March 7, 2020

JF2013: Five Ways to Get Out of Your Boring Job With Michael Alan Tate

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Michael has been in career advising and business consulting for about 25 years now. Before he found his calling he was at a job he was good at but no longer had any passion for and in fact, was making him depressed. Michael went to a career counselor in search of some help because he wanted to find something different and all that did was make him more depressed because they had him apply to 150 jobs and he only had one response. He later realized it wasn’t him or his resume per se but his strategy on how to find work. He shares five solutions he uses to help many of his clients during transitions to find careers that bring them fulfillment. He also shares an amazing tip on how to network instead of the old-fashioned way.

Michael Alan Tate Real Estate Background:

Best Ever Tweet:

“Ask for a job, and you will get advice. Ask for advice and you will find a job. ” – Michael Alan Tate


Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice  ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast, where we only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff. With us today, Michael Alan Tate. How are you doing today?

Michael Alan Tate: I’m great. Are you doing alright, Joe?

Joe Fairless: I am. Yup, looking forward to our conversation. Today, Best Ever listeners, Michael is going to get into the top five challenges people face when considering a career move. He actually has a book that just came out called The White Shirt: How to Find a Life-giving Career at Any Stage in Life. He’s the president and CEO of On The Same Page Consulting. Based in Birmingham, Alabama. First, do you wanna give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background? And then let’s dive right into the five challenges.

Michael Alan Tate: Sure. I’ve been in career advising and business consulting for about 25 years. When I first got into my career years ago I made all the mistakes that you make when you try to change a career. I was in one that I was pretty good at, but I just hated it… And I went to a career counselor. I was depressed when I went there, and after I met with the guy I got a lot more depressed. He’s [unintelligible [00:02:10].17] resumes, told me I should be in HR.

I got one response back, and I thought “What in the world is wrong with me? I’ve got all this education and I can’t find anything?” I realized sooner rather than later that it wasn’t me, it was my strategy for finding work. I’d chosen the world’s worst strategy to find a job, which is using resumes and mailing them out, and all that sort of thing.

So I kind of said to myself at that time [unintelligible [00:02:36].09] turned into a calling, and I thought “I’m gonna do something so people don’t go through what I had to go through in finding a job, or work, or those kinds of things.” So that’s how I got started in this work. That’s really the essence of it all.

That’s what I’ve been doing ever since – helping people find their place in the world, and doing it in kind of a… My book says “a life-giving career, and doing it in a life-giving way, so you don’t get depressed”, and all that. There’s a good way to do it and a bad way to do it, and I teach people the good ways, and kind of coaching them through that stuff.

Joe Fairless: Well, let’s talk about that. I’ve transitioned from the advertising industry into commercial real estate, and a lot of people — I mean, we’re all evolving human being, so we’re always going through different stages in life… And this will be very helpful for a lot of listeners. So what are the five challenges that people face when considering a career move?

Michael Alan Tate: Yeah. Well, the first one is there’s three questions that you have to answer, in my book, in anything that you do. The first one is “Who am I? What are my skills, what are my talents? What are my abilities?” The second one is “Where is my place in the world?” and the third one is “How do I find it?”

Most people start with “How do I find it?” They just throw together a resume and start sending stuff out, but they don’t take the time to sit down and say “So what makes me tick? What are the things that make me feel alive? What are those subjects I love to be around?”, that kind of always give you those hints of where you need to go…

Then one thing I have everyone do, no matter what age they are, is to draw out a family career tree. All the careers that you have been associated with over your lifetime… Because your parents really affect how  you think about your career; not that you’ll go into that career, but there’s usually a link there somehow… So that’s one of the first things I have people do – take time to look back at  yourself and say “Who am I? What do I really want?”, because most people never really take the time to take that kind of reflection and do that.

So that’s the first thing most people do, is they get out there first, like “I’ll get my brochure together before I have my business plan.”

The other mistake that people make is they try to do their career change alone. You went through a career transition, right Joe?

Joe Fairless: Yeah.

Michael Alan Tate: It’s pretty lonely out there, when you’re hearing a bunch of no’s, and you’re getting a bunch of resumes coming back… So one of the keys to making job search work, in my opinion, is always having somebody to do it with you, and that’s why I wrote my book. It’s designed to actually be done with another person to help you get through those tragedies, those ups and downs and emotions when you have any kind of change like that.

The other thing is people try to do a shotgun sort of approach. Instead of using a resume, I have people develop a plan, a one-page plan that says “Here’s my current situation, here’s my background, here’s actually where I think I’d like to work – geographically, what kind of industry, what would the culture be like in the organization that I would work in… And then here are my skills and things I love to solve”, kind of on the left-hand side of the page; on the right-hand side is a list of organizations that might be places you might like to work.

So the secret of jobs searching, the key to everything is taking a plan and never asking anybody a job opening, never asking them if they know anybody that’s hiring; you simply say “Here’s my plan, would you give me some advice?” That’s different than networking, as you hear people say “Just go out and talk with people.”

What happens is you get there and they say “What do you wanna do?” “I’m not really sure…” And the guy is looking at you going like “I’m not a career counselor, I can’t help you with this side.”

Joe Fairless: [laughs] Right.

Michael Alan Tate: So the underlying theme of the book is ask for a job and you’ll get advice, ask for advice and you’ll find a career. Those are the pieces and the slips that people make. The answer in all this is it’s like any business; it doesn’t matter what it is, have a plan first. Then share your plan with other people, and… I mean, I do this with organizations, as well as individuals. It’s all the same process; put together a little strategy and just share it with people.

A buddy of mine is in non-profit work and he says the same thing about it. He says “Ask for money and you’ll get advice, ask for advice and you’ll get money.”

Joe Fairless: Yeah, I’ve heard that one.

Michael Alan Tate: You know what I’m talking about. So that’s the same principle of that. Anyway, those are some thoughts there, Joe…

Joe Fairless: Okay, so I’m taking notes, and as I’m going through this I wanna make sure I have them all written down and recapped… So one is ask “Who am I?”… So these aren’t really challenges people face, which is actually better; you’re giving solutions of  how to do the path, which is even better than — who cares about the challenges, let’s talk about the solutions…

Michael Alan Tate: [laughs] Right, right.

Joe Fairless: So the first is “Who am I? What is my place? How do I find it?” So really doing a self-assessment of what I want.

Michael Alan Tate: Right.

Joe Fairless: Second is having someone to go through this process with me, because it is an emotional event. Third is create a one-page plan so that you know what you’re trying to solve… So what are a couple other pieces of advice you’d have for someone?

Michael Alan Tate: Yeah, one of the hard things that people have — there’s two things that you need to realize when you’re doing a job search. A career is really just wearing a hat, a job title, and standing in a field/industry. You wear the hat — I don’t think you’re in sales anymore, are you Joe?

Joe Fairless: No.

Michael Alan Tate: But you were in a position, you were standing in this field… So what do you wanna do? You need to be able to describe, “Well, I’d like to either stand in this field or wear this hat. So I wanna be in sales, or I wanna wear this hat. I wanna stand in this field of real estate, or aerodynamics, or airlines”, or something like that… And people say “Should I follow my heart when I’m looking for my career?”, and I have to tell them to follow their ears… Because there’s certain languages that we innately love to be around. If you really take the time to think about that – you need to start thinking about the stuff you read, and the things you love to be around, and finding those things, those languages you love, because your interests will lead you to the industries that you would do well with.

I don’t know how you got from advertising to who you are now when you were talking about that, but those kinds of things – I’m sure you just had some kind of interest in that particular field… And understanding what that is, that’s another piece I would throw in that people need to do and think about.

Joe Fairless: Anything else that you think is relevant to talk about as it relates to making a career transition that we haven’t talked about already?

Michael Alan Tate: No, I think that’s pretty much it as far as the key points that I keep people focused on, to do that sort of thing.

Joe Fairless: Well, this has been very helpful. Thank you so much for being on the show, and talking to us about  different tips for making a career transition. I summarized them just a little bit ago, so I won’t go into the summary again.

How can the Best Ever listeners learn more about what you’re doing?

Michael Alan Tate: Well, my website is, and my book is called The White Shirt. You can find that on Amazon, but there is a website for the book called On there you will see samples of plans that people have used to make career transitions. There’s actually a free gift for podcast listeners, where you can download a sample workbook that helps you work through that process; even if you don’t buy the book, I offer that to people. And there’s several more videos and tools on the website that people have found useful as they’re trying to consider what they’re gonna do with their next move in their life.

Joe Fairless: Outstanding. Well, thank you so much for being on the show. I hope you have a wonderful, best ever weekend, and we’ll talk to you again soon.

Michael Alan Tate: Thanks, Joe. I appreciate it.

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