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Get a Job You Love: Get Clear on Your Career with Belma McCaffrey of Work Bigger

On June 14, 2022, SGO is bringing together the collective wisdom of some of our favorite career coaches, sponsored by Starburst Data, for our virtual Get a Job You Love Summit. While the last few years have brought up some big career shakeups with "The Great Resignation," there has also been some "Great Regret," with one in five people who switch jobs regretting their moves. To ensure your next step is the best one for you, we're asking this expert pool of coaches how to get a job you LOVE.

Belma McCaffrey of Work Bigger will be kicking us off with a session on Getting Clear on What You Want for Your Career from 12 pm-1 pm ET. Learn more about Belma and her journey to coaching below, then join us for her sessions (and more) on June 14!

What brought you to coaching?
I fell into coaching by accident. I spent my twenties feeling disconnected in my career but wanted to find my purpose and make an impact. As I navigated the corporate world, I read self and professional development books and sought out mentors, coaches, and other experts. I couldn’t find what I needed through all of my research, so eventually, I went back to business school. I thought that would be a way to pivot into something more fulfilling. Once I went to business school, I saw that most of my classmates were in the same boat. Everyone was looking at graduate school as their do-over! I realized that there was a bigger problem with finding career fulfillment. Our generation was looking to figure out how to make the most of their time on this planet, but they struggled to find the right resources and support. That’s what eventually led me to found Work Bigger. 

What’s been the most challenging part of being a coach?
The most challenging part of being a coach and building a business is my own growth journey. This work is often a mirror for me of where I need to grow. For example, I used to struggle with saying no and setting boundaries. When you realize what you need to work on, it feels confronting to take these big steps. But building a business and being in the work of leadership, I believe that you have to walk the talk. It’s something I stand for because I deeply value integrity. So the challenges are both a gift and can feel very overwhelming at times. 

What’s your favorite part about being a coach?
There’s so much that I love about coaching. First, I’m always growing and learning. Although growing isn’t easy, the biggest challenges are often the greatest opportunities, and I wouldn’t change that. Second, I’m always connecting with clients in a very profound way. I get to witness their leadership journey, and I feel incredibly grateful that I get to have a seat at their table. That is a true privilege. I can see the impact on their lives! I honestly used to dream about waking up and having a job I love, and now I do. 

What’s one strength everyone should work on building?
Whether you’re a coach or not, everyone can work on developing coaching skills. One of my favorite skills to practice and teach is active listening. This is something we could really use more of in the workplace! Active listening is good for us as individuals and beneficial for the collective. When you’re actively listening, you’re present and going on a journey with the speaker. You’re not in your head - worrying about the next thing. You’re present and holding space. And the other person on the receiving end has the opportunity to really be heard. Rarely are we truly heard! The skill of active listening deepens connection, empathy, and understanding. It also allows us to get so much more done in a productive, healthy way in the workplace. 

What mistakes are people making when it comes to their careers?
One of the biggest mistakes I see is living with a lack of clarity. When you lack clarity on what you want to do, you’re stuck, you feel frustrated, and as I see with my clients, people are often running in circles. This is a bad cycle that leads to exhaustion, burnout, and a waste of time and money. It happened to me - I spent years going from job to job thinking that if I just got a different job, the situation would fix itself. But it’s not the case. 

What would you tell someone who just feels “stuck” in their current job?
This is everything we teach, and I have an entire free class that talks about how to find your superpower so that you can get unstuck! You have to start with the foundation first. You have to take some time to go inward to understand your values, your interests, and your strengths. And you have to get really curious about what motivates you. Once you understand your motivators and who you are, then you have a strong foundation in place. You can then put a strategy in place to go from A to B. And that strategy is anchored in your purpose. 

How would you guide someone in mapping out the next five years of their career?
I think mapping out five years can be challenging. It’s ok not to have the next five years figured out, especially today, where we have so much opportunity and possibility. I would first start with the first 1-2 years. Once you’re clear on your mission or purpose and what you want to do, I’d recommend you do some research to explore what possibilities are out there for you. This is such an important step that’s often overlooked. I always say that you can be rooted in your purpose and your “why” - that often stays consistent. The what - what you’re doing - can and should change!

When you lack clarity on what you want to do, you’re stuck, you feel frustrated... This is a bad cycle that leads to exhaustion, burnout, and a waste of time and money.

Belma McCaffrey

What mistakes are people making when it comes to their careers?

One of the biggest mistakes I see is living with a lack of clarity. When you lack clarity on what you want to do, you’re stuck, you feel frustrated, and as I see with my clients, people are often running in circles. This is a bad cycle that leads to exhaustion, burnout, and a waste of time and money. It happened to me - I spent years going from job to job thinking that if I just got a different job, the situation would fix itself. But it’s not the case. 

What would you tell someone who just feels “stuck” in their current job?
This is everything we teach, and I have an entire free class that talks about how to find your superpower so that you can get unstuck! You have to start with the foundation first. You have to take some time to go inward to understand your values, your interests, and your strengths. And you have to get really curious about what motivates you. Once you understand your motivators and who you are, then you have a strong foundation in place. You can then put a strategy in place to go from A to B. And that strategy is anchored in your purpose. 

How would you guide someone in mapping out the next five years of their career?
I think mapping out five years can be challenging. It’s ok not to have the next five years figured out, especially today, where we have so much opportunity and possibility. I would first start with the first 1-2 years. Once you’re clear on your mission or purpose and what you want to do, I’d recommend you do some research to explore what possibilities are out there for you. This is such an important step that’s often overlooked. I always say that you can be rooted in your purpose and your “why” - that often stays consistent. The what - what you’re doing - can and should change!


What would it look like to finally have a job you love?

Be immersed in the brilliance and kindness of the She+ Geeks Out community, career coaches, and companies that are looking for you. Join us for this joyful half-day virtual summit sponsored by Starburst Data. Whether you’re a full-fledged job seeker or consider yourself job curious- you'll have an opportunity to learn, connect, and gain the tools to figure out what's next for your career!