Cain. It’s about introversion. She talks about restorative niches. Highly creative people should schedule them into their day.

[13:01] Marc has a former client who knows to take her drawing pad out two or three times a day. It makes her feel good and re-energizes her. Sarah should schedule reading breaks into her day.

[13:22] Sarah is rated 94 musical. She used to play musical instruments at school. She listens to music in the home, usually letting her husband select it. In the car, she listens to podcasts. Marc suggests Sarah should get her phone out and turn on her tunes when she is at a point where she feels exhausted.

[14:46] Sarah’s artistic, literary, and musical interests don’t get fulfilled at work. Marc suggests that she needs to insert those interests into work.[15:26] Marc encourages Sarah to take the Start a Blog Course by ProBlogger. Several people in Marc’s online community are going through the course. Marc says Sarah should go write.

[16:02] Technical is the next area. Sarah is moderately high in outdoor and scientific. She likes to research. Sarah is low persuasive, which rules out selling her ideas. Sarah is low in administrative. She doesn’t like rules unless they are hers. Sarah is low in numerical. She doesn’t enjoy spreadsheets, but she can understand them.

[17:11] Sarah is low in social services, which is not unusual for highly creative people. Sarah questions the administrative and social services scores. She is good at system tracking, record keeping and categorizing for her job. Marc agrees she can do it, but it sucks the life out of her when she has to do too much of it.

[18:08] We learn the skills our employer demands of us. We get good at them and may enjoy them, but they are tied to our low interests. When we overuse them, we get burnt out. Marc talks about being a phenomenally good public speaker as an introvert. It sucks the life out of him, though.

[19:19] You have to differentiate between the things you are good at and that may bring you some comfort, and the things you are actually interested in doing.

[19:35] Next Marc and Sarah look at the behaviors matrix. The behaviors are broken into three areas: interpersonal, organizational, and Time Management/planning. Marc comments that for someone with such creative interests, Sarah is pretty comfortable with ambiguity. Sarah agrees. Marc points out that is unusual for creative people.

[20:51] Marc directs Sarah to the signature report, page 20. There are three bars on the page: usual behavior, needs, and what happens when you don’t get treated the way she wants to be treated. Sarah’s numbers are 6, 31, and 31. The medians in the population are 25, 50, and 50.

[21:43] Marc asks Sarah to read about dealing one-on-one. Sarah is direct and straightforward, with objectivity and frankness. She is unevasive, matter-of-fact, frank, and open. Sarah agrees. She has learned the value of directness over time in the business world. She prefers to work with men.

[23:50] Sarah’s needs are that she is most comfortable when others are frank and direct toward her. When being praised, she needs to feel that the compliment is genuine and free of sentiment. Sarah agrees. Sarah gets highly impatient when others ramble or evade. It is tiring for her to interact with shy people.

[25:19] Sarah’s causes of stress and her stress reactions are that in the presence of shyness or evasiveness, she is likely to feel uncomfortable. She does not respond well to subtlety from others, sometimes making it difficult to recognize their personal needs and feelings. She reacts with reduced concern, detachment, and tactlessness.

[26:03] Marc says not to be surprised if she thinks of a tactless statement without saying it. Sarah replies, “All the time!” Sarah husband is also very direct. Stress reactions are more likely to be acted out with our family than at work. We are more comfortable with our family and we know they won’t beat us up.

[27:04] On page 17, Sarah’s social energy rating for dealing one-on-many is shown. Sarah’s generally pleasant and outgoing manner makes her at ease in group activities. Her warm and accepting attitude helps her meet people easily. Her usual behavior is sociable, at ease in groups and communicative. Sarah is 84. The median is 75.

[27:50] Sarah is pretty social. She does well at networking events. Sarah’s needs: the comfort she displays in social settings conceals her underlying need for considerable time by herself or in the company of one or two significant individuals. Sarah is a closet introvert who has learned to behave like an extrovert. She has a people threshold.

[30:03] Sarah likes being around people. She’s good at it. But it sucks the life out of her.

[30:54] Marc tells Sarah she’s not getting energy from people, they are pulling it out of her. She just has a large reservoir to pull from and like adrenalin, it wears off. Marc suggests that Sarah bring her books and music when she has to be around people a lot and periodically take downtime during the day.

[31:30] Marc had a client who had to present six times in two days at a conference. Marc advised him to take a book and go read in his room for 45 minutes between each presentation. At the end of two days, he actually wasn’t exhausted.

[32:04] Sarah’s causes of stress: Continuous pressure to be in social or group sessions can upset her sense of well-being. Without sufficient time to herself, she is likely to become withdrawn, possibly to a surprising extent.

[32:45] If the purpose of being with people is a real purpose, Sarah is less likely to feel stress. Getting together for small talk makes her skin crawl. Sarah’s stress reactions are withdrawal, tendency to ignore groups, and becoming impatient. Sarah sees herself.

[33:42] Page 23 shows Sarah’s incentives: A predominantly idealistic person, Sarah values cooperative effort and concepts of trust, loyalty, and team spirit. Sarah can think and reason in terms of intangible benefits and prefers to minimize face-to-face, competitive rivalry. Sarah’s behaviors are trustful, loyal, and service-oriented.

[34:23] Sarah is a team player. Sarah’s needs: a certain amount of competition and some assurance concerning her personal advancement. While Sarah values team effort, it is good for her to receive recognition for individual effort.

[34:45] By nature, Sarah does not consider herself competitive. Sarah’s causes of stress: Her respectful attitude complicates matters when in face-to-face conflict since her feelings and opinions are stronger than they appear to be. People who are opportunistic or unrealistic can be a source of discomfort.

[35:52] Sarah is far less competitive than expected for someone who is as direct as she is. Sarah’s stress reactions: becoming distrustful, becoming impractical (idealistic).

[36:39] People who are highly artistic tend to be stealth competitors. Sarah is a really good team player. She has learned this behavior to get ahead in business.

[37:46] Page 19 shows Sarah’s emotional energy. She prefers to balance between cautious detachment and sincere emotional involvement. She avoids excessive emotionalism and complete detachment. Sarah agrees. Her usual behaviors: objective, yet sympathetic, warm, yet practical. Sarah is at 37. Median is at 25.

[39:08] Sarah’s needs: Sarah needs a similar balance in her surroundings. She is at her best in the presence of people who combine logic and practicality with a certain amount of sympathy and understanding for personal feelings.

[39:26] Sarah feels suffocated and gets impatient with people who are really emotional and she gets angry and disappointed with people who don’t care about her needs. Both extremes bother her.

[40:15] Marc refers back to an episode with “Tim,” who was angry when his boss came to his father’s wake but didn’t say a word after that. Emotionally cold people annoy Sarah.

[40:49] Sarah’s causes of stress: extremes in others are likely to put pressure on her own moderation. Too much emotionalism from others can add to her tension, while she may tend to magnify her own problems when others are too detached. Sarah’s stress reactions: dejection, becoming too impersonal, loss of optimism. Sarah agrees.

[41:23] Marc will work with Sarah to help her spot her own stress reactions. If she can spot them, she can do something about them, early.

[42:59] Check back next week, when Marc finishes the first feedback session in the “Can Sarah Repurpose Her Career?” series.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Sara’s Reports


Birkman Assessments

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain

“FREE Ultimate Guide to Start a Blog Course” by ProBlogger


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