Weingarten is the co-founder and president of NYC-based DLC Executive Coaching and Consulting. DLCECC/Atypical Coaching. She coaches individuals, corporations, government, non-profits, educational institutions, edutainment and entertainment companies to enable them to grow and transition effectively and to attain their goals through individual coaching, program development and on-site training, workshops and seminars.
Kiki, please describe what you do and how you came about your career.
Like everyone nowadays I do many things. When clients ask me if they can, the answer is "yes". For the purposes of today's chat -- I'm a career, executive and life coach, specializing in reinvention and transitions. I've always done many things at the same time, including work/studies in educucation, government, arts and psychology/mental health areas. I have many interests, skills sets and passions that I just love. I love helping people articulate and achieve their goals. I actually feel like I'm just getting started :). New amazing projects with spectacular people. It's an exciting time for me.
You have made quite a few career changes, how does this help you develop your skill set?
I learned to upcycle my skills and how to adapt myself/my skills to different areas/industries/roles -- which taught me how to coach, guide and develop programs that enable people to do it as well. I'm always learning, adding to my skills/education setting new goals and conquering new horizons using the experiences I have.
What are important skills to be aware of to succeed in the current media industry?
The only thing staying the same is change. Things are changing at lightning speed. Don’t get stuck in one way of doing things. People have very short attention spans now. Figure out how to capture their attention. Keep your honing your skill sets. Things have changed so drastically and will continue to do so. Become prepared for every eventuality.
What are some things people should consider before transitioning careers?
Get to know yourself really well. What do you really want to do? Why? What gives your life meaning and purpose? Because knowing your goals and why you want them will help you get through the tough times of the transition. Think about dreams you had -- do you want to try them now? Careers/industries you were interested in but didn't go for. Include hobbies & interests. The economy has changed how people need to approach their working lives. People might hate this next thought but it's the truth. Work is not necessarily where you'll find happiness. "Do what you love & the money will follow" has sent people down an often unrealistic path -- especially as the economy has changed. There are lots of ways to include those areas in your life and work. Then, get ready to develop a thick skin, especially in the media industry. Know that you're full of talents/skills. Make a list of your skills. Go through your day and jot down all the things you do. To you it might seem natural and easy – skills. Know what your skills are. Own them. What are other industries looking for? What skills do you have, which do you need to get? Start getting new skills while you’re in your present job. Look ahead at what you want and get the skills before you need them. Best time to prepare for and get a job is when you have a job. Don’t get paralyzed out of panic or fear. I explore your temperament, intellect, expectation, reality and satisfaction, to make sure your goals are the best fit for you.
With the recent closure of a few print publications, how can someone transfer those skills to a new job?
In the simplest form, using the list you made of what you do/your skills match it to what other industries are looking for. You have tons of skills, fill in the ones you don't have. Highlight skills depending on what job or industry you're going for. Focus on your strengths and what the market is looking for and needs. Laser focus and match the two.
What are some tips that you’d give someone who is trying to reinvent themselves?
Bigger process than people realize. It takes time for your head, heart and your mind to process it. Go as slow as you need to. It can be scary and overwhelming to make a change. Don't make impulsive decisions or take action that's not right for you. People don’t want to spend time exploring options. Do it anyway. Talk to people who've done it. Forget about feeling silly. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Embrace that you will make mistakes. Make the journey fun. Think of your wishes, dreams, desires, what’s practical, what’s a good fit. What you'll be happy with as far as lifestyle. Mindset change is one of the biggest issues. You’re changing your occupational identity. Not a small thing to do sometimes. What you think you may have wanted once may have changed. Experiences, life, the economy, circumstances, industries change. Who you are professionally -- “I’m a _______” will change. That takes getting used to, especially in the States. If your occupational identity doesn't match your psychological/emotional identity you'll have pushback. Explore it! I'm writing a book that will include all of this.
What is the biggest job seeking “don’t” that you’ve seen?
The biggest? I’ve seen so many. Unfortunately. Sigh. Not knowing the industry or job you’re interested in, and interviewing for. Inform yourself about the company/industry. Educate yourself, do research, be knowledgeable. Know as much as if you're already working there -- or as much as you can.
Looks we have some job seekers here. How would someone trying to break into the media world benefit from using a career coach?
Working with a coach the focus is on you. Other people have their ideas of what’s best for you, for a million different reasons. Objective assessment, accountability to someone else. Discovering and working on what *you* need to strengthen. Set goals you might not keep yourself and staying focused on what you’re doing. Strategize an action plan. You get to really figure out what’s best for *you* -- not what your partner, family, friends or society want for you. Someone who’s objective and not invested in what you choose. It’s all about you. Someone who can be a guide as to what's going on in different industries and how best you can make the change. Someone who can guide and coach you through the new career & the challenges you'll be facing. When it’s you and you’re emotionally involved, you can get really overwhelmed and all your fears can kick in. You get the benefit of experience and knowledge of what’s going on in the world of work. You’ve been focused on your career. I couldn't even begin to tell you how many varied industries my clients are from. I focus on them and what's best for them.
Good points, Kiki! How about a seasoned media veteran? How would they benefit from coaching?
The media now encompasses so many different jobs/careers/new technologies as well. We work on how to upcycle and transfer skills, change mindset. Discover and transition to a new occupational identity and goals. We work with the big picture. Look through a fish-eye lens to see the big picture and then taking the step by step actions. Look at the landscape and see what pulls you, where you have skills, where you can easily/or not easily learn the skills you might need. How much tolerance/time/financial resources do you have for a media shift? Do you want to go in a completely different direction? Do you want to do some of the same? Search keywords on career sites using your skills and see what comes up. Can you take time off from work to go back to school? Do you want to? Can you go to night school? Do you have a mentor who made a switch you'd like to emulate? Read articles/posts about people in different careers that sound interesting. How'd they do it? Is it something you want? If something looks interesting -- ask the person if you can shadow them at work. You might find that you love it, or you might find you hate it. Next! I tried out things that weren't right for me. You might find that something you thought you wanted as a career is something you now want to do part time. Or that passion that still tugs at you, that won't let go -- that's where you'll put your time and energy even though it might mean changes in your financial status, work/life schedule, location. Find out what makes you jump out of bed in the morning. What will energize you and *feed* you enough so you can deal with all the negative issues that are bound to come up? Do you want to be proud of yourself? Do you want to give back? Do you want to make more money? Do you want to change the world?
How do you think job seekers should utilize social media, especially if trying to break into media industry?
Focus -- don’t become overwhelmed. You can drown under all the information. Decide your goal first and develop a social media plan around it. If there’s a specific job or area focus on it. Work on personal branding a few months before you're going to make the change. When you’re searching don’t veer from it. Erase old FB, tweets, pics that don’t mesh. Weed through. A few months before you’re going to make the change.
Media is a 24/7 career. What are some ways that people can avoid burning out?
Time management, media diets. Have times that you go on media black outs whether an hour a day, or one day a week. At first it’s like addiction breaking. You get used to it and you can live without it. Embrace quiet, solitude, meditate, yoga. Shut notifications off so they don't interfere. Start with a minute, set an alarm. Work up to more. Exercise, get outdoors. Find alternatives that you really, really get involved in and do them w/out tech. Force yourself at the beginning. It gets easier. A lot easier. It's also healthier in a million different ways.
What else do you recommend for people who are trying to keep work-life balance in check?
Everything I mentioned. Commit and make it a priority, a focus, a goal. Develop hobbies/skills that force you to be out of it. Plan for "life" stuff. Develop a plan to unplug. Understand that just because everything’s going on 24/7 you don’t have to be. Make a list of what you want to add to your life. Find ways to incorporate it. Make a schedule that includes either/or. It's really, really tough nowadays. I'm not discounting that. But anyone who does work on balance is so much happier. Your work goes better, your life goes better. There are some professions/careers where it's really hard because what you do is what you're having fun with. So find a way. Ask someone to help you. That could be a coach or a fun buddy. Someone who can keep you accountable.
Changing gears a bit -- What is your advice to “millennials” in the workplace?
I'm actually working w/a PR firm to create a white paper on that. First? Forget what you always heard that everyone’s a winner. Sorry to disappoint you. You’re not going to get a trophy for failing or being 10th out of 5. You need to distinguish yourself. You have to fit the world, it isn’t going to change for you. Develop a sense of who you are in relation to the world of work. Mindset shift from complete entitlement. Develop a tougher skin, hone work/interpersonal skills. Wake up and figure out a plan.
How do you recommend that "older" workers combat ageism in their attempts to find work?
Upcycle your skills and don't let your age be a factor for you. That's first. I've worked with people from the ages of 3 to 93 -- no kidding -- and age was never the issue (okay except for Kindergarten). Be realistic. There are careers and jobs you can't do -- like win the Olympics at 80. *But* decide what you want and find a way to do it. Hone skills and most importantly your attitude. I hear about age issues from people in their 20s too! Don't let it affect you. You can find ways to beat the challenges. When I work with clients and this comes up we look at what they want -- and the best way for them, in their specific circumstances, to achieve it. Everything can be an issue. You have to start with your mindset. Nothing will change if that doesn't. *And* if your emotions about something are holding you back -- you'll find a million ways to block yourself from getting it. This is where my training in psych/mental health comes in handy. We figure out everything that might be holding you back from letting yourself be happy/achieve/reach goals.
We’re still a bit away from the new year, but what are some resolutions and goals that you recommend setting for your career?
No, it's perfect timing. It takes time to figure out goals, a plan and test it out to see what might work. Planning takes time. If you start now you can test things out so you're set to go in January and not redoing it in February/March. Big picture then go smaller. What do you want for the whole year? How can you break it down into monthly/weekly/daily goals? Be ok with the fact that you'll slip up. You’re human. Don’t set unrealistic goals. Set goal and work backwards. What will you need? This is where a coach comes in to help you decide, focus, strategize, create an action plan, be accountable and deal with setbacks. Action plan for relieving stress/pressure, so you can move ahead and take actions in spite of stress and pressure.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Ambivalence can/is part of the process. Working through the “why nots” and taking action in your best interest is the goal. Figure out what you really want. Ask for help. Create action plan. Work on ambivalence and resistance. Big picture. Small steps. Figure out what you want. How to get it. What's getting in the way. How to deal with challenges. Get it. Live the life you want. Don't expect people to welcome you with open arms to your new career or position. People don't always embrace "the newbie" even if you're not newbie age. :) They have their own reasons and issues for doing that. Forget them. Move forward. In some cases coming in as the newbie paints a target on your back. People might be scared that they'll lose their coveted spot in the industry/career/clique. Forget them. That's their problem. Develop a thick skin. Put on your blinders and GO! Know what you want. Why you want it. How you'll get it and don't let anyone stop you. No matter how hard they try. You know what they say about if you don't make any enemies (I don't remember the quote :)) but it's something like you haven't stood up for anything. Coming in as the "new" person you won't necessarily find a welcoming committee. Be your own. Find people who support *your* dreams and will stand by you, behind you, and stand up for you as you achieve it. Those are the people you want in your life. It won't be easy to make the changes but you'll have support. I put together a few links to some posts I've written that are relevant to this chat (atypicalcoaching.com). When you're starting in a different industry people might say "well, what do you know? We've been doing it like this since..." Well, guess what? You're bringing all those skills, talents and passions that we talked about earlier. And you may very well be bringing new thoughts, outlooks, approaches, knowledge, tech -- who knows? You may need to create a new niche for yourself as you make a change, or in your career in general. That's why knowing your strengths and what makes you unique is so important. Do you have talents you haven't used? Do you speak other languages? Think really hard about *everything* you can do, all that you know, all that you're willing to try, to learn. Keep going. Keep going. Keep learning. Trying. Think outside of the box. Create new boxes. Smash boxes and rebuild them. The Navy Seals say "embrace the suck". You've got to do that too. Some of it will really be tough. Don't give up. I love hearing from people and am always happy to answer any questions so feel free to reach out and ask. I work in many industries and I work with people from many industries. There are lots of ways to find fulfillment, to be happy. Find the ways that work for *you*. I can't stress enough though that you have to figure out what does hold you back. If you don't acknowledge it, you'll act on it in ways that aren't always in your best interest. You don't want to be doing that. You want to take positive action. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @coachkiki
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