Career coaching and racecar drivers

My friend Ed Cangialosi and I have followed similar paths a few years apart. We’re both alumni of Dickinson College and their Bologna study abroad program, and more recently alumni of Columbia Business School. We continue to cross paths, and it was so nice of him to feature me in his series on coaching based on my experiences working with students and alumni from both institutions, especially now in my work as a career coach for Columbia.

Ed works in gift planning for Columbia and also seems to be a life-long side hustler. When we first met, he did custom bike fitting and he’s now a racing coach. It was really interesting to hear how he has applied experience on the raceway with management challenges in his full-time job, and vice versa!

I think combining this idea of finding focus with developing your listening skills is super important for a coach. As I consider my conversation with Missy it strikes me that getting your students to take flight on their own is really why anyone should be interested in coaching. And when I think about my experience at the track when I’m one to one with my student in the car, my goal is to drive less and less from the right seat of their car, that is tell them less and less through our headsets about where to brake, how much to turn, etc., as I observe them picking up the tools I am teaching and applying them during our day. Like Missy, my favorite bit is when I see a student applying the tools they’ve learned in subsequent track days.

Ed Cangialosi

You can read his piece in full here.

Next step on the path

It’s a common refrain to say that people switch careers 5-7 times in their life (though this is mostly unsubstantiated). It’s my turn to make a switch and it feels very exciting!

I recently joined Greenhouse Software as a consultant to the marketing team. If you’ve applied to jobs in the past few years, you may have touched Greenhouse’s core product, a recruiting platform used by Buzzfeed, SquareSpace, and Warby Parker, among others. Beyond being an innovative and fast-growing company, it’s also been ranked as a top workplace by Inc. Magazine.

This new role brings together a few threads in my career. I’m now focused on a product in the HR technology space, tapping my 10+ years of recruiting experience and moving into a new function as I focus on marketing strategy. This has been a goal of mine for a few years so I’m happy to step into this next phase. Onward and upward!

Build a Job or Find Yourself

I am fascinated with people’s career paths and have spent much of my own career focused on why people choose jobs, both as a recruiter and as a data analyst. That’s why I loved hearing this episode about finding meaning at work on The Hidden Brain.

This episode is an interview with Amy Wrzesniewski, a psychologist at Yale University. She says that people can be divided into three groups when it comes their approach to their job: they see it as a “job,” a “career” or a “calling.” People equally split into these groups regardless of position. Those who see their job as a calling report the greatest satisfaction. To see which group you fall into, take the quiz here.

I find this so interesting because a lot of mainstream career advice is to follow your passion. That’s so vague, and in my opinion, so wrongheaded (see Cal Newport’s brilliant take on this). It’s difficult to identify a passion at the start of a career.

As I daydream about the coming summer, I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of stories about outdoor adventures and getting away from it all to find yourself. It’s a romantic idea, but you don’t need to leave it all behind to discover your passion or find joy in the work you do. You may just need to understand your orientation towards work. (Though unfortunately, this makes for less compelling stories of self-actualization.)