Is it Time to Reinvent Yourself?, with Anuja Sinha

Listen On:

Transcript

Find Your Dream Job, Episode : 264

Is it Time to Reinvent Yourself?, with Anuja Sinha

Airdate: October 7, 2020

Mac Prichard:

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life.

I’m your host, Mac Prichard. I’m also the founder of Mac’s List. It’s a job board in the Pacific Northwest that helps you find a fulfilling career.

Every Wednesday, I talk to a different expert about the tools you need to get the work you want.

Find Your Dream Job is brought to you by Top Resume. Top Resume has helped more than 400,000 professionals land more interviews and get hired faster.

Get a free review of your resume today. Go to macslist.org/topresume.

You’re ready to make a big change. You not only want to switch jobs, you want to reinvent yourself.

Our guest today says that before you make this leap you need to get clear about your purpose, reach out to mentors, and network with others.

Anuja Sinha is here to talk about if it’s time to reinvent yourself and how to do it.

She’s a human resources generalist at Boys & Girls Aid. It’s a foster and adoption agency that has built lifelong connections in Oregon since 1885.

She joins us today from Beaverton, Oregon.

Anuja, here’s where I’d like to start, what do you mean when you talk about reinventing yourself.

Anuja Sinha:

It’s an interesting topic. I have taught about it a lot, and because I am in human resources, I interview so many candidates, and based on all my research and experience, I have come to the conclusion that we do have a lot of people who are so unhappy in their current jobs. And you know, it’s important to realize when to reinvent your career, when to move from one job to the other, so that you can find your…the real purpose in your life. You don’t have to remain stuck in a job that you don’t like throughout your career.

Mac Prichard:

Tell us about the difference between switching jobs and reinvention.

Anuja Sinha:

Okay, yeah, that’s interesting. So, switching jobs, you want to switch jobs when there is a toxic work environment. You want to switch jobs when you are working under a really scary manager or there is a colleague bothering you, or you don’t like the project that you’re working on. Switching jobs is for short term.

And reinvention is your long-term process where you really have to work on yourself to find who you are, to find your natural strengths and weaknesses, and come from a point of clarity where you really know what you want to do. And again, when I observe around, I feel that many of us are under the burden and legacy of our glorious college degree, or we started a job when we were 20 or 21 and built up on a skill, and ten years later, we feel that there is no way that we can move around and you push yourself to this job every single day.

You wake up in the morning, unhappy about it, and you feel terrible about your life. Still, you feel so much stuck and that’s the whole point, that’s the time and you really have to think, “Do I really want to do this for the rest of my life?” Or is it time to step back and think about it and understand your purpose clearly and reinvent your job.

Mac Prichard:

Anuja, when you think about reinvention, is it more than changing careers? Because, as you know, you work in human resources, people will probably switch careers 5, maybe even 7 times during the course of a 40-year period in the workplace. Is that what reinvention is, switching careers? Or is it something more than that?

Anuja Sinha:

Well, I don’t know…it’s something more than that. When I say reinvention, I come from a point of understanding who you are, going back to the basics. Where I say that, understanding your natural skills and strengths, and sometimes your natural skills and strengths are supported by your college degree and experiences, and sometimes they’re not. When you were young, you had to decide your college degree; you went on to earn your engineering degree, or you went on to become a doctor or a software engineer, and later, that’s not solving your purpose.

What I mean, actually, by reinventing, is look deeper, and it’s so hard to get that done, to get to a point where you really understand yourself, than just switching careers or switching jobs. And you know, when I discuss reinvention, I feel that I need to focus the fact that it is a deeper work. And many times, people will talk to their mentors, their advisors, their network, and they will realize their real purpose, but sometimes you don’t get that clarity by talking to people, and that’s where I feel like talking about the mindfulness and meditation. I am such a big proponent of mindfulness.

The eastern world has known this concept for thousands and thousands of years but the western world has come to realize that there is a concept of mindfulness and the benefits of it and there are…

Mac Prichard:

I do want to talk about the benefits of mindfulness, and let’s step back, Anuja. I want to talk about when you know it’s time to reinvent yourself. What are the signs that you see, in the people you work with or the candidates you interview, that people should pay attention to so that they know it’s not just that they need to change jobs but they need to actually step back and think about their purpose and what to do about it? What signs do people commonly see when they’re in that situation?

Anuja Sinha:

Well, my favorite one is, when you wake up every morning and you’re not happy about your workplace, your job; when you feel that going to work is a burden, and that’s when you should step back and think about what is working for you and what is not. It is high time, you should not ignore those red flags, where you feel terrible going to work. And that happens to so many people and we are attuned, our family and friends, they will just support the fact that, “It’s okay. Just keep doing what you’re doing.” One should not ignore those red flags. If you’re unhappy about your work, you need to stop, you need to step back, and go back to your basics and you’ll know that it’s time to reinvent.

Mac Prichard:

What about people who are in the middle of a job search? Is that a good time to consider reinventing yourself?

Anuja Sinha:

Yes, why not? I think that’s a perfect time, basically, because you don’t want to move from one job to the other or even one career to the other and end up in the same situation again. So,  if you are actively looking for a change, it is actually time to step back and think that what you’re looking for is not motivated by that big company, that big paycheck, or that glamorous industry.

Mac Prichard:

Many times when people are in either the start of a job search or in the middle of one, they just focus on getting that next position. What signals should they pay attention to that indicate that maybe it is, instead of putting their energy into getting that next job as quickly as possible, that it’s time, instead, to invest in some reinvention? What signals should they pay attention to, Anuja?

Anuja Sinha:

Okay, again, that’s a really interesting question, believe me. It’s so hard when you are terribly looking for a job because of toxic work culture or it could be anything, to just think beyond getting that next job, because everyone needs that next paycheck. But for me, what I strongly feel that, if you really have to put in a lot of preparation and artificial yourself when you’re networking, or if you have to really put in effort when you write that cover letter or to prepare elevator pitch when you are going in a networking event, I think you should take that as a clue that you are doing something wrong. Because if you were your natural self, you would not have to prepare that much. When you go out in front of people, you are so authentic, you are so natural that you won’t have to spend hours preparing for that networking event or preparing for that job search or job interview. Yes, to me, it’s like, if you really have to prepare, you need to step back again.

Mac Prichard:

Do you risk making your job search longer if you invest the time in reinventing yourself instead of getting that next job?

Anuja Sinha:

Well, you know, for some people, the situation may be that they really need to get that job, but if you are really privileged enough that you can spend a little bit more time in the job search and figuring things out for yourself, then you will end up finding your dream job. It’s just going to be a lot more sustainable, because if you don’t spend that time here, then again in a year or two down the line, you’ll be in the same spot.

Mac Prichard:

How does reinvention help you as a job seeker, Anujah? It seems risky, but are there benefits that are going to help you as a job seeker?

Anuja Sinha:

Yes, of course, you know, I mean, I feel, it’s your life. Your job is your life, you spend 8 hours working and another probably 6 hours thinking about your job. So, you know, a major portion of your life is spent doing this job and if you’re not good at it, if you don’t feel that that’s your natural strength, and you are, by default, supposed to do this then your life is miserable and you know, it not only impacts your job, it impacts your mental health, your family, your relationships, and it shows up in all the spheres of life if you are not in the right job. It’s not a risky move, it’s the most essential move, and people should realize that instead of spending their career into wrong jobs, basically.

Mac Prichard:

Is this something, reinvention, that you should expect to do more than once in the course of your career?

Anuja Sinha:

You know, no. I think that if you did the good preparation once, I don’t think that you will have to do it again. Because if you feel like you have to do the reinvention again, it means that you did not put in enough effort in the first place.

Mac Prichard:

We’re going to take a pause right now, Anuja, and when we come back, I want to continue our conversation.

Stay with us. When we return, we’ll continue to talk with Anuja Sinha about if it’s time to reinvent yourself and how to do it.

Does your resume show what you want and what you offer employers?

Find out what the experts at Top Resume think.

Go to macslist.org/topresume for a free review of your resume today.

You’ll get specific suggestions about how to improve your writing, highlight your skills, and include the key words computer scanners like.

Go to macslist.org/topresume.

Whether you want to reinvent yourself, or just apply for your next job, you need a resume that works.

Go to maclist.org/topresume.

Now, let’s get back to the show.

We’re back in the Mac’s List studio. I’m talking with Anuja Sinha.

She’s a human resources generalist at Boys & Girls Aid. It’s a foster and adoption agency in Portland, Oregon.

Anuja, before the break we were talking about if it’s time to reinvent yourself, and now, I’d like to cover how you do it.

What’s the first step that you recommend?

Anuja Sinha:

Well, it’s a long process. One should not think about taking any shortcuts in this and you really have to follow any step-by-step process which works for you. To me, I feel that to start with, first, you know that you are miserable in this career. You need a change, and then you can start by talking to your mentors, talking to your trusted friends, and see if they can help. And in the next days, if you still feel that you don’t have clarity, you can go ahead and hire a career coach. These are the professionals who have done this work for so long and they should be able to help you through. That’s one route.

Mac Prichard:

You talked, in the first segment, Anuja, about the importance of knowing your purpose. How does getting clear about your purpose help you reinvent yourself?

Anuja Sinha:

Yeah, I think, again, that is the most difficult part and the most important part, because if you don’t know your purpose, you will, again, end up in the wrong job, basically, and you don’t want to do that. As we talked about before, that you’ll have to reinvent yourself multiple times in your career and I said, no. If you find your purpose once, when you do your homework, and it could be through any different channels- talking to someone, going back to school, attaining another additional degree, you know, whatever, it could be from different people, there are no set rules. Different things work for different people, but the end goal should be to know what you really want to do.

It could be a drastically different thing than what you’ve done and many times, people when they reach their mid-level management positions, they feel stuck and they feel that when they start to think they have found their purpose, they feel that they will have to start from scratch. But I want to make it a point that if you have an experience of 10 years, you know that you have a wealth of knowledge and transferable skills, and you are not starting from scratch. Finding a purpose is the whole sole thing, basically. Understanding who you are.

Mac Prichard:

Are there tools that you’ve seen that are especially effective for getting clear about who you are and understanding your purpose?

Anuja Sinha:

I mean, to me, again, as I mentioned before, mindfulness is the number one tool, which, I have used it, I have seen people practicing it and getting benefits from it. And many times, when I talk about meditation or mindfulness, in this society when we talk about it, we feel that it’s a very spiritual process of meditating for hours and hours. It doesn’t have to be that complicated, believe me. The sole purpose is to get connected to yourself and how do you get connected to yourself? It could be taking ten-minute walks in the woods every single day, or listening to your favorite soothing music, or breathing exercises, or if none of this is working then you may just want to sign up for a weekend boot camp where you are so calm and decluttered to where you can see yourself so clearly that you know what you want to do, basically.

That is one tool that people can follow. For others, it couldn’t be that complicated, just talking to your mentor, your advisor, your supervisor, that would help you. Talking to your network, here in the United States, we put so much emphasis on networking, and people do have great networks who will help you out. It could be anything. Whatever works for you.

Mac Prichard:

Well, let’s talk about those two approaches, both mindfulness and networking. Let’s start with networking. Anuja, in reaching out and having those conversations with mentors and coworkers, how do you recommend approaching those talks? What should you hope to get out of those conversations in moving ahead in reinventing yourself?

Anuja Sinha:

You know, I would say honesty. Don’t cover yourself. When you reach out to people you trust for advice, most likely you already have a good relationship with them, and you really need to be honest and have heart-to-heart conversations, where these people feel that they understand you enough that they could help you. Like mentors, they have big networks typically and if they really know and understand you, and if you’re really honest with them, then they would help you find your purpose, reinvent yourself, and they would reach out to their network so that their bigger network is going to help you in finding your dream job.

Mac Prichard:

What kind of questions do you recommend asking in those conversations? Both to get clear about your purpose and to get introductions to others that can help you with that reinvention?

Anuja Sinha:

Again, as I said, being really honest really helps because if you are honest you are really presenting your authentic self in front of your mentor and in front of whoever you meet in those networking events, and just having those heart-to-heart conversations. If you are confused, you can present yourself in front of your mentor, and say, “Hey, I am really confused. Can you help me through? This is the vague idea I have.”

People who have more experience, they should be able to help you figure this out. I mean, I have had employees, candidates, my personal experience is, even as you reach out for help, people just start thinking about, their brain starts working on, “Who do I connect? Whom do I reach out to? Whom do I introduce this person to so that that person can find this person the right job?”

When you are having that authentic conversation with your mentor or you’re doing that networking event, people are willing to help you out. It’s just the nature of how we operate, basically.

Mac Prichard:

Be frank, be clear about what you’re struggling with, and ask for help.

Anuja Sinha:

Yeah, and that way, you form that real connection which is not only going to last for the event, you will form a relationship that is long term.

Mac Prichard:

At the end of these conversations, you’re not only looking for insights; are you also looking for introductions or suggestions, as well, Anuja, about how to reinvent yourself?

Anuja Sinha:

Yes, you know, and as I said, once you reach the point where you feel comfortable to start networking and talking about your job, you’ve already done most of the homework of knowing what you already want. At this point, when you are reaching out to people to help you get to the job, you’ll want to ask them for support.

Mac Prichard:

We talked about the importance of getting clear about your purpose, any other homework steps you would recommend before you have these conversations with your mentor or networking contacts?

Anuja Sinha:

I mean, yes. The whole process of figuring out what you want needs to be done before this, basically. I can divide reaching out to your network and reaching out to your mentor into different parts. So, when I reach out to my mentor or when I suggest people to reach out to their mentor, they can be in a confused state, and that’s okay. But when you are literally reaching out to find your dream job and networking actively, you really need to be clear about what you are looking for because people don’t have time to spend so much time on helping you figure out your problems. When you go into active networking, you actually have to have done all the work.

However, when you are talking to your trusted friend or your career coach or your mentor, that’s where you are in the preparation phase of finding out what you want.

Mac Prichard:

When you’re in that preparation phase, besides having that conversation with a mentor or career coach or a trusted confidant, what other steps do you recommend people take to get that clarity, so that they know what they want before they go out and have those networking conversations?

Anuja Sinha:

Get connected to yourself in whatever way it works.

Mac Prichard:

Let’s come back to meditation because you talked about mindfulness and the value it has when you’re thinking about how to reinvent yourself. Tell us more about that and why that could be such a useful tool in this process.

Anuja Sinha:

Okay, I could talk about this for hours and hours but I will just keep it simple. You know, we live in a world where we are connected all the time and we don’t even realize how cluttered our brains get with all the information, all the unwanted news feeds, news, social media. We have to understand that we don’t have to feed our brains so much information. And there is this general understanding in the world that the more knowledge you have, the more successful you are and that’s wrong. By mindfulness, what I mean is that…find a way to declutter your mind. Find a way to know that what you really need, which information you want. Where do you want to spend your time? Do you really want to read all this crime news? No, you don’t because that makes you sad.

By mindfulness, I mean, spend time with yourself, and it could be, again, taking a walk in the woods, doing a serious meditation practice, and the western world is starting to realize the importance of mindfulness. People who have had long-term corporate jobs, they also know that many organizations have implemented management-based, stress reduction programs and there is research that it really helps. So, it’s not debatable that it doesn’t help. It does help. The only thing is which form of mindfulness you want to take because the basic purpose is to get connected to yourself so that you find your own purpose so that that helps you reinvent yourself.

Mac Prichard:

What’s your best advice, Anuja, about how to get started with a mindfulness practice?

Anuja Sinha:

Ten-minute breathing exercise.

Mac Prichard:

Alright, terrific advice, and it’s been a terrific conversation. Now, tell us, what’s next for you, Anuja?

Anuja Sinha:

Okay, that’s interesting. Well, we all know we’re in this situation of crisis right now. At this point of time, I really want to support the agency’s goals and missions, and be there for our employees so that they can focus on the most important job of taking care of the kids who are in need.

Mac Prichard:

Well, terrific. I know people can learn more about your work at the Boys And Girls Aid by connecting with you on LinkedIn.

Now, Anuja, given all the great advice you’ve shared today, what’s the one thing you want a listener to remember about if it’s time to reinvent yourself and how to do it?

Anuja Sinha:

Well, if you are really unhappy in your current job, if you wake up in the morning and you’re unhappy about your work, please know that it is time to reinvent yourself.

Mac Prichard:

Does your resume show what you want?

Get it reviewed for free by Top Resume.

Go to macslist.org/topresume.

And make sure you never miss an episode of Find Your Dream Job.

Subscribe to our free podcast newsletter.

You’ll get information about our guests, free job search articles, and transcripts of every show.

Go to macslist.org/shownotes.

Again, that’s macslist.org/shownotes.

Next week, our guest will be Monica Haut. She’s the human resources manager at Hopworks Urban Brewery.

You’ve created a great resume and cover letter.  Do you really need to customize them every time you apply for a job?

Monica says, absolutely yes. She and I will talk about why you need to create a unique application for every job and how to do it.

I hope you’ll join us. Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job.

Do you wake up every morning dreading going to work? Not because of a bad boss or work environment, but because you aren’t fulfilled in the work you do? If so, Find Your Dream Job guest, Anuja Sinha, says it may be time to reinvent yourself. Reinventing yourself is a deeper process than merely switching jobs, says Anuja. It’s about figuring out who you are and what you want. Your job impacts your entire life, so why stay in a position that is draining you? Anuja recommends taking the time necessary to discover your purpose and finding a job that suits that purpose. And if you do it right, you’ll never have to do it again. 

About Our Guest:

Anuja Sinha is the human resources generalist at Boys & Girls Aid. It’s a foster and adoption agency that has built lifelong connections in Oregon since 1885. 

Resources in This Episode: