The BLOC Podcast

73: Finding your Second ID Job with Clea Mahoney

May 16, 2023 Episode 73
73: Finding your Second ID Job with Clea Mahoney
The BLOC Podcast
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The BLOC Podcast
73: Finding your Second ID Job with Clea Mahoney
May 16, 2023 Episode 73

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In this episode, I chat with my pal Clea about reflecting on your first role as an ID and how to use that knowledge to find your SECOND ID role!

Clea is an instructional designer who collaborates with cross-functional teams to design and deliver inclusive and impactful learning experiences for a global teams and internal communities. Keep up with her wildly-experimental, mostly-rambling blog at cleadesigner.com

Clea recommends just networking and connecting with people who are doing things similar to what you want to be doing as a way to build your skills for your second ID job. 

Thanks for listening to the BLOC!

Connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heidiekirby/

Or check out what I'm working on over at https://www.getusefulstuff.com/

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

In this episode, I chat with my pal Clea about reflecting on your first role as an ID and how to use that knowledge to find your SECOND ID role!

Clea is an instructional designer who collaborates with cross-functional teams to design and deliver inclusive and impactful learning experiences for a global teams and internal communities. Keep up with her wildly-experimental, mostly-rambling blog at cleadesigner.com

Clea recommends just networking and connecting with people who are doing things similar to what you want to be doing as a way to build your skills for your second ID job. 

Thanks for listening to the BLOC!

Connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heidiekirby/

Or check out what I'm working on over at https://www.getusefulstuff.com/

Heidi Kirby:
Hey,

Clea Mahoney:
Hi Heidi, it's going great.

Heidi Kirby:
Cleo, how's it going?

Clea Mahoney:
How are you?

Heidi Kirby:
Good, good. Let's dive right in. Why don't you just tell me a little bit about yourself first, who you are, where you came from, where you're going, and anything fun you want to share.

Clea Mahoney:
Okay, this is a question I should have practiced for because I've come from a lot of places. I'm going, you know, hopefully somewhere, but a lot of my career and a lot of my life has just been, you know, I describe myself as a learner. Like that's what I am first and foremost. So, wait, what was the question again?

Heidi Kirby:
Just tell me a little bit about yourself, where you're from, where you're going, and anything funny you want to share.

Clea Mahoney:
Great. So I started my career in the heating and cooling industry. Long story short, that led to a career in teaching and learning, focusing on technology. But really above everything, I just love learning and helping others learn. When I learned that instructional design was a thing in 2016, it just kind of unlocked a whole new world for me. So... You might know this, I think I told you before we started recording, but I'm an online extrovert. But if we were to hang out in person, or if you asked me to teach in a classroom, I would just be hiding in the corner or I'd find the nearest snack table. So, you know, exploring the world of learning and development, especially in an online space is something that I'm really passionate about.

Heidi Kirby:
Hehehe

Clea Mahoney:
And I didn't think I'd end up here didn't plan on it, but I'm very happy to be here and to be on your show.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah, and so what may or may not be surprising to listeners is that I actually get a lot of people who are brave enough to reach out and say, hey, like, I'd love to come on the show and talk about my first job as an ID or my first experience or my first six months or my first year. And I try to keep that to a minimum because it's like, you know, if I did that with everyone and had it just be a whole show, it should be probably a whole show somewhere. But I think you've had some pretty unique experiences lately and you've gone through the interview gamut and I would just love to hear a little bit more about that. So let's first talk about your first ID job, right?

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah.

Heidi Kirby:
And what were some of the things that happened as expected and then what were some of the things that were unexpected and didn't? Didn't happen how you thought they would. It could be good or bad.

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah, such a great question. And so, again, I learned about instructional design when I was working in higher education as an instructional technologist, more focusing on the faculty technology training side and getting folks comfortable in teaching online. So in my first role as an instructional designer in the corporate space, I had a feeling that I knew what I was getting into. I knew the products, I knew the audience that I would be training. And I was really excited about it because it was a very unique and different opportunity. It was the first time that they'd hired an instructional designer in this space for customer service. And yeah, it was really wonderful just to learn about the different skills that made up that customer service role from sales to product knowledge to, you know,

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
teaching folks how to use internet products. That was very exciting to me. And I got to work with some really wonderful colleagues, but I will say it was also a lot. So I was the first and only instructional designer. And while I worked on a team that worked on hiring

Heidi Kirby:
Mmm.

Clea Mahoney:
and professional development and leadership development, at times there were, you know, I felt pretty isolated and kind of stuck trying to figure out all these things on my own, which

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
which has led to some things that I think we'll talk about in terms of my new job that I'll be joining and starting soon, where I'll be part of a team of folks doing very similar things. So I learned a lot from my first experience as an instructional designer in corporate, and there were many wonderful things and many things I would have done differently if I found myself in the same situation again.

Heidi Kirby:
Sure.

Clea Mahoney:
So I'm really leaning into the learning experience and owning all parts of that.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah, yeah, no, I think that's really good because I always try to give new people the advice that they don't wanna be the only one, right? Because then it's like, who do you have to learn from? And sometimes you're lucky enough, I was lucky enough, to have a manager with a really strong background who knew what they were doing and who was able to teach me a lot of things and who had the time and the energy to do that. But... I realize that not everyone has that. And so I often encourage people like, hey, ask about the team makeup. If you are that confident that you can do it and you wanna be the only ID, awesome. But for your first corporate role, like, gosh, I don't know what I would have done without my boss, Latoya. Like, I don't know how I would have survived. I wouldn't have. So yeah, I really just encourage people to. try and find at least like other instructional designers, right? Like my second job, and I know we'll be talking about your second ID job. Um, that's like a catchy title for this. Maybe I'll,

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah.

Heidi Kirby:
maybe I'll go with that. But my second ID job, I was one of seven instructional designers. I learned so much good and bad, right? And it was just an amazing experience. So I think you're really, you're really highlighting something there that you'd like. Yes, the corporate structure compared to higher ed is very different and takes a while to get used to, but being the only one of your role isn't only tough, it also opens you up to people questioning your value.

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah, absolutely. And I will say there were other instructional designers at the company, but they had a very different audience. So they were developing kind of product training

Heidi Kirby:
Mm, yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
for the community, very different set of skills. And, but I'll say, I mentioned them because I learned so much from them and something that I really look forward to

Heidi Kirby:
Nice.

Clea Mahoney:
in my next role. And actually something I've been doing more heavily during the job seeking process is just really building my network. So I had close relationships with those instructional designers at my last company. I really want to build that strong relationship with the folks that I'll be supporting in my new role.

Heidi Kirby:
Boom!

Clea Mahoney:
And I met you, I think through LinkedIn, I've listened to your podcast for a long time. And so... In the absence of having learning and development colleagues in the office next to me or in one Slack channel over, I've really leaned into looking for joining and creating those networks in some cases.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah, that's such a great point too, because if you do find yourself alone, then it's like, oh gosh, who are my coworkers? And like you, I've been lucky enough to have, you know, a few, four or five people in the industry that I know I can go to at any time with questions, like, hey, will you look at this for me, right? Like even something I'm working on, like, hey, can I send you this and get your feedback who aren't at my company? but who are in the field and who are just as passionate as I am and it's so nice to have that too. And I think that that's like one of the really good things that came out of COVID was people wanted to have that and expand their network and especially with remote work and going from job to job and layoffs and things like that. It's hard because you wanna stay in contact with your old colleagues, but sometimes it's just not possible. So. why not leverage the social media that you're already using in your spare time to kind of create that for yourself. And I think in a lot of areas that's happening, even with like freelance instructional designers, right? They're

Clea Mahoney:
Oh yeah.

Heidi Kirby:
coming together with other freelancers and, you know, making their own little colleague group to share work and stuff. So I think that's really great.

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah. And one group that I want to mention in particular, um, is a Slack community that I joined for customer education. It's customer education.org. And, you know,

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
even though I did not accept a role that's going to be working in customer education, I really want to stay in that Slack channel because I ended up meeting, uh,

Heidi Kirby:
No.

Clea Mahoney:
an instructional designer who lives in my neighborhood. Our dog's hang out now.

Heidi Kirby:
Nice.

Clea Mahoney:
We talk about learning and development and also really bad reality TV

Heidi Kirby:
I love it.

Clea Mahoney:
shows.

Heidi Kirby:
Yes,

Clea Mahoney:
So it's like, it's just, you find your people

Heidi Kirby:
yes!

Clea Mahoney:
in some of these online communities and networks.

Heidi Kirby:
You do.

Clea Mahoney:
So I'm really glad that I found those.

Heidi Kirby:
Yes, absolutely. I mean, one of my best friends in who I would say is like one of my best friends in real life, I met through LinkedIn, Aaron Chancellor, she's not even going to listen to this. So I'll say whatever I want about her. But no, we met because of learning and development. But then we had the opportunity to meet in person. We went to the zoo together in DC and it was just like a blast. We got to see all the pandas. It was like one of those things where it was like we had known each other forever,

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah.

Heidi Kirby:
right? And it just, and now we don't always talk about learning and development. We talk about our obsession with supernatural or like other TV shows or like share all the millennial TikToks with each other. Like, and that's become like our friendship. And, you know, it's just so, it's so wonderful. And like, it's how I met my partner. It's how, you know, all these different people. And so it just makes me so angry when people are like, those aren't your real friends. Like, you know, those are on social media. I'm like, I'm traveling the world and meeting these fake friends, as people will call them. They're more real and they're more there than some of the people I know in everyday life. So, yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
Oh, yeah, absolutely. And, you know, during the pandemic, I saw a lot, as I'm sure you did, about this pushback against online education is less than, and I think that would be a

Heidi Kirby:
Yes.

Clea Mahoney:
whole other podcast episode, but I've taught online before, I continue to do it. I've stepped back from adjuncting a little bit just because I want some actual work-life balance and to take vacations and travel with that dog. But yeah, absolutely. You know, I wouldn't have

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah. Yes.

Clea Mahoney:
met so many of my students, so many of my friends.

Heidi Kirby:
Yes! Yes!

Clea Mahoney:
you if it wasn't for the internet. So one more thing about you, because I want to make this also the Heidi Hype Up podcast episode. I reached out to you back, I think in January, start of a new year, trying to build some new habits. And I'm like, yes, I'm still a little bit shy, but I want to put myself out there. And I'm just going to ask, Heidi, could I be on your podcast? Talk about some of my challenges and some of what I've learned in my first year as a corporate instructional And then about two weeks later, I lost that job. So I'm really glad that when we're recording this today, you know, I was messaging you about my interviews throughout the process. I told you that like, oh, I have a good feeling about this role. And I wonder if by the time we record, I'm gonna have an offer accepted. And you said something like, yes, manifest it. And I feel like you helped me do that. So, yeah.

Heidi Kirby:
Yes, I did. I may have said manifest that shit. That's like one of my favorite phrases. So, okay,

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah, I left off that word.

Heidi Kirby:
okay. That's like the only swear word that appears in the podcast, I

Clea Mahoney:
Oh, I love it. I'm all for it.

Heidi Kirby:
feel like. But yeah, yeah, I mean, I think, and so I want to get into that. I think leaving your first instructional design job, you have all this like, Now I know what I don't want.

Clea Mahoney:
Yes.

Heidi Kirby:
Right? Because you, well, it may be enjoyable and, and you know, it's, it's definitely a way to get your foot in the door. Maybe it wasn't quite the salary you wanted, or that was my case, or maybe it wasn't quite what you thought it would be. Also, my case, maybe you didn't get to do all the things that you wanted to do. Again, my case, but you, you kind of make that list. So like, what was that list for you? Like, what were you looking for? in your next role that you felt like was missing from the one previous.

Clea Mahoney:
I'm so glad you asked that and I was working with a career coach as part of my last role. That was one of the benefits offered and I really loved that. I hope to work with another coach someday because I really believe in that relationship and the power that someone like that can give you in

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
terms of honing into your skills and really leaning into your strengths. So my coach asked me on I

Heidi Kirby:
Hmm

Clea Mahoney:
think my very last day of work. what are some things that I would hope would be different or that I'd like to see in my next role? And I'm really glad that I wrote those things down. They're somewhere in one of five notebooks because I'm pretty disorganized on paper.

Heidi Kirby:
Oh, me too!

Clea Mahoney:
But I can still imagine the page that I wrote and scribbled it on. And what I wanted was to be part of a larger team that I could contribute to, but also learn alongside with and from. Um, because I just, I felt like, you know, maybe in a different life or with a

Heidi Kirby:
Hmm

Clea Mahoney:
different brain, I could be the one person to do it all and I'd be more independent. But, but I really just like being around people who are doing learning and development together and who are getting better at it together.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
And so throughout my interview process with this company, there was so much that

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
I was learning about what they do, um, what I would be doing in this role. And what I really kept focusing on was how much you learned from each other. So even within the team and then beyond it,

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
it just really seemed like the vision of learning and development that I believe in and that I'm aligned with. And it was difficult to make that happen in my last place. So every culture is gonna be a little bit different and have its own challenges,

Heidi Kirby:
I'm so sorry.

Clea Mahoney:
but it really got me to think about what do I want next and part of a bigger team or processes established. Yeah, I'm really looking forward to that.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah, I think it's really important. I'm shopping for a house right now, and it's similar to that. You make your list of your must haves and nice to haves. And it's like, it is non-negotiable if a house doesn't have X, Y, and Z. And you set those lines. And you tell whoever is helping you, your boss, your realtor, your whoever, that this is my line. must have a bathtub, right? I must have a fenced-in yard, whatever those things are. I must have three bedrooms and two toilets, right, in this house. Those are my non-negotiables. It'd be great to have a fireplace. It would be great to have new appliances, but it wouldn't be a deal breaker. So you have to do that kind of same thing, because everybody's values are going to be different and everybody's priorities are going eight, nine, ten years, you're probably not going to care as much if there are other instructional designers on the team because then you will have the confidence and all the skills to do the thing by yourself if you want. But you may just be a social person, right? You may just be like, no, I need a team. I need people to talk to that are doing the same thing as me. I need people to work with, right?

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah.

Heidi Kirby:
And some people, you know, the idea that we can work whenever and however we want. I love, right? Because some people want hybrid. Some people want to go into the office a couple times a week and see people in real life. I don't care if I see another person in real life again,

Clea Mahoney:
Hahaha

Heidi Kirby:
at least in the workspace, I mean.

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah, yeah.

Heidi Kirby:
I'd love to meet my team at like an offsite once a year, but my goodness, I never want to have an on-site job again, right? But I understand the people who do. And I think there's room for all of us. And that's really the thing that you also have to realize is there are endless instructional design jobs out there. They're being posted every day. It's infinite. If you look at it that way, that there's always something new coming up, that means that there's something out there for you. that fits what you want to do. And I think so many times people that are looking for their first role just go, I don't care what it is. I just need to get out of whatever I'm doing currently, especially with our teacher friends, right? Like,

Clea Mahoney:
Mm-hmm.

Heidi Kirby:
oh, I feel for them, but they get so desperate to just get out of the classroom, but they're like, I'll take whatever. And it ends up not being a better situation. And it ends up not being that different. It's a different kind of stress. It's a different

Clea Mahoney:
Oh yeah.

Heidi Kirby:
kind of, you know, and it doesn't help the situation. And I always tell people too, that whatever happened at your previous role, that trauma is not going to be fixed just from a better job. Right. Like there's other things that you're going to have to do in addition to finding a new job. Right.

Clea Mahoney:
Absolutely. And I think I remember hearing about your work through Eamonn Power's podcast about what it means to be an instructional designer, right? And that's when I really got a taste of, oh, it can look very, very different from company to company.

Heidi Kirby:
Yes.

Clea Mahoney:
So even though in my next role, my title is People and Culture Manager, Learning and Development, still instructional design, right? So...

Heidi Kirby:
Yes!

Clea Mahoney:
knowing that and kind of being able to refine what you're looking for and where your skill set is and where you want it to be and also where you don't want it to be has been really, really freeing and empowering for me. Like when I lost my job, I panicked. I started downloading, you know, the free trials of Articulate Storyline. I omit it and I'm like, I don't want to do this. Maybe I don't

Heidi Kirby:
Of course.

Clea Mahoney:
have to do this. And I didn't have to, right? I found a job that really leaned into the beginning and the end of the adi process. You know, you're helping a business, uh, someone from a business area, come up with the training solution and maybe it's not even training and then you get to save that time and then you come in at the end again to evaluate, you know,

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah. Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
what impact did that, did that make? And those are the two pieces that I really love. And I didn't think that there were jobs just really heavily focused on those two pieces. So. You know, throughout this process, I've also learned a lot about just the opportunities in the field and you might, you know, find your skills represented in a title that doesn't quite match what you had in mind. So being open to those things and learning about titles to look for

Heidi Kirby:
You.

Clea Mahoney:
can, can really be helpful and talk.

Heidi Kirby:
Absolutely. Yeah, and knowing that you can search by skill on LinkedIn as well, right? Like you can search for those skills

Clea Mahoney:
Absolutely.

Heidi Kirby:
that you're looking to amplify, right? And I think that's good for people to know because listen, instructional design titles are all over the place.

Clea Mahoney:
Yes, they are.

Heidi Kirby:
All over the place. I don't even wanna get into all of them right now, but you know, I'm gonna do it.

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah, I was e-learning specialist on my last one and I did not touch any e-learning software

Heidi Kirby:
Bye.

Clea Mahoney:
at all, ever, ever.

Heidi Kirby:
eLearning specialist, yes, eLearning developer, instructional designer, instructional systems designer, learning solutions designer.

Clea Mahoney:
Correctional architect. How about the architect ones?

Heidi Kirby:
Oh yeah, learning experience architect, learning experience designer. There are so many. Learning program manager, sometimes they just manage the program, but sometimes they have instructional design duties too. So, yeah, absolutely. So, tell me about... Okay, now that you've reflected and said, okay, this is what I want to be different in my new job. What was the interview process like? And I wanna know specifically, what was the interview process like this time versus when you interviewed for the previous job? What was different?

Clea Mahoney:
Ooh, it was very different. I mean, we were in different stage of the pandemic, I think.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
We're still in it, even though some folks

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
don't like to acknowledge that. But the interview for my last role was very specific. So there was a trial process, there was a project that I worked on. I got paid for that project, which is amazing.

Heidi Kirby:
Thanks. Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
And you know, just wanna shout that from the rooftops if you have.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
candidates doing significant preparation for a job, you should pay them for their efforts. So very glad they did that. And then of course, like what I worked on as part of that trial, I saw some different challenges once I was actually in the role, right? You get to see, ooh, here's all the things that I should look out for. So I learned about that process. This latest interview, I feel weird saying this, but it felt easy. And the reason that I like

Heidi Kirby:
Bye.

Clea Mahoney:
saying that is because when I was working with my career coach, you know, I mentioned that I was struggling on the job. I was being really hard on myself. I was trying to do it all and be it all. And she encouraged me, Clea, how can you find some ease in your life? And I'm like, what do you mean? I work hard. Things shouldn't be easy. Like they are just meant to be hard.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
And so when I actually experienced the ease of, you know, doing a little bit of prep work for Microsoft Teams based face-to-face interviews, but kind of just winging it and leaning into what I knew and what I didn't know. It just felt really good and I'm surprised, but I guess I shouldn't be that it worked. And so really that helped me a lot, not just in the job that I got, but also other companies that I was interviewing with. I was not shy at all about asking about red flags, maybe changing the wording a little bit, but

Heidi Kirby:
Sure.

Clea Mahoney:
concerns about the tech industry, given the job that I just left.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
And, and I really did want certain things to be different. So I really chose to advocate for myself to ask about those hard questions upfront and it, and it really served me well, you know, I backed out from some jobs that turned out that they wouldn't have been a good fit for me. They weren't in line with that team environment and learning from others that I was really looking for. So I'm glad I was able to do that. And I think, you know, in my last interview phase, I would have been too afraid to ask those questions because

Heidi Kirby:
Mmm.

Clea Mahoney:
I really just wanted a job, wanted to try something beyond higher education. And I'm

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah, of course.

Clea Mahoney:
glad I'm working in the corporate sector now. I did apply to one job back in higher education as an instructional designer, and I kind of immediately regretted it, which is probably a sign that it's not the right environment for me right now. But it doesn't mean it's

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
a bad situation in general or, you know, in the future.

Heidi Kirby:
Sure, sure.

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah, knowing what you want and what you don't want, that can be really freeing.

Heidi Kirby:
It is and turning down the interview process is, you know, there's something to be said for practicing interviewing. Every manager I've ever had has encouraged me. And so now I turn around and encourage my team the same thing. Like always keep your resume up to date. Always talk to people. If they reach out, you never know when the next opportunity is going to come. That's going to change your life. Right. And so having that mindset. interviews is fine. Having those initial conversations is fine. And I always warn people too that the first phone screen is usually not a good indicator of what the role is going to be like because it's with a recruiter who generally oversees multiple roles and doesn't have like an in-depth knowledge of what the role is gonna look like or what the day-to-day is gonna look like. So you usually give recruiters a pass if it doesn't go super smoothly. But when I get to that hiring manager interview If I have any unease at this point in my life as a person who is past 35 at this point, I'm like, nope, I'm out. Any sort of uncomfortability that isn't related to the conversation or just natural awkward human mechanics of interviewing. But a recent role I interviewed for was talking about how I would be the only one, right? Like you said, but there was a desire to grow the team.

Clea Mahoney:
in the

Heidi Kirby:
I'm like, okay, well, what's your head count? What do you have approved? One. And I'm like, okay, I understand there's a desire to grow the team, but if you only have head count approved for one person, I would be doing the bulk of the work.

Clea Mahoney:
Bye.

Heidi Kirby:
And with no end in sight. Right? Like it's fine to go in there and roll up your sleeves and help build a team. I love doing that. But if it's for an unforeseeable amount of time, I don't want to commit to that, you know.

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah, absolutely. And you know, something else that really, really cemented that this felt like the right next job for me, you know, maybe not next forever job, but just for me right

Heidi Kirby:
Sure.

Clea Mahoney:
now was my final interview with the hiring manager and she asked me very few questions, which at first I was very nervous about, but now I see it more as, you know, she's checking with me for alignment and Hey, this is the situation in this team and here's why and how I've built it up the way that I have. So I really appreciated that because it gave me a chance to really think, you know, am I aligned with this direction? Am I aligned with the work that this team is doing? And I absolutely am. Um, like not to get into the details, but the folks who have my title, we, I'm saying we, even though I haven't started this job yet, um, they would each work on like separate business lines and now it's more centralized and collaborative, which is great because. You know, you can imagine those business lines treating their person very differently depending on what is happening or what's needed.

Heidi Kirby:
Sure.

Clea Mahoney:
And so to have some consistency and for the team to build those processes together and learn from and with each other, that just, it really sounds like a dream come true for me. Um, and I still am kind of pinching myself and I'm going through the

Heidi Kirby:
Hmm.

Clea Mahoney:
background check process and like, maybe this is just a dream job and it's not real. But, um,

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah, that's great.

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah, we're almost there.

Heidi Kirby:
So I know people are going to want to know what were some of the questions that you asked to get at those red flags during the interview process.

Clea Mahoney:
Ooh, yeah. So I'll say, you know, chat GBT did help me rephrase some of these questions. Cause I'm like, I want to ask this, but I'm afraid about asking in this way.

Heidi Kirby:
Nice. Sure.

Clea Mahoney:
So I'd ask certain questions about what does success look like. And I really follow up until I got an answer that I could actually picture

Heidi Kirby:
Mmm.

Clea Mahoney:
or that I could understand, right? Because sometimes you just hear about KPIs or metrics, but I want to know. what does that work actually look like and how are the folks supported in getting there? So what does success look like was a big one. When I had a chance to interview folks on the team that I'd be working with, I asked them, you know, what do you love most about the job? And what do you wish was different? I always want to hear about the pros and cons and hear about folks own experiences.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
So that was great. And in terms of red flags, You know, I think it's just rather than one big question, it's you start to pick up on little things in lots of little questions along the way. So if there were talks about, you know, the strategy changing about a certain product or the way that training is done, or, you know, we're not sure about these goals, but here's the ones for the following quarter. Like, there were just things that not obvious red flags, but I would start to

Heidi Kirby:
Hmm.

Clea Mahoney:
I would start to feel certain ways about these things. Whether I'm wrong or right, it's hard to tell,

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah! Yeah!

Clea Mahoney:
but I really just had to learn to trust my gut on that and I'm glad I did.

Heidi Kirby:
Absolutely. It's so hard to give job advice, especially when it comes to red flags. Just because something seems like it's a red flag doesn't mean it really is. I think that's

Clea Mahoney:
Mm-hmm.

Heidi Kirby:
really important to try and get across when I share questions or things to ask about that a combination of answering questions not in the way you expect or not. fully or just not answering them, right?

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah.

Heidi Kirby:
That combination is what makes it end up being like, oh, I don't think this is a good fit because you see it all the time on LinkedIn. People always say, oh, it's just as much an interview for you as it is for the hiring manager. And that's really true. I think there's obviously less pressure on the hiring manager because they are not, like they have a choice of candidates, right?

Clea Mahoney:
Mm-hmm.

Heidi Kirby:
But you really do have a choice of jobs too. And if you're not getting interviews, if you're not getting people reaching out to you, if you're only having one conversation every six months, then perhaps you need to go back to the drawing board and figure out what's missing because there's gotta be something somewhere that's not resonating with recruiters or... hiring managers or whoever's looking at your resume. It's not the ATS bot, there's no such thing.

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah.

Heidi Kirby:
There's no fake ATS villain inside of recruiter's computers that is like, oh, I always forget his name, the basketball player that smacks the ball in the insurance commercials. Like people come up and he like smacks the basketball away. I always forget who it is, but that's always how I imagine people. thinking about the ATS bot, like,

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah.

Heidi Kirby:
oh, it just smacked away my resume. Like, no, the ATS is a repository.

Clea Mahoney:
No.

Heidi Kirby:
Someone looks at your resume, you are just not connecting the dots properly for them. Right, like you are just not showing how your experience fits within that job. And so I think that's also to say that the job search process is tough.

Clea Mahoney:
is I feel like I got so lucky. You know, I didn't look very long or even very hard because I really wanted to take it slow.

Heidi Kirby:
Great.

Clea Mahoney:
I wanted to, I'm just a person who's go, go, go.

Heidi Kirby:
Yay.

Clea Mahoney:
I haven't really paused since the pandemic and, you know, just wanted to really focus on roles that I could actually picture myself doing, happily doing for a long time.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
So I think, you know, Maybe I got lucky or maybe that worked out in my favor. I think it was a timing thing, but yeah, it's, I learned to really just refine what I was looking for, right? Rather than my search at the start of breaking into corporate ID, anything

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
and everything is interesting.

Heidi Kirby:
Apply to everything, yes. I'd like have to keep a spreadsheet

Clea Mahoney:
Now it's very cute.

Heidi Kirby:
because I was applying to so many different jobs I couldn't even keep track of all the different places I was applying to.

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah, so I really feel for folks who are in those situations, any listeners, you know, it might seem like it's just this never ending process, but you will get there, especially when you start refining what you're looking for and really leaning into, you know, what makes you stand out as a candidate.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
I always miss these things, but after taking a bunch of, you know, strengths finder and similar assessments and just allowing my friends and people in my network to reflect back my strengths to me.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah. Mmm, yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
just not calling them liars upfront or like,

Heidi Kirby:
Yes

Clea Mahoney:
you're wrong, I'm out of everything. Like I really had to work hard at that.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
I'm very self-critical, but listening to them,

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah. Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
accepting what they saw as my strengths and thinking about those experiences through my own eyes, that really did help me refine what I wanted and also what I didn't want.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah, I think that's one of the hardest things for me too, is I'm definitely my own biggest critic and I've had to accept as an adult, like that perhaps the best thing to do because I am so self-critical and it's going to take a very long time to change that, right, is to... let other people explain how they see me, right? And see myself through other people, just kind of like you described.

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah.

Heidi Kirby:
But I think the other thing that's really mentally, emotionally tough too, is aside from like having to be your own hype person in resumes and cover letters when you're already self-conscious is, you know, you mentioned tech, if you've been laid off. Like I was laid off at the beginning of COVID, a job search after being laid off. compared to a job search when you still have a job and have one foot out the door is a very, very different process.

Clea Mahoney:
Oh, yes.

Heidi Kirby:
And it's hard.

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah, and then that last one, I was working another job. And then I was doing my trial project in the evening. It was long days.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah, yeah, but it's hard to when you all of a sudden have no work to do and it's very tempting to make looking for a job a full-time thing and you can't do it. You can't do it. You could burn out from that too.

Clea Mahoney:
Absolutely. I had the fortune of working with a career coach, basically through like an outplacement service that my last employer put me in touch with, which was really nice.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Clea Mahoney:
And at first I dismissed this dude. So, you know, I hope maybe he'll listen. I'll try to send him the episode. I'm like, this white guy in Florida, I don't think we're going

Heidi Kirby:
Nice.

Clea Mahoney:
to do well together. Right. I was very, I was very biased. And when we talked, I learned

Heidi Kirby:
Thank you.

Clea Mahoney:
that he actually, he went to NYU where I used to teach and work and his son graduated from there and you know now works on Netflix

Heidi Kirby:
Nays.

Clea Mahoney:
and just like our politics were very aligned. As soon as you mention Brooklyn, I'm like,

Heidi Kirby:
Please. Yes.

Clea Mahoney:
okay, we're gonna get a long fine. But I mentioned him because that's one of the things he encouraged me to do. He's like, don't make job searching your full time thing. Try to just maybe spend three hours a day on it. And I really leaned into that and listened to it. And again, I wasn't out of a job for very long. But that really helped me. And I think part of his work that influenced that advice is he's also a yoga teacher. And so taking care of your body and your mind and everything

Heidi Kirby:
Hmm. Yes.

Clea Mahoney:
is just as important. So I'm really trying to find a better balance and to use this period where I'm transitioning between jobs to start some new habits. Like I already take pretty long walks with my dog, but I've neglected exercise and cooking.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
It's just been air fryer chicken nuggets for dinner for a long time.

Heidi Kirby:
Hehehehe

Clea Mahoney:
And yeah, I'm really thinking about, you know, what would make me feel better about starting my day and ending my day. And like, it's not just work, right? So using this time to reconnect with some parts of myself and rediscover

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah. Yeah!

Clea Mahoney:
some things that I just, I used to love doing and I stopped because, you know,

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah!

Clea Mahoney:
work sucks up everything if you let it.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah, it really does.

Clea Mahoney:
I'm really trying to do that as well.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah, yeah, I think that's a really great point. Work does suck up everything if you let it.

Clea Mahoney:
I'm gonna go to bed.

Heidi Kirby:
You can let it consume you. And even if you are not laid off, if you're having a bad current work experience and looking for a new job because you don't like the situation you're in, you don't realize how many stress, stress-combating habits that you have

Clea Mahoney:
Oh yeah.

Heidi Kirby:
or what you're doing to compensate for the horrible work situation, how much you're not letting yourself enjoy life or things like that. So yeah, I think it is, and I always recommend people take a little time between one role and the next. Do as I say, not as I do.

Clea Mahoney:
I'm gonna go to bed.

Heidi Kirby:
I never do it,

Clea Mahoney:
Bye.

Heidi Kirby:
but I do recommend it because if you can and you can afford it, it's wonderful to have that time, like you said, What, one of my favorite things now, I spend a lot of time alone is like, what do I like to do when left to my own devices, right?

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah.

Heidi Kirby:
And what's been lovely for me is to find out that it's the same things I've always loved to do since I was little, you know? But it's great to kind of rediscover some of those things too. And hopefully you get a higher paying job, right? That's usually the goal. And you can do more of those fun things that you want to do as well. The last thing I want to mention is that you mentioned career coaching and coaching, just coaching in general. And I have just started working with a life coach too. And I just think that if you are the type of person who is super self critical, who gets in your own way all the time. but are still very smart and capable. If you can afford it, a coach is a very good idea. Whether it's a career coach, a life coach, a business coach, whatever it is that applies to the situation, it's, you know, I have worked with coaches, business coach and career coach and now life coach, and now I am coaching new instructional designers as well. And it's just, it's a wonderful, thing to take part in and then also give back, you know.

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah. Yeah. I really look forward to being able to give back like that one day.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah!

Clea Mahoney:
Um, and I've benefited so much from coaching and, you know, I've met some, some, some folks, friends and former colleagues who are very anti-coaching and they're like, this is absolute BS. It works for no one.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
And they're entitled to those opinions.

Heidi Kirby:
Sure.

Clea Mahoney:
Um, but, you know, I think when folks demonstrate that it has worked for them, uh, there, there's no refuting that. And yeah. One thing that I learned about, so I'm a Kaiser Permanente healthcare member. They're like a big HMO that's popular in California and Colorado. We have access to this app called Ginger and they do free coaching. And so I just decided to do that while I was transitioning between jobs. And I think I'm meeting with my coach in two days. So, it's a very short time period,

Heidi Kirby:
NÃO!

Clea Mahoney:
but as an instructional designer, I'm like, Ooh, they have an app with exercises and they're sure and meditative.

Heidi Kirby:
Yes!

Clea Mahoney:
And I get to chat with a coach, right? Like it removes the pressure of being on a voice call

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
or even a face-to-face call. So yeah, I think absolutely, if you're nervous about coaching, if you think it's not for you, give it a try if you can. You know, it might really help you

Heidi Kirby:
Yay!

Clea Mahoney:
in ways that you didn't imagine. I never thought it would work for me, the coach that I worked with. And my last job was all about intuition and like listening to yourself. And I thought that's BS. That's for other people. I'm just dumb. And so when I, when I thought about that, I'm like, there's probably a sign here or

Heidi Kirby:
Oh, yes.

Clea Mahoney:
a signal, like maybe I could lean into it and try it. And I'm so glad I did.

Heidi Kirby:
For sure, yeah, yeah. Okay, so my last question for you is what resource would you recommend for people who are currently interviewing for a new role and want to pick a better fit this time?

Clea Mahoney:
It's so hard to narrow down to one.

Heidi Kirby:
Hehehehehehe

Clea Mahoney:
And I told you this would be hard because I have a library science degree.

Heidi Kirby:
Yes.

Clea Mahoney:
I could give you a whole shelf full, but honestly, the day that I knew I was preparing for a conversation with the recruiter to negotiate the offer, I just kind of searched through

Heidi Kirby:
Yes! There you go.

Clea Mahoney:
So I forget the name of the podcast, but just the question that helped me most was, is this negotiable? Like I didn't know that you could just ask that simply and that straightforwardly. And you know, depending on the answer, then you get to tweak what happens next, right? So I was thinking, oh, I need to have this whole

Heidi Kirby:
Hey.

Clea Mahoney:
five minute conversation from start to finish planned out. I was very nervous about that. And by listening to, you know, some podcasts like this one that gave me advice about. just how to have this conversation, I realized that it didn't have to be that way. And I think beyond that, just trying to network a bit more

Heidi Kirby:
Yum.

Clea Mahoney:
and maybe not even for finding specific jobs, but for talking with folks who work at the companies that you're looking at, for folks who have titles

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah.

Clea Mahoney:
of jobs that you're interested in.

Heidi Kirby:
EW!

Clea Mahoney:
It's just so helpful to hear from people and their experiences and... You can certainly learn a lot from coaches and books and courses, but I really, really want to highlight the value of just honest, casual, and friendly conversations with folks.

Heidi Kirby:
Yeah, because all of the courses and podcasts and, you know, not all of them, but a lot of them are like very theoretical, right? Or based on one person's experience. Right now we're talking

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah.

Heidi Kirby:
about two people's experience. Like, don't just take our word for it. Go listen to 10 or 15 other people's stories about interviewing for jobs and then take all of that and take what you want and leave what doesn't work for you. Right? That's how I like to make decisions and how I like to, you know, build my network

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah.

Heidi Kirby:
and figure things out.

Clea Mahoney:
Yeah, and I think for someone who might feel overwhelmed by that, like, Oh, I have to look at all these things. You don't have to. But also, you know, an unexpected benefit that I got from just exploring those research resources and having conversations was I felt less alone, I felt less isolated. And that was really important. And you know, it's like, that wasn't the problem I was seeking out to solve, but it's really one that I tackled along the way.

Heidi Kirby:
Yes. Yeah. Awesome! Well thank you so much for joining me, Clea. It's been great talking to you.

Clea Mahoney:
Thank you. Likewise.