Strategies for Career Growth in a Remote Work Era with Catherine Morgan

Wayne Turmel and Catherine Morgan, a career transition expert, delve into the dynamic and ever-changing world of work, offering valuable insights on how to navigate the evolving landscape and stay employed. Drawing on her extensive industry experience, Catherine shares expert advice on career planning and remote work. They explore the transformations in recruitment and hiring practices over recent years and provide actionable strategies for managing one's career effectively. Catherine emphasizes the importance of staying abreast of the latest trends and technologies, maintaining motivation, and embracing flexibility. She highlights the significance of seizing opportunities for professional development and networking, while also encouraging listeners to create a well-defined plan for career growth and embrace calculated risks. Additionally, they discuss the impact of the pandemic on work dynamics, challenging traditional mindsets, and advocating for individuals to carve their own paths. This episode offers practical guidance on remote work advantages, future-proofing careers, nurturing professional relationships, and finding the balance between personal goals and organizational responsibilities.

Key Takeaways

1. Embrace change and be adaptable: In today's rapidly evolving work environment, it's crucial to be open to change, stay flexible, and continuously update your skills to remain employable.
2. Take ownership of your career: Instead of relying solely on employers for career progression, adopt a self-employed mindset and proactively plan and drive your own career growth.
3. Stay up to date with technology and trends: Keeping yourself knowledgeable about the latest technologies and industry trends is essential to stay competitive and relevant in the evolving job market.
4. Build and nurture your network: Actively engage in professional networking, both within and outside your organization, to forge relationships, expand opportunities, and stay connected in the remote work era.
5. Be entrepreneurial in your approach: Even if you have a secure job, approach your work with an entrepreneurial mindset, seeking innovative solutions, taking calculated risks, and continuously seeking ways to add value to your organization.
6. Prioritize communication and relationship-building in remote work: Proactively schedule virtual interactions, such as coffees and one-on-ones, with colleagues to maintain relationships, foster collaboration, and combat the potential isolation of remote work.
7. Find the balance between personal aspirations and organizational goals: Understand your job function and evaluate how it can be effectively performed remotely, adapting your skills and job functions accordingly while still aligning with the goals of the company.
8. Mindset matters: Challenge traditional mindsets inherited from upbringing and culture, and recognize that the old notion of lifelong loyalty to a single company is no longer the norm, empowering yourself to create the career you desire.


00:00:00 Career Planning and Remote Work
00:02:08 Career Reinvention in the Post-Pandemic World
00:04:24 Career Futureproofing and Remote Work
00:08:18 Balancing Entrepreneurial Career Goals with Company Needs
00:11:41 Working Remotely and Improving Communication Skills
00:16:19 Benefits of Business Writing Bootcamp and Video Emails
00:17:58 Career Transition and Business Consulting

Featured Guest

Name: Catherine Morgan

What She Does: Career Transition Expert

Notable: Catherine Altman Morgan is the author of the #1 New Release This Isn’t Working! Evolving the Way We Work to Decrease Stress, Anxiety, and DepressionCatherine is a career transition expert, business consultant, and the founder of Point A to Point B Transitions Inc., named Career Transition Coaching Service of the Year, as part of the Corporate LiveWire Innovation & Excellence Awards 2021 and 2022, and Most Innovative Career Transition Coach - North America, as part of Corporate Coaching and Recruitment Awards 2021 and 2022 by Corporate Vision. The company is a virtual provider of coaching services to professionals in career transition and solo consultants.  

Additional Resources

Order The Long-Distance Team

Remote leadership experts, Kevin Eikenberry and Wayne Turmel, help leaders navigate the new world of remote and hybrid teams to design the culture they desire for their teams and organizations in their new book!

View Full Transcript

00:00:08:03 - 00:00:37:22
Wayne Turmel
Hi, everybody. Greetings. Welcome back to the Long Distance Worklife podcast. My name is Wayne Turmel. We are here to talk about all things remote. Hybrid work generally help you keep the weasels at bay and thrive and survive in this crazy, evolving world of work. Marisa is not with me today, alas, but that's not a bad thing because we have a very special guest.

00:00:39:04 - 00:01:03:06
Wayne Turmel
Catherine Morgan is joining us from Chicago. Catherine and I go back a ways and she is really, really smart when it comes to things like career planning and trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up and all of those kinds of things. And that's what we're going to talk about today, is are you ready for remote work?

00:01:03:09 - 00:01:18:19
Wayne Turmel
How do you not let your career wither on the vine when you are in the office sucking up to everybody? And I'm paraphrasing, of course, and stuff like that. So. Catherine, hi. Welcome back.

00:01:19:01 - 00:01:20:09
Catherine Morgan
Well, thanks for having me.

00:01:21:05 - 00:01:33:06
Wayne Turmel
As always, thank you for being had. So here is the deal. I don't say this as it's going to come out of my face. You've been at this a while.

00:01:33:12 - 00:01:43:10
Catherine Morgan
It can't happen at an while on this spectrum of not experienced. Very experienced. I'm on this very experienced side of the spectrum.

00:01:44:07 - 00:02:06:17
Wayne Turmel
And the world of recruiting and hiring and staying employed and all of that good stuff has changed. I mean, certainly over the last three years when it was changing for a while before that. What have you seen in terms of people managing careers? What's kind of changed dramatically?

00:02:08:00 - 00:02:37:14
Catherine Morgan
Literally everything. The conversations I have with people in 2019 and the conversations I'm having now are utterly different. The pandemic blew up all the rules. Whatever you thought the rules were, I can't change job functions. I can't work remotely. I can't change careers. I can't work flexible time. I can't like all these camps doesn't exist anymore. The only rule is there is no rules.

00:02:38:15 - 00:03:05:15
Catherine Morgan
So what I found is people more or less can create whatever it is they want to create as long as they actually want it. So when they're not going after the knee jerk response, I should be doing this. They can create within reason. Like I'm not going to be a ballerina. But other than that, white collar professional workers can reinvent themselves, can work on site, can work remotely, can work hybrid, whatever your thing is, you can mostly make that happen.

00:03:07:19 - 00:03:16:03
Wayne Turmel
It sounds like what you're telling me, that the biggest barrier up until now has been mindset.

00:03:16:19 - 00:03:17:14
Catherine Morgan

00:03:18:22 - 00:03:31:11
Wayne Turmel
How much of that is just getting our air inside of our head and how much of that has legitimately changed? And we just haven't caught up with the reality yet.

00:03:32:03 - 00:03:55:20
Catherine Morgan
Okay. Some of it is parents, family of origin, culture or how we were raised, especially people, you know, on our side of the spectrum, because the world of work has changed tremendously. When I started working, you sort of landed somewhere and you were expected to stay X number of years and get promoted and maybe spend your whole career.

00:03:55:21 - 00:04:24:14
Catherine Morgan
There are some people I graduated from college actually did spend their whole career at one company. Now that's almost unheard of. So it is a function of that. And the other thing is to ignore the fear monitoring and that advice that is ubiquitous on the Internet. I tell my coaching clients to put their fingers in their ears and go, la la la la la la.

00:04:24:14 - 00:04:30:07
Catherine Morgan
For all the fear mongering, it's just not helpful and it doesn't have to apply to you.

00:04:31:01 - 00:04:54:18
Wayne Turmel
Okay, so let's start with what are they afraid of? I mean, yeah, I know change is scary and that's kind of being a grown up one and one. But are there specific things that especially if they're making that change to remote work they are most concerned about?

00:04:54:21 - 00:05:26:15
Catherine Morgan
Yeah, they're concerned that they will be lost in the shuffle. They are concerned about communication. And I read recently that, you know, a lot of the problems with remote work or technology related and I'm going to say then you're working for a stupid company, like we should have the technology part out of enabling people to work remotely. See also 2020 and 2021, that really shouldn't be the issue.

00:05:27:00 - 00:05:42:02
Catherine Morgan
Although the individual may have some questions about their ability to learn the technology or master it or feel that they can compete with younger workers who grew up with this. So there might be some of that mindset shift.

00:05:42:08 - 00:06:17:10
Wayne Turmel
So you said something a moment ago, communication. How am I going to communicate with people is obviously important, But you said something a moment ago about being connected, which is more than just how am I going to talk to people? Right. It's do I know what's going on? Do I know You know what I mean? The careers are built on things like networking and mentoring and hallway gossip that tells you, hey, there's an opening down the hall and sorts of things.

00:06:18:20 - 00:06:25:12
Wayne Turmel
What? Let's get down into it. It's like if I'm trying to futureproof my career.

00:06:26:01 - 00:06:26:09
Catherine Morgan

00:06:27:02 - 00:06:28:18
Wayne Turmel
What do I need to do?

00:06:29:23 - 00:07:05:23
Catherine Morgan
You need to own the fact that you are essentially self. I don't care who you're getting a paycheck from. If you think of yourself as being self-employed and you are responsible for your career, not human resources, not your manager, nobody's responsible for your career but you. So, yes, absolute keeping your network warm even when you're working, keeping your technology skills up to date, having your own learning plan or and project, managing your own career progression that you would like.

00:07:06:04 - 00:07:28:17
Catherine Morgan
Nobody is going to do it for you. We're all exhausted, overworked, busy. Maybe there are a few enlightened companies that really do invest in their talent and want to keep them there and engaged and growing. But that is not the norm. If you own it and you take responsibility for that, you're going to have a much better career and essentially, in your words, futureproof yourself.

00:07:29:12 - 00:07:49:23
Wayne Turmel
I love that you said something that match, and I love when people agree with me that makes me very happy. And I've been saying for a very long time, like my entire career, that you have to have this entrepreneurial approach even when you have a nice, safe, internal job.

00:07:50:10 - 00:07:50:18
Catherine Morgan

00:07:51:10 - 00:08:16:18
Wayne Turmel
And when you work remotely, of course, there are some pretty substantial differences in how do you do things like have hallway conversations and overhear job openings and all that stuff that happens organically and by osmosis around the coffee machine. How do you do that when you work somewhere else?

00:08:18:03 - 00:08:44:21
Catherine Morgan
I think that you would have to understand that that's less likely to happen organically, although, you know, in a Slack channel or whatever technology companies used to facilitate that show up, you will get out what you put in. So if you're lurking, just waiting for somebody else to reach out to you or just start the conversation, that may or may not happen, you can be a bit more proactive about that.

00:08:45:08 - 00:09:14:05
Catherine Morgan
Also, scheduling time in your calendar to have virtual coffees with people and it will fall off your plate because everybody's busy. If it's not in your calendar, you'll forget to follow up. You'll have every intention of doing it, but it won't happen. So being very hands on with how you're going to maintain these relationships internally, that be one on ones with your boss that you're tempted to reschedule because there's really nothing to talk about.

00:09:14:12 - 00:09:34:19
Catherine Morgan
No. Have those conversations. And maybe you're not talking about work, but maybe you're getting to know each other's goals, aspirations. You're just better as humans, so you're cementing the relationship. We haven't gotten to it yet, but one of the concerns that people have is if I'm remote, I'm going to be forgotten. And then if hard decisions have to be made.

00:09:35:01 - 00:09:56:17
Catherine Morgan
Nobody's going to raise their hand to protect me. And that's a real thing. So you need to make sure that people know who you are and know your best skills and know your ambitions and know how you contribute. Not to be the jerk with the megaphone to blow your own horn, but but just to ensure as much as one can in these crazy times.

00:09:56:21 - 00:09:57:20
Catherine Morgan
Your longevity.

00:09:58:14 - 00:10:20:01
Wayne Turmel
Yeah. In the long distance team, we call that ethical visibility, you know. How do you do that without looking like a self-serving weasel? Right. There's two things that I want to touch on, and this one is going to catch you off guard a little bit, because it just occurred to me, how do you balance? It's part of the same conversation.

00:10:20:07 - 00:10:44:15
Wayne Turmel
How do you balance being entrepreneurial about your career in your work and having a legitimate concern for the company that you work for? What I'm hearing from a lot of employers is people have gotten very selfish and self-serving and they don't want to come back to the office because they don't want to do it and they don't care what the company is saying.

00:10:45:03 - 00:11:00:00
Wayne Turmel
And how do you let the company know that while you are taking care of yourself, you also care about them and doing a good job and yeah.

00:11:00:17 - 00:11:08:08
Catherine Morgan
This is a it's an onion. We're going to peel the layers off and it's going to get a little stinky as we get to the middle. And it's.

00:11:08:08 - 00:11:09:08
Wayne Turmel
Going to make me cry.

00:11:09:17 - 00:11:41:09
Catherine Morgan
Because. Because what's the real issue here? There's some command and control. There's some habit. There are some job functions that legitimately make more sense to have internally. Okay, So maybe those don't go remote or maybe they're sort of pseudo hybrid and you can take some time and work remote occasionally. That's fine. That's the job function you chose. And if remote work is important to you, then you'll change your skills and get something that's more agreeable to that.

00:11:41:15 - 00:11:49:23
Catherine Morgan
Okay, fine. B The other part is I lost the question.

00:11:50:09 - 00:12:03:10
Wayne Turmel
Well, just how do you let your boss, the organization, know that while you might be ambitious and assertive and all that good stuff, you care about them too?

00:12:04:06 - 00:12:26:20
Catherine Morgan
Oh, yeah. You know what? I think? Once again, communication isn't just one way to the employee. Communication is two ways back to the manager. So if if you're trying to get your job remote or to have people understand that you really are not network watching Netflix while you're doing your work, you can, you know, ensure that the deadlines are done.

00:12:26:20 - 00:12:46:08
Catherine Morgan
You can create weekly status reports, you can proactively manage on what you're doing. So they don't think that you're just your goofing off, looking for your next opportunity or starting your side hustle. And you may be doing all of that, but you should also be covering your butt and proactively communicating.

00:12:48:18 - 00:13:16:15
Wayne Turmel
Now, in your coaching practice and we're going to give you a chance at the end of this to do a little public service announcement about what you do. And we will have links to Catherine and her company in the show notes. I promise. What skills? When we talk about skilling up and getting good at things, what skills do people who are working more remote and not need to build up?

00:13:16:15 - 00:13:26:22
Wayne Turmel
What are we really bad at and what should we be working on in order to be successful?

00:13:27:13 - 00:13:53:19
Catherine Morgan
Well, I can tell you from my personal experience, if it's not on my calendar, it doesn't exist. So just the manual keeping things on your calendar and putting constraints and breaks and all your meetings so that you know what you have to do because this can be very distracting. You could clean your closet, you could be doing laundry, you could be doing a bunch of things.

00:13:53:19 - 00:14:20:01
Catherine Morgan
But if you know what you have to do, accountability is probably helpful, too. If you're one of those people who's just distracted. Squirrel, you might need an accountability buddy within the organization or outside where you say, Here's the three things I'm going to get done today. We are so much more likely to get the things we need to get done if we tell somebody that I'm sure you've seen that same study I have everybody quotes.

00:14:20:14 - 00:14:46:01
Catherine Morgan
So so that that could be it. And I think self-knowledge, you know, knowing your own rhythms and foibles and being gentle with yourself about that because I don't know about you, but I'm not perfect. So knowing where you might go off the rails and putting some guardrails in place could be helpful. What would you add?

00:14:47:01 - 00:15:13:15
Wayne Turmel
I have my hobby horses, you know, I have things that I just beat on. One of the things that that I'm obsessed with that nobody else shares my obsession, including people who listen to this podcast, who have heard me talk about this, is that since the invention of email, which is basically my career, right? I've been around exactly that long.

00:15:14:04 - 00:15:29:19
Wayne Turmel
70% of our workplace communication takes place in writing. When was the last time any of us consciously did something to improve our writing, our written communication?

00:15:31:04 - 00:15:34:04
Catherine Morgan
I don't know. Senior year of high school? I don't know.

00:15:34:19 - 00:16:01:19
Wayne Turmel
Exactly. So, you know, there are a couple of things. And we talked about this with Roger Corvil in a previous episode about virtual presentation skills. There are a few things 70% of our communication takes place in writing, and yet we receive no training or coaching. We're just expected to know how to do that. Presenting effectively and communicating effectively via webcam.

00:16:02:19 - 00:16:19:08
Wayne Turmel
You know, a few people are still taking traditional presentation skills. When was the last time anybody learned how to present this way? I think the communication tools that we have are only as good as how we use them. So you asked know that?

00:16:19:09 - 00:16:49:00
Catherine Morgan
That's interesting. So as part of our training for being successful in corporate, it would make sense to do a basic business writing bootcamp. And here's how you don't come off passive aggressive or overwhelm people or defensive or, you know, a bunch of things. I don't know about you, but I've been part of email chains that just went sideways and it wasn't pretty and somebody got their feelings hurt so that might be really smart.

00:16:49:00 - 00:16:55:17
Catherine Morgan
I was going to ask you, does sending video emails help? Because where we're talking.

00:16:56:13 - 00:17:23:14
Wayne Turmel
I think sending video, video emails is one of those things that people have been trying to make a thing for 15 years. I remember 15 years ago people trying to sell us these very expensive solutions where you could send video emails and it was like, Oh, this is voodoo Jetsons magic stuff, and now you can do it. You know, you hit record and then you hit send.

00:17:23:14 - 00:17:36:12
Wayne Turmel
And it's not that hard. I think as we start to do more asynchronous work, which is what hybrid depends on, but I think it will eventually be a thing.

00:17:37:00 - 00:17:58:00
Catherine Morgan
Yeah, I wonder if maybe that gets us around some of the email disconnects. If you could read the body language of the person saying you could see that they weren't actually angry at you, they weren't actually frustrated. Maybe we're social animals, so maybe we'd have more of the social cues. I don't know. I'm on the fence about that as well.

00:17:58:00 - 00:18:08:15
Catherine Morgan
I bought a service that wouldn't let me do video emails, but I don't it doesn't have the the zoom judging in it. And every time I see myself on those, I'm like, so?

00:18:09:18 - 00:18:27:02
Wayne Turmel
Well, as with all of these tools, right, there's the tool and you look at it and say, Oh, is this some Yeah, I see how this would work. And then it's Do I actually metaphorically get off my butt and do it? Oh yeah, there's that.

00:18:27:02 - 00:18:29:04
Catherine Morgan
Who's got to solve that to say.

00:18:30:02 - 00:18:53:12
Wayne Turmel
Exactly, Exactly. Catherine, it is so good to talk to you, my friend. We have not chatted in a very long time. Tell folks where can they find you? And we will have links to all of these things in our show notes as well. But how do they find you? What's your company? This is your chance to send your message to the world, or at least the tiny corner of it that listens to us.

00:18:54:06 - 00:19:13:14
Catherine Morgan
Well, I am a career transition expert and business consultant. I recently wrote a book titled This Isn't Working Exclamation Point Evolving the Way We Work to Decrease stress, anxiety and Depression. Because a lot of what's going on in corporate right now isn't working. Yeah, I want to.

00:19:13:14 - 00:19:18:08
Wayne Turmel
Hold up a copy of the book. I, I have an e copy, so it's on my tablet.

00:19:18:16 - 00:19:35:02
Catherine Morgan
But I have a copy so that my website is point eight. The point B transitions dot com. And if you want to track me down, I'm very active on LinkedIn and I'm sure we'll be kind enough to link to my profile.

00:19:35:02 - 00:20:01:09
Wayne Turmel
We will absolutely do that. Catherine, thank you so much. Don't go away because we're going to chat after I'm done, but I need to do a facial show stuff and close off this episode. So we will have show notes to all of Catherine's socials and her book and all of that good stuff. You can find that at long distance work life dot com.

00:20:01:15 - 00:20:26:20
Wayne Turmel
We hope you stop by there if you are looking at how your team works, you may want to well consider Kevin in my new book, The Long Distance Team Designing Your Team for Everyone Success. I too have a hard copy of that one. And if you have enjoyed the show, if you hate the show, if you want to tell us what are your pet peeves?

00:20:26:20 - 00:20:50:04
Wayne Turmel
What are the topics that you want us to discuss? You can reach out to myself or Marisa any time., You can find us on LinkedIn and all of that good stuff if you listen to any number of podcasts, you know the drill. Please like and subscribe. Tell your friends.

00:20:50:09 - 00:21:26:11
Wayne Turmel
Word of mouth is most important to us. So if you like us, tell people, if you don't keep your mouth shut, we'd appreciate that. Beyond that, we will be back next week with another episode. My name is Wayne Turmel. For the long distance work life. Stay sane. Don't let the weasels get you down and we will talk to you in the upcoming episode.

Your Host

Wayne Turmel

Master Trainer and Coach for The Kevin Eikenberry Group, co-author of The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership and The Long-Distance Teammate: Stay Engaged and Connected While Working Anywhere, and trainer of remote teams for over twenty years.

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