Jennifer Way became an entrepreneur by accident. After being given an ultimatum to relocate or leave her job, she chose the latter and began reevaluating what was next. A former work connection advised Jennifer to go into business for herself. After some persuasion from her husband, she decided to go for it. Now, she’s found her “thing.” Jenn provides career coaching and job search education, tools and resources. This is how she wants to invest her time and energy.
For people who have lost all motivation, any specific advice?
One of the things that I try to tell people is their career is something that ebbs and flows. There are times in your life when certain aspects of your career are more important than other times. There are times when other things take precedence, you know, you just had a baby or things that you prioritize or reprioritize over time. And there’s nothing wrong with that. And so, to everything there really is a season. But that’s not really about motivation, that’s about priorities. When it comes to losing motivation, I tell people you’re forgetting that you drive your career. No one’s doing this for you. Your job isn’t about the tasks on your to-do list today. Your real job is to manage your career and do that with intention and direction and move toward something. And I find when people lose motivation it’s because people have lost their way. They forget where they’re going and forget that they can drive.
What questions should we constantly be asking ourselves throughout life?
There is one that comes to mind. People come to me because something has stopped working in their career. Something is not clear to them. My big question is always are you running from something or are you running to something? I feel like sometimes people leave their job because they don’t want to deal with something anymore. And when you do that before learning the lesson first, you just move to another location and maybe you’ll find another job but you’ll come against that same thing again. It will follow you. If you have learned all the lessons and you’re running towards something new, you’re seeking a new opportunity. That’s a different experience and story. What you need to be asking yourself is it’s not the job I have right now or the job I’m taking but it’s the job after that. Will this lead to more job titles or fewer?
To what do you attribute your own self-confidence?
I think it’s really one concept. It’s alignment. I know why I’m on the earth, I know where my swim lane is, and everything I do falls in that swim lane. I don’t do things that are outside of it. If there’s a cause and it’s not related to employment or supporting someone in his or her creativity, then it’s not my cause and I just give money. I know that writing a book; the book is in there. Speaking, it’s in there. Coaching, it’s in there. So I just know what’s in there. And what’s not in there. Because of that, everything I talk about, my body language, my beliefs, my passion and everything I have learned, it’s all going in one direction. And I think people perceive that as a very powerful and persuasive element to who I am.
Biggest no-no for job seekers?
There is one monster mistake. And it’s not just job seekers. It’s anyone that works with or for someone else. And that is we underestimate the laws of authority. We constantly challenge people who have authority over us. And when you challenge authority, authority will automatically restrict and need to protect itself so we create more of our own problems than we solve. The person who doesn’t get hired or promoted is the person that makes us feel bad. We don’t promote people who are mad or trying to guilt us. There are so many elements of that in our decision-making and how we interact with people who have authority, even in flat organizations. And there are generational issues with that as well, I mean — millennials were raised in collaborative households. They think that everyone has a say and that everyone can have an opinion about it. But baby boomers are traditionalists and they weren’t raised like that and it’s not always true.
Do some people have a problem with authority?
I think some people do, we’re called entrepreneurs. Even more than that, people don’t realize that authority and influence are the only two ways you can get anything done in corporate America or in business. You either have the authority to do it or the influence to do it. I don’t think we spend any time teaching people when to use which. I think people make mistakes on that constantly. In fact, 90 percent of the problems that come through my office are founded in that challenge.