Season two is focused on organizations, people and ideas that are focused to keeping women in construction. Carol has become a full time career coach helping women focus on defining success in their careers. On this episode we talk about ways to use a career coach and how to know if its the right time for you to find one.
Carol's worked over 15+ years in construction and now wants to take her knowledge to helping women find a career in construction they enjoy.
The remainder of season two Doin' Girly Things will be focused on answering the question: How to we encourage and retain women in construction to aid the labor shortage and empower generations.
Social Media Doin'GirlyThings
The guest Carol Dougherty
Carol's Career Coaching Youtube
Can you turn it down over here? Sorry about all that noise. I'm a project manager, at a construction site, building the internet. No, seriously. I'm focused on data center construction. My passion is electrical mechanical systems. Enough about me. Welcome to the podcast Doing Girly Things, a podcast focused on breaking down the stereotypes surrounding construction and making construction, working in the field, and wearing a hard hat. All girly things to do. In this podcast, we focus on professional development and personal stories from people in construction. This podcast is focused on asking questions to women in the field about their experiences and how to navigate the construction industry. I'll bring on everyone from plumbers, administration, project managers and even an author or two. The premise of the podcast is to create a network of women in construction. I have found so many wonderful women whose voices and experiences need to be heard. Every other Monday, a new episode will be released. You can find transcripts on doing girly things website, and the podcast is available on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. This podcast also talks about grief. Don't worry about grief in the title, I use grief for my mother's fatal car accident to shed a light on how to navigate it. I also have episodes for my friend Jacob and his group that work at NASA that are growing the first fruits in space. Lastly, go to the Instagram Doin Girly Things to find out where all the action or to the website Doin Girly Things with one g to find the show notes. Hope to see you soon.
Today on season two of the podcast, I am adding on to where we talk about how do we keep women in construction? And so the rest of the podcast episodes that we'll have, we'll bring on guests who talk about how do we keep women inside construction, but also in how do we make it so people want to stay inside construction? And one of those ways I really do think that we can do that is through career coaching. And so I had someone come up to me and ask me about career coaching. I have recently reached out to Carol who is actually my career coach, and so today I have her on the podcast. So Carol has a vast amount of knowledge in construction is taking her passion for retaining women in construction to becoming a career coach. So I was so happy that you were on the podcast today. But let's start with a bird's eye view of what actually led up to you becoming a career coach.
Well, thank you for having me, and it has been a pleasure to work with you as your coach. Whenever we get off our calls, I'm always all jazzed and my husband and my son are looking at me like, I'm nuts. My career is very long. I graduated from college 35 years ago as a chemical engineer, actually, and I worked in manufacturing, but I married into the construction industry. So my husband's degree is in construction management. So he's been in the industry for 35 years. 36, I think it's forever and watching some of the trials and tribulations he went through and the people he worked with in watching his career progress, getting to know the people around him. And then after I kind of left manufacturing, I decided while I was in manufacturing that I really liked helping people grow more than I like doing all the technical stuff, the people part of it, especially as the supervisor, the people part was what I like better than all the other stuff. So we had an opportunity make a move. And when we did that, we moved someplace where there was little or no manufacturing.
So I had already been interested in getting and training, and I had an opportunity to become a technical trainer for a construction company. And they hired me because I understood training. I understood engineers and I understand project management because I had done that in my own world and I knew the industry having been around it for 20 years at that point. So that's how I ended up in training and in the construction industry. I worked for two different construction companies over ten years, and a bunch of that was in training. I also added in the coaching piece because I've been coached and I loved the impact that had on my life.
So I went out and learned how to be a coach for myself. A couple of years ago, because of a crunch in the construction industry and the lack of backlog, my position as the director of training at a construction company was eliminated. So I found myself without a job, and I said, you know what, I want to go back into coaching and focus my attention on coaching and training and helping women, particularly in STEM, to build their careers and do what they want to do and be heard and be respected and, you know, maintain their jobs. So here I am.
And what's the difference between coaching and really therapy? Because I do think those often do get mixed up where people do think that, oh, this is someone to tell all of your problems to and why you hate your boss too. And really, that's not what you're there to do.
So the way I look at it and I have been to therapists and I have been with coaches, so I have seen both sides. And I think a lot of the different therapy is often about fixing the wounds of the past. So we all have things that have happened in our lives that have gone wrong, and we need to heal from those. And therapists are really good at helping us heal from the past, making our president more where we wanted to be so then we can move forward stronger. Whereas coaches and particularly music coach, I want to meet you where you are and help you figure out how to move forward. I don't. Yeah, we may talk about what happened in the past, but more in terms of how might that be holding you back from your future, not trying to fix what went wrong before. It's OK, here's where you are. How do you go forward?
Whatever I was looking up, just the definition of career coach, because then I got curious was the actual Google definition of career coach, and I found this pretty powerful thing, and it said the purpose of a career coach is to find a mixture of what I'm passionate about, what I can make money doing and what I can be best at doing.
That's a great definition, and I was taught growing up that the definition of success was doing what you love, doing it well and being recognized for it. So that was my dad's definition of success. And so in being recognized might be getting the paycheck, having the position. But it was also just that respect. And to me, that has shaped my definition of success my whole life and very much lines up with what you're saying about career coach. So that's what I want to see.
I really like that, and so one question that I even asked myself is like, you know, how can a career coach help me? Like, what are common goals that you set with a career coach?
When I've worked with clients, there's been a couple of different... areas, if you will, that we've worked on, some are coming to me because they're at a point of transition and they don't know where to go from, where they are. And it may be they hate what they're doing and just get out of it. You know, this is awful. It's horrible. It sucks. Should I leave? And so exploring what that is, and sometimes it's, well, I'm in a role that I love, but my boss, but I'm going to get bored. I know I can't do this forever because I need new challenges. My boss is saying, Hey, how do we develop you? And I don't know what to tell them, so it's just that, you know, that idea? How do I shape where I'm going? Or I've had clients that have come to me and saying, Hey, I've got opportunities. I don't know how to figure out which ones, right? So it can be those kind of things, so it's around transition. Other times that you can work with a career coach and I've helped people and I've been coached on myself.
The first time I worked with a coach was I transitioned from individual contributor to supervisor. So I was just one of the cogs in the wheel and suddenly they make me a supervisor and I have 15 direct reports. Umm, Hello. What do I do with this? And so they were spread out over three different factories, two of them in the U.S. and one in Canada. My company had pure coaches, so I worked with the coach from a different factory, didn't know me, didn't know any of the people I worked with. Totally unrelated, which is the great thing about a coach having that true objectivity. And he helped me navigate those waters of suddenly, I'm being, I'm the boss for some of the people that I used to work with, and now I'm responsible for all this other stuff that was responsible for people doing jobs I had never done. That can be a big part of it is if you're going through a change in a job or maybe you've taken a lateral move or you've been promoted to a supervisor and just don't know how to make it work and you need somebody there to help you. That's often what career coaches will do as well.
And I like what you said because what I have to whenever people ask me questions about having a career coach is it is exactly what you said about the objectivity of it is, is it's not your parent that's over there telling you, Oh yeah, I'll pick the job where you make the most money or it's not someone that doesn't really know, like the full scope of what that job entails versus this other job or really trying to get you to that next. And so it does help to take out some of the emotional bonds that does happen whenever you're trying to make these big career decisions. And so that's one thing that I have enjoyed about career coaching is it does help with that. And so what would you say are other signs of how you recognize that you're ready for a career coach?
So a lot of times you're just you're stuck. It's almost like you're paralyzed where, you know, there's something more that you can be doing. But you can't figure out how to get there. one client is she's like, I have so many different opportunities, so many different things that she was like, I I don't know. And she was in almost analysis paralysis. She's like, I need a career coach because I know where I am isn't going to work much longer. How do I get out? And I don't know where to go. You're passionate about all kinds of different things, so how do you figure out which is the right one in a career coach can help you kind of get past the emotions and really look at what's the right choice because you can get attracted to the ooh shiny. Well, this is a big paycheck or, oh, this has a really cool offices in a cool city that would be neat or, you know, whatever it is or Oh wow, this is this great title. You don't look past it, OK? What does that mean?
One client that I worked with, she had three different opportunities and figuring out what was going to be right for her and her family. She was kind of stuck. So we were through when she was interviewing. What questions did she even ask? To make sure she was making the right decision. Technically was never a question, would she be qualified for the job? She totally was for the jobs she was interviewing for. But how did she interview them to understand fit? And that's what I worked with her on. And she's in the process of moving right now. She's esstaic because she really feels like she made the right move for the right fit for her, her family, and where she wants to go next in her career. Is that where she's going to go long term? Hard to say, but for the next period of time, she feels like she's finally found the right place. So that's what's rewarding as a career coach is hearing those success stories.
That is because it is true that whenever people are reaching out to you, it's typically like coaching or you're coaching because there's something else that you're aiming for.. One other thing that I found interesting whenever I was looking at career coaching is Forbes magazine actually has a list of like 15 top podcasts that if you're feeling stuck in your career. So it seems like this is the time that people are also looking for career coaching. Would you say that COVID has really made it so people are starting to reach out to you and really looking to start to get the coaching? Have you seen any differences?
I think there's a difference. It's. I mean, I had clients before, and I have clients now, so it's a little during the height of it, not so much. And the reality is, people right now are stopping and evaluating. And so I think that's the big difference. COVID has forced a lot of us to stop and say what's important, especially women. I'm hearing this so much from women. Where is this serving me? So it's not just the job. It's not just the paycheck, it's the whole thing. Does this work for me right now? And there's a lot of people, I mean, they're all over the news, I was reading an AP, The Associated Press, last week about the great resignation. There's all these people who are checking out of the workforce because where they are isn't sustainable. And that, I do think is something that COVID created. And it became kind of the perfect storm. The issues were always there. But we ended up with this perfect storm where suddenly, you know, you're working from home and you have little kids and they're doing school and yeah, it got really hard. And I can honestly say, I tell my clients who have young kids, I am so glad my kids are older and are in college on their own. They're doing online school before COVID hit, and I'm really glad they were that old because I didn't have to worry about it. But listening to the struggles that so many working moms, you know, women engineers who have kids and, you know, maybe they got forced to work from home and so is her husband. And now they have kids. And what do you do in daycares closed? It has created this perfect storm of wait a minute. This isn't working. I can't keep doing this. What do I do now? So I do see more questions, more interest, more angst over, Oh, why am I doing this? And it's making it hard. So, yeah, people are, I think, reaching out more than maybe they were before.
Well, it's interesting because all my stories, I recently put a poll and I asked the question of, you know, how many hours a week do you work? And I put 50 or 60 hours, and I was so shocked by how many people said they worked 60 hours a week. Whenever I asked, the follow up question was, you know, is it because you know you want to make money or is it because you don't have enough people at work and so many people, it was about 50/50, though in all honesty. But a lot of people said because that there was just not enough people there. So it creates this revolving door where people are quitting because there's not enough people that work there. So they're working too much and then people keep quitting because then a lot of people work there. And so you just like you have this revolving door where you can't keep enough people in one spot and like the great resignation is a good example to about just how people are reshuffling all this other stuff.
Construction is going through huge because what I'm seeing, you know slightly on the outside is all of a sudden now they're being swamped with all these things. OK, COVID looks like it's receding. Let's get back to work and owners are OK. I can start my project now. Let's go. And they can't find people to hire fast enough. And I've seen this from other people I know in the industry they want to hire the. People then say, Oh, well, hey, you're going to offer me 10K more a year or you're in a better location or whatever. Right, so people are moving in. That happens and I've seen this multiple times, over 30, some odd years in the construction industry. It goes through these cycles where you get all kinds of mixing and matching. But I think people have stepped away. And particularly women have stepped away because it's just too hard. And construction is a hard one to do remotely because I mean, you don't build a building remotely if there's a job site, there's people that have to be dealt with, there's things that have to be managed. So you can't do it all remote. So if you're working mom and you have kids and school closes and the kids have to do online school for two weeks, what do you do? So it's created this very weird dynamic, and I think it is causing women to, particularly women, to reevaluate their career choices and is this what I want to do it. I love the industry. But is there something else I can do to keep me in it? But is it so demanding because say they don't want to work 60 hours a week? And unfortunately, construction is an industry that is always required really long hours.
But what would you say would be probably the biggest tip that you would give to women that are in this rut feeling overwhelmed because they're working so many hours and and those are the women to that in this podcast, I really do want to reach out to about staying and construction because I think that is there is some issues with the fact that we are feeling overwhelmed just because we simply don't have enough workers. There is a labor shortage within construction, but what would be career advice that you would share briefly?
I would say start with a conversation with your boss if they're at all reasonable, and there are reasonable bosses out there. Start with that conversation of OK, I get that we need to, you know, really buckle down right now. What are you? What is the company doing to help? Alleviate some of this, this isn't sustainable. I can't keep doing it. How can I get help? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? So start having that conversation. And don't make it about I can't handle it. If it's a conversation about, Hey, I know this is a tough situation right now, I'm willing to do it but I can't do it forever. How do we make this better for everybody in the long haul and see what they say? Now I know there are companies that love to work really lean because it gives them more profit share and improves the profit margins. But then if the question the answer is you're getting, Ah, well, you know what, we're just going to have to run lean is just the way it's going to be. That's how we have to operate in the future cause we lost so much money in 2020. We've got to get caught up so that we can continue to employ you. If you're an employer that is talking that way, get out, start looking because there are so many construction companies that are doing that. And but there are a lot of companies that recognize that 2020 was awful, but the books are closed on it. So in 2021, a lot of companies is going much better. So they're looking to add people because they're growing, they have opportunities to grow, so they want to bring people in and they're going to treat people better. So start with that conversation. And how that goes is very dependent on the situation in the boss you have in the company you're in. But a good boss is going to say, Hey, I'm working to hire, I've got so many requisitions open or whatever, and it's possible maybe they'll say, OK, maybe we can get somebody over to help you part time, or let's take this off of your plate. That'd be a really great boss, right? They might be able to do that.
So the first step is, is just really talking to your boss, and so then how do you find a career coach and like when you hire a career coach? Kind of what what do you go about saying, how do you set goals before you actually go to that step of maybe reaching out to you or another career coach that people have found?
So the first thing I would tell somebody who says I want to work with a career coach or what's it look like, I would say, get clear on what you need help with. What is it you want them to help you with because career coaches we're about helping you create a plan to get where you want to go so we can help you clarify what that looks like. But you need to know what problem is that you're trying to solve. So start with that and then reach out and reach out to multiple career coaches. And you can send, you know, I'm on Instagram or Facebook and LinkedIn and my website. I can be found all over the place. So reach out to them and say, Hey, I'm looking for a career coach because I think I need to make a job move. Or I had one who came to me and said, Hey, I want to work with a career coach because I need to create a plan for growth for myself. My boss asked me, where do you want to go next and I don't know what you're telling. So then. Any good coach is going to say, let's hop on a short call and make sure we're a good fit because you have to resonate with the person the person grates on your nerves. You're not going to work with them or if just doesn't click, because sometimes it doesn't click. I talk to people, and it's just not the right fit for them or me. And so I wish them the best the luck and director, maybe to some other coaches that I know.
I agree with you because whenever you and I met, we did just a 30 minute introduction. And so then I just made sure that, you know, we were a good fit. I do think that learning to set your goals ahead of time and come with questions that you have been just waiting to ask anybody could just be a question you might ask a colleague, a career counselor if coming with those. So I was so happy that you came on the podcast. We were able to talk all things career coaching. And so I want to wrap it up, though, with a game. And so I have two categories. And so these are from the best self, which these cards are really fun to play on the podcast. They just ask questions. I didn't quite get to that make the guest really think. So, would you like the dreams or life lessons category?
Oh, we'll go with life lessons.
What choice had the greatest impact on your life?
There's so many., especially when you get older, there's a lot more.
I think for me, the choice had probably had the biggest impact was when I changed my major in my freshman year, I started in architecture, and I absolutely adore architecture. I wanted to be an architect. And after one semester, I realized, yeah, this I could have gotten through the program and all I would have ever been probably would have been. A good, an ok architect. I didn't have quite the skills to really be really good at it, and I love it too much to have been mediocre, but my parents were trying to get me to go on to majoring in, and it didn't work at the time, was chemical engineering because I was good at chemistry, good at math. There was a natural affinity for that. So I made the switch over to it and it gave me a whole bunch of opportunities to do all kinds of things and I can still love architecture.
That's so cool that you that you were interested in construction kind of from the beginning and then you went into chemical engineering and then you somehow found your way all the way back into construction, though.
And I actually convinced my husband to change majors from mechanical engineering into construction management. We met in college and he was failing mechanical, but he loved to build things. So I'm like, Hey, you know, over in the College of Architecture, they have this program called Construction Management. You ought to check it out. And there we go.
And everyone just found what they're meant to do. Well, that is wonderful, so thank you for coming on the podcast one last time and I'll link it all below. But where can we find you?
My web site is CarolDoherty.com. And you can find me on Instagram at CarolSDohorty for the easiest place to find me these days.
And she has an awesome YouTube channel where she is doing challenges, where posting videos link all of below and thank you so much for coming on to the podcast.
Well, thanks for having me. It's been a blast.