The Story of My Work

phil — a resource engineer in his late twenties

"[the process] allowed me to see myself in a sharpened focus that I never had before, through a lens that I have created with your help."


Phil is an ambitious, thoughtful guy with a big brain and varied interests. After working as an engineer for an oil & gas company, he returned to school for his Masters degree in engineering, focused on wind. When I encountered Phil, he had been back in the workforce (post-Masters) for about 2 years, but was restless & unhappy. His hope —that changing subject matter (from oil & gas to a wind company) would provide more value, meaning, & enjoyment to his work — was falling flat. He needed a change, but was at a loss regarding where and how to go forward.


After going through The Story of My Work process together, we saw patterns where Phil enjoyed creating & designing processes, to benefit systems with lasting, visible, & tangible results. In our conversations together, it came out that a nightmare situation for him would be working in a company with no bottlenecks for him to solve. Suddenly, a previously brainstormed career plan — becoming a high school physics teacher — revealed itself as a laughably bad prospect for job satisfaction.

With a new focused goal, and the language to articulate his skills, strengths, and value, Phil sought a different position at a former employer's that he knew would be an excellent fit. He was able to "give an impactful interview where the conviction of my what-I-was-all-about was able to shine." Ultimately, he gained the position where his salary doubled, the "job fit" was about 90%, and his work days are satisfying & fulfilling.


What we learned:

  • Phil frequently used words like "designed", "developed", "created", & "built" to describe his various achievements... a bold hint about what gets him going!
  • Almost every achievement Phil shared was in a wildly different setting: art & music creations, physical projects like home renos or robot-building, and coding. Learning & tackling something new are values that became evident.
  • Phil knew inherently that he enjoyed these projects, and often sought out satisfying endeavours in his leisure time. We just needed to apply the same to his work life!

In Phil's Words:

 I'd like to thank you so much for going through this process with me - I truly have gained so much. Below is my feedback - feel free to tweak it and use it however you see fit.

When we started the process about six months ago I was very unhappy at my job. The stress of feeling like I was not moving in a productive direction (i.e. that I was in a role that was a 20% fit for me) kept me up at night and was taking its toll on my body and health. We went through this process as I looked around for and evaluated other opportunities. I was able to take what I learned through the process to identify a role that I now have as a new job and couldn't be happier about it - the fit is more like a 90% now and I feel like I am headed towards my star again.

The most tangible way the process helped was in giving me great confidence in knowing what I'm about - where my strengths lie and where my joy is derived. I now know with far greater clarity how I want to be spending my time working and also have the vocabulary to clearly describe it to others. This helped me to identify a position that was right for me, and let me really give an impactful interview where the conviction of my what I was all about was able to shine.

For me the cost was absolutely worth it. In my case my salary more than doubled through this job change. This will not be true for everyone though, but I'd say that even if the pay was the same, the peace-of-mind that comes with having my unique path clearly marked is invaluable. The amount of thought, care, and preparation that you put into our meetings seemed to easily justify the cost, and by investing a significant amount into this process it meant that I took it more seriously as well and benefited even further as a result.

I found the two story-based tools (SIMA and Star/Mountain) to be extremely effective tools, and I will cherish the learnings that came from them for my whole life. I have done several algorithm-based personality tests and strength-determiners in the past, which are interesting and can shed some light on certain behaviours. But by taking the time to really explore my past and present self and to see the patterns of my story flow out from me as I completed these exercises, this allowed me to see myself in a sharpened focus that I never had before, through a lens that I have created with your help. I now feel like I have the tools to evaluate current and future opportunities, choices and challenges against a criteria for what I will find enduringly fulfilling to my core.

Thank you for all of that, Wayne.