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My “Get Up” Blog for March – Getting Up after “Career Falls”

When corporate culture where he worked shifted away from Val Boston’s business philosophy, he “got up” to start his own consultant practice where he could be true to his values.

For the March blog as part of my monthly “Get Up” Blog series inspired by US Figure Skating’s “Get Up” campaign, I am featuring people getting up, not from from physical falls, but from “falls” or unexpected downturns in vocations and careers. The “Get Up” message inspires us to get up from the many different types of falls we can have in our lives just as figure skaters get up and continue after a fall on the very hard cold ice.

I have four short stories to share:


Adult figure skater Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn shared: “I moved to my current city for a job that sought me out. They had made promises that they didn’t keep, and hired someone else to share my position without telling me a week after I started. Three and a half months later they fired me with absolutely no explanation. But I “got up” and dove head first into full time freelance illustration (link to her website) and haven’t looked back. Four years later it is the best thing that could have happened to me, AND I was able to fit skating into my day. Before that, I would have to travel an hour to another rink (my current was just across the street from where I live and I could only skate weekends there) just to get some ice time after work IF I didn’t get stuck working late.


After moving internationally and discovering that her past experience was not really valued in the US, Noa Ronan had to get up and forge her own path as a coach and consultant.


A consultant I met at my local SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) chapter – Triangle SHRM here in North Carolina, Noa Ronan of Noa Ronen Coaching,, shared, “11 years ago I moved from Israel to the US. I had a fulfilling executive career as a change management consultant and HR and Training executive. But after our family relocation to the US reality hit me, neither my Israeli career experience nor my MBA from Israel was of interest in the US when I applied for jobs. I felt very lost and stuck; I didn’t want to apply for jobs that will take me back to what I did ten years ago or go in a different direction. I loved what I did and I didn’t want to let go of who I was in my past. It took me few good years to fall and fail again and again until I was able to “get up” and let go of the story I was telling myself about my “glorious” past and recreate who I want to be right here in the present. Today I am using all the skills I have acquired over my career with new ones, and I coach global leaders and people in transitions. Letting go of my past was about being present with my new reality and recreating a new future for myself.


And from a highly respected consultant who has been an invaluable mentor to me as I started my own business in 2010, Val Boston of Boston and Associates, LLC: “After 5 years with a global organization, they were sold to a much larger firm. With the acquisition came a major cultural and philosophical shift, from a service focus model to a more “bottom line” one. This change in business philosophy was in direct conflict with mine. I then I “got up” and decided to launch my own consultancy focusing on Diversity & Inclusion, and Leadership Coaching. That was 17 years ago!”


And another friend from TSHRM who is so supportive of my figure skating journey, Diane Olsen (link to her LinkedIn profile) shares her story of “getting up” multiple times: “After ten years building an amazing insurance industry career, where I climbed ladders, I turned down the ultimate promotion at a very large company. I decided to move cross country and go back to school, but soon found myself in a financial position where I needed to go back to work full time. I grabbed the first job that came along. When that company shut down, I job-jumped a few times while trying to finish my degree part-time. I had a roller coaster on my resume now.

Then it dawned on me that I created this storm. What was I going to be when I grew up? I didn’t get my answer until years later. I took a job in Raleigh as an Operations Manager for a start-up company, and I was employee number nine. Over the course of eight years, I built four other departments, was promoted to VP of Operations and HR, and was able to be a part of the buy-out of the company at the end of 2015. Each of these departments I created had information pulled from a lot of the in-between jobs I’d had in the past.

Sometimes, you are dusting yourself off without even realizing it. I have since left that job, taking a well-deserved hiatus. It’s a bit stressful being in transition, but exciting at the same time. Needless to say, I look forward to “getting up” and starting my next adventure with open arms.


Life, like the ice, can be very hard, with falls giving us a good jar. But we can rise up, persevere, and move onto something better.

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Links to all my earlier “Get Up” monthly blogs can be found on my skating blogs and videos blog page.

Career Development and Fulfillment is for EVERYONE!

I first met Anne-Lise Gere of Gere Consulting when we were both presenters at Peninsula (VA) SHRM’s annual day long conference September, 2016

I recently had a discussion with a peer consultant, Anne-Lise Gere of Gere Consulting Associates, who frequently works with clients in a traditionally low paying industry. And this low paying industry has the same talent concerns as high powered tech firms, etc. How do they prevent high turnover and how do they keep their people motivated and growing?

What an excellent question. And after pondering this I realized that all human beings have the same need and aspiration out of their vocation. In addition to making an income to live, everyone likes to enjoy what they are doing, getting a sense of satisfaction from their work, and feeling they are growing as a person. This equally applies to someone making minimum wage in what may be considered “under-appreciated” work compared to those college educated professionals making six-figure salaries.

YES! We need to stop right there. No person should ever look down at another human being and consider someone else’s job or vocation as “menial” or “less than.” We should treat the highly specialized surgeon who may be operating on us and the person giving us our meal at a fast food restaurant with the same respect. We should equally respect a health care aide making about minimum wage, often working alone in a client’s home taking on physical and emotional challenges, as much as the CEO of a large company grappling with global commerce.

Think about this – how many of us routinely interact with corporate CEOs? Very few. We all interact with people making minimum wage several times per day. Isn’t it pleasant when these people serve us with a smile because they sincerely enjoy what they are doing and want to deliver an excellent client experience?

People working in traditionally lower paying jobs are often very critical since they are in customer and client facing roles.


Here are three important points to consider for providing skills and career development and fulfillment programs for those lower wage employees:

1) More often than not, your lower wage employees are the ones in client-facing roles. An energized satisfied employee can provide excellent service to your clients so they keep returning, whereas an unhappy employee will turn clients and customers away.

2) The cost of recruiting, replacing, onboarding and training replacements for departing experienced employees can often be up to one full year of salary. Constant employee churn is very costly and can indeed impact your bottom line. For example, in home care, consultant Anne-Lise Gere estimates it to cost at least $2,500 when a caregiver leaves within 3 months, and this does not take into account the potential churn in clients dissatisfied with losing their caregiver.

3) Some of your entry level and lower wage employees have ambition and the ability to progress into management and leadership roles. Do not discount them. When doing my career development projects for my clients, I often profile mid-level managers and even senior leaders who got their start in the company in minimum wage jobs.

Indeed there is a value proposition and strong business case for engaging all employees in skills building and career development activities.

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Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer offers consulting services in diversity and career development, including its innovative “Total Engagement Career Mapping” offering for engaging employees in meaningful company-tailored career planning.

I thank Anne-Lise Gere of Gere Consulting Associates for her valuable input and insights for this blog.

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