On today’s episode of the Finding Career Zen podcast, Pete is joined by special guest, Dr. Benjamin Ritter to discuss career satisfaction. Dr. Ritter is a leadership, executive, and career coach for Live for Yourself Consulting, an organization he founded to empower and create accountability for the leaders of today and tomorrow.
He explains LFY’s process in helping leaders craft a career that aligns with their values, and focuses on the importance of finding happiness within your career throughout the episode.
Ben’s motivation to guide others comes from his own personal career dissatisfaction and the lessons he had to learn along the way. He shares some excellent advice for those unhappy at work and offers resources for those ready to begin exploring their interests. He believes creating clarity around your interests and defining your fears are key to creating a fulfilling career.
Tune into this episode to hear more from career advice!
How to achieve and find career satisfaction
- You are the most important person in your life. You make your own decisions and the most important leader in your life is yourself. Ultimately, you choose who to follow and what to believe.
- If you’re unhappy at work, you’re the one that made yourself unhappy. You need to take responsibility for your own career satisfaction and start creating clarity around what you’re interested in. Realize you’re uncomfortable enough and confident enough to create something new for yourself.
- If you believe you’re in a toxic work environment, challenge yourself on those beliefs. Ask other people about your experience to see if they have a different perception. And ask yourself if your reaction to your environment is serving your career path and ability to build relationships, or hindering it.
- Ask yourself what’s the worst thing that could happen. Most of the time, if you sit back and think about it, you would be fine. It might be stressful, frustrating, and take time, but you would make it work. People are handcuffed to things based on their fears, so define what you’re afraid of and let it play out.
- If you’re unsure what you want to do, the best way to learn is through experience. Exploration becomes more difficult as you get older, so take the time to discover your true interests.
- Combining work with your true interests is a wonderful thing. Knowing what you want is a gift. If you know what you’re passionate about, it would be a disservice to not explore it. You don’t need to quit your job or give up everything that you’ve worked for over the years, but go get a taste of it.
- Start reading books. Listen to podcasts and do research. There are so many resources out there for us now. You have to take accountability for where you’re at and decide to change it. Take ownership and take action, otherwise it’s just talk.
- Free eBook- 5 Secrets to Creating a Fulfilling Career
- So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport
- 80,000 Hours by Benjamin Todd
- Do Nothing by Celeste Headlee
- 16 Career Clusters to Help You Choose the Right Path
- How to Develop a Career Plan
- How to Set Career Goals
- Tips For Switching Career Paths
Pete Newsome 00:01
You’re listening to The Finding Career Zen Podcast. I’m Pete Newsome. And my guest today is Dr. Benjamin Ritter, founder of Live for Yourself Consulting. Ben, how are you today?
Benjamin Ritter 00:11
I’m doing absolutely wonderful little cold out here in Austin, Texas with snow on the ground. It’s a little weird, but luckily, I’m here having a great warm, heartfelt right warming conversation with you.
Pete Newsome 00:23
I hope so. Well, you know, and I don’t think of I don’t think anyone does associate Austin with it being cold. So it has to be a little out of the ordinary for you guys. Right.
Benjamin Ritter 00:33
Yeah, just a little bit. It’s probably just cold because of the I think general feeling of the labor market right now, which they will talk about a little bit. The talent wars and such are ongoing.
Pete Newsome 00:45
I suspect that’ll come up. It’s been an interesting time in the market for sure. How is it in Austin though I’m in Orlando, Florida? We see we’re seeing it here. I’ve been in touch with a lot of staffing peers around the country.
Pete Newsome 01:01
And I know that what we’re seeing in national headlines is starting, it’s starting to trickle down at the local level to smaller companies too.
Pete Newsome 01:09
But how’s the market in Austin, because usually really hot where you guys are for the jobs.
Benjamin Ritter 01:16
There are markets that are impacted. But there are always people hiring. I think when we discuss talent, and opportunity that if you are targeted, and specific, you’re going to find it.
Benjamin Ritter 01:30
If you’re just kind of throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks, then you’re probably going to miss something.
Benjamin Ritter 01:36
So the people that are you know this in times like this, where people are afraid that people that stay motivated, stay positive, and especially stay targeted and get personal.
Benjamin Ritter 01:47
We reach out to people specifically, who are going to create opportunities for themselves.
Pete Newsome 01:52
I couldn’t agree more. And we’ll talk about that a little bit later. But first, Ben, even before we go too far, tell me about your consulting business lives for your life consulting, what is it that you do, and what you offer.
Benjamin Ritter 02:04
Like I said, look for your live your life. Because love for yourself needs to me LFY that resonates fully. Because it’s very much similar to living for yourself.
Benjamin Ritter 02:15
As you are living for your life. We are, we are the most important people in our own life. The most important leader in your life is yourself. You make your own decisions.
Benjamin Ritter 02:29
Ultimately, you choose who to follow, you choose what to believe.
Benjamin Ritter 02:33
And too often we give that power away to our external environment, or even our internal environment, our limiting beliefs, which tends to be the thing that most holds us back in our life, I can’t apply for that job, I don’t have those qualifications, or I can’t say that to my leader or I can’t do whatever, that’s too uncomfortable.
Benjamin Ritter 02:54
So look for yourself consulting is a way to help empower and create accountability, and the leaders of today and leaders of tomorrow.
Benjamin Ritter 03:04
So we mainly work with senior leaders, and C suite VPS directors, and help them be the leader of their own careers to really craft a career that is aligned with their values.
Benjamin Ritter 03:17
And to do that, though, we have to create Career Clarity, you have to define their professional brand. So also make sure that aligns with their LinkedIn and their resume and their tools.
Benjamin Ritter 03:25
But as well as how they present themselves stories that they tell, then build a community and network that supports that vision, those goals, and that brand.
Benjamin Ritter 03:33
So that then they can take steps forward, right to get the next job and the next job in the next job and create opportunities for themselves to ultimately be fulfilled in their career.
Benjamin Ritter 03:44
And what I see too often right prevents the fact that someone goes to work each and every single day, dreading work, going to work not to work.
Benjamin Ritter 03:52
And then taking that negativity and that resentment and using it to burn bridges in their career, but also, you know, take away energy and experiences from their personal life.
Pete Newsome 04:02
So the first clip that I heard you speak in was what I consider to be somewhat of an epiphany moment, it sounds like you had I don’t know if you use that phrase, but you described walking into work and realizing it was a place you didn’t want to be. Shouldn’t be.
Pete Newsome 04:20
And it sounds like you made a serious life and career change at that moment. Talk about that for a little bit.
Benjamin Ritter 04:27
So at this point in time, just a little context. I was working in health care, and I was promoted into an executive-level role or just on the executive team and was dreading work.
Benjamin Ritter 04:42
I would basically again, want to work not to work, or leave to go to the gym for two and a half hours during the day for lunch.
Benjamin Ritter 04:50
I would skip out early in late and wouldn’t have conversations with people because I didn’t see the point in investing in relationships.
Benjamin Ritter 05:00
But I was still thought of as a high achiever because I got my work done, I got what I needed to be done, which is what you see in a lot of high potentials that are disengaged, they do what needs to get done, and they do it really well.
Benjamin Ritter 05:12
They don’t really do anything else.
Benjamin Ritter 05:13
And they hide the fact they’re not doing anything else. Because they do everything else so much faster. But I got to this point in my life, through a lot of different disappointments in my career.
Benjamin Ritter 05:27
The first thing I ever wanted to do for a living got crushed, I had four job offers during a recession that all got, basically as someone offered me a job, I signed on the dotted line, and the job got torn up the next day because of funding.
Benjamin Ritter 05:38
So I kind of fell into healthcare and luckily networked into it.
Benjamin Ritter 05:43
But I was pretty, very reactive to that opportunity. And in another area of my life, personal development, I was highly focused and highly engaged, I grew into an individual that had confidence that was motivated, that was comfortable with the things that were uncomfortable.
Benjamin Ritter 06:02
But for some reason, I felt that my professional life was a different world that didn’t operate by the same standards and beliefs and factors that could influence it.
Benjamin Ritter 06:14
And so I gave up all my power. And so I felt like a victim, I played the victim, when it came to being happy at work, and finding a fulfilling career didn’t realize that I could actually craft something for myself, and just lived with it. Until I was walking into work that day.
Benjamin Ritter 06:32
And I don’t know why. But I think I think I think every single day that this happened, I was walking into work making eye contact with people that were passing me by.
Benjamin Ritter 06:44
for some reason, I noticed that it seemed like everyone was dreading what they were going to do. They all looked like they were walking zombies, they all looked like they wish they could be doing anything else.
Benjamin Ritter 06:56
And as I looked at them, and I saw that in their eyes, I realized I was really seeing myself. And for the first time ever. It occurred to me, I didn’t have to feel this way. And it was my fault that was allowing this to occur. That’s a eureka moment.
Pete Newsome 07:14
That’s important, that’s a powerful thing, right, that it was your fault. It was not the fault of your employer, it was not the fault of the situation that you were in.
Pete Newsome 07:23
But it was something you had complete control over. And I’ve said somewhat, you know, in a lighter sense over the years being in staffing is that we have to understand the priorities and motivations and drive of the individuals we work with.
Pete Newsome 07:39
Because the only thing they have to do in a day is get up and go to bed. Everything else they choose in between is a matter of priority and what’s important to them.
Pete Newsome 07:48
Yet, I think most of us don’t go through the day, realizing that it’s almost autopilot. This clearly wasn’t something that just occurred to you at the moment.
Pete Newsome 08:01
I mean, it had to be building right? Or did it really just kind of come, you know, all together at once, and you in you had this realization that you were in the wrong place?
Benjamin Ritter 08:13
I knew I was in the wrong place. But I didn’t realize what I could do about it. And that size, there was more than just applying to a job on a job board.
Benjamin Ritter 08:19
And I realized that I could have gotten more from my time there if I decided to invest in career capital instead of trying to just hide from the feelings.
Benjamin Ritter 08:36
And basically, let my beliefs that this wasn’t right for me control my actions.
Pete Newsome 08:41
How common do you believe that to be? I have my own thought, but But how, how prevalent is that among the American workforce of 165 million or so?
Benjamin Ritter 08:56
I think a lot more than we want to admit. Because we aren’t, we don’t have the belief. And I think just in when I say we I mean the universal employee doesn’t have the belief that they are responsible for their levels of job satisfaction at work.
Benjamin Ritter 09:16
And so they’re waiting for the organization to make them happy. They’re waiting for their leader to make them happy. And so they go to work. And when something doesn’t go right, they start telling themselves the story that they’re not happy.
Benjamin Ritter 09:29
And it’s very hard for someone to stop telling themselves that story when they have one negative experience. And so people tend to have a negative experience at work.
Benjamin Ritter 09:39
And very often they focus on that negative experience instead of the positive experiences or successes or wins that they have.
Benjamin Ritter 09:49
And positive feedback and recognition are so rare when it comes to an organization is very unlikely for that person to be knocked out of their negative beliefs about their job.
Benjamin Ritter 09:59
So I think wait Do more than wait, it’s much more prevalent than we actually know exists.
Pete Newsome 10:04
Do you think that’s, I agree with you 100%. By the way, I think it’s very common. It’s a bit of a scary thing, though, to take responsibility for your own career satisfaction, right? Isn’t it easier to blame your employer?
Benjamin Ritter 10:21
Depends on what you would prefer to feel each and every single day. I think we are prone to blame our employers because we have been misled by our belief systems.
Benjamin Ritter 10:32
And it is really hard for some people, I bet, especially listening to the show right now, to accept the fact that if you’re unhappy at work, you’re the one that made yourself unhappy.
Benjamin Ritter 10:43
Like, unless you’re in a severely toxic environment, where I mean, you’re getting called names every day, you are getting yelled at you there was racism or bias, which is there.
Benjamin Ritter 10:56
But I don’t, I don’t think is the majority of where the work environment it is really hard for individuals to accept the fact that they could be happy somewhere that they’re not.
Benjamin Ritter 11:06
I work with a lot of clients that think the only option is to leave their employer or start their own business.
Benjamin Ritter 11:13
And the people that want to become entrepreneurs, have such a negative belief system of what it means to work for somebody else because of an experience they’ve had with a leader at one point in time in one organization, or maybe they were burnt out at one point that it is almost impossible for them to envision themselves working for someone even in the most perfect environment, which is a little mind-boggling.
Benjamin Ritter 11:35
Say okay, so you can have everything you ever dreamed of.
Benjamin Ritter 11:38
But it’d be working for someone else. What would be the downfall of that? And the stories that they’ve told themselves now because of their negative beliefs. Make it make them it make it almost impossible for them to accept that vision of their future.
Pete Newsome 11:53
I want to ask you about entrepreneurism. But you mentioned a word that is coming into popularity, at least as far as I am aware over the last couple of years, and that concept of a toxic environment.
Pete Newsome 12:09
I think it’s overused. I think you know that the examples that you gave when you used them are certainly toxic by any definition. Right? They’re unacceptable, to say the least.
Pete Newsome 12:20
But when I see it used in described, your LinkedIn is a great place for this where you see upset employees using the word and I think and I, as I admitted to you already before we started recording, I’m a bit old school with some of my thoughts, which I have to balance I acknowledge that.
Pete Newsome 12:41
But often My thought is that’s not toxic. That’s just a work environment, right? But once that label is put on it, it’s like everything about it. It has a negative connotation, do you think it’s overused?
Benjamin Ritter 12:57
It’s hard to say. I do feel though that people are a little bit needier when it comes to the work environment than probably before. Or they’re quick to judge.
Benjamin Ritter 13:10
And they’re not quick to forgive. Judgment is one of the reasons why people are unhappy at work, I judge my coworker for saying this thing, I judged my employer for saying this thing, and my leader for saying this thing.
Benjamin Ritter 13:23
If we instead were to give people the benefit of the doubt and then figure it out, well, how can I leverage my current environment to serve my career?
Benjamin Ritter 13:32
And we might not be using that toxic word so much, right? But it almost is looking like people are searching for a reason to disengage, searching for a reason not to work hard searching for a reason to go somewhere else.
Benjamin Ritter 13:47
I will admit though, I do work with a lot of clients that have terrible boundaries, when it comes to their work environment, care deeply about their employer and their leader and their team, and worry too much about what people think about them. So it’s, you have examples on both sides.
Benjamin Ritter 14:07
I know we were talking about the toxicity in a toxic environment. So and I guess not to veer too far off track, I’d say if you believe you’re in a toxic environment, can you challenge yourself on those beliefs? Can you ask other people that aren’t your friends about your experiences to see maybe if there’s a different perception?
Benjamin Ritter 14:27
Or is your reaction to this suppose toxic environment serving your career path and serving your potential opportunities in your current job and serving your ability to build relationships? Or is it hindering it?
Pete Newsome 14:42
Yeah, that’s excellent advice. You don’t want the echo chamber, right?
Benjamin Ritter 14:47
Yeah, the echo chamber.
Pete Newsome 14:48
now, but it’s uh you know, it’s what how did this evolve? Do you think going back to this idea of dissatisfaction and unhappiness at work?
Pete Newsome 15:04
Do you think it’s always been there? Or is this something that it’s evolved? As society continues to change rapidly? We know that it’s changing as we speak.
Pete Newsome 15:16
Right? There’s a lot about the workforce is changing right now. In my opinion, a lot of it’s for the good, the really good. But I think there’s this I agree with you one of the things that I hear a lot is young people being told to go get a job. It’s like that’s their goal.
Pete Newsome 15:34
Yeah, with their degree their education there. Which I think is awful in like, just completely demoralizing.
Pete Newsome 15:43
But how do you think this has evolved to where people are accepting of these, of being unhappy whether it’s their you know, the organization is bad, whether the environments bad, it doesn’t really matter, but spinning your work, life unhappy seems to be something no one should accept?
Pete Newsome 16:01
Why do you think we got here?
Benjamin Ritter 16:04
I think we’re getting better, a lot better, I think we’re actually at a point where people are asking for more than asking for less. So the unhappiness is leading to actions and changes in the work environment, which I’m really happy about, and I have a job, which is wonderful.
Benjamin Ritter 16:20
Because employers aren’t really sure how to react to the desires and the needs of employees, where now, an employee is asking for more from their employer in terms of, you know, I want you to make me happy all the time, instead of make me happy just at work.
Benjamin Ritter 16:35
And I want you to be a factor to why I’m happy all the time, not just when I’m at work. And how that involved, I evolved, I think there’s a lot of different factors, I probably couldn’t isolate just one other than the fact that you know, our needs as individuals have evolved.
Benjamin Ritter 16:53
But I think the easiest thing I could say is we as human beings, have certain needs that our employer can help fulfill. And we are realizing that our employer has the capability of fulfilling them. And so then we hold them responsible for it when we should be holding ourselves responsible.
Benjamin Ritter 17:19
But that’s hopefully what I’m here to do. And it’s a very broad answer. But I think it’s important to think about, that we’ve lost the ability to fulfill ourselves from our personal life for a variety of reasons.
Benjamin Ritter 17:34
And so we’re looking for employers to help us fulfill ourselves in those ways.
Pete Newsome 17:40
Do you think that that goes beyond financial health? Right, because the core of the employee-employer relationship, in my opinion, is there’s a job that needs to be done, this is a very crude way to say it, right? There’s a job that needs to be done.
Pete Newsome 17:58
There’s a willingness to pay for the work that needs to be accomplished. And then on the other side, someone is exchanging their time, expertise, and skill for that compensation, right?
Pete Newsome 18:14
Like that is the basis for the employee if employee-employer relationship, you had a very crude way again. But the expectation seems so much beyond that. Do you agree, first of all, do you agree that that is the basis for a further relationship? Or at least it should be.
Benjamin Ritter 18:36
Well, we get to the heart of it, guess what, you know, we earn money from our employer. And so the basis of that relationship is financial. But an employer, if that was all, that that relationship was, would have to then compete solely on financial on our financial scorecard.
Benjamin Ritter 18:55
And that’s not how employers compete. They compete by what are the values of the organization.
Benjamin Ritter 19:00
What are the benefits of the organization? What are the what is the culture and the other relationships within the organization? What is leadership style, and what is the location? What are you know, is it remote or is it in person?
Benjamin Ritter 19:12
What are the skills that they’re asking from you? So there’s, it’s not just a financial competition? And so I would, I mean, you can even say, I’m really liking where this conversation is going, that the needs of the employee are actually creating a competitive opportunity for employers.
Pete Newsome 19:31
I couldn’t agree more. And I don’t mean to imply in any way that it’s the entirety of the relationship, just that it’s the basic right that a job needs to be done.
Pete Newsome 19:44
Therefore, an employer has to find someone with the right skill to do that job. Someone with that skill needs to agree to do that job, right?
Pete Newsome 19:54
And generally speaking, it’s going to be an exchange of value, right in terms of I’m going to trade my time and skill for compensation. I do think that’s the basis but I don’t think that is the, like I said, even close to being the entirety of it. Yeah, you could just say something as simple as well, if you have to work with another individual, do you get along with them? Right?
Pete Newsome 20:16
Do you? Do you enjoy interacting with them? Is there mutual respect?
Pete Newsome 20:21
You can go many, many levels beyond that, and you should. But it seems to me that somewhere along the way, and there’s I’ve read a lot about this history. So how unions were formed, for example, right, which makes employment a team sport in many respects, which I find just fascinating and generally terrible for all involved.
Pete Newsome 20:47
But we’ve evolved here and no one really questions.
Pete Newsome 20:52
Why, at this point, right? It’s almost going through the motions back to my comment about advice, I would not advise it was almost like I was directed to go to school, get a degree, and get a job. And I hear that even today. And I think what that’s no that no awful outdated,
Benjamin Ritter 21:14
it’s all outdated, and we’re playing catch up. I mean, just like the educational system. There are also some really great books, if listeners are interested and recommend the book, do nothing.
Benjamin Ritter 21:25
Leave that it that goes over kind of the work history of how work has evolved. I’m sure there are some other ones as well. And Pete, do you have any resources around the evolution of work from you know why we did work for 40 hours?
Pete Newsome 21:40
And not off the top of my head?
Pete Newsome 21:42
You know, no, no, I had to, you’re glad you mentioned a book, I’m gonna have to pick it up, because I haven’t read books on it, as much as I’ve just researched it in terms of wanting to understand and my research has largely been through the Google searches.
Pete Newsome 21:58
I should be maybe embarrassed to say, but, you know, specifically when the union negotiation was taken place recently regarding the rail workers, and it, it just it’s, I’m a Floridian.
Pete Newsome 22:13
I’ve lived in Florida, my whole life unions are not prevalent here. It’s not something that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, but in the scope, of your universal career advice and guidance, and what people need.
Pete Newsome 22:26
I did spend some time researching the history of unions recently. And it’s fascinating to see why they existed originally, as you said, you know, it seems like a dated concept in many respects. And I know they provide value in certain areas.
Pete Newsome 22:40
But I just think today, we all are living this existence that we didn’t choose. And you know, in many respects, it’s very, it is very dated.
Benjamin Ritter 22:52
Employees have more power. And with that power, the work environment has to adjust, because as you were saying, employers need employees, at least for right now.
Benjamin Ritter 23:03
And fours for certain jobs, right, that changes based on the growth of technology. And because of that power, and you see employees using it, certain changes have to happen within an organization, where it’s not just here, do this job, and I expect that person to do it.
Benjamin Ritter 23:26
I have to do it in a way that also coaches or also provides us with positive feedback and recognition.
Benjamin Ritter 23:32
Or I’m going to lose that person to another organization. And we could wish for the days where it’s like, hey, just be happy, you have a job, which employers have that power when the when unemployment is really high. But they don’t really have that power whenever employment is low.
Benjamin Ritter 23:51
And I guess it’s just the factors of, you know, the current economy and what’s happening and I, I would actually love for every employee, every individual to break out of that.
Benjamin Ritter 24:02
And instead being able to be able to really find what they need, where they’re at, and ensure they have a plan to continue growing, where they’re, or if not, where they’re at, where they could go next. Instead of being a little bit more handcuffed, right to the current economic conditions.
Pete Newsome 24:24
These are interesting times in the job market. Needless to say, it’s a moving target right now. And even knowing what data to count rely on is its own challenge.
Pete Newsome 24:37
But we know that they’re still in the scope of American history. It’s still a very good time to be a job seeker at this point in time where we have close to 10 million job openings in the US. And the growth of the freelance market continues in just remote Work has off is provide so many opportunities now.
Pete Newsome 25:03
I mean, I, I think in many respects, it’s both a scary time to be a job seeker when you see what’s going on the news, but also a really exciting time because you know, opportunities have never been more abundant. I do believe that. But why do you think most people settle?
Pete Newsome 25:21
You know, here are the people that you work with you help? You mentioned that most of them are seniors in their careers. So these are people who, you know, certainly have options or they have experience, why are they settling as a rule? Or is that not a simple answer?
Benjamin Ritter 25:43
It’s not a simple answer. But just in general, people that are settling have never asked themselves the questions of what they want. So they don’t have clarity around it.
Benjamin Ritter 25:53
And they’re operating from a place of fear, a place of scarcity, they don’t fully believe that they could get whatever they wanted if they spent the time to figure out what they want.
Benjamin Ritter 26:03
So diamonds just come from an aspect of clear clarity and then confidence and then in creating the intention that they control around their life to build a community and to go after what it is they care about.
Benjamin Ritter 26:17
The clarity piece is huge. And especially when you deal with high achievers because their goals didn’t have much to do with passion and purpose and clarity, of values and such it was more so title money.
Benjamin Ritter 26:34
Now, if we’re looking at the general population, usually it’s because they applied for their first job, and that first job dictated their career path. They took what came to them, right, either a referral from a friend or a promotion. Or maybe they came across a job one day because of a recruiter.
Benjamin Ritter 26:52
And then they end up maybe five jobs down the line six jobs down the line, realizing they didn’t actually put much thought into their career. And so now they’re like, Oh, I developed into this person. And I learned all these things. But I don’t actually feel like I chose any of it. Because they really didn’t.
Pete Newsome 27:14
Is there a way to break that cycle? Is it realistic to break that cycle?
Benjamin Ritter 27:22
Well, even if you’re in a place that you don’t like, you’ve had experiences over that time that have built certain interests, passions, and values, or even just from how you grew up and the people around you.
Benjamin Ritter 27:36
And you’ve become good at certain things and learned that you don’t like certain things. And so you can sit down and create clarity around what you’re interested in.
Benjamin Ritter 27:46
And most of the time, it’s actually not that different from what people are doing. It’s just different enough, and outside what they’re currently doing, and something that they’re choosing, that brings him that much that that much satisfaction. So it is possible to break the cycle.
Benjamin Ritter 28:05
But you have to have that epiphany, the epiphany I had, I think epiphany that you shared as well. I love you, your audience hasn’t heard that yet to share to wake you up to help you realize that you’re uncomfortable enough and confident enough that you can create something new for yourself.
Pete Newsome 28:22
Well, you know, on my own you know, when I look back now to the moment that I had 17 and a half years ago, it was it came to me I didn’t seek it out.
Pete Newsome 28:35
And you know, the in just a quick story as I was, I was happy I was my boss was in another part of the state I worked at home I made my income was great. Life was good in the role that I was in.
Pete Newsome 28:52
But then my, my regional VP, I’ve told the story so much I wonder I don’t even know if he has any idea that I’ve told this story is how many times my regional vice president, the large technology company I was working for was reorg out of his job, no fault of his own, this guy did everything right.
Pete Newsome 29:08
And it scared the hell out of me. Because I looked at this and said, This is what I’m aspiring to do. This is the role that I want. And then this guy was making probably three times my income and that was the track that I was on.
Pete Newsome 29:23
And I realized that the fate of my family my wife was pregnant with our third child at the time was not my own. So to me, the fear was not taking control of my own destiny.
Pete Newsome 29:39
So when I decided to quit my job to start a business, which I would not advise most people, let me be explicitly clear about that going. If I knew at that time, that they offered me a 20-year contract. I’ve said this so many times over the years that I would have signed it and been ecstatic.
Pete Newsome 30:00
Uh, but those things don’t exist, we know that. So I was not unhappy or dissatisfied in any way, I just realized, wow, this, my future is very uncertain if I don’t take control of my own destiny.
Pete Newsome 30:13
And so that’s why I did it. And this is also a very relevant point, I had the same idea in mind for 10 years when I talked about going to start a staffing business.
Pete Newsome 30:24
So what I’ve seen over the years, that I don’t want to get too off track, then is that when people would say, Well, I want to go start my own business, I say, great.
Pete Newsome 30:32
What’s your idea? Well, I don’t have an idea. I just want to go start my own business. Okay, stop, don’t no, no, because there are pros and cons. And for years, I missed working for another organization, you know, there’s a big trade-off that comes and we could talk for days about that, we won’t do it.
Pete Newsome 30:50
But it’s not all roses, and there are a lot of benefits to having someone else. Worry about all the details and how the bills are paid. And so I’m not anti-employer by any stretch. It just was a situation that I was in.
Pete Newsome 31:06
But I think I do wonder as life goes on, my responsibilities grew, I mean, I did this when I had my third child on the way and you know, had expenses in responsibilities. It is scary to make a move.
Pete Newsome 31:25
I mean, it is hard. It sounds great in theory, but you know, what, what do you tell people that say, then I’m unhappy. But I’m handcuffed. I mean, that’s what’s real at some level, isn’t it?
Benjamin Ritter 31:45
And ghosts are as real as you want them to be. We are very resilient people.
Benjamin Ritter 31:53
And most of the time, if we were actually to sit back and think about what’s the worst that could happen, we’d be fine. may take some time, it might be stressful, it might be frustrating.
Benjamin Ritter 32:05
You’d make it work. And that’s a really good activity to take people through. What’s the worst that could happen, especially to people that aren’t happy at work?
Benjamin Ritter 32:14
So let’s say let’s take for example, someone that is overworked, that is burnt out that thinks that their employer is working them to the bone, which by the way, if you have this person sit down and time out their day, most of the time, they’re not working 40 hours a week, not many of us are just think that we are I think most of us probably work in about 20 hours of productive time per week.
Pete Newsome 32:36
You’re being generous.
Benjamin Ritter 32:38
The 40-Hour Work Week model is, is ridiculous. But this person could sit back and let’s say, they were just overwhelmed. And you tell them to just stop doing the thing that they think is so important. And I asked them, How long would it take you to get fired? Usually a pretty long time.
Benjamin Ritter 32:56
And I say, Well, how long would if you just decrease your output by 50%? How long would it take you to get fired? Probably wouldn’t happen. So a lot of the times are handcuffs or things that you just met a match based on our fear.
Benjamin Ritter 33:09
And unless we sit back and actually try to define our fear of what we’re afraid of and play it out, it’s going to still be a handcuff.
Pete Newsome 33:19
Well, it goes, I think, without saying I’ll say it anyway, that if you’re dissatisfied in your work day, it’s going to carry over through other aspects of your life is that something that most of your clients realize that or is that what makes brings them to you in the first place is when they, they realize that because you can’t.
Benjamin Ritter 33:41
You know, being drained, being distracted, those tend to be the two things you know, not being able to be present and not having the energy to do, the things that you care about. The people that tend to be unhappy at work also tend to not be able to keep up with healthy habits.
Benjamin Ritter 33:54
They tend to have less patience with their kids, and with their partners, and then relationships tend to have a hard time being social. So it actually is a major drain on you mentally and physically. And that’s the reason why they come to me, because they can’t, they can’t take it anymore.
Benjamin Ritter 34:12
They can’t imagine a year like that. Five years like that.
Pete Newsome 34:15
So when I was looking at your ebook, what jumped out at me was the word exploration. It was something that you highlighted. As I mentioned earlier, I have four children. My second oldest is a junior in college and change majors a couple of times a common story.
Pete Newsome 34:37
And I am encouraging him as best I can to take as much time as he needs not yet provided his activity is high in this effort of trying different things exploring, so to speak.
Pete Newsome 34:52
And so when I saw that you recommended that I felt better about my advice because I’m not the expert that you are I’m making it up as I go as a parent Every day, but it’s something that I do believe in.
Pete Newsome 35:04
And I think that is generally lacking. So I’m trying to have the perspective that I do on careers and seeing people change jobs 10s of 1000s of them over the years. I think, if we take that time, early, it’s easy.
Pete Newsome 35:22
As life goes on, it’s probably harder to explore man can a 50-year-old, you know, who has, you know, a mortgage and lots of bills to pay?
Pete Newsome 35:33
Do you have any, you want them to explore? Is there a process that you take them through that enables him to do that versus the 20-year-old that, you know, doesn’t have any, bills to pay? even close to what someone later in life has?
Pete Newsome 35:48
I mean, I guess my question is, it’s, would you agree that it’s increasingly difficult as life goes on? But do you have a solution for that?
Benjamin Ritter 36:00
I think it’s a great idea for a young individual to jump jobs as often as quickly as possible. And if they’re not sure, what they want to do, the best way to learn is to have an experience. So I love that advice. Because as you said, as you get older, it gets a little bit harder.
Benjamin Ritter 36:16
Not impossible, but harder. But as I mentioned, you know, usually, when we’re older, we don’t want to shift things dramatically, you know, the CEO of the ball-bearing company doesn’t want to quit and join the circus.
Benjamin Ritter 36:33
I think I had one client once that humored the idea of becoming a beekeeper, and he was a medical sales executive who didn’t end up doing it. But for me, I’m like, go, go get some bees, but I’m in your backyard, go to the local farm, go hang out, go volunteer once a week. So we can explore our interests.
Benjamin Ritter 36:55
And by the way, let’s say he ended up wanting to become a beekeeper, but he wanted to keep his same levels of financial wealth, so he could do it as a hobby.
Benjamin Ritter 37:03
Or he could go work for a honey company as their, you know, executive sales individual or go work for one of the largest B selling companies in the US, you could leverage his strengths and his skills and his experiences, too, to work in the industry and as close to it as possible, without having to, you know, feel like he gave up everything that he created.
Benjamin Ritter 37:26
So I think we are limited by our beliefs of what is possible. If you can think about it, you can make money doing it. And you can leverage the skills that you’ve developed over the years doing it as well.
Pete Newsome 37:36
If you want to be a beekeeper, what a shame, right to not explore that. And because that was, you know, think of my own situation, or again, the advice I give to my children is what a wonderful thing it would be if you could combine your true interest.
Pete Newsome 37:55
You know, what I think of is when I talk to my kids, I said, what do you go to bed thinking about? What do you wake up thinking about what’s on your mind, when you have nothing else, you know, to burden you and gravitate towards that? Right?
Pete Newsome 38:08
And, as an adult, it’s even more important, I think if you will wake up and maybe that’s your hobby, and that’s what you’re spending time on. What a shame to not combine that, with how you spend your waking day and generate income because I assume you’re gonna put a lot more into it than the job you don’t like going to every day, right?
Benjamin Ritter 38:29
It’s a gift. Honestly, it’s if you know what you want. That is such a gift. Go explore it. Like if someone walked up to you with something, you know, something wrapped in a bow over the holiday season? Would you leave it there and not open it and be rude?
Benjamin Ritter 38:47
Also, you probably would be very interested in what’s in that box. And so if you know what it is that you’re passionate about in your what you feel you’re called to it’s such a disservice not to explore it.
Benjamin Ritter 39:01
I’m not selling I’m not saying go quit your job. Yeah, and give up everything that you’ve ever that you’ve developed over the years, but I’m saying just go get a taste of it.
Pete Newsome 39:12
You call it a gift is perfect in my opinion. And so I don’t think people stop maybe right? Are we just on this just this treadmill where you’re just going you go from you know, from living at home to being out on your own and paying bills?
Pete Newsome 39:29
And what we’re talking about I think is stopping and really considering why you’re doing what you’re doing. And whether your interests match your income and I don’t mean to keep going back to income but it is the core right of that relationship at some level where you and I think if you could and I’ve known only a handful of people who I could say this about where if you could say well take income out of the equation.
Pete Newsome 39:58
Am I still doing it? Am I still showing up? And if you can answer yes to that, that utopia, is it not? I mean, but how many people can say that?
Benjamin Ritter 40:09
Yeah, I have a tough one with that. Because if I didn’t have to work, I probably would operate very differently. I would, I’d say if you took income out if you took income away from what you currently do. Would you at times do it or learn about it? Or study it?
Benjamin Ritter 40:25
Or want to talk about it or explore it? Because I think people get held up on the wall, would I come to work every day? If I wasn’t being paid?
Benjamin Ritter 40:32
No, probably wouldn’t. But would you craft a life around your interests? Would you at times, read a book about it? Would you want to talk about it at dinner parties? Would you want to like me what I want to coach occasionally?
Pete Newsome 40:56
I’m an anomaly. So I’m not the one to answer this, because I discovered something four years ago that I do think about, every night when I go to bed, and every morning, and I’m currently not making any money doing it, even though it’s consuming a lot of my time and thought, and I don’t know that I will.
Pete Newsome 41:14
But I know that it is like even though I can’t articulate to someone else, necessarily, I feel excitement and enthusiasm for it. And like you said, I do consider it a gift to discover something that I get to do every day right now I don’t have to do what I’m choosing to do every day.
Pete Newsome 41:37
And that, to me is the best-case scenario. So let me ask you this. Where do people go? Where do people start? I could pick your brain all day on this stuff, Ben.
Pete Newsome 41:49
And I know you don’t have all day to give me because, but I need help. And I think if I need help, and most people do it, I do it because I don’t think they’re thinking beyond the day-to-day, where do they start?
Benjamin Ritter 42:07
Quiet because I’m grabbing a book, I have a couple of favorite ones, you know, first off, reach out to me on LinkedIn, connect with me send me a message, I can guide you to some resources that I have. I have some podcasts, I have some videos, and I have the free ebook on my website if you get a look for yourself, consulting.com I can help you out. I have worksheets about the career sweet spot.
Benjamin Ritter 42:27
I have workshops I’ve recorded. There are so many materials out there. And also recommend some of my favorites. Because I think this industry is incredible. So check out so good.
Benjamin Ritter 42:38
They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport, is one of my favorite books about creating career capital, and putting in the work. You know you don’t find your passion, you create it. So go pick something get great at it and you’ll be compassionate about it.
Benjamin Ritter 42:51
Another one that I don’t think as many people know about is 80,000 hours by Benjamin Todd and the 80,000 hours team is an incredible book about finding a career that does good.
Benjamin Ritter 43:03
But look, if you’re in one of the greatest mistakes, it blows my mind of the people who come to me for coaching is that they’ve done nothing. They didn’t go on Google and look up career fulfillment.
Benjamin Ritter 43:14
They don’t go on podcasts or listen to stuff like this. Another one. Let’s see grandma has a great podcast. I mean, the sorry, the career warrior podcast led by Alexei’s grandma. There are so many resources out there for us now. When I was first starting in the personal development field, I went to Barnes and Noble.
Benjamin Ritter 43:31
I went to the bookstores and I just sat there and I read for hours. How much do you really want to change where you’re at? You can hire a coach. That’s one way. You also can take accountability for where you’re at and decide to change it.
Pete Newsome 43:48
I love that message. It’s simple. If you have to take ownership, you have to take action, and you know it otherwise just talk right and that doesn’t create any change.
Pete Newsome 43:58
So thank you for your time and insight, I will make sure that we have all of your contact information in our show notes. I would love to pick your brain for hours and maybe I’ll talk into coming back later on Ben. But um, thanks so much for the generosity of your time today. It’s been a pleasure.
Benjamin Ritter 44:21
Yeah, please reach out to me. I’d love to continue the conversation and also come back on.
Pete Newsome 44:27
Wonderful. Well, thank you for listening. And as always, if you have any questions, we’d love to hear from you. At [email protected] as straightforward as it gets. So thanks. Thanks again. Have a great night.