BALL WITH ALLEN IVERSON, MOVIE-MAKING WITH HOLLYWOOD ELITE, AND SIGNING CONTRACTS WITH JAY-Z
My friend Mo Chanmugham claims he’s worked a lot of dream jobs in his lifetime.
In his first role post-college—at Reebok HQ—he spent his time playing company basketball games at lunch and participating in marketing photo shoots with Allen Iverson.
Although these perks made the job pretty special, Mo realized he didn’t love working with a huge company. He decided to look for a smaller business to join instead.
After some self-reflection, Mo decided he was ready to hop on a plane to LAX with a dream and his cardigan. (Ok, maybe not the cardigan part.) He booked a one-way ticket and used some connections to secure a role as an assistant in a major entertainment agency, where he brushed shoulders with screenwriters, A-list actors, and directors. Although he enjoyed getting to know the world behind the scenes, Mo knew he wouldn’t last long. Assistant work in LA can become toxic fairly quickly. A little over a year after moving to La La Land, he felt ready to spread his wings and fly away.
Mo’s next dream required a new degree. He accepted admission to law school in Boston and set sail on finding a kickass role in the entertainment world. Using his connections, he secured an internship and eventually a legal clerk gig at Def Jam Records, home to celebrities like Jay-Z, Kanye, and Rihanna. With his third dream job secured, Mo spent his days checking clauses on Method Man’s contracts and sitting in conference rooms with Jay-Z. For the average person, this lifestyle is almost unfathomable. But according to Mo, the shine wears off pretty quickly. Before long, boredom and disillusionment set in, and he pivoted for the third time.
“YOU KNOW, I’D PRETTY MUCH WORKED THROUGH MY 20S AND EARLY 30S KNOWING WHAT I WANTED TO DO AND WAS VERY FORTUNATE TO LAND IN ALL THOSE POSITIONS, BUT NOW HERE I WAS AT THE END OF THAT JOURNEY STILL FEELING LIKE, ‘HUH, IF THOSE THINGS DIDN’T MAKE ME HAPPY, WHAT AM I REALLY LOOKING FOR HERE?’”
Like many of you, Mo found that his success didn’t necessarily equal happiness. He needed fulfillment. So he began considering his true needs, and one day he decided to become a career coach. Today, he works on the Happen To Your Career team. He uses his unique experiences and knowledge about forming connections and finding unparalleled success to help connect career seekers find their own unique happiness.
We talk to people with stories like Mo’s all the time. People run hard after dreams, make the right connections to land in incredible positions (from the outside perspective, at least), and once they arrive, they realize they don’t want this dream anymore.
Worse, they have no idea what they want. High achievers are great at achieving, but the success doesn’t always satisfy. That’s where we come in.
On our latest podcast episode, we chat with Mo about a few common questions we hear from people trying to find work they love. Read on for the highlights!
CAREER SEEKER QUESTION #1
“I WANT A JOB THAT FITS MY STRENGTHS, BUT I FEEL LIKE I HAVEN’T BEEN WORKING IN MY STRENGTHS FOR A REALLY LONG PERIOD OF TIME. WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING OR WHAT COULD I BE DOING THAT WOULD HELP ME REFINE MY STRENGTHS AND BE ABLE TO FIND NEW WORK THAT ACTUALLY HAS TO DO WITH THOSE STRENGTHS?” – ANNE
“Get a sense of what your strengths are, and if you can’t apply them in your current job, then find some projects where you can apply them outside of work.
For example, when I was a practicing attorney making the transition into coaching, I developed my coaching skills outside of work. I took classes and practiced with friends. Anne can start by understanding what her skills and strengths are, including what she enjoys doing, and then create an opportunity to apply those discoveries.
For instance, I talk to a lot of people who are leaving day jobs in one career to get into coding and designing. All of this coding and designing takes place on off hours, nights, and weekends.
Also, many clients find opportunities within their current jobs. Most bosses are not going to say ‘no’ if you’re like, ‘Hey! There’s this thing that I think that would benefit the company tremendously and I’ve wanted to try it for a really long time. Could I take this on as an additional project?’”
CAREER SEEKER QUESTION #2
“I’VE SELECTED SOME ROLES TO TEST OUT WITH THE GOLDILOCKS METHOD. THE ROLES I’VE CHOSEN ARE LIBRARIAN, INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGNER, AND TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST. WHERE I’M GETTING STUCK IS IN KNOWING WHERE TO GO TO FIND PEOPLE TO INTERVIEW THAT HAVE THESE ROLES. WHAT IS THE BEST APPROACH TO CONTACT PEOPLE IN THESE ROLES?” – KATHERINE
“Linkedin is one of my favorite tools. So you have this idea of job titles and if you have an idea of the company that you would want to work for, then go to the company LinkedIn page. Click on who works there, and then use the filters to identify people with that job title. And then boom. There you go.
When you look to connect with someone on LinkedIn, you want to personalize the note to the connection request, and say something like ‘Hi. My name is Mo. I’m a law student interested in entertainment law. I see that you work in entertainment law. I’d love to ask you a couple questions about your career path. Thanks!’ Leave it at that. The connection request introduces you, lets them know why you’re reaching out, and lets them know you’re interested in their career path. It’s sort of a little bit of flattery. You’re not asking for a job. You’re just asking to learn more about their career path, which I think is sort of an easy thing.”
CAREER SEEKER QUESTION #3
“I’M FINDING THAT I ONLY HAVE LIMITED AMOUNTS OF TIME AND ENERGY TO BE ABLE TO MAKE THIS TRANSITION. MY SCHEDULE HAS A TENDENCY TO CHANGE WITH THINGS LIKE TRAVEL AND OTHER THINGS THAT POP UP ALONG THE WAY. WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE SURE THAT I MAKE ENOUGH TIME AND ENERGY TO COMPLETE A SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION?” – EVERYONE
“If you already have a busy life with travel and unpredictable schedules, you might want to change your expectations. I think we sort of beat ourselves up for not doing enough, so it’s important to change expectations around how much you can actually get done.
Once you’ve changed expectations, ask yourself, ‘What’s one thing I can focus on?’
if you’re feeling like you’re going in a hundred different directions, you must prioritize. Find the first domino that will impact all the others, and focus on that. Realistically, you can’t do a hundred things in a day. Focus on being effective and not letting yourself feel so overwhelmed by everything you have to do.”