Michael jumps off his career treadmill
Michael had been working as an engineer for nearly four years when he decided to make a career change.
“I moved into the role of a product manager, but I found I was still very much in an engineering environment,” says Michael.
“Engineering just wasn’t me. I found I was more interested in organisations and people than machines.”
“I wasn’t enjoying it — I wanted to make a change.”
He had an idea that he wanted to work in consulting. Michael says he was attracted to the idea of working with people and the fact consulting meant less bureaucracy.
“But I had no background in it — I didn’t know where to start,” he confesses. “I’d started doing an MBA, but I felt that I really needed some extra perspective.”
Recruiters no help
For a while Michael tried talking to recruiters.
“I found one in ten will actually take the time to talk to you on a personal level. Most of them — it’s a sales process.”
“A recruiter, if anything, is more likely to put you into a box than help you step out of a box.”
“I needed someone who could sit down and have a look at me, Michael, and help me go through a process where I could reflect on what I’m like, what sort of environment I want to work with, what sort of work I want to do, what my values are ...”
“I needed someone who wasn’t going to put me into a box.”
Getting out of the box
Michael says he simply saw EPR’s ad in the paper.
“I then had a few conversations with Russ Johnson. We talked about my situation and where I was going and the background. Fairly quickly Russell said that he thought EPR could help.”
“It was a big decision, because they do charge a lot, but I felt if I’m going to do it properly, I’ll take the punt.”
Michael says his work with EPR consultant, Andrew, began with a series of exercises “that help you reflect on who you are and the sort of work you like to do”.
“The outcome showed I wanted to make a move in a different direction. We then started to examine what sort of roles out there would be like that.”
Michael says it wasn’t simply going: ‘Well, these are the jobs you can do’ or even ‘You’ve come from engineering, therefore you’ll go somewhere else engineering related and by a series of steps slowly get yourself out [of the industry]’.
“It was more looking at who I am and the skills and qualifications I had and seeing how I could make that evolution.”
Opening up the hidden market
They then discussed how he could connect with the hidden market.
“And that really did blow my mind,” he admits. “I knew it was there and that it’s good to have those connections.
But Andrew really opened my eyes to how powerful it really was — the fact that at least three-quarters of jobs are placed that way, just through people privately referring someone who they know.”
“I realised I’d been doing it all wrong. I realised I’d been going to people who were only handling
a quarter of all the work and who are not really looking to make life hard for themselves.”
EPR helped him get started.
“They gave me maybe half a dozen contacts and then with every person you speak to you come out with another half dozen names.”
“Jobs that I never even knew existed ...”
“And that’s when I started to realise that there’s a whole world out there where people are getting jobs that I never even knew existed.”
“During that period I just happened to cross paths with someone who was going through the process of hiring someone or looking to within the next six months.”
“The conversation went from ‘Tell me about what you do and your organisation’ to ‘Hey, I wouldn’t mind working for you guys’.”
“But it didn’t come across as being a solicitation because it initially began as a series of general conversations.”
“And by that time, they’d already decided that if I was available they’d be happy to talk to me too.”
Michael describes it as ‘serendipitous’. EPR calls it ‘planned happenstance’.
“But the more you do it — and you have to be patient, do the work and make the effort to talk to these people — the more likely it is to occur.”
“I’ve gone from a product manager’s role within a manufacturing environment to being a consultant to non-profit organisations on business development and strategic matters.”
“So it’s quite a big step to make in one go.”
“Obviously, the MBA helped, but it was very valuable having EPR in there guiding that process.
“If I hadn’t gone through EPR, I would have done the usual treadmill approach. And maybe I would have found myself a slightly different role within engineering, but there’s no way known I would have made this step by myself.”
“They gave me practical advice and helped me put together a strategy and a process but at the same time they also gave me counsel about myself.”
“I couldn’t have achieved the change I made without them.”