Episode 230 – Unstoppable Career Path Coach with Rachel Serwetz

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Rachel Serwetz didn’t start off as a career coach. She grew up in New York, went to Binghamton University where, as she says, she had no real idea what she wanted to do. So, her major was a general one which left her with lots of options. After college she went to work for Goldman Sachs for three years. While she felt she was successful there she didn’t really feel that her interests aligned with the work she was doing.
After three years at Goldman Sachs, she moved to a job at a hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates. That job put her in a bit more of a role to help with recruitment and training. Still, she felt she wasn’t truly pursuing what she should do.
In 2017 she decided to go out on her own to begin career coaching to help people develop better job satisfaction as well as to better understand whether and/or if they were in the right job for them. Today she coaches clients mostly throughout the U.S. and Canada, but she does have international clients from elsewhere in the world.
If you want to explore your own career path direction, reach out to Rachel.
About the Guest:
Rachel Serwetz worked at Goldman Sachs and Bridgewater Associates before pursuing coaching, training and certification. Rachel is the visionary behind WOKEN, a platform designed to enhance job satisfaction and reduce job hopping by facilitating clarity on one’s best fit career path. She later became an ICF-certified PCC-level coach, where she combines her strengths in career coaching with systemized frameworks to successfully guide hundreds of professionals to realize career fulfillment. She has served as an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Binghamton University. She has also served as career coach through the Flatiron School, WeWork, Columbia University, Slate, Project Activate, and other organizations. She has also partnered with organizations such as Fishbowl, Power To Fly, NYU, and others, to help spread career clarity to the masses.
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Ways to connect with Rachel:
Our website: https://www.iamwoken.com/
My personal linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachelserwetz/
Free career resource library: www.iamwoken.com/resources
Free coaching call: calendly.com/woken/demo
Our Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/getwoken/
Our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/getWOKEN
Our TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@getwoken
Our LinkedIn: thttps://www.linkedin.com/company/woken/
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
accessiBe Links
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Transcription Notes:

Michael Hingson ** 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson ** 01:21
Hi, there I am Michael Hingson, your host for unstoppable mindset where inclusion diversity in the unexpected meet, we get to do a bunch of that all the time. It’s a lot of fun today, we get to chat with Rachel Serwetz. And Rachel worked for Goldman Sachs for a while she has become a pretty significant person in the world of coaching and has a lot of things to say about that. Talking about employment employees and employee hopping, and other things like that, or employment hopping, I guess is a better term. But we’ll get to all that. And I expect that we’re going to have a lot of fun. So Rachel, thanks for being here. And welcome to unstoppable mindset.
Rachel Serwetz ** 02:01
Yeah. Thanks for having me.
Michael Hingson ** 02:03
And we’re really glad that you’re here. And looking forward to the day. Well, tell us a little bit about you kind of growing up maybe the early Rachel, if you will? Oh, yes, let’s say, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Yeah, exactly.
Rachel Serwetz ** 02:20
I mean, I grew up on Long Island, New York. And honestly, I just was working hard in school, I didn’t know the direction I wanted to go in for my career. I just kind of knew, like, work hard. And you’ll probably figure it out later. You know, I don’t know if I fully knew exactly where school was gonna lead. But I just figured get good grades, someone will probably pay attention to that eventually. So yeah, and then I needed to figure out college. And my dad always wanted me to be a doctor. And I never really had a reason to question it. And then finally, you know, going to college was the moment where people were finally like, what is it you want to do? And I, you know, started thinking about it and realize that my previous experiences in the health field weren’t something that really drew me, you know, to it. And so I ended up going to Binghamton, as an undecided major, which was the best thing I could have done. And I think every student should, you know, it’s funny because they are undecided. And yet, they have to somehow pick and so I eventually picked Human Development, which was super broad. It was kind of like psychology, sociology. And that allowed me to just figure out what I really wanted to do. I leaned a lot into like business internships and just explore and did a lot of projects and just got involved with things on campus and tried to figure out what it is. I wanted to do from there. But I will pause, I can keep going through the story. But that’s kind of me up until college days.
Michael Hingson ** 03:59
So you Well, I know what you’re saying. And you. You were undecided. At first, I always wanted to go into the sciences. And so I went to University of California, Irvine. And we actually went down to see the chair of the physics department between my junior and senior years in high school, when I always decided I wanted to major in physics. And that’s what I did. What I wasn’t as strong about was exactly what I wanted to do with it. But I thought I wanted to teach. And I thought that we can always use good teachers and the more I went to the university and went to a lot of classes, the more I realized we really do need good teachers because a lot of these people may know their subject very well, but teaching it is a different story. But then I had other things that that changed the career along the way, like I got offered an opportunity to work for the National Federation of the Blind and Ray Kurzweil, the futurist to have developed a machine that would read print out loud to blind people. It was his first first adventure in the world of optical character recognition. And he had developed the technology that really provided Omni font, OCR to the world. And he decided his first application would be to make a machine that would read print out loud. And that eventually led to me through circumstances going into sales. So I made sales a teaching kind of thing, because I realized that the best salespeople are really teachers. So even though it wasn’t directly physics, I got to teach anyway.
Rachel Serwetz ** 05:30
Yeah, I love it. I mean, sometimes we were getting to know ourselves and what we think we want to do and what we think we like doing. But of course, there’s opportunities that arise to me, it’s a journey of, you know, yes, what comes your way. But you also want to be intentional with getting to know what you think you want to do and going to find those opportunities. But yes, I mean, things do arise. And we got to see like, Is this in line with what I want to be doing more of? And then of course, it’s a yes or not, right. But, you know, with my clients, it’s, you know, we’re not just leaving it up to fully chance it’s what do we want? And how do we go get it? But it’s great that, you know, you were you were finding opportunities come to you? Of course, that’s that’s kind of ideal. But it’s a combination, right, who finds you and how do you also go after what it is that you want? Yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 06:18
Oh, and I also know that if we really look at our lives, we can trace everything that led us to where we are by the choices that we make. And sometimes they’re good choices, and sometimes they’re not. And the question is, do we learn from the choices that we make all the way down the line? But still, it’s about choice. And I understand what you’re saying, you went into college sort of undecided? And that was probably unless you had just a definite thought that was probably a good idea. And I think you you said it very well, it makes a lot of sense to be willing to explore and think about what you want to do. Yeah.
Rachel Serwetz ** 06:59
Oh, exactly. Yeah, it’s, yeah, I mean, any undergrad right there, they’re younger, and they may not know yet. And so I like to help people really, how do you properly explore your career path, and hope that people can do that, but even by the time you have to choose a major, it might not be enough time. But using those college years wisely to really clarify your path is the best thing you can do. And, you know, you may or may not use your major, you know, later on in your career, but I think the issue I see is like when somebody chooses a major that’s so specific, and so far away from what it is they actually want to do. So that’s where like for me, you know, I chose something very broad. And that was great, because I could use it in a lot of ways. So that’s the, you know, depending on the person, depending on the student, it’s just something to think about, if you’re choosing a very niche path, you know, make sure you really understand it. And you know, what it’s all about? And what is that going to really look like when you go pursue that path.
Michael Hingson ** 07:59
What I didn’t do was choose a specific branch of physics as such. But you know, even though I ended up going in a directions that didn’t directly use physics, what I also realized, however, as I went through life, if you will, was I learned a lot that helped me, for example, one of the things that good physics teachers teach is you pay attention to the details, like if you’re doing a calculation, it isn’t enough to get the numbers right, you have to get the units to go with it. So for example, if you’re trying to compute acceleration, and you don’t come out with feet per second squared, or centimeters, or meters per second squared, even if you come out with the right number, you’ve done something wrong, it’s the whole scenario. Again, it’s very important to pay attention to all the details to make sure that you do what you really want to do. And paying attention to details became kind of a life mantra for being especially in and around the World Trade Center events. And what happened afterwards, paying attention to details is a very important message I’d love to talk to people about because that saved my life on September 11. I can trace that back to the desire that was developed in physics.
Rachel Serwetz ** 09:18
Yeah, no, I like that. It’s true. My partner was chemical engineering. And I feel like he always talks about how it’s like a way of thinking and a way of problem solving. And, you know, that is a niche major, but yes, you can definitely gain, you know, ways of thinking basically from that, but at the same time, you know, it is still choosing a pretty specific area. But yes, you can get those unintended benefits to from it. On the other hand,
Michael Hingson ** 09:47
later in life, I appreciated the TV show The Big Bang Theory, so I guess it counts for something. Yes, yeah. So when did you graduate from college
Rachel Serwetz ** 09:58
in 20 They’re seen.
Michael Hingson ** 10:02
Okay. And so at that time, had you made some decisions about what you kind of wanted to do in the world?
Rachel Serwetz ** 10:09
Yeah, so I was really trying very hard to figure out what it is I wanted to do. I did a consulting internship, I did a lot of just other experiences and internships and projects on campus clubs. I was dabbling in, you know, HR, try, I did a lot of networking with alumni, I was just trying to learn about like, different things that were out there. And, and then, so Goldman came to Binghamton’s campus, and they were recruiting for the operations department. And I honestly had never heard of operations. But when I learned about it, I was like, this really aligns with me, because it’s all about processes and efficiency and things like that. So I really felt the lines, maybe that was lucky. And then, because I had done so much networking, I learned how to have a professional presence that I think stood out amongst other undergrads. So I ended up interviewing there. And I landed a role there, and I was there for three years. But once I landed there, you know, operations was aligned, but I was still working on essentially, like cash management, Treasury liquidity type functions. And I realized that I liked operational things, but I didn’t love so much the financial services, you know, content of it. And so I was still, you know, I did so much effort to just figure out like, Okay, I like this, but I don’t like that. And what should I keep doing to learn more about what it is that I like, and actually, at Goldman, I was very lucky to, you know, I got involved with projects really just by choice. So if I noticed an opportunity to, you know, people needed help to develop skills after their performance reviews. So I implemented a skill development program, or we needed help for onboarding globally across our department, or recruiting or, you know, there was just a lot of different people oriented projects that I got involved with, and I was interested in. And so lucky enough, I was able to do so much of that, while there. And that’s what really led me to my next role, where I leaned more into like the people HR functions, I went to a hedge fund, and I was more on the recruiting and performance management side. And so yeah, by doing those sort of internal side projects, it helps me figure out like, what role was more aligned with my interests. I also did things outside of my job. So I was actually doing volunteering, career coaching through a nonprofit. Um, I did a lot of things just to try to do research, networking, experiential learning, in order to continue to figure out like, what work I wanted to do, basically.
Michael Hingson ** 12:58
Yeah. So you, you say to Goldman, you said for three years, and clearly, my observation would be you learned a lot, which is what it’s all about, and maybe it wasn’t what you expected? Or maybe it was, but you learned a lot. And you took a lot of knowledge and information and internalize that, that helped you move on from there.
Rachel Serwetz ** 13:25
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I mean, it definitely gave me a lot of room to learn and grow, for sure. I also had five months in India, when I was there. So just so many amazing experiences, they had this sort of other competition where you could get together with other analysts and suggest a nonprofit for the firm to support. So we were able to present to senior leaders, there were so many ways to get involved. I was involved with the Women’s Network, like I just sort of took advantage of all, you know, not just my day to day job, but just getting involved with so many things that were interesting to me. So it definitely was valuable even in just those three years.
Michael Hingson ** 14:05
Yeah. So you left Goldman in 2016. And where did you go from there?
Rachel Serwetz ** 14:10
So then I went to Bridgewater, which is a hedge fund fund, right? Yeah. And I was in recruiting and performance management to support the investment associate. So sort of the front office, but now
Michael Hingson ** 14:24
you were in a little bit more of a people oriented kind of environment or position.
Rachel Serwetz ** 14:29
Yeah, yeah. I mean, you could sort of call it like HR, but we were our team sat within the front office. So there was actually a separate HR team, but we were doing those people functions like recruiting and performance management and training and culture and employee experience. That’s kind of what our team was doing to support the investment department, let’s say,
Michael Hingson ** 14:51
so did the knowledge that you gained even though you weren’t a great fan of a lot of the financial aspects of it at Goldman did A lot of the information and knowledge that you gained at Goldman helped you in doing that job, though.
Rachel Serwetz ** 15:08
I think so I needed you know, I think when I went to Bridgewater, I felt like I was still having a fresh start. And I learned how they did things. I think the most important thing that I took from Goldman was like a learning about my interest in the people space. And then also, just, you know, the importance of operations. I was in the operations department. So I definitely took that away. But Bridgewater was very different, because they were very oriented on, like, people and feedback, whereas Goldman was very oriented on operations and process. So I sort of took different things from each place. And now I try to combine those very two things, but they operated very differently. So you know, I would like to think that I took one thing from one to the next. But truthfully, I think it was Bridgewater is a very interesting place. I, you know, I think anyone who joins has a little bit of a culture shock. So I would like to bring my skill set me up for success, but it was a very new and different environment. Sure.
Michael Hingson ** 16:14
Well, you also did no, of course, from Goldman, sort of, by definition, learn to talk a lot of a language which had to help. And so you knew what people were talking about when you heard a lot of these financial terms, even if you didn’t directly use them. But it certainly had to help. And, again, it goes back to what I said earlier that when we make choices, we we learn from everything, or we should learn from everything that we do, and every choice that we make, and hopefully it builds, then it really does sound like it did sort of build for you going from Goldman to Bridgewater in some ways.
Rachel Serwetz ** 16:50
Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Different. But every experience sort of builds on the next like, I definitely learned and grew in in different, it stretched me in different ways. For sure. Well,
Michael Hingson ** 17:01
being in sales and sales management, which I did for a number of years, then going into public speaking. They’re very different. But the reality is, that sales helped me learn to relate to people who I was speaking with, into learning how to read people. And sometimes, as I tell people, I could speak on any given day, to a board of directors down to it, people and so on, and learning to communicate with them. Definitely helped going into public speaking as well. So, again, there are things that you learn that that help you grow.
Rachel Serwetz ** 17:43
Definitely, absolutely, yeah, I mean, I think even my coaching and sort of sales element, now you learn so much about different people’s personalities, how to talk to different people, just the variety of people. So yeah, the sales and the coaching. I feel like the stuff I do today sort of definitely taught me that to at
Michael Hingson ** 18:02
Goldman, or Bridgewater, especially at Goldman, did you ever go visit the trading floor?
Rachel Serwetz ** 18:10
Oh, no, that’s a great question. Um, honestly, I don’t know if I did. I mean, we went to so many different floors for different reasons. You know, there was I honestly have no
Michael Hingson ** 18:29
date. Well, the reason I asked is, you want to talk about crazy places, trading floors are as crazy as it gets.
Rachel Serwetz ** 18:37
Ya know, no, absolutely. And
Michael Hingson ** 18:38
yelling and the screaming and how
Rachel Serwetz ** 18:42
you remember from, you know, the movies and how it used to be so so. So hectic things like that. But I’ve definitely seen it even just from I remember, I was networking with a mentor of mine who was at a different bank, and she brought me to her office. So I’ve, you know, absolutely been exposed to things like that. But you know, I would say both Goldman and Bridgewater were, you know, in intense and that way that you sort of know, what to expect fast paced. And absolutely, you know, it was that experience Yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 19:12
Into intense is probably a good way to describe it. But they, the people who do it, and who do it well have have learned and are successful at doing it. So that’s, that’s okay, too. And, you know, there’s, I don’t think that most people are like, Michael Douglas and Wall Street, which is okay. But, but it is an intense environment. And it’s, it’s a fascinating thing to see. I remember, after September 11, we worked with Morgan Stanley, to get them back up and running and they had to go find a place to create a new trading floor since the one that the World Trade Center went away and they found a place in I think it was in Hoboken where they found a room that was literally the size of what they described as a football field, and within 36 hours, they got equipment from all of the people. They worked with PCs and stuff from IBM tape, magnetic tape systems from us and so on and other companies. And from Friday night till Sunday afternoon, they worked and they literally, were ready to go Monday morning, the 17th when Wall Street opened again, what a monumental task to be able to do that in 36 hours. Yeah, absolutely. Talk about intense. But that’s the whole point of having data backed up. They were they were ready to go was just as if Tuesday never happened, because it shell shut down before the well, the World Trade Center attacks happened before Wall Street open. So that was probably a blessing. Oh, yeah. So how long were you at? How long? Were you at Bridgewater?
Rachel Serwetz ** 21:05
Oh, about a year? Yeah, it’s, again, pretty intense, right? And yeah, I sort of was ready for the next thing. But yet again, didn’t know what that next thing should be. So actually, I left and I was receiving career coaching. And I started noticing the gaps in what they were doing, were providing and I and I started having ideas as to how I could provide that. And that’s when I said, All right, maybe I should lean into this coaching thing. So I did training through the NYU School of Professional Studies, they had a diploma program. And then I got certified through the International Coach Federation. And that’s when I realized coaching is often conversational. So I started building out some tools. So at first, it just started with a career assessment and then more sort of platform like tools. And now we do have a web based platform. But I started to build it build out a essentially a shared workspace between the coach and the client. And just advancing and evolving and innovating tools that felt like it would enhance coaching from what I had experienced and what I felt like kind of was missing. You know, from my experience, and then I offered the same and started coaching individuals through a variety of different career processes. I started out I was doing coaching part time for a few organizations while also building my company. And then I went full time in my own company in the spring of 2021. The other kind of thing that happened in the mix, there was from summer 2018 to 2019. I did a one year full time tech MBA program at NYU Stern. So that’s when I was actually starting the business while doing the degree. And that was great, because I leveraged all of this startup programs at NYU to help me understand how to start a business. So yeah, ever since that, it’s been now almost six years of building out my coaching company. And
Michael Hingson ** 23:11
what’s your company called? woken? So Woken is a company? Is it is do you have other people or just you?
Rachel Serwetz ** 23:19
Yes, we have a few other coaches right now. So that’s kind of been the recent achievement is making sure that I can train and hire and scale and have other folks. So now they run the sales calls and bring new clients in. And I do still coach some individuals, but the goal is to grow and have me hopefully do more of the the innovation. So we always want to advance our digital products and make sure that we have newer advanced tools that really it takes the coaching to the next level. So that’s hopefully where I can, you know, focus more of, and just bringing on more clients and coaches as we work out. Sounds
Michael Hingson ** 24:00
like a plan. So what is Woken stands for? So
Rachel Serwetz ** 24:05
you know, it actually is, I guess, more of just a play on words, I used to always say we are waking up people to take control over their careers. I think you know, people often they do take control over their careers, but sometimes, you know, they may not realize that they can or should find and seek support or coaching or resources or guidance. So we’re here to remind people that you can and should find a job you love. And you know, our specialty is helping people to clarify their direction, because that was really where I lacked support. I spent years trying to figure out what I wanted to do. And now we help other people to do that more efficiently. So yeah, that’s our specialty is just making it really practical to get confident on your best fit direction. We also help with making decisions around upskilling improving your personal branding, job searching networking interview doing promotions, you name it mindset, accountability, really any kind of career goal or challenge? We sort of copilot you through all of that. So
Michael Hingson ** 25:08
what is this? The whole concept of career path exploration? What What exactly does that mean? And how do you move forward with that?
Rachel Serwetz ** 25:17
Yes. So I try to define this actually, I mean, that’s a phrase that I use. And the definition that I give is, it is a step by step process to learn and reflect, and you’re learning about yourself. And you’re also learning about career path options, until you can get confident to understand which path or direction makes the most sense for you to pursue. And that could just be more broadly your path. Or it could just mean, what’s your next step, you always want to be confident to know where do you want to go? Before you start job searching? And that’s the critical component is, ideally, this all happens before you start job searching in an ideal world. So that’s yeah, that’s kind of how I define what it is.
Michael Hingson ** 26:01
Yeah, in ideal world, but as you experienced yourself, you didn’t really do probably nearly as much of that as you wish you had. When you were in college, did you? Yeah,
Rachel Serwetz ** 26:14
so that’s exactly right. Like, I would look back, and I would reverse engineer like, alright, like, what would have been helpful for me to reflect on at each of these moments. And then I started coming up with frameworks. So for example, we have a career assessment is broken down into three parts. So it’s something that I call function, content environment. So your function is like, what are you doing day to day your skills, your affinities? What are those sorts of activities you’re doing that make up your week, and then the content is really the nature of the work? So what are those problems or topic areas that you find important or interesting. And the third is the environment that you thrive in. So for example, if you’re in a role that you’re doing sales, or research or data or consulting, or whatever your role is, you can do those things in virtually any single industry. And so I try to separate those two, which is the functional versus the sector of where you’re really applying your skills and the ultimate goal and purpose. And then of course, the environment, what should it look and feel like and the people and the culture and the piece and all the bells and whistles, so I try to so that’s exactly where I when I looked back at my path that was kind of like, okay, for example, at Goldman. I liked, you know, the functional role, but that industry didn’t really align with me. Right. So so, you know, I tried to kind of break it up, like, what were the components of each experience? And how can I help somebody reflect on each of those core pieces?
Michael Hingson ** 27:39
So, one of the things that I find really interesting in talking about this whole issue of career path exploration is it certainly seems like it’s something that people should do. One of the questions that pops into my head is, how much more of that? Could could colleges do or contribute to making people more successful by doing more of it?
Rachel Serwetz ** 28:02
Yeah, I mean, I think colleges can definitely do a lot more, I think, they don’t always know how necessarily, right, so we do have some career assessments that are off the shelf. The other element is just getting the college students in the door, right. So we do have career services on campus. But, you know, on average is each student walking in once or twice in their college career, and oftentimes, they’re getting resume help or interview help, right? So it’s a combination of, we need students to be more engaged. And we need on the flip side, the career services to find ways to engage them or have, you know, for example, our software, we would hope in our future is that a career services office could actually use, you know, the tool that we have to maybe digitally connect a career services counselor with students, just through technology. So you know, of course, you know, Career Services has usually an informational portal or a website, but we want them to be able to really interact even more with their career services counselors, because it’s one of the most important things people are questioning the value of college. And really, you know, if you’re there to help you figure out your career path, we need to have the tools to make sure that students can do that.
Michael Hingson ** 29:20
Did colleges do more to maybe include internships or on the job exploration for people to be able to look at what they might want to do or not do or decide this doesn’t work for me? Or is that is that really putting too much of a demand on college? Because of course, they’re dealing with all the academic stuff. Well,
Rachel Serwetz ** 29:43
I mean, in an ideal world, like I picture College, where it should honestly be 50% internship or work experience and 50% in classroom experience, because you learn so much on the job these days. I also think it would help reduce the cost of college and it would help a student earn more I need from an earlier age, right? We have so many people talking about how some job postings and companies are not even requiring college degrees. So I think sort of an ideal future of college could be work and school all in one. So I agree, you know, definitely internships should be more prominent. But, you know, how many internships can you do? And so what are the odds that you’re going to do an internship, and that’s the career path you should be in. So the process that we guide people through is a more efficient way of learning more comprehensively and more dynamically. And more efficiently really, is the goal, right? Because you have a lot of options. And you have to learn about yourself really deeply. And you’ve got to compare the two. So that’s what our process does, in average, two to three months, somebody can go through that journey. So internships are great. But it may not be the only way to figure things out.
Michael Hingson ** 30:51
I’ve talked to a few people on the podcast, and one I’m thinking of, that actually had a program where they worked with industry for high school students, and students would, would spend time working. And it was, it’s a private school, and instead of paying the students because they were studying as high school students, the money went to the school. And that actually became one of the major sources of funding for the school. And what they found is that it greatly increased the percentage of students who graduated and then went on to college, which I thought was pretty fascinating.
Rachel Serwetz ** 31:34
Yeah, I’ve seen things like that, too. You know, helping high schoolers get that hands on experience getting exposure to certain pads. All of that is amazing. It just depends, like, sometimes I’ve seen it be industry specific. So if there’s high schoolers getting involved to learn about one industry, right, is it you know, what are the odds like that they actually then say that the industry for me, you know, so these programs are great, but, you know, again, what we try to do is make sure it’s holistic, and that it’s really also self driven, so that each individual can explore as many options as they need, and narrow in on whatever it is. That’s, that’s right for them. So that’s really, the idea is hopefully you start broad, and then you do narrow in, but you have the ability to learn about whatever it is you need to learn about based on you and your strengths and your interest. That’s really what we hope to, you know, allow people to do. When
Michael Hingson ** 32:28
should people do career path exploration? When do you do it?
Rachel Serwetz ** 32:33
Yes. So the earlier the better, right? There’s no sooner time, then.
Michael Hingson ** 32:40
That’s what you’d say, of course. Um,
Rachel Serwetz ** 32:42
so, you know, look, I would say, anytime you’re ready to make a change, if you’re going to a job search, or even if you’re looking to get promoted, you want to know where you want to go and feel good about that. And that way, the getting there is so much easier. So I would say anytime you’re ready for a change or transition, whether it’s your first job, your fifth job, or 10th job, any change, it warrants the time for you to explore and reflect and figure out what it is you want, before you pursue that change. I do think in college or high school, like somebody can pursue these same processes, it’s a little harder when you’re younger, but you can still absolutely go through it. And the benefit is, what we really want to avoid is just like you’re picking something, you know, that’s, you know, A to Z, you know, very different from what makes sense for you, we want you to get in the right ballpark, if you’re younger. And that way you can more naturally evolve and organically find the next step that’s within the realm of what you’ve already been doing. Right? It doesn’t have to be exact or perfect right away. And then, you know, the same goes for later on in your career, you know, really, every time and anytime and in people change jobs, it could be every one or two or three years, that’s fine, you can do it as often as you need to. And usually the first time you go through the process specifically, you get so much clarity, but once you do the process like two or three or four times, you actually that’s really where you get very deep in terms of like okay, now I really know like my personal mission and that that sense of deep purpose and clarity in a bigger way. But you know, the first few times you do it, it’s very practical like what is my next step? What it what makes sense for me in terms of the day to day of this job, right? What is most fitting and then you really get deeper like as you could tell I very much no my mission in life, right? So that’s where we want people to get is understanding their true direction and then what capacity you go act on that could look a lot of ways in terms of types of roles or companies that you could go get involved with. But yeah, you should be doing it really, several times. I would say throughout your your career, you find that
Michael Hingson ** 34:51
there are more people are just that there are a lot of people who demonstrate dissatisfaction with careers isn’t, so they just hop from job to job is happening more now than it used to do you think or because yeah,
Rachel Serwetz ** 35:07
job hopping used to be that common phrase. And then in the pandemic, it was the great resignation. And it was the great rethink. And there was all these phrases, to show that people were quitting, they were pivoting, they were ready for a change, they were seeking purpose they were seeking meaning, I think the pandemic really drove all of that a lot. And sort of exacerbated, it gave people opportunities to to upskill, if they were working from home, like there was a lot of change going on a lot of readiness for change. These days, you know, when you see a lot of layoffs, it’s it can be a stressful time, and it just depends on the person, right? If you don’t have a lot of runway, and you need to find a job quickly, you’re gonna go after something that relates to your background, if you’re ready for a change, and you have a little time on your side, you know, you see that people are really going through to do the rethink and see what change may make sense for them. But everyone’s different. And you know, what chapter of your life are you in? What can you afford to do right now? A change, you know, depending on how big that changes may take time, and sometimes money to upskill. So, you know, everyone’s different in terms of like, you know, what they’re ready to take on. But yeah, definitely, yeah, I mean, statistically, a majority of professionals are in jobs that are misaligned with their personality, or are they’re disengaged at work, according to Gallup’s definition. So we see that it’s pervasive. And then I think that the macro environment may affect, you know, how, and when somebody, you know, makes that a reality for them and, and what they do about it, no
Michael Hingson ** 36:44
matter what we say about the pandemic, it really seems to me that it opened up so many opportunities, if we would but think of it that way. You’re, as you’re pointing out, there were a lot of people who pivoted or who thought about pivoting and probably really did. And the fact is that, that people started realizing, I don’t have to just have a job. There are other things that I’d rather be doing. Or if they really want me to work for them, then what are they going to do to make this a pleasant environment for me?
Rachel Serwetz ** 37:20
Oh, yeah, exactly. It’s a give and take, and it’s kind of an ongoing question of what’s reasonable, what should I expect out of an employer? You know, all these all these questions are rising again. And, yeah, it’s, it’s interesting, because both, you know, you have new sort of desires for something better, but at the same time, people look at layoffs, and they’re like, I should be grateful for sort of any job. So you see everything, you know, people want what they want. But at the same time, no company is perfect either. So you just have to be able to gauge is this job, you know, good as it relates to everything else that’s out there. And sometimes people don’t know how to compare, like, you know, am I in a good spot? Or am I in a toxic environment? So sometimes that’s a lot of what I do is like, give perspective, having seen so many situations? And you know, what does that mean for that person? And are they ready to move on? Is there a way of making the situation better? Or, you know, maybe they don’t realize how good they have it. So, you know, every single person is, is, is different. And, you know, I would say step one is just DJing. Where do you stand, right? How are things going? And what are the opportunities for you?
Michael Hingson ** 38:30
So often, I think we just haven’t learned to analyze our environment and learned how to do more introspection, and really look at what’s happening in our lives. We, we react more than we think. And, you know, we could pick on politicians, they’re all about reacting and they don’t see but that’s another story. But the the fact is that we don’t do nearly as much introspection, as we should, to help us decide what kind of moves we want to make. Because I’m a firm believer in the fact that in reality, if we really listen to what our mind is telling us, all too often, there’s a lot of information that’s absorbed that can pop out as good decisions. But we go it can’t be that easy.
Rachel Serwetz ** 39:19
Oh, yeah. Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think at any given time, you know, can you be thoughtful? And can you get support for any one decision, but you know, we can’t overthink it and there’s any number of things that you only know in hindsight, how did it go and was this the right call or not? So you know, definitely. I always say like, what’s the ratio of like, if this is such a big decision, give it due thought if it’s something that you can easily undo or find another situation later on, like just go for it, you know, but yeah, get get another pair of eyes and ears so you can think through things but you want to be careful not to be overthinking either.
Michael Hingson ** 39:59
Well, But I’ll you know, even even the simple decisions, it’s good to think about them and analyze what we do and what we what we want to do. We just don’t tend to think enough about it we, we react, or we just decide, Oh, this isn’t good. And you’re right, oftentimes, we don’t know how good we really have it. And I think about that with the pandemic, I’m used to doing a lot of work remotely. I’ve been doing it for many years. So the lockdown didn’t bother me. But I also know that there are so many people who were totally paralyzed by fear and are, as I put it, blinded by fear and not able to really move forward during the pandemic, when they were given an opportunity to step back and think about things. It was just oh, this horrible pandemic, I’ve got to be in front of people, I got to be with people. Zoom is just a horrible thing to use. Because I really need to be in front of people, rather than looking at all the options that became available to us.
Rachel Serwetz ** 41:08
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, it can be overwhelming. There’s so many options, so many things available. And that’s exactly where a coach can can help. Because part of what I do is just help people make sense of, there’s so many options for me, right? How do I think through it? And I think the world gets ever more complex, new jobs, arising jobs going away new technologies, new skills, it’s, it’s harder and harder to make these decisions. So just getting support through it is really all you can do. Yeah,
Michael Hingson ** 41:35
well, and that’s a participatory thing. So it isn’t just all the coach, the person being coached has to be an integral part of it. And I think that most of us who at least understand coaching, realize that we can mostly only point the way someone has to do the work to to gain something from it.
Rachel Serwetz ** 41:59
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, absolutely. And
Michael Hingson ** 42:02
so it gets it gets, it gets to be a real challenge sometimes, because people just get so locked into one way of thinking, but yeah, I love, I love all the opportunities that have come along. And as I said, even with the pandemic, it offers so many different alternatives, if we both think about them, and I think it’s been a pretty good eye opener in a lot of ways. And I think it’s taught companies that there is value in hybrid work that we don’t need to necessarily report five days a week, eight, or nine or 10 hours a day, to the office, people can be very productive and a lot of jobs remotely, at least for part of the time. Personally, I would like to spend some time in a company environment. But that doesn’t always happen. And as I said, I’m used to working remotely. And I’ve done it for a number of companies for a number of years. So I’m quite used to it. So working at home and now working with excessively, where they’re eight 9000 miles away in Israel, although there’s a sales office in New York, but the accessories Corporation is in Israel. And I’m used to working with them at all hours of the day and night. Thank you very much, depending on whenever they want to have a meeting.
Rachel Serwetz ** 43:19
Yeah, no, no, it’s it’s so true. I think the pandemic actually just created our ability to work remote. And I think that’s a blessing because, you know, without it would have taken at least 10 more years, I think, for the workforce to figure it out. Like we can all work remote. So that was definitely the silver lining there. But yeah, I mean, how people operate, how teams operate across time zones, all of that is is changing. And, you know, there was definitely a hot moment where people were, you know, in interviews, how am I going to talk about my ability to work well, remotely, right. So it’s definitely an important, but now, I think it’s such a sort of almost standard for anyone to have to expect someone to be able to work at least partially remotely. So yeah, for sure.
Michael Hingson ** 44:04
Yeah, I know. For me, as a as a public speaker, I like to speak at live events, because there are things that I do miss. As a speaker, when I’m doing something remotely, I don’t hear all the audience reactions, I don’t get some of the information that I get, if I’m presenting live at the same time. I know mostly by audiences, what I can expect based on what I say and I, I always usually do make some remarks to evoke emotional responses during a talk, and I don’t get to do that in virtual presentations as much I can make the remarks but I got to assume how people are behaving because I don’t get that information. But I’ve done it long enough that I’m fairly confident about it. If there’s any time doing events virtually also has its value to in terms of how many people can be involved in it. And it’s easier for a lot of people to do that. And so I’m glad that we’re learning the value of doing virtual work as well. Yeah,
Rachel Serwetz ** 45:16
I agree. I agree. It challenges new, new skills, but I think it brings new challenges therefore this, you know, to the in person versus virtual, yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 45:27
So it is this more of a hybrid world than it used to be? Well, what’s the process for doing career path exploration? In your whole coaching process? What, how do you do it? What do you do? Exactly? Yeah. So
Rachel Serwetz ** 45:40
we start out with an assessment, very open ended, very reflective, it’s, people say it’s hard and all the best way, it takes a few hours. And then we narrow in on roles and industries that are relevant to somebody’s affinities and reflections. And then we do a little bit of research. So we teach someone how to efficiently research those roles and industries, I think most people get mired down in the research. So we just want to get your feet wet just a little bit. And then we actually teach somebody how to network. So how do you find the right people? How do you reach out to those people get them to respond? And how do you effectively run an informational chat, so that you can deeply understand those roles and industries, then we sort of go into this like pivot process. So it’s sort of like learn, synthesize, reflect and pivot week over week. And that really helps you to compare contrast, prioritize your options, and narrow in eventually on the best fit role in history and environment. Right, it’s not to say that, you’ll never be able to do the second third choice. But if there’s differences between those roles and industries, you want to be able to prioritize, which is the best fit for you, at this moment in your career. And that’s gets the goal. That’s where we get in the end of the day.
Michael Hingson ** 46:58
How do you know when you’re done, and you’ve completed the process? Yes,
Rachel Serwetz ** 47:01
um, it’s interesting, because I think, you know, we go through life with the example of people around us who most people just don’t have clear clarity. So we think it’s normal to like, just never have those answers. But the end of the process is when you feel clear, if you’re not yet clear, if you have more questions or concerns or hesitations, that means we either need more information or more reflection, or both. So you will get to a point of being informed enough to say, I know enough about this role. And I’ve related how that role relates to me to know that this makes sense for me right now. Right? So if there’s any open questions, keep learning, keep reflecting. And you will get to that point of saying, I feel good and ready, I’m ready to go pursue this path, whatever it entails, right? And having learned what it means to go pursue that path. So yeah, that’s kind of when you know that you’re done. At least at that moment. Yeah. You
Michael Hingson ** 47:59
so you know, what, when, if you’re the person being coached, when you feel you can actually take that step and go into whatever career you’ve been looking at with the coach? Exactly.
Rachel Serwetz ** 48:11
Yep. So yeah, I mean, as a coach, I’m listening for somebody to, you know, like, I’ve listened to see, are you really clear? I’ll ask you like one to 10? How do you feel right? Or I’ll listen to make sure somebody’s like authentically, feeling excited and ready versus sometimes, you know, why are you saying that you want to pursue that, like, I want to make sure that you’re really saying it for the right reasons. And that you’re really informed and you’re really ready, and you feel clear. And then from there, we’ll make sure you know, the right upskilling opportunities, we’ll update your branding materials, we will do job search all of the next steps from there. But yeah, we first need to make sure like, are you actually clear, right, and make sure you’re ready for the next steps?
Michael Hingson ** 48:58
Have you had situations where somebody didn’t succeed or resisted the process? And why was that? What What makes someone not successfully complete the process?
Rachel Serwetz ** 49:10
Yeah, it’s a great question. Um, I would say, for the people who see it through to the end, there’s always a good end result. Because there’s only so many ways it can go there’s only so many jobs that exist and you are you and you’re limited to your strengths and weaknesses. And of course, you can grow in terms of your strengths as well, but what’s your natural affinities? And so when you stick with the process, you know, for enough time and effort, you will always get to that end result. If something doesn’t work, it’s you know, people may give up. It does take a little effort and accountability and motivation. It does take time. You know, it’s you know, people it’s tough to do on top of a full time job. Um, that being said, you can try to make it easy like, put in 30 minutes a week. You can try to make it manageable for yourself. If you You feel committed to finding that goal and finding clarity like you absolutely can find it and should stick with it. But I think sometimes it you know, the energy and the time, or people question themselves and their capabilities, people get nervous and fearful and stressful, right? Or they question themselves, things like that your mindset can definitely get in the way. Um, but honestly, if you can stay on track with the efforts, and you have a coach to help you work through those mindsets, and you’re open to getting support through it, you absolutely will get to that end result for sure.
Michael Hingson ** 50:32
So, overall, if people don’t succeed, is it they’re just putting blocks in the way they don’t know what to do? They’re resisting what you urge them to think about as a coach or what?
Rachel Serwetz ** 50:51
Yeah, I’m exactly I mean, let’s see, like, if there’s any sort of mindset blocks, right? It’s just a matter of understanding. Where did that arise for you? Like, usually understanding the like, where did this mindset even begin in the first place? And how do we sort of unravel it? How do we overcome it? How do we alleviate that feeling and taking the time to work on your mindset. And really, as a coach, I’m here to listen, just to make sure those limiting beliefs aren’t getting in your way. Because right you want your your decisions to be grounded in information, versus, you know, limiting yourself for something that may not need to be the case. So that’s really what I’m here to do. But yeah, if you can be open minded, you can work through your own mindsets, get that support, and, you know, put those practical steps in place, you absolutely can successfully, you know, work through the process.
Michael Hingson ** 51:45
If you have one, I’d love to hear you without mentioning names. Just a real story of someone that that was a challenge, but ended up being a great success.
Rachel Serwetz ** 51:54
Yeah, one of my earliest clients, she was a teacher, and she really just didn’t like the path. That was an understatement. And so we went through the process, she figured out, she wanted to be a project manager, we did, or she did the upskilling, you know, PMP certification, we updated all of her branding materials, and went through the job search, she landed a job as a project manager. And since then she has grown to be an agile scrum master. I had a different client who was a speech language pathologist and wanted to move on to something new and different. We went through the process, she realized she wanted to do UX design, did some training around that upskilling updated her materials. And she landed at Google, in a pretty, you know, formal, I think, like two year apprentice program to train you to be a designer. So those are just two examples of probably big career changers. But to be honest, people come to me and sometimes they need a small change. They just want to look at a new industry, or a new size company, or maybe a slight pivot in role. So you know, everyone’s different, those are big examples. But you know, really, for anyone who’s kind of like, what do I want, right? And we don’t know the outcome, we don’t know if it’s gonna be a big or small change. But if somebody’s in need of that clarity, that’s really what the process is for, do
Michael Hingson ** 53:16
you find there are some people who come to you and they, they think they probably are in the right place already, but they’re just not sure. And you, you go through this process, and they go, Oh, I was right, this is the right place for me. And that makes them happier and more satisfied on the job.
Rachel Serwetz ** 53:35
It is sometimes the case, there’s usually like one of three areas of improvement. So either role, industry or environment, there’s usually a reason they’re coming to us if they want to seek some sort of growth, maybe they’re not getting promoted, right? Or maybe they’re not developing their skills, or, you know, it could be something like that. So we do just have to diagnose like, what are you seeking? What do you need more of? What are you craving? What are you missing? And it may not have to do with somebody’s role it could have to do with a company in the environment, something like that. Right? So fulfillment, you know, can sort of be had in different ways. It could even be industry, right? Are you in a sector that you align with their mission? So we really just need to look at each component and see, you know, what, what you need help with,
Michael Hingson ** 54:18
it’s still comes down to, you got to go through a process, you got to analyze it, you’ve got to think about it and make some decisions. And it’s all about guiding people to make the decision that really will be best for them. And as you said, you don’t know that at the outset. You You don’t even know when you’ll have that information. Sometimes it’s just a breakthrough that suddenly comes to somebody who comes to you for coaching. Exactly, yeah. Which is kind of cool. So do you coach all over the world or where do you where do you get clients from?
Rachel Serwetz ** 54:56
Yeah, we have coached internationally I would say largely, it’s the US or in Canada. But yeah, we’ve definitely helped people, Europe and Asia. It, you know, look, sometimes there’s a country specific nuances as to their culture, or how do they job search and unique elements like that. But usually, people are aware of what are those nuances. And then they bring that to the conversation. So if there’s something specific about you know, where you live, or how it works, we’ll incorporate that into your strategy. But you know, usually it’s more about what are you really needing help with and the fundamentals of the process? So for job search, are you meeting the right people? Are you getting your foot in the door? Do you know your strategic direction? Are you setting goals? You know, so we really look at the fundamentals of, you know, what are you? What do you need to be doing right? And where are you at? And how can we help?
Michael Hingson ** 55:48
So looking at it from a different point of view, do companies ever come to you and ask you to coach someone or help them with some of the people within their organizations? Yeah,
Rachel Serwetz ** 55:59
you know, we partner with organizations to do a lot of like events, trainings, webinars, workshops, things like that. We’ve even done a group coaching series over the course of a few months with a small group. So it just totally depends on you know, kind of what people need. Ironically, you know, we have people who are currently working, they come to find us on their own. So it’s not even like their company came to us, but they wanted a coach and maybe their company wasn’t providing it. So we’re very much kind of like the direct to consumer model. But, you know, in the future, that is something we’re gonna look for more of it’s just partnering with organizations and providing help that way. Yeah,
Michael Hingson ** 56:35
I figured that mostly, it was a consumer oriented model. But I thought it would be interesting to explore the idea of, what about companies? Do they value what you do? And sounds like you’re, you’re seeing some of that? Yeah, absolutely. Which is, which is kind of cool. So have you written any books yet about your process? And the things that you do? Yes,
Rachel Serwetz ** 56:55
we actually sell that on our website. That was one of the first things I did. So let’s see back in, I guess, 2018, one of the first things before I had any software or anything like that, I realized I had so many things I had been saying, for years. So I wrote it all down and 250 pages later. You know, that’s, that’s what we have. So it is a guide, it also comes with our process. So if you’re doing the software, you can follow along with the book chapters and things like that. Well,
Michael Hingson ** 57:27
if if you? Because I don’t think we got that if you’d send me like a picture of the book cover or something. I’d love to put that up to help promote what you’re doing. Oh, yeah, absolutely. I will. Yes. Yeah. Well, I’ve got to say, this has been a lot of fun. And I, I’ve learned a lot, I really appreciate your time. If people want to reach out to you, and maybe learn more about what you do and so on. How do they do that?
Rachel Serwetz ** 57:54
Yeah, um, our website is I am woken.com. On LinkedIn, I’m Rachel Serwetz. And that’s kind of one of my main places that I post a lot of content. Our website has a big Free Library of career resources. You can email us team at I am Oh, good, calm and
Michael Hingson ** 58:12
woken. By the way, it’s w o k e n for those who want it. Oh, yeah.
Rachel Serwetz ** 58:17
Thank you. Yeah. Yeah. Um, so yeah, you can find I mean, we’re also on every kind of social media site, so you can find us and, and reach out LinkedIn, DM, email, whatever it may be. And we would, we would love to be in touch. And we always offer a free initial call. So 20 minutes, and just tell us kind of how you’re doing. And we will, of course, give you recommendations. So that’s a great way to get started to go.
Michael Hingson ** 58:39
Cool. Well, Rachel, I really am grateful for you taking the time to to be here today. And we’ve been doing this now long enough that it’s getting close to dinnertime there in New York. So got it got to deal with priorities, right?
Rachel Serwetz ** 58:54
Absolutely. Yeah. It’s I try to keep that work life balance.
Michael Hingson ** 58:58
Yeah, you got to do that. Well, thank you for being here. And I want to thank you for listening out there. I hope you’ve enjoyed what Rachel had to say. Please reach out to her. And if you are looking to do something with your career, you can go no further than Rachel to find a great knowledgeable, I think very attentive listening person who can help so please reach out to Rachel and do that. I’d appreciate it. If you would let us know what you think about today. Feel free to email me at Michaelhi@accessibe.com. So that’s m i c h a e l  h i. At accessibe A c c e s s i b e.com Or go to our podcast page www dot Michael hingson.com/podcast. And Michael Hingson is m i c h a e l h i n g s o n.com/podcast. And wherever you’re listening, please give us a five star rating. We value those very highly. And we do value your input and your comments. So please don’t hesitate to leave them wherever you’re listening to us. Sir watching us on YouTube. Love to get those comments. And again, Rachel, one last time. I really appreciate you being here and thank you for giving us a lot of insights today.
Rachel Serwetz ** 1:00:08
You are very welcome. We’ll talk soon. We
Michael Hingson ** 1:00:11
will. So thank you.
**Michael Hingson ** 1:00:17
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com . AccessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for Listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.

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