FULL TRANSCRIPT – DIVORCE ETC… SEASON 3, EPISODE 36
Jessica: Are you concerned about financial independence after your divorce and thinking about getting a job? How do you find one if you’ve been a stay at home mom, or if you’ve left the workforce to raise a family? What kind of basic training should you have? These are the things we’re talking about in today’s episode of the Divorce etc… podcast. We’re the exEXPERTS, Jessica and T.H. We focus on helping you navigate your divorce and successfully move on with your life. Please follow us on all social media at exEXPERTS, and check out www.exexperts.com for tons of free divorce related resources. Let’s bring in today’s guest.
T.H.: Today, we have Heather Black with us. We love everything about her. But what I personally love the most is that the title of the company she founded and is the CEO of is Supermums. I want to have the right accent to say that properly, so she will say it again, but she is the founder of Supermums, which is a group, and consulting, and coaching, and workshop, and a whole big platform to help you find the right career for you. Whether you’ve been a stay at home mom, whether you’ve been in the working world, whether you’re just looking for something new to try, she has built this app from her own experience and looking for something new in terms of her career and to be financially independent. Welcome to our show.
Heather: Thank you so much for having me. It is Supermums, but we do support moms in the USA and beyond as well, or globally. We went accidentally global and attracted moms to us because they wanted to ask for support.
Jessica: Accidentally global, I love it.
T.H.: Right. That should be your hashtag: #accidentallyglobal. That’s so awesome.
Jessica: So Heather, I mean, look, this is a huge topic, obviously, for women who are thinking about, or going through, and getting divorced. Because I literally had a conversation with a friend just this past weekend, who has not been working for the past probably close to 10 years, because she’s had kids. She had a pretty high powered career in the cosmetics industry, and expressing the normal fears about what’s going to happen if I go down this path, which by the way, she doesn’t want to go down. But that’s a whole other story. Talk to us about what you’re hearing the most from women who are coming to you about the fear of their own financial independence.
Heather: Yeah, no, absolutely. I think it’s a mindset piece initially. It’s kind of what do you want out of it? Because you’re coming out of this situation, and you’re either in survival mode, or you’re of thinking actually, I’m going to create the best life for myself. Having gone through this journey myself on divorce and going “Okay, well, how do I reposition myself?” I really resonate with where people are at. I was in a position personally where I hadn’t given up my income. So I can only imagine, in this situation where other people had given up their income, how do they get back on the ladder? But I feel really privileged to be in a position where we help people every day who have not worked for many years, get back and change their lives and thrive in their life. That’s what I want people to go away with at the end of the podcast today is to think actually, as an independent woman going forward, or man, depending on who’s listening to this, and needs to relaunch their career, I’m going to thrive in this new life, I want the house, I want the holidays, I want to buy my kids the things I want to buy them, and there is a way of doing that, even if you haven’t worked for many years. And so I’m really looking forward to unpacking that and to give people the inspiration and the reality of they can earn well, they can work flexibly, even if they have not worked for 10 years. It is absolutely possible, and I’m looking forward to sharing those secrets today.
T.H.: So what’s the first step? “Holy shit, I’m getting a divorce.” There are certain situations when you get a divorce, at least in New Jersey, you can be imputed income, and if you’re not working or you have to get a job, you can be evaluated to see what kind of job you can get. I mean the whole process can dissect your skills—
Jessica: But they’re not giving you the job.
T.H.: No, they’re not giving you the job—
Jessica: They’re just saying to you, “You’re capable of getting a job $100,000.” Then you’re like, “Okay, great. Where’s the job?”
T.H.: Right, that’s exactly what happened to me. I’m like, “That sounds awesome. Where’s the job?” But honestly, I mean, you will be evaluated as a human with what your earning capacity is, and so, okay, now what? What is literally the first step that you take, Heather, to move forward and create a career for your self?
Heather: Okay, so there are two different angles to this, and it’s with a view on finding the best position where you can earn well. But as I say, work with flexibility in your zone of genius. That’s my new buzzword at the moment: find your zone of genius, so your superpower, right? So the first thing is the best salaries that you’re going to get are aligning yourself to careers which is a skill that’s in demand. LinkedIn do a survey on this every year. They say the most in demand skills are cloud computing, business analysis, AI, data analytics, emotional intelligence. A lot of those things we cover at Supermums. We skill people up in those areas. And so you want to work in those areas which are in demand for employers. By in demand, it also means there’s quite often a talent gap. So if you’re going to retrain and relaunch, position yourself in an area where there’s a talent gap, where there’s in demand, because that’s where the highest salaries are going to be. And so that’s the first thing to think about. I say that’s what we focus on at Supermums is our key industry areas. The second thing to think about is what is your superpower? What are you really good at? I was doing a session last night with a group of women, and I’ve done this several times. Now when I asked them, they’re like, “Oh…” They really struggled to know actually, what am I really good at? My recommendation to people is do a personality profiling tool. We actually have a quiz at Supermums, and maybe we can put that in the show notes, that take people on a journey. Our quiz specifically allows them to look at their parenting skills. We ask them 10 questions about their parenting skills, and we suggest a job role for them off the back of that. There’s a job role for everybody. There are four different parenting types that I designed. Off the back of that, there is a definitely a job role that they could do in the ecosystem and the industries that we recommend.
Jessica: I love that.
Heather: But short of that—
T.H.: We to take that. We need to take that assessment and see where we are. Because we are not in any of the high earning, high demand career situations where we are right now. We’re missing out.
Heather: Definitely do the quiz. But beyond our quiz, obviously, other personality profiling tools can make you really reflect on where you sit in the team, what your strengths are, what you’re good at. It helps you then reflect on your past experiences, whether that’s in the workplace, volunteering, or at home, for you to then confidently say, “These are things that I’m really shit hot on.” If you’ve been in a negative relationship maybe for a while, where that has really knocked your confidence, you need to re-step into your zone of power and own the things that you are really good at and know that. That would be my recommendation for starting to give you that light bulb moment really. Those two things can give you that direction, travel.
Jessica: Okay, so what do you say to likely many of the women that come to you who say, “I don’t know anything about the tech industry,” “I don’t really know anything about the areas, the five areas that you just mentioned,” and “I’m not tech savvy, so I’m scared of it,” and people who are reluctant to pursue that? How do you help them get past that?
Heather: Okay, talking to people. Talk to people about it. Find out, attend the events. So, for example, at Supermums, we run events about what the career opportunities are. We have our Relaunch Your Career bootcamps that we run where you can find out more. We also offer career consultations about it. You can talk to somebody one on one, explore your skill sets, find out more about it. Spend the time researching, talking to your friends, your colleagues. A lot of people that come on our courses, normally their partner, their friend, somebody they know who works in that industry. So, network, ask people on social media. Does anybody work in this space you’re looking at? Does anybody work in AI? Our specific market is Salesforce related, but put a post out and say, “Can I have a chat about what your day to day job entails?” It’s almost like being back at school, right? Do you remember being back at school and everybody’s like, “What job are you going to do?” You’re like, “I don’t know. How do I know I’m going to like that?” It’s really hard for us as a 16 year old self to go and find and understand what a job role is. But at this age, when we’re more mature, we have to put ourselves in the driving seat, and we have to open up and say, “Does anybody work in this sector that I could talk to?” Or speak to organizations that operate in that sector or help you learn relaunch, and just find out and discover a little bit more. Because that will make you confident again, give you that confidence again.
T.H.: I would also think that if you forget about it’s in tech, because I know you have roles that are virtual assistants, sales, and then really focused on the technology, and so if those are the in demand types of industry jobs, if you think about, “Okay, well, I’m a really good planner. I’m really good at organizing. I’m really good at getting shit together. I got three kids. I got a house. I’m basically a single parent. I get stuff done,” then a virtual assistant type of role might be a good stepping stone. If you’re really great with people and you can talk to anybody and you can just chat them up, then maybe sales is good. Maybe when you also tap into what comes naturally for you, what you do really well in your every day—I guess that’s why you did the parenting. Because what do you manage in your day? How many kids? How many birthday parties? How many car pools? Do you have your own job? Are you balancing that? Are you picking up at daycare or whatever? It totally makes sense that that would tie in together. Also, I would just think that it goes into your innate skill set, that you guys would then feed them or lead them in the right direction?
Heather: Yeah, exactly. I mean, at Supermums, we help people go into six different job roles. We talk about, as you quite rightly said, you talk about tech, but actually, only one of the job roles is actually working with the technology and building tech, right? The rest are supporting that journey. We help people into project management roles, which are the organizers, the action planners, the coordinators. All the kids are leaving the house at the right time. Mine don’t do that. Clearly not everyone—
T.H.: Right, everybody out by noon. Out.
Heather: Then I talk about business analysts. That was the other skill set that I mentioned. We help people become business analysts. A business analyst is very aligned to a parent that’s very empathetic, the listener, and the solution person. They like solving problems, listening to people, fixing things. They’re a really good communicator. They’re not building anything with tech. They’re just listening and helping people fix their problems at work, right? So I quite often talk about yourself being the counselor. Then you’ve got the Salesforce administrator role, which is a tidier. They’re the ones that love tidying, keeping things tidy, organizing, supporting people, making sure everybody knows where everything is, and they know what they’re doing. So that’s a Salesforce administrator role. Then you’ve got the consultant role. The consultant is somebody that loves change and variety, likes learning new things as the innovator, but likes a series of those hats. If you don’t find yourself just in one of those things and you like doing a range, that’s where a consultant fits in, because you’re not necessarily 100% one of those things, but you like doing a mix of those things. But you like change, you like variety, you get bored quickly. That’s a consultant role. Then you’ve got the sales role, T.H., as you mentioned. So in technology, you can sell the technology, and actually, they get paid the most because they have commission.
Heather: It’s amazing, right?
T.H.: That’s always big bucks.
Heather: Yeah, but what I loved about the sales role, having done all of these roles as a parent at different points in the Salesforce space, the sales role is you get them really excited about technology. Like, as a parent, you’re the one that’s always convincing your friends to buy the air fryers, right?
Jessica: That was me trying to convince my parents to get one.
T.H.: Oh my god, I bought two of them so that I have three drawers total. Yes.
Heather: I haven’t gone there yet. But I’m still—
Jessica: You have to. It is a life changer. But go ahead.
Heather: If you’re that kind of person that likes influencing, telling, spreading the word about things, and you get excited about stuff, you’re going to be a great salesperson. Then actually, what’s really nice about these types of sales roles is it’s helping people solve problems and helping businesses to perform better. So it’s not like hard selling double glazing, for example. It’s a really rewarding job. But it’s a nice quick fix at the beginning, but then you don’t have to do any of the implementation side. So it’s quite a nice place to be. Plus, you get paid quite well. So there are those five different jobs. There are others you can progress into as you go through, but they’re good starting points. It gives you a flavor of what’s possible, I suppose.
T.H.: We’re going to take a quick pause here. Because we know it’s hard to get honest and reliable information about your divorce and life in general, so we’ve done the work for you with exEXPERTS and our Divorce etc… podcast. Jess and I had one another to ask all of the questions and figure out the answers. Now, you have us. We are your no bullshit, no nonsense girlfriends through divorce and beyond. Ask us anything about life and all that comes with it. Be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get exEXPERTS in your inbox. You can get all of this information and so much more at www.exexperts.com. We’ve lived it, so we get it. I have a follow up question. Great, I’ve tapped into my skills. I think that I could go either into sales, or I can be the tidy upper, or whatever job that was. Okay, but how do you dispel the fear? Which means how do you build the confidence? So yes, I’m talking to people, it sounds interesting, but I still haven’t worked in 15 plus years. Or I was just answering phones at the car dealership? What makes me qualified? How do you encourage people to keep moving forward and not be frustrated that I just don’t get it? How do you have the support to keep them going? Because you could be like, “You know what? Screw it. I don’t know how to do this.” It’s so easy to cop out.
Heather: Yeah, exactly. Before I launched Supermums, my job was designing programs to help people back into employment. From all of that research that I did, we used to evaluate a range of employability programs and design them. I come with that level of credibility in building an employment program. I realized that if we were to just give people technical training, i.e. here’s a course on Salesforce, you’re going to learn it, the technical thing, it wouldn’t get people from A to Z who haven’t got that confidence to relaunch into something new. So I put together our program with several ingredients around it. I think if you’re going to relaunch into a career, be it via Supermums or in another area, these are things that I would really recommend that you get in your support network.
T.H.: Right, arsenal, yeah.
Heather: It’s fantastic that the listeners have yourself to support them. Obviously, when they’re relaunching, they need that support network with them as well. One of the things that we do at Supermums is we’re part of a cohort of learners. So everybody’s in it together. They get their little group, and they’re chatting with each other and motivating each other. Connect with other people who are in that same zone as you, and be on it together. Because that peer support network has been very important for them. You’re going to have this learning journey, this learning dip we talked about, where you’re excited at the beginning, but then three or four weeks in, we always see it. It’s like, “Oh my god, can I really do this?”
Jessica: Well, and they’ve already applied to 300 jobs. They’re like—
Heather: Yeah, so you’re going to be on this emotional roller coaster. But if you’ve got other people on that journey with you, it’s really important. Actually, now at Supermums, a thousand people have gone through our program. They’re all on a WhatsApp group or a Slack together. We have different channels. They’re all motivating each other, right? Because some people are five years, six years down the line, whereas you’ve got those that are completely new. They’re all supporting each other. You want to be in a support network of other parents, other people that are on this journey with you would be my recommendation. The other kind of instrumental part is that we give each of them a one to one mentor. They meet with the mentor every single week for one to two hours, who goes through what they’ve learned in the training, checks their homework and whether they’ve got it right or not, and supports them if they haven’t. It’s somebody really holding their hand and helping them again, with that emotional up and down. So find yourself a mentor in the industry that you’re going to be working in. It’s what we provide on our program. So it’s part and parcel of that as well. Then the other thing that we added in was the work experience piece. So, work shadow. Ask if you can shadow somebody in their job. Learn what they do. You don’t need to be hands on straight away. We do provide more practical work experience where they get their hands dirty as part of our program. But work shadowing can just be as valuable. That’s relatively easier to do these days when jobs are virtual, because you can just sit in a meeting and listen in and see how they talk, see how things go. My background is coaching. I think in coaching, we talk about mirroring people, right? If you can watch how people work, and then you can adopt their style, and you can start mirroring them, you can almost adopt their persona in your body, and then you can be like them.
T.H.: Right, you emulate them.
Heather: Emulate them, yeah, exactly. That’s the other thing that we do as well is career coaching. We embed career coaching as part of our program. Do lean into career coaching. Because career coaching helps you unpack all that baggage you’ve got, get it out on the table, and knock it away. Because it’s just rubbish, right, those little negative voices that will just grind down. And so career coaching can be valuable too.
Jessica: Because I just feel everyone listening, like myself, has probably heard a lot of times about career coaches. Can you tell us what career coaches do? Because I think that some of the conversations that I’ve had with people, they’re like, “Well, I work in this industry over here.” I come from a TV background. I worked in TV for over 20 years, and I have friends that have come out of the TV industry who are like, “I’m not going to get a career coach who trains people how to get a job at a bank, because they don’t know anything about my production background.” So give us a little insight into career coaching and what it can actually do for people.
Heather: Sure. Okay. It depends on your background and what you’re needing, really, but there are various coaching tools and techniques that we teach people. One might be around just really unpacking your values again, and really going, what is it that I want and need in my life? Because how often do we sit down and really assess our values? It’s not the thing you do on a daily basis. When we teach this on the course, for many of them, it’s like, there were a few light bulbs there, and something wasn’t fitting with their previous employer or their industry. And so it’s really clear almost to go back to basics about, what is important for me in my life? You can really narrow down on those superpowers. If you’re struggling, they can work with you on that. Because again, maybe you don’t have the motivation to do it yourself, and so you need somebody to work through your attributes, your skills, help rebuild and reposition yourself—because people struggle to sell themselves—or look at how they can transfer it. They can help shine a light on those different areas. They can help you overcome your imposter syndrome, and again, tackle some of those negative beliefs—is that really real or not?—on how would you turn that into a positive? The coaching tools that I learned when I trained as a coach, I use a lot, like positive reframing. Things happen, you get rejected from interviews, actually, what did you learn from that interview? How do I reframe that in my mind? I think coaching tools and techniques are something that everybody should have in their skill set. You can shift your mind from a negative place to a positive place. You can sell yourself well. You can think about what it is that you need and want. It’s about ultimately being in control of your mind and knowing your destiny. If you are in a position where you’re feeling negative; you’re feeling low; you’re struggling to find your direction, a coach is what you need to get there. That might be a life coach, because maybe it’s broader, or it could be a career coach. I’m with you, Jessica. I think it’s valuable to find career coaches that know perhaps your industry and alignment. As similar I would say about a business coach, I would say work with a business coach who knows your industry. Find somebody that aligns with that, I think.
Jessica: Don’t you, though, also have to find employers who are open to the idea of people returning to the workforce and transitioning back into work? Because I think that if a company is inundated with applications for a position, their easiest answer may be someone who’s currently in the workforce, who is going to basically be a plug and play person, as opposed to thinking, “Oh, here’s this person who may have all these skills, but they haven’t been working in six years.”
Heather: Mm, mm, no, a really good point. We’ve also had a lot of people go through our program, and I would say everybody that has wanted a job has got one. Even those individuals who’ve been out of work 10 years have landed their first job at the first interview, and that’s been more than one.
Jessica: Are you guys helping put people together with actual job opportunities?
Heather: Yeah. We have the recruitment side as well as the training side. When they finish, we have job opportunities. Obviously, we don’t have all the job opportunities in the world. But the way that we’ve help people be successful is by giving them the career coaching advice. We help them reposition on their LinkedIn profile. We edit that. People have then come to them, and they’ve had like three job offers off the back of it. It’s knowing how to present yourself on LinkedIn, how then people will find you, and how to start posting. It’s about how to write your CV so you emphasize all the things that you’re really good at. Now, I talked about confidence comes from having really good reputable training and knowing how to sell yourself well. In situations, and this again, it’s about getting the right support, working with recruiters really helps because they will sell you in. You don’t have to sell yourself. If you struggle with selling yourself, a recruiter can do that bit for you. So again, a recruitment element can help you. An example being with this is we had a job come in, and this employer was like, “Oh, no, we need somebody with a couple of year’s experience.” Quite often they say that, but we’ll put people forward anyway. For whatever reason this lady who had been through our program got put forward by another recruiter actually. For some reason, she didn’t go through our program, our route. But they met her, and they absolutely loved her and her energy, and how she pitched herself, and how she presented, and they took her on. I think it is how you show up, it’s your energy, and it’s your enthusiasm. We say, for our candidates, the fact that you’ve invested in your training shows you’re really motivated. The fact that you’re doing learning off your own back shows that you’re really motivated. You can have people that have perhaps worked in the sector and never done any training or qualifications. You never know what you’re up against necessarily. With our program, because you’ve got a mentor, you’ve got the work experience, and you’ve got the training, you can get three references. You want to try and get references off the back of people that can verify your skills. If you’ve got a mentor, and you’re doing training, and you’re doing some work shadowing or work experience, try and build up those people that can reinforce and recommend you, for progression as well. There are lots of things you can do to really be successful. And so all I’d say to people listening is don’t have that fixed mindset right now of “I can’t do this, it’s too hard.” Just go listen to this again. Write down all the little bits that I’ve said. If you come through Supermums, then great. But if you go through other career opportunities and other routes, just think about all these little ingredients that will make the difference to you being successful versus not, because you do have to position yourself competitively when you’re in the marketplace. You’re quite right.
Jessica: I love all of this information.
T.H.: Okay, so what about scams? “You can make $1,000 a week by working these few hours, flexible schedule,” whatever, whatever. What are the things that you should look out for that have the word scam written all over it, but maybe we wouldn’t see? We haven’t been looking for a job for a long time, but you know—like, first of all, we all know that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But “buy our project”, “buy this workshop”, “buy into this timeline”, “We’re going to get you all the promises.” What are some red flags when you’re looking for a job or starting your career again, that people should keep their eyes open about?
Heather: Yeah, it’s so true, isn’t it? Actually, we were having this conversation before we started. It’s like, even when we promote the career opportunities with Supermums, we want to talk about the salaries, right? Because people want to know, what is it I’m going to earn? It’s naturally the case that people are probably going to promote the earning potential and the flexibility as part of a marketing opportunity. Because why else are you going to listen?
T.H.: Of course. It’s to get you to pay attention?
Heather: Yeah. I think what you have to do beyond that is understand, well, is it a role that suits me? There are obviously lots of sales roles that might promise that type of thing. Is that what you want to do or not? I think have a look at the job roles that sit behind it, reflect on your superpowers, and understand it. Talk to other people that have been through the journey. Again, at Supermums, we will try and connect people to other alumni so they can chat to them. We have a Facebook group that people can join and ask questions. You can feel the authenticity of that rather than it just be perhaps one person to talk to. Ask if you can talk to other people that have joined. Ask them honestly like, “Well, what hours do you work?” and “Do you have the flexibility?” Ask all those questions. I always say to people it’s about making informed decisions. You’ve got to do the research. You’ve got to do the legwork on it in order to make the right decision to make you feel confident. What we do during our Relaunch Your Career bootcamps is we give people a career plan template to write everything in. If you liken it to if you were starting a business and you’re putting all your money into a business, you’d write a business plan, right? If you’re going to invest any money in growing a business, you write a business plan. If you’re going to do a career and you’re going to invest in a career, what you want to do is write down everything you’re learning. And so it makes sense. If you need to ask somebody to borrow some money, your parents or whatever, or even yourself – you’re investing in yourself, you’ve got everything in black and white in front of you that gives you the confidence that it’s the right thing to do. How do I make this successful? What are the steps I need to take? What are the job roles I want to do? What’s the earning potential? Put all those questions down and ask people, and so you feel like you have the plan in front of you, and then you’re going to feel confident to take that step forward.
T.H.: And do the research. Take the time. If you see something posted, investigate the company. Make sure it’s legit before you go and buy into a program or a workshop. There’s so many that I’m always like, “Oh, Jessica, we should do this. We should go here. We should be certified with this.” They’re all very super shiny. If they’ve done their homework, they have awesome marketing. Just really take the time to look into it. Set up a call with them so you know if it’s legit or not before you put your money behind something. Definitely take notes on the stuff that Heather has said you can listen to this over and over again. You can read the transcript.
Jessica: It’s such good information. They’re such good tips. I mean, I feel like everybody that has been listening no doubt has learned an enormous amount. We definitely want to have you back. We do want to talk more about the specific programs and stuff you have. We’re out of time now. But everyone listening, Supermoms, and Heather, you are accidentally global. So this can benefit people no matter where you live around the world.
Heather: Absolutely. We’ve had people join us all over the world. 30-40% of our trainees are from the USA and Canada, as far India and Australia as well.
Heather: So we do have a global remit. We have a team in the USA and a team in EMEA as well.
Jessica: Love it. Love it. If you guys enjoyed this episode of the Divorce etc… podcast with the exEXPERTS today as much as we did, then please help us out. Because when you subscribe, rate, and review, it helps us get the word out so we can support more people like you going through divorce and beyond. Be sure to check the show notes for more info on Heather, and Supermums, and programs and course that they offer. Of course, share with anyone you know who can benefit from listening. Have a great day.