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Entrepreneurship – is it all it’s cracked up to be?

This blog post is part of our “Day In the Life” series offered this summer.

When asked by Bonni if I would write a blog on “the day in the life of a coach”, I was thrilled and at the same time a little scared. I know what you’re thinking….how can I be scared? Well, maybe scared isn’t quite the word I should use. It might be more like “how am I going to fill a blog on what I do?” I’ve always written about other things pertaining to coaching as in networking, career transition, job search and more. Now I’m to talk about myself? Really? This should be good…..well here it goes folks, I hope you enjoy it.

After 25 years in the corporate world of Human Resources, I found myself just over three years ago with a startling discovery. It was time to answer to only one person and that was ME. I had returned to school, got my accreditation in coaching and was now all ready to take flight. I spread my wings and soared, or I thought I was soaring and then realized I was missing something. What could that be? I was my own boss, connecting and building relationships, controlling my own destiny and choosing when I took a contract or not. Having days off when I wanted them, choosing to be with my grandchildren if I wanted so life should be perfect right? Not entirely…..as I found out.

“Entrepreneurship” as I like to call it carries with it many pros and also many cons. If you’re not prepared you could find yourself deep in the cons and before you know it you don’t know how to get out. Lucky for me, I have a strong support group of colleagues and family members who could see what was happening and were there to catch me as I was falling. Maybe I should go back just a little to explain what I am talking about.

As an entrepreneur, in the first couple of years you’re working very hard to get your business off the ground. In fact, I would say you work harder and longer when it is your own business than when you’re working for an organization. Obviously, the satisfaction is very different and when you get your first contract you’re so excited you can barely contain yourself. All these happened to me and more. I was enjoying the challenge, the creative process and the ability to make my own decisions. This went on very well until the third year in 2013. The change was gradual and caught me totally off guard. Contracts were not coming in, networking seemed to be at an all-time slump, expenses were still occurring and isolation from people began to rear its ugly head. As an HR professional and coach I have always been surrounded by people. Guiding others to make the changes they needed in order to live a fulfilled life with purpose and passion has been what got me out of bed each day and now I couldn’t find that reason anymore. How did this happen?

What I did realize with the help of others is you can’t dwell on what is not working only change that which you can. So again….I had to find a way to reinvent myself. I knew I didn’t want to go back to the corporate world and give up just yet (though it did cross my mind many times – even sent out some resumes). I secretly hoped they wouldn’t call because my heart was not into going back only forward. I had an interesting conversation with a colleague who said to me “Carm, you need to look at those transferable skills. It’s those skills that you can take anywhere and consider other avenues where you can make a difference”. So, I pondered what I heard for a while and began searching. I didn’t have to look too far, you see the reason I left the corporate world was to begin my coaching business and to work with students/graduates either as they approach completion of their schooling or when they leave post-secondary. As a life-long learner and an avid student in career development I believe a designed career path is essential in our ever changing economic world and is extremely necessary within the post-secondary environment. So I went in search on how I could consciously and continuously make this my goal and work with our young people and those individuals in transitional change as they design their professional future.

What was I looking for? I was looking for the missing spice – “variety”. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do. Guiding individuals as they make decisions that benefit them both personally and professionally. I support my clients who are ready for change by putting them in touch with what is working, what is not and where do we go from here. Yet, working with students / graduates had eluted me and I HAD TO FIND IT FAST. So, what did I do…..I looked to my network of course. I began contacting those in my network who were instructors, teachers, professors and spoke to anyone who would listen to me as to what I wanted to do. There is a great need in our education system (post-secondary especially) for guidance/ coaching of our students. One thing lead to another, applications were filled, resumes sent out and constant connections were made until one day in January 2014 when I saw an ad online for a Career & Employment Strategies Instructor at Everest College. I did as I was doing for about 4 months, filled out an online application on January 2nd along with supplying my resume. Well, two days later I got a call from the Director of Education at Everest asking if I was still interested in the position. I thought I was dreaming….seriously she was asking me if I was interested? Within two more days I’m sitting answering questions and signing documents in order to get my application expedited quickly.

On January 22nd, 2014 I became faculty at Everest College and so began the next chapter in my career. I have to say that instructing at a career college has brought me so much joy. The courses I teach are very short compared to the programs the students take and I say to myself…..how do teachers do it. How do they say “good-bye” to these students? You form a bond that I cannot explain. The first time I got told by a student “thank you for being such a great teacher” “for helping me understand” “for not giving up on me”. WOW….I was blown away. Recently, in June I took part in the summer graduation of approximately 200 students. Because I had only been at the school for six months, I didn’t think any of the students would say anything to me. Boy was I wrong…….the hugs, the pictures, the tears all were there and more.

So, I now can say I am a Certified Professional Coach, Human Resources Consultant, HRPA Board member, Mentor, International Career Consultant and a Faculty member / Instructor at Everest College. My plate is not quite full yet but my heart is overflowing. So, I say to those of you who think you’re too old to make changes, I say look forward not back and open your heart to what is possible.

Over At Women of HR

This blog post is part of our “Day In the Life” series offered this summer.

Bonni is over at Women of HR today, with a new post:  The Grass is Always Greener when the Field is Mowed.  Follow this link to read it.  http://womenofhr.com/the-grass-is-greener-when-the-field-is-mowed/

Acceptance May Be Your Key to Happiness

Office homeThis blog post is part of our “Day In the Life” series offered this summer.

I could write about my journey into HR, but that would be a very long post (invite me for coffee sometime, I’ll tell you the story). I could write about a typical day in my life as an independent HR Consultant, but there are many good posts about that already.

I’m writing from a slightly different perspective…stereotypically different for a man, that is.

I’m an HR Consultant, part-time. My other part-time job is stay-At-Home Dad. I love both my jobs very much. The role of a stay-at-home parent is not new. However, it is not as common to see this role filled by the father. Let’s just say that there is an innate feeling, and a perceived feeling from society, that says “this isn’t the way it is supposed to be”. I struggled with my role as a stay-at-home dad for a while.

I have had many different jobs – starting in Operations Management in the Hospitality industry, to Account Management in EAP’s, then finally back to school and a transition into HR. I have also had time in between jobs where I worked as an HR consultant for small business clients. This kept me busy and up to date professionally. But during those “transition” periods, I was also the stay-at-home parent. My wife holds a high level and demanding position as Vice President of her company. Therefore, it made sense for me to take on more of the at-home parent responsibilities.

I work hard to find clients, project work and otherwise. Then I work hard to deliver results. Trying to do all of this between the morning kid routine of breakfast, making lunches and making sure they get to school on time. Then making sure they get home, snack and preparing dinner before they go off to their various extra curricular activities.

But I never felt happy. My family perceived me as moody, frustrated and sometimes even angry. Hindsight is 20/20, but I now realize that I always thought I “should” be doing something else. I should have the 40+ hour a week job. I should be the primary “bread winner” for the family. I also felt that others thought the same way…and that was a destructive feeling.

I recently realized that I had not ACCEPTED my role as a stay-at-home dad, and subsequently had not embraced it.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how the same concept of accepting one’s role, as it is presently, is very important to one’s career success. At times, we may feel like we shouldn’t be doing something – or should be doing something else. Perhaps we think it is beneath our level of expertise; perhaps we feel that we are supposed to be doing more. Once we accept that what we are presently doing is…well…acceptable, we can see more clearly the opportunities that are available. It is also worth stating that there is a big difference between being “content” and being “complacent”. I am very happy with my present roles, but I still have goals and things will change.

I am now fully enjoying being the primary stay-at-home parent, and am very excited about my career opportunities as a consultant. I can see things much more clearly.

Here are three points to think about:

Accept that you may have a role which may not be innately or immediately comfortable, for whatever reason.

Accept that any one of your roles may take priority over the others, for whatever reason…and that’s OK.

Accept that your roles may not always exist as they do at present. Seeing clearly helps us to create change.

I recently read a few articles that demonstrated how our society and culture is accepting a shift in family roles. Here is a great one: http://www.canadianliving.com/moms/family_life/could_you_be_a_stay_at_home_dad.php

 

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