[00:00:00] Mark: Next we have glad to see my friend Beverly Jones here. And I’m trying to get your information up here on the, on the screen. But Beverly has graciously had me on her NPR podcast, Jazzed About Work three times and loved every single time I’ve been on it. She has a great new book. Find your happier work, victory ways to get unstuck past boredom and discover fulfillment coming out September 1st.
[00:00:32] Is that the correct date?
[00:00:34] Beverly: That’s right. It’s getting close. I’m getting excited because it’s been a long process on this one.
[00:00:40] Mark: You had to do this during the pandemic, right? I mean, you wrote a good part of it during the pandemic.
[00:00:48] Beverly: I did my proposal to the publisher and all of that way back in early 2019, but these things kind of take a while.
[00:00:56] And so I had been working on it seriously for a month when the pandemic hit, and it actually in many ways was a wonderful process because I think most frightening at the beginning. For many of us, we didn’t know what was going to happen. And there was so much uncertainty, but writing about how you can choose to be happy and how you can learn to be more comfortable with change.
[00:01:20] That was not a bad thing to be working on during the early days of the pandemic. I got to read lots of good stuff and it was not a bad process. The thing is I finished the book before the pandemic was even close to being finished. So then the next thing was wondering what else is going to happen.
[00:01:40] But I think it all holds up.
[00:01:41] Mark: I think that, you know, it’s good history in some sense, but in another sense, too, I think people are looking for happiness now. That’s the relevant part of it. I think people don’t want to go back to being unhappy and having to endure a lot of the work dynamic that they’re used to is that they didn’t like to begin with.
[00:02:09] This will help clear some of the clouds , so to speak in helping them to be more targeted and be more thoughtful and be much more intentional about where they want to work and who they want to work with.
[00:02:25] Beverly: I think you’re right. COVID experience has made people think about how life is short and we only have one and we don’t want to defer happiness forever.
[00:02:38] And that, that has made people even more aware that happiness isn’t something that you reach at the end of work. Happiness is your life. Happiness is how you get through every day and how you connect with people. But the interesting thing is, aside from people becoming aware that they don’t want to defer happiness.
[00:03:02] It’s not necessary to do for happiness. And in recent years, there’s been a, a lot of research about the relationship between success and happiness. When you and I were in school, mark people may have said, you know, if you work really hard and you’ll be successful, and then one day you can be happy.
[00:03:20] Well, it turns out that it doesn’t work like that. You know, research shows that happiness is kind of a positive attitude can be the foundation of success and that when you’re positive, you’re more creative. You get along better with people you’re more flexible. So really having a positive attitude is a starting point of moving towards success.
[00:03:46] You don’t have to wait until after you feel successful to give yourself the opportunity to, to enjoy life.
[00:03:53] Mark: To come back to that point because there is something really important. I think that’s relevant. I do want to talk a little bit about , you wrote a book, think like an entrepreneur act like a CEO.
[00:04:05] I believe that’s the title of it. And I know there’s a fundamental difference between both the books that you’ve written, but you know, this one is, again, without you even knowing that it was going to be timely because people are looking, being happy. Can people have both being happy is being able to think like an entrepreneur, because you take a lot of ownership and you take a lot of control of your career that way.
[00:04:37] And I think that’s where you’ll derive a lot of happiness, but also that there might be. A slight chasm is that you’re going to be looking at your employer a lot differently than before. And employers aren’t necessarily made to be your happy place .
[00:04:56] Beverly: Well, I think the two things work together and I’m glad you mentioned.
[00:05:02] That first book. When I was talking about thinking like an entrepreneur and acting like a CEO, I wasn’t necessarily talking about going out and starting a business. What I had noticed in my own career. And then certainly after I started coaching and lots of other people’s careers along the way is that it used to be that we have this idea that we would get a job and the job would take care of us.
[00:05:28] And I worked with lots of big organizations, myself and with people in big organizations. And there was the idea the guy got the job, they just have to do what they’re told and the company would take care of them or the government would take care of them. And it’s not like that.
[00:05:43] What happens in real life is that if you start a job, wherever it is, it’s really that you have. Created an opportunity to explore lots of options. And even if you’ve started a government job and you want to be there all your life, and there’s a chance that could happen every day, your work is a bundle of opportunities.
[00:06:10] And every day, if you look at them in an entrepreneurial sort of way and find ways to add value and find ways to connect with people, you’re going to create the possibility of, of success there, but also the possibility of of moving on if you want to. So that was a big part of the first one.
[00:06:28] These are the ways you can act like an entrepreneur and create a resilient career. And the next one kind of assumes those things. I think we’ve come further as a culture. Certainly as a collection of professionals. We know much more about how we have to take advantage of opportunities, but the next one says, it’s not just about how you behave at work.
[00:06:51] It’s how you manage yourself, how you create a relationship with work and how you manage your own head, your own attitude. So that one sort of follows the other.
[00:07:03] Mark: I think one of the things we’ve been talking about in the past two interviews and not always directly is people are going to dig a little bit deeper to find that happiness at the outset.
[00:07:16] First they’re going to dig into- my friend. And I just talked about a few minutes ago about how job seekers now they’re going to go dig into who they working with. Rather than what they’re working with, the who working with is going to matter a whole lot more. And, the team that they work with is gonna matter just as much as what they’re working with and what they’re working for, because that’s who they’re going to end up being interacting with on a regular basis as if you’re handling your career, as you was an entrepreneur strategic relationships are really key and you’re going to be with somebody for the next couple of years, you’re going to want to, you’re going to have to be a lot more strategic about who you work with.
[00:08:06] Does that make sense?
[00:08:08] Beverly: Yes, I absolutely agree with that, but with a caveat. We are recognizing, I think, through a psychologist research and, you know, just the, the modern culture that human beings are born to be connected with other human beings. You know, our our ancient ancestors who are hunter gatherers couldn’t survive by themselves.
[00:08:32] They had to be in groups. And so we evolved to have the skills, like noticing emotion and empathy and those kinds of things. We evolved to be able to connect with other people and everything that we do now in modern times kind of calls on those skills. And I think there’s much more recognition about the importance of knowing how to be part of a team and choosing theone, all the things you said.
[00:08:58] I agree with that. On the other hand people have tendency to blame other people, to blame the team, to not, get their feelings hurt. If there’s criticism to get angry, if things don’t go their way. And so the caveat is that again, it’s the entrepreneurial attitude. If you’re an entrepreneur and you make a product and the, the public, your customers, don’t like it doesn’t do any good to get mad at them.
[00:09:30] What you have to do is learn how to communicate, learn how to listen, learn about what needs to happen and how you can contribute. And I think it’s, it’s the same. You, the team is vitally important, but so is your commitment to communicate, to understand, to figure out how to make a contribution.
[00:09:48] Mark: With the pandemic in mind, knowing that the working relationships have changed a little bit And I understand you wrote the book before the pandemic has the hybrid of what you know, now, as opposed to what you knew back in 2019, is that reshaping your advice that you give to your clients now when they’re changing careers?
[00:10:12] Beverly: I think it just makes it more clear that the things we were speculating about a couple of years ago are happening more quickly than we thought. I did have a chance to go back and look at the book and it’s very tightly written book, but I had an opportunity to take out things that didn’t resonate and so forth.
[00:10:32] And I was kind of surprised there may be language in there that talks about going for the office when people are thinking nobody’s going to the office, I may have missed some things like that, but I think that the basic ideas. Absolutely the same that we want more agency over our career. We want to own our career.
[00:10:51] We want to operate our career so that it gives us maximum flexibility. So we have this huge network and we can make changes. We want to take responsibility and we want to grab the rewards that we really need. And that’s just not dollars. It’s a healthy lifestyle and it’s teamwork and all those other things.
[00:11:15] I think you and I may be chatted about years ago on our first podcast, they’re just more true than we even knew they were going to be.
[00:11:27] Mark: I don’t think that, you know, that the fundamental ideas have changed what we’re talking about.
[00:11:34] And a lot of what people are talking about with the logistics as far as where and how much, but I think the nature of people have not as not changed that if they feel they want to be somewhere where they will be the most productive and happiness is directly correlated to being productive.
[00:11:56] Beverly: Being productive and using your expertise and making a contribution to mission or values that are important to you. Those are really the fundamentals.
[00:12:11] Mark: Yes. And since you mentioned values, I think, and you could tell me if you agree or not, that values mean a whole lot more now and kind of are at the front and center because a lot of what’s being discussed and whether people are working home or at the office is about values because there’s childcare, there’s issues that I care about.
[00:12:35] There’s the dynamic of not having your child with two or three hours a day to go to work. All those things that people will be more interested in, how companies are going to respond to that now than ever. And, you know, they don’t feel like that company is at least being honest about the way that they’re going to go about.
[00:13:01] Somebody is going to get the sense that I’m not going to really be happy here. And that’s really, what’s going to matter the most to me.
[00:13:08] Beverly: I think that’s exactly right. But when I work with clients for some time, I’ve used a little tool that I called the engagement triangle. It’s basically a discussion, a tool to talking with people about what makes them happy at work.
[00:13:24] What would help them be more engaged to work? And to me, it feels like if you go through all of the research and just the things we notice, and that is that the three things that seem to be keys to, to being happy at work. It’s purpose, people, and performance are the three, but Purposes, just what you were talking about.
[00:13:45] It’s values, it’s the things that matter to you, which is the reason you’re working, whether it’s because you’ve always wanted to be a journalist or you’re wanting to send your kids to school, whatever it is, those values. And then what’s the mission of the organization. And how are these aligned and organization that you’re working for care about you and does it support all these things that alignment’s really important?
[00:14:09] Another one is, is the people, it’s your team, but it’s also the stakeholders who’s impacted by what you do. How are you going to connect with other people? All of the ways you connect with people. And then the, the finally a performance you just alluded to it’s can you be productive? Can you use your expertise?
[00:14:29] Can you learn? Can you grow? Is it, does this make sense? Is this a meaningful thing you’re doing? So those, those three things are. I kind of featured in the book there, a theme in the book. And I, I think that just talking to people who’ve been going through the thoughtfulness that the pandemic forced on us.
[00:14:49] They’re thinking about those three things, you know across the world.
[00:14:54] Mark: Now, I know a lot of your clients probably in recent years. You could tell me if this is true. How do you notice a difference between being that older workers have kind of taken a beating during this pandemic? Especially at the beginning forcing a lot of people to retire.
[00:15:14] Do you find that perhaps by the current climate, that there might be a resurgence in the way, not only that, the more older workers coming back to, into the workforce, but there might be a resurgence in the way that they look at a work these days?
[00:15:33] Beverly: I absolutely think so. A year ago, a little more than a year ago, it felt very grim..
[00:15:39] I knew so many people who were forced into retirement or who took a package that they didn’t really want, or they just lost their jobs who were just laid off there. There were just so many people, but at the time the older workers were the most in despair, many of them because of where they were in life, you know, they had kids or college or whatever worried that never get the same job again.
[00:16:04] But the fact of the matter is I think we’ve adjusted that yeah, people may not get the same job again, but there’s so many opportunities out there. Careers can be long and you can do a portfolio kind of career where you work a lot now, and maybe you’re going to work longer than you ever thought you would, but you’re going to have fun doing it.
[00:16:25] And you’re going to have other things in your portfolio. There’s so many opportunities opening up and remote work. Certainly is one surprise for older workers. They may not have thought about it. Now they’re opportunities to connect with jobs all over the country to do things they never dreamed that they could do, but it requires of course, being willing to change and to learn new things and all the things we have.
[00:16:51] We older workers have to, to manage more importantly.
[00:16:57] Mark: In many cases the values are mattering a whole lot more than ever. And, and that the skill part is being put on the shelf at least to some degree that the values are mattering and that they’re searching for the company or the individuals or the purpose and the mission instead of using those skills that they paid for back way back when.
[00:17:26] Beverly: Yeah, I think that’s often the case, but another part of it is that, that I see happening as people are figuring out. You know, the, maybe it was it was a law degree or a technical skill that you worked really hard and didn’t seem relevant anymore. Well, whatever it was you used to do, and you’re not doing now there’s knowledge, there’s expertise, there’s judgment there, communication skills, there are all kinds of things that were probably part of, what you were doing before.
[00:17:56] And so now I think people are starting to deconstruct the things they were good at and recognize that there would be new fields opening up. There are new fields opening up. And so there are ways to we apply what they already know. And also they have learning skills. There’s so many ways to get certifications, to get training, to go back to school or to learn new things without going back to school.
[00:18:21] And when you’ve had any kind of success, you’ve got learning skills and that’s really important.
[00:18:27] Mark: Are there any stories, maybe one particular from the book that you can recall that exemplifies that, or gives a best indicator of what is to come for older workers or maybe even those who might be in the midlife crisis part of this not the pandemic, but in their midlife crisis.
[00:18:47] And the way they’re looking in the way that they’ve changed a view of work?
[00:18:51] Beverly: Well, I. We’ll talk about one. That’s not in the book, but it involves talking about the book. So, you know, my past, Jazzed About Work and I was recruited to do that. Oh gosh, five years ago by W O U B, which is the public media operation, a big operation at Ohio university and an old friend had, had been a judge, had been a lawyer, had run the journalism school and he took over WOUB to kind of remake it and he wanted to do podcasts and lots of things.
[00:19:23] So he, he brought me in, he had a very distinguished career. I mean, he worked for the chief justice of the Supreme court and he was the youngest judge ever elected in Ohio and so forth and so forth and so forth. So he started doing great things WOUB and then finally it dawned on him. Everything was changing.
[00:19:45] And that it probably made sense for him as an, as an older employee to take a package and retire. And he had never thought about retirement. And so he came on in the series of podcasts and we talked about things that were in the book and we talked about unretirement and he ended up saying, you know what, now I’m excited.
[00:20:08] I suddenly realized there’s so many things I can do. I’m going to start a company to do this. I’m going to pursue another interest over here. And he has kind of through the pandemic created a whole new career. He’s doing virtual courses. He’s teaching people about dealing with the media people who are spread around the country.
[00:20:30] Cause he can do that. Now he’s, he’s teaching about media innovation, he’s doing different kinds of podcasts and recording and we kind of talked about it and a series of podcast in which he explained that he felt very anxious. He felt sad about leaving and now he’s doing so many interesting things.
[00:20:50] And he’s he’s in his seventies and he’s in a new world now and he’s having a wonderful time.
[00:20:57] Mark: Well, he’s doing what feels good. And sometimes you don’t discover that. And two, you are in a place where you have no other choice, right?
[00:21:06] Beverly: I think sometimes you, we get hooked on the, oh, I don’t know the sense of being experts and our rank and you know, that sense of security.
[00:21:17] And when the sense of security is pulled away, it’s very frightening, but we lose a whole lot of baggage at the same time and it can feel quite liberating to start over.
[00:21:26] Mark: I think in our generation we were orientated to emphasize obligation rather than mission values. What feels good, what makes me happy?
[00:21:40] And those are things that we got to create. They just don’t happen in your case, and manager’s case. And my case, we recreating things that make us happy and they don’t come along by themselves that everybody’s going to have to create a kind of a portfolio career, whether they like it or not, maybe not in their twenties and thirties, but you know, when it gets to the forties and fifties, the workplace looks at you different.
[00:22:06] If your employer looks at you different and your family starts to look at different, sometimes those don’t always line up.
[00:22:15] Beverly: That’s right. And so we used to think years ago, the word obligation is exactly the right one, that if you took a job, you were obligated to do what you were told you. We were very good about coming in on time and sticking to the letter that doesn’t work anymore anymore, and nobody wants it.
[00:22:37] Employers don’t want it. They want people who are creative and who can notice new things and who can innovate in the front lines. And we and giving up the sense of duty and obligation and thinking more about values and contribution and taking care of each other. I think everybody is gonna benefit from much more productive and fast moving organization.
[00:23:00] Mark: If there’s one takeaway for people who are reading or if there’s one or two takeaways what are, what seems to be the most resonant to you right now?
[00:23:13] Beverly: One takeaway that I really absolutely believe in that if you’re in a career crisis or you’re just playing stuck and bored, the go-to thing is always learn something new.
[00:23:29] That if you’re in a learning mode, you, everything changes. You become creative, you open opportunities, you’ve come more. Open-minded and you stop being bored. Learning can be exciting and interesting and can open your eyes to new opportunities. So when people are really feeling stuck learn something new.
[00:23:47] I think that’s a real important element of the book. And the other thing we talked about people I have, I have quite a few chapters on networking later in the book, and I know that some people cringe, they don’t even like the word networking, but get back to what we were saying earlier, networking is about connecting with other people and understanding and engaging.
[00:24:12] And if you are widely connected, particularly with a diverse group of people, it doesn’t mean you have to spend. In all of your time with them, but being open to a wide variety of people and being aware of them, you just have so much more rich opportunity. So it is always a starting place when people want to make a change is to kind of think about how they’re connecting with others.
[00:24:39] Mark: Sure, and I think the conversations you hit have in those times are the most enlightening and better Intel than any book or course that you could possibly take, especially if you have a passion for it. And you’re able to talk ad nauseum about it. I think that’s where our passion is good passion.
[00:24:57] Doesn’t lead you to the water though, necessarily, but it does at least gets your energy to the point to where you are able to adapt and to the new environment and the new information and how it will apply to you. Those things are invaluable, especially you.
[00:25:20] .And I know this because we do podcasts. We talked to a whole lot of people and having a half hour discussion with a couple of hundred people, changes your life and changes your perspective.
[00:25:34] Beverly: Particularly. If we study everything we can about him before the podcast it’s a wonderful way to expand our view of the world.
[00:25:43] Mark: Yes, your book I’m sure is going to make a major difference in a lot of people’s, lives. Find your happy at work, 50 ways to get unstuck, move past boredom and discover fulfillment ready to be out by the time this will air on the podcast. But those of you who are watching the live stream, you can go to Amazon and find the book and pre-order it.
[00:26:08] And and get a lot out of it. And again, jazzed about work and I’d be remiss not to also talk about that piece of work there. npr.org. You could just put that in the search engine, or you could just look it up on your podcast directory and find that. Informative every week. Thank you so much, Beverly for coming.
[00:26:30] Beverly: Well it’s always wonderful to talk with you and I always learn from you. I enjoy it so much.