Women with Cool Jobs

Navigating Career Changes By Knowing What Sparks You, An Unscripted Conversation

June 28, 2023 Julie Berman
Women with Cool Jobs
Navigating Career Changes By Knowing What Sparks You, An Unscripted Conversation
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Are you considering a new career, but you're not sure how to figure out what to look for or what's next? Julie shares how to get more clarity on what you love and what you want for your career and life. 

Better navigate career changes by understanding what lights you up and fulfills you, and on the flip side, what drains and stifles you. Not sure how? Start by taking the free Sparketype assessment at sparketype.com

Did you know Julie is a Certified Sparketype Advisor (aka SPARKologist!!)?

In this episode Julie shares how discovering Sparketypes not only lead to so many ah-ha moments and clarity in her own life, it lead to wanting to create a business to help people understand what lights you up and how to add more of it to work and life.

She also shares an awareness exercise and some questions to ask yourself to gain clarity.

We all deserve to have our own cool job!



I absolutely LOVE being the host and producer of "Women with Cool Jobs", where I interview women who have unique, trailblazing, and innovative careers. It has been such a blessing to share stories of incredible, inspiring women since I started in 2020.

If you have benefitted from this work, or simply appreciate that I do it, please consider buying me a $5 coffee. ☕️


Thank you so much for supporting me -- whether by sharing an episode with a friend, attending a LIVE WWCJ event in Phoenix, connecting with me on Instagram @womencooljobs or LinkedIn, sending me a note on my website (www.womenwithcooljobs.com), or by buying me a coffee! It all means so much. <3

Julie Berman:

So part of navigating your career is to understand who you are, to have that self-awareness and those details and that knowledge of you and what you love to do, what lights you up, what you're good at, what fulfills you, what makes you feel purposeful, what you could get lost in doing for hours and hours and days and days. And on the flip side, like, what are the things that feel like a heavy lift, what things feel draining, what feels stifling, what feels so boring? You know, what are the things that you wish someone else could do and not you. So all those pieces are so important and knowing those details helps empower you, helps give you the information and the ideas and the tools that you need going forward to navigate your career. Hey everybody, i'm Julie and welcome to Women with Cool Jobs. Each episode will feature women with unique, trailblazing and innovative careers. We'll talk about how she got here, what life is like now and actionable steps that you can take to go on a similar path or one that's all your own. This podcast is about empowering you. It's about empowering you to dream big and to be inspired. You'll hear from incredible women in a wide variety of fields and hopefully, some that you've never heard of before Women who filled robots and roadways, firefighters, c-suite professionals, surrounded by men, social media mavens, entrepreneurs and more. I'm so glad we get to go on this journey together. Hello everybody, this is Julie Berman, and welcome to another episode of Women with Cool Jobs. So if you happen to follow me on Instagram and saw my story today, it has been a crazy ride for this podcast episode. I'm going to start off by saying this is a solo podcast episode. I'm not going to be interviewing anyone today and I am actually probably editing myself, which does not happen also normally, because I have an amazing editor, jenny, but she was delayed with her flights from coming home and, needless to say, it's looking like I am on my own for this episode. So I had recorded an entire episode already. I had gone through editing already half of it over a series of maybe like an hour and a half to two hours that I'd already put in And, lo and behold, i got the spiral of doom, as I am now calling it, where you just see the circle that goes over and over and over and everything completely froze and I lost not only my edits, but I didn't even save the episode, which I know like I know better than that, but you know, sometimes you're just going along doing your thing and you skip pieces that you normally shouldn't skip, and that's what happened. And here I am, i am re-recording this episode and I'm convinced that this one is going to be better than ever. It's going to be amazing, because it is all about navigating career changes by knowing what sparks you. So, as you can tell, this is a pretty unscripted conversation. Another podcast her that I follow is Lindsay Schwartz has this really great power cast in community called Powerhouse Women, and she had this episode recently where she was talking about how she was doing this unscripted conversation, because she loved hearing women's stories like in real time, what was happening in their life, and she just really, really loved hearing all the details, what was going on, having that transparency and having that level of vulnerability there as well, and I realized, wow, i actually love that as well. All the women who I really admire, whether I've found them through social media, whether I've found them through other social platforms such as LinkedIn versus IG, or if I just know them in real life in some way. I really, really appreciate the women who are so authentic and vulnerable and who do this amazing job of just being so present and sharing what they're going through the great things and the things that they're thriving at and also sharing those things that have been harder or like they're the things that they're trying to do better or get better with, and I want to do that too, like I think that is so powerful. So here I am and doing this again, and I wanted to share also a little bit about what I'm doing. So for some of you who you've been listening for a while, i've been doing this podcast, women with Cool Jobs, for over three years. I started actually doing the research and the groundwork for this podcast in February of 2020. And that was literally, literally right before everything shut down in 2020, in March of 2020. So I had just gotten to this point where I was like, yes, i'm gonna do this thing, i think I'm gonna do this thing called podcasting, but I don't know what it is. I didn't know where the app was on my phone. I didn't know anybody who podcasted. I had never listened to a podcast, so I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. But I had just gone in with this mindset of like I really want to show that there are so many cool women with these amazing jobs out there. I know they're out there and I'm so curious And this was my way that I was gonna do it. So it took me until February when I started doing the research all the way through launch officially of October 2020. And then I got my podcast out into the world. I've been doing it every other Wednesday without fail, except for the time when I took a few months off after having my baby. So I literally did this through a pandemic, through a really, really tough pregnancy, through having a newborn, and I finally decided, okay, it's time for a break. But here I am and I am re-recording this episode today because, as I said, my intention from the beginning was to have an episode every other Wednesday for you. And here we are And this subject I really feel strongly about because I have interviewed now over 50 women. I don't even know what episode number I'm at I probably should count but I have talked to so many incredible women in diverse fields and there's always a few things that they have in common. One of those things which is a really important takeaway is, like, this mindset of being curious and not worrying about having a plan, not worrying about, like knowing all the steps, but understanding that if something lights them up, they are curious to see what that is. I love this because so many women, in so many different areas, have this innate talent, in some way, for the field that they're in and you see that there's this interest there and they really, really like hook their nails in and that's how they start climbing right. That's how they start figuring out their path and, like, moving up the ladder, figuring out what they wanna do. So part of navigating your career is to understand who you are, to have that self-awareness and those details and that knowledge of you and what you love to do, what lights you up, what you're good at, what fulfills you, what makes you feel purposeful, what you could get lost in doing for hours and hours and days and days. And on the flip side, like, what are the things that feel like a heavy lift, what things feel draining, what feels stifling, what feels so boring? You know, what are the things that you wish someone else could do and not you. So all those pieces are so important and knowing those details helps empower you, helps give you the information and the ideas and the tools that you need going forward to navigate your career, to navigate any changes that you may choose or that you may not choose, depending on the situation, because, as we all know, in life, as we are going along with our career, there are some things that come up that are not our choice. Right. That could be health stuff with ourselves, health stuff with family, that could be a layoff or some other situation that you are having to navigate. That can also be things that you do choose, like something is just not feeling right anymore, it's not feeling in alignment. Your gut is telling you I need something different. Right Your instincts. You're like just hearing, like, ah, i need this shift, i need this change, i need adventure, i need fun. Or maybe your life circumstances are changing. Maybe you're growing a family, maybe you're downsizing, maybe you're moving. So there are all these different scenarios where we often are navigating career change And what we're gonna do today is talk about a really amazing tool that will help you to understand what lights you up, and that's called spark types. So I am a certified spark type advisor, which means that I went through training to help share with you and the rest of the world about spark types, and I'm a huge fan of this framework because it really helps you understand what lights you up and understand those specific details, those nitty gritty things, the through lines, the commonalities, how to connect the dots in your own life. And basically, by understanding those things, you can then figure out how can you do more of this, like, how can you add more of this to work, how can you add more of this to life? And this is what is going to empower you in the future. So you start out in this process with spark types. There are 10 different archetypes that can spark someone and you go to wwwsparketypecom It's S-P-A-R-K-E-T-Y-P-E. You take this free assessment and it takes maybe 15 minutes And at the end you will receive your spark types. You will receive a primary, a shadow, which are, like your two main spark types, the things that are, like, most prevalent for you, and then you also receive, on the flip side, an Andy spark type, which is the thing that is heavy lift, it's the thing that feels more stifling to you. So you receive these three spark types and then you have this foundational information to understand who you are and what lights you up and also what feels really heavy. So, for example, for me, i learned that I'm a Maven, and Mavens have this huge love of learning. They literally live to learn, for the sole purpose of learning. There is no other desired outcome, just to soak in all the information, as much information as humanly possible. That is what we love to do, and so for me, of course. When I discovered I was a Maven, i was like what This makes so much sense? because for my whole life I have done research like a ton of research. I'm really quite excellent at doing research. Whether it comes to the fact that I was the one who was researching and planning trips as a child, i would help plan these trips for my family, and I'm still the one who plans the trips for my family And I love doing it. I think it's so fun to learn about where we're going and what all the options are for food and for the cultural stuff and for the music and everything, like I just wanna know it all and I get so excited. And then I have been the one in the past who's had jobs where I am doing a lot of research. So, for instance, i used to work in higher education in the department that created instructional design. So we helped create the curriculum that the teachers would teach and that these students would learn. So, as part of this, when I was an editor and also when I was helping create courses, i would do a ton of research. I would do a lot of research about when I was an editor all sorts of grammar things that you can imagine, like punctuation and spelling and different rules, but then I would get to do other kinds of research about the topic. So, like one of my favorite ones was, i helped with criminal justice and I loved learning about some of these concepts and some of the things that were involved, because it was very foreign to anything that I knew. So I just had the best time And I was in this constant state of learning learning from my colleagues, learning from the research I was doing, and it was so much fun. And then now, if you think about what I'm doing as a podcaster, i am constantly constantly trying to find women with cool jobs, and I'm just always like brainstorming, trying to find new places where I can find women with cool jobs. Or like I'm scrolling Instagram and I find people. Or I might be watching television or I could be in my local Trader Joe's, because I'm obsessed with Trader Joe's and feel like I can never live too far from one and thinking how amazing would it be if I could interview a buyer from Trader Joe's. So I'm just putting that out into the universe because I think that they would have the most fun job. Trader Joe's if you have not been in Trader Joe's has seasonal items that are super popular. They also have other items that they have come in from time to time to replace old items, and you just never know what you're gonna find. I love learning about how many different women exist in the world, how many different types of jobs they have, what those jobs actually specifically entailed and nitty gritty details and then more of like the high level holistic picture of how their work fits in to serving a purpose in the world. So I love all those things. It's super fun for me. So that is the maven in me. And then my secondary is the advisor, and that is as it sounds, the advisor, or someone who really loves to walk alongside someone and to help them on their mission or in their purpose to get somewhere, to get to a goal or to live in a certain way, and so I love doing that, like I have done that through teaching, i've done that through this work with Sparger types. I've done that with even podcasting. I feel like to help people understand all the opportunities that exist in the world and just to be able to think about them in a little bit different way. So I really, really resonated with the results when I found out and how I found out about Sparger types and the whole sort of whirlwind process of the beginning was crazy because I listened to a ton of podcasts and I bounce around from time to time to different ones based on, like, how I'm feeling and what I'm interested in at the moment and what the titles are and what sounds fun. So I was listening to this podcast with Kathy Heller, and Jonathan Field came on this podcast and he was talking about Sparger types. He was talking about his book, sparger, which goes through all 10 Sparger types. He was talking about how these are really able to help people add more of what sparks them into their life by understanding what lights you up. And I was like, oh my gosh, i am all in because I felt so strongly that this could be such a powerful thing and such a positive thing in people's lives. Like, especially, this was 2021, october 2021, so we were still dealing with some of the pandemic chaos, different variants and what have you. And so I was like, oh my goodness, this is so needed. So what I did was, literally within one week of hearing this podcast, i went out, i bought the book, i read the book, i did a huge amount of research, as they say. I went into my rabbit hole and just was digging around and I discovered that there is a certification process for Sparger types and this would have been applying for the first cohort to ever have gone through and become a certified Sparger type advisor. So I was like what This is so amazing? So, of course, i applied and I got to interview with Jonathan and talk to him about why I felt so strongly that I would love to do this and love to be an advisor. And within one week of literally hearing this episode, i read the book, i applied to be an advisor, i talked to Jonathan himself and was part of the program. They said that I could join the program for that following year. So I was just literally so thankful and also so amazed and awe at how things fell so quickly in line, because usually, for me, i'm the type of person it takes me a while sometimes to make a decision, to come to a decision, because I do like to do so much research and I do like to analyze, and I'm learning that about myself that that's like a strength and also can be a disadvantage sometimes. But now that I'm more aware, i can just be understanding with myself too and see where I am in that research process if I'm going overboard. So normally for me, like I make decisions, it takes sometimes longer, but with this I felt so strongly about this And I felt like this was something that I could help people right. I could help women find their own cool jobs, because I truly, truly believe that we all deserve to find our own cool jobs, jobs that we feel that we are contributing in a way that is purposeful to us, where we feel fulfilled, that we are loving what we're doing, like we are doing something that's not only a benefit to us but that's hopefully serving a higher purpose or higher goal of ours. I wanna preface this by saying the beauty of spark types and the part that is the most empowering, like I mentioned before, is understanding the details about yourself. Is having this awareness about what is important to you, specifically about who you like to work with, about how you like to work. What do you like to do? what are the projects and the tasks? What are the things you like to work with? Do you like to work with your hands? Do you like to work on a computer? Do you like to work with a pencil? What are the ways that you like to work? And there's all these questions surrounding that, but the details, the details are the important part, because those details, knowing them, is going to allow you to pull out and connect the dots. You're gonna be pulling out information, looking for common themes or through lines. You're gonna be connecting the dots in different places that you never understood why or how they made sense, or why you really enjoyed something so much, but you couldn't replicate that. You didn't have the understanding, you didn't have the wording, you didn't have the tools or the knowledge to be able to replicate that, and then, on the flip side, to also not be able to replicate the things that were horrible, that you did not like doing and that you would never wanna do again. So this activity is called the Seven Days of Awareness And essentially what you are doing is, for seven days in a row, you are going to be journaling, right? Or, if you don't like that word you are going to be taking notes on the things in your day to day life that really, really light you up, that really make you feel energized and excited, that you feel like time is flying by, and you're going to want to take note of the specifics, like what are you doing in that moment? Who are you working with? What are you working with? Like, what are the tools? are you on? Are you on a computer? Are you outside, like doing something in the world? Are you working with a team of people? Who are those people that you're working with, or are you working with any people? So you're gonna be noting and noticing all these different details And you're gonna be reflecting on that moment, that experience. And this can be in paragraph form, this can be a bullet point form, this can be a voice note on your phone, but the important thing is that you wanna write it down and record it in a way where, if someone was to read this that you didn't know they're a complete stranger, they would be able to recreate what was going on really accurately in their mind. They could envision it as if you were painting a picture of what was going on. And the power of this and the power of having those details, is again being able to look at the end of the seven days of doing this and looking through all of these different moments of time and experiences that you've had throughout the week and understanding what is really feeling good, what is feeling fun and energizing, and figuring out are there common themes here, like is there a common group of people you were working with? Was there a common purpose that you were working on? What was the project that you were working on? Like, or why did that feel so good? So sort of picking apart those details and being really curious On the flip side, during these seven days, it is also super helpful to be asking yourself and noting down what are those things that feel super draining or stifling, or you're so bored, like you just have a hard time keeping awake, and those are the things you wanna be noting too, because that is equally important to understand the specifics of what you do not like to do or what feels super heavy to you. So at the end of this process you're gonna be doing this for seven days you have a really really wonderful overview and understanding of what was happening in the last few days that both excites and energizes you and, on the flip side, drains you. Then you're going to take a moment and you are going to be analyzing. You are going to be curious and start asking yourself some questions. So you are going to be asking yourself questions like do I see any commonalities as I'm looking through these different situations? Are there any through lines or things that keep popping up in different ways Or like maybe they're just slightly different, but actually it's sort of the same thing happening over and over again. And I'm gonna give you a really crazy example for my own life that I had this epiphany and I connected the dots for myself like late 2022. So basically a year after I had originally taken spark types. I had this epiphany where I realized, when I was in my undergraduate program, i did several different internships because I was trying to decide, first of all, if I wanted to do the track where I was gonna go down the traditional journalism track and do either media like write for a publication like a magazine or a newspaper, if I was gonna work in broadcast, or if I was gonna go down the PR, public relations track. And I ended up doing the PR track, but I had done this really cool internship for a tiny newspaper up in the northeast valley of the Phoenix area And at the time one of my absolute favorite things that I got to do as part of that internship was I interviewed the police precinct commander up in the area that I lived in at the time in the northeast valley, and it was so incredible because I got to go into the police station. I got to sit down with this man and talk to him all about his job, all about what he did, how he got there, what it takes to be in his shoes every day. You know what are the kinds of responsibilities he has and what does he do, who does he work with? what does it take to be a police officer doing what he's doing? And basically I realized that literally that is exactly what I'm doing now with this podcast And it is exactly what I love so much. I love learning about what people do. I think it is so fun And how crazy is that? that literally that was probably like 20 years ago And I'm doing that same thing and loving it just as much, but just doing it in a very different way, like for a different purpose and a different intention And those pieces of being able to do the interviews and learning about people like that's the maven in me, that's the person who just really lives to learn. I just love learning. And then also by me doing this podcast and sharing it out with you and with other people. It's serving the purpose almost of the advisor, of helping you and hopefully walking alongside you to be able to allow you to get to that next step, whatever that means for you, to help you to get there a little bit easier. So that was one of the crazy ways that I've connected the dots. And then I had this other crazy like aha moment, i think, literally yesterday in the shower or the day before whatever. But I was just thinking about this experience that I had and how much fun it was because I had from another internship that I did, like 20 years ago I, when I had decided to do PR, i worked with this man who recently connected me with this woman who was interested in podcasting and he had seen through my LinkedIn that I'm now doing this podcasting stuff And so he's like, oh, would you mind connecting with her? And I said, of course, so we had lunch. I was so happy to be there I was having the best time chatting with her because she had the best questions. You could tell she had done so much research about podcasting and thinking about what she wanted to do and how she would do it And she just had such really well thought out, insightful questions for me And so I was super impressed. And so I hardly ate my salad Like I mean I ate maybe a third of it, not even because I was just like chatting so much and so happy to be there And I was thinking about it afterwards because it felt so good, like I. I just felt like I could have gone on for a while And of course, i like talking about podcasting because I love it so much. So take that with a grain of salt. But it just felt so good And time was flying by And I loved it And I realized, oh my gosh, like that's my advisor. That is why I was so happy in that moment, because I was using all this hard earned like knowledge and experience, not knowing what I was doing podcasting from the beginning, and now I was able to distill it down and share what I've learned or like even what I should be doing that I wish I could be doing but I don't have the time or bandwidth to do right now And to share those things with her so that hopefully, when she goes to podcast because she's gonna have an awesome podcast I can tell from all her questions and just the work she's done already that like it's gonna hopefully be so much easier for her to get a jumpstart and be really successful. So that was like my advisor showing And yeah, i mean it took me like one and a half, two weeks to think about that and to connect those dots for myself. So I share these because that is how powerful the sparker types can be. This is a tool that is going to help you to understand the details of what is important to you, the details of what you are really good at, like your, your super strengths. You know, if you think of yourself as like a superhero, we all have things that we are innately good at. The things that are really good at Are really so much easier and just sort of happen and we don't think about them, and those are the things that we often don't give ourselves enough credit for. But if you can really identify those, really lean into those and then, furthermore, figure out the things that you really love to do, that make you feel so good and that just feel so fulfilling and allow you to enjoy life as you're doing them. That is an incredible thing to be able to have for yourself, and those details are really what is going to make the difference between finding a next opportunity that you think is going to be great, but then you get there and you're like, meh, this is not what I thought it was going to be. Because knowing those details allows you to ask better questions of yourself. It allows you to look at possible job opportunities and look at them in a completely different way, because you were looking for those specific details that you know feel fulfilling, that you know feel energizing. You're more aware of what also does not feel good. You can ask questions during the interview to understand, okay, well, these parts and these things that light me up, that are my sparks are those the majority of the job? And the things that feel like a heavy lift or that are stifling Is that a minimal part of the job? You know? can I deal with those? Because, of course, every job has the things that we don't like that we have to do as part of the job. Will I be okay if I have to deal with that, like, can I learn those and get better at it, understanding that these things that feel like a heavy lift are just part of it, but then I get to do all these other cool things. That's empowering to be able to understand that You're also going to be able to better understand where you want to go in the future short term, like a year from now, and long term, like five or 10 years from now because you will be able to understand what is most important to you and like how do you want to navigate life? What things do you actually want in it? Not only you know day to day, but like month to month and year to year. So I hope that this was really helpful for you. If you have not heard of sparketypes, and maybe if you have, for me a little bit to figure out, like what are your sparketypes? And I want to hear from you. I want to know do they feel authentic to you, do they resonate with you? And you can find me on Instagram at womencooljobs. You can find me at Julie Berman on LinkedIn. You can find me on my website There's a place to fill out and you can send me a message at womenwithcooljobscom And tell me about what your sparketypes are and how you feel about them. Like, did this help enlighten you at all? And if you do this exercise especially, definitely, definitely, i want to know about it. I want to know what you discovered about yourself, about what connections you made, maybe aha moments that you had, and I'm telling you like just knowing your sparketypes is going to give you a different understanding of yourself and some of the pieces of who you are. The anti-sparketype also allows you to understand yourself in a different way, where you can have a little bit more grace with yourself, you could have a little bit more patience with yourself and say, oh yeah, like no wonder why I've had this thing on my to-do list sitting on my desk for four months And my coworker can do this so easily, so quickly, and she makes it seem so easy. But why does this feel so hard for me? Why does this feel like such a heavy lift? Oh, it's because my anti-sparketype is this And right, just having like a little bit of understanding and compassion for yourself. So that is a powerful thing too, just like the perspective, the awareness. So thank you for listening to my second iteration of this podcast episode And hopefully it is everything that it was meant to be and more. I would love to, of course, hear from you Please, if you think that you are interested in working with me. I do one-on-one coaching, where I help people either for like a 90 minute session to just dive a little bit deeper, or I work with people for a longer amount of time where we do multiple sessions so we can really go deep and go through a really incredible sparked process where we essentially, at the end, have this beautiful picture, this canvas of you and who you are and what you love and how you like to work, in like these nitty gritty details that we don't always think about and put down But that yet are so important and essential to who you are, how you like to work and how you want to show up in the world. So I would love to work with you if that interests you, and also I do group workshops and trainings. So this basically, is for people who are interested in having me come in to their organization or in a corporate setting to talk about, like, how can we use spark types to understand my team better, to understand what lights me up and what lights you up and like how we can play off of each other, and it's just a really great way to build more camaraderie and connection, and also it's a great tool for leaders and managers to use as well. So if that sounds like it might interest you or anyone you know, definitely keep me in mind. Thank you so much for listening. Have an amazing day. Hey everybody, thank you so much for listening to women with cool jobs. I'll be releasing a new episode every two weeks, so make sure you hit that subscribe button And if you loved the show, please give me a five star rating. Also, it would mean so much if you shared this episode with someone. You think you would love it or would find it inspirational. And lastly, do you have ideas for future shows or do you know any rock star women with cool jobs? I would love to hear from you. You can email me at Julie at womenwithcooljobscom, or you can find me on Instagram at womencooljobs. Again, that's womencooljobs. Thank you so much for listening and have an incredible day.

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Discovering Personal Strengths and Purpose
Self-Awareness and Finding What You Love
Discovering Sparketypes for Fulfillment