Founder of Evacuate The Office, Jay Bahadur, explains how by using various tools and techniques to tap into the hidden job market, you can systematise the way you make a change to your career path.
Jay Bahadur of Evacuate the Office
Website: Evacuate the Office
LinkedIn: Jay Bahadur
Jay Bahadur left a lucrative career in pharmacy to disrupt the healthcare system (and travel). Waiting until retirement to do what he wanted to do just didn’t feel right. But designing a different life was overwhelming. Where do you start? How do you make a change?
Jay founded Evacuate The Office to help career-changers uncover what really excites and how to make a meaningful impact. Even if they’re not sure what they want to do or where to start. Check out his free tool, the Career Change Cheat Sheet.
What you’ll learn in this episode
- [01:16] Jay explains his job within the digital health market and the innovative products he works with.
- [03:05] Jay explains why he went into pharmacy and why he mentally checked out out of the career path.
- [03:58] How fear can keep you in a job or career that isn’t for you.
- [05:27] How being around people that follow the “deferred life plan” can make it difficult to see other options.
- [07:13] Jay discusses the point at which he realised he needed to change his path to help his mental health.
- [09:04] How mass applying for jobs can be counter-productive.
- [09:41] Taking action in your career plan and finding your work and lifestyle balance.
- [10:30] How questioning yourself can help you figure out what you want out of life.
- [12:37] How Jay worked through negative self-talk and doubts expressed by others.
- [13:41] How to change your attitude to overcome the “sunk-cost fallacy”.
- [15:36] How landing a role through mass applications encouraged Jay to work on his self-questioning.
- [16:47] How focused company and industry research can help overcome a lack of experience.
- [18:13] Informational interviewing and the benefits of connecting with people in other industries.
- [19:25] Identifying and researching the people within industries that you want to talk to.
- [19:53] Sending cold emails to industry professionals that you want to connect with and how they can benefit you in finding jobs.
- [22:18] How hyper-targeting and personalising cold emails can result in more positive responses.
- [23:41] How Jay came up with his system of cold emailing.
- [24:34] How tracking analytics can enable you to make your emails more concise and tailored.
- [26:13] Preparing for informational interviews so you can add value when following up.
- [27:11] How analysing the results of networking phone calls can open doors.
- [30:01] Jay explains how he now feels energised in his job and what the future holds in his career path.
Resources mentioned in this episode
Please note that some of these are affiliate links and we may get a small commission in the event that you make a purchase. This helps us to cover our expenses and is at no additional cost to you.
- Tim Ferris’s blog
- Jay’s blog post about the “sunk-cost fallacy”
- “If you can’t win, change the rules. If you can’t change the rules, then ignore them”, Peter Diamandis
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini
- How To Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie
To see the resources recommended by all our guests, visit the Resources page.
Episode 70: Creating a successful system to change your career path - with Jay Bahadur of Evacuate The Office
Jeremy Cline 0:00
You've started down a path. You've invested time and money in that path. But the further you go along, the more you realise that it's just not the path for you. What's more, you've realised that the path for you lies in a completely different direction. What do you do in those circumstances? That's what we talk about in today's interview. I'm Jeremy Cline, and this is Change Work Life.
Jeremy Cline 0:37
Hello, and welcome to Change Work Life, the podcast where we're all about beating the Sunday evening blues and enjoying Mondays again. This week is the next part of our Taking Action series for January 2021, and I'm joined by Jay Bahadur to give us an example of what taking action looks like. Jay switched out of a job he hated, and he's since gone on to found Evacuate The Office, where he's on a mission to help out people get paid to lead a fulfilling life. Jay, welcome to the podcast.
Jay Badahur 1:04
Thank you, Jeremy. It's so awesome to be here. I've been watching for a while, and crazy that I'm on here now as a guest.
Jeremy Cline 1:09
Thanks, that's kind of you to say. Why don't you start by telling us, aside from Evacuate The Office, what you do for a day job?
Jay Badahur 1:16
My day job is I work in sales for a digital health start-up. There's tons of them around San Francisco and New York City. Basically, I connect employer groups with really cool innovative products to improve employee health.
Jeremy Cline 1:28
Okay, so, what sort of products are you talking about here?
Jay Badahur 1:32
These are products that are in the realm of diabetes, mental health, musculoskeletal disorders - all sorts of products that innovate the landscape and reduce healthcare costs, improve employee engagement and health. Because a lot of times we find employees don't use some of these more traditional, old-fashioned benefits, especially here in the US when everything is very expensive for healthcare. One thing I really love about working for these digital health start-ups is you get to introduce a lot of really innovative stuff that shakes up the American healthcare system, because anyone in the States listening knows that our healthcare system is totally broken, super expensive. You get to deliver a lot of really cool solutions around diabetes and mental health, musculoskeletal health in a way that reduces the cost for everyone and makes it more accessible to employees all over. That's what I like about my job.
Jeremy Cline 2:19
So, these are things like digital versions of lifestyle tips, that kind of thing? Things that you can do as part of your diet, exercise to reduce diabetes?
Jay Badahur 2:29
You have it right on the head. A lot of it is health coaches and behavioural changing, but with telehealth technology, we're actually seeing that you can be connected to a clinician and a physician and a doctor without having to go to an office, and that's a game changer. And that's something that we really want to take advantage of.
Jeremy Cline 2:46
Cool. That sounds really interesting. You started out in pharmacy, and am I right that you went to college, studied pharmacy and then went into that as a career?
Jay Badahur 2:55
That is correct. I went to pharmacy school to become a pharmacist, no surprise there, and graduated with my PharmD.
Jeremy Cline 3:02
And so, what got you studying pharmacy in the first place?
Jay Badahur 3:06
I went into pharmacy for all the wrong reasons, I can tell you. I went into it for, number one, family pressure is involved with that field a lot. There's some prestige involved with the degree, as with anything in the medical field, and the other reason I went into it is for salary and salary alone. That was a really big mistake. I don't want to pretend salary and income's not important, but going into it alone was not sustainable for my own mental health.
Jeremy Cline 3:30
At what point did you start to have this realisation that getting paid for this just wasn't enough? Is this something that you were aware of as you were studying? Or was it when you started work that this really began to hit home?
Jay Badahur 3:42
I was a pharmacist, but I like to say, more appropriately, I was a pharmacy school graduate who mentally checked out halfway through that programme. While I was still studying in school, I definitely knew I didn't want to be doing this. And I was not engaged in what I was doing. What kept me there, really, was fear. I had a fear of disappointing other people, fear I was wasting my time and money. And the obvious fear for my financial future, as well. I had the ridiculous idea that if I don't do this, I'm never going to do anything and I might end up on the street. Totally hijacked by fear in that realm.
Jeremy Cline 4:15
Looking back, have you given some thought to identify where these fears were coming from?
Jay Badahur 4:21
They definitely come from some external sources, in terms of the pressure to do a certain career path, but I found it better to take responsibility for it later on. Because a lot of this was an internal roadblock, and me not thinking it was possible to live the way I wanted to live. I kind of convinced myself that, for a time, you can't be happy, that's not how life is - you have to have this large degree of suffering in your life. That sort of kept me going through the programme and just thinking, don't have ridiculous ideas about enjoying yourself too much or anything. This is adult life and this is how it has to be. Now I know that's simply not true, which I'm really happy about.
Jeremy Cline 4:58
I think this is a really common way of thinking, that people think life's not meant to be enjoyed, at least work isn't meant to be enjoyed, and you find your joy in stuff outside of work, be it family, hobbies, or whatever - or when you finally come to retire. But I'm just wondering whether there was anything specific that influenced you into that way of thinking, whether it was family expectations, or schooling or just a general societal thing?
Jay Badahur 5:28
It's a good point. I think a lot of it was, I didn't have anybody in my personal life who was doing something different. Everybody was following what I think is popularly known online as the deferred life programme, where you work for 40 something years, and then in your 60s you retire, and then you start to enjoy it. But everything before then is a grind, you work hard and you save your money. I didn't know anyone that was doing different. There's people online that are, and I would get super inspired and happy to read that stuff, but it's different when you don't personally have anyone in your life. I think that's part of what gave me that negative self-talk, that, I can't do it, I can't enjoy my life. I'm not one of those people online that can enjoy my life now rather than 40 years from now.
Jeremy Cline 6:10
You graduate with your degree and then go into pharmacy. So, how long are you working in pharmacy before you conclude, no, this really isn't working for me and you've got to make a change?
Jay Badahur 6:21
My total time in the pharmacy field was about five years, but properly, I was only doing it for a few months, because I was just completely mentally checked-out by the time I graduated, and I already started thinking about alternative pathways. Originally, I thought me doing that for a few months was a death sentence to my career, because I thought, who's gonna want to hire someone that did something for a few months? But luckily, I found if I took the right steps, did some some networking and proved that I was a valuable member of a team I wanted to be on, all that stuff is irrelevant, and they were happy to interview me and take me on.
Jeremy Cline 6:55
Talk me through that timeline in a little bit more detail. You said that it was after a few months you'd realised that you needed to start doing other things, but that you were working as a pharmacist for five years. So, what were you doing from a few months in for the rest of that period?
Jay Badahur 7:13
I was actually a pharmacy intern for five years in all kinds of different settings, retail settings, when you count the pills, people pick it up, hospital settings - all of that never really interested me personally. I found it to be quite monotonous. And I was constantly thinking about the clock and constantly thinking about, when can I get out of here? And then I started to realise, after I graduated, that there's nothing else after this. I got my degree, there's nothing to look forward to in terms of graduating further. It's just going to be this for 40 years. I'm going to spend the bulk of my day, 8 to 12 hours a day, just thinking about the clock, thinking about how much I don't want to be here and I'd rather be outside or doing something else. And it really took a toll on my mental health. And that was when I decided I needed to be serious about pursuing some of the alternative paths I might have daydreamed about in the past.
Jeremy Cline 8:01
Let's dig into that. When do you first make this decision that you are going to start looking at other paths?
Jay Badahur 8:09
Interestingly, I made this decision a little bit before I graduated, and I decided to work in the pharmacy field for a few months after I graduated just for consistency's sake, just to use the skills that I had. I don't want to lie, I also did it partially for family pressure, to appease that aspect of things. But it was pretty quickly in that I knew this is not a sustainable way for me to live, mentally. And I needed to do more than just daydream about alternative paths, I need to research and validate, and make sure I can actually do some of these things. And that's how I ended up finding my way into digital health sales.
Jeremy Cline 8:44
At the start of the process - you don't want to do this for 40 years, you need to find an alternative career path - what are some of the first two or three actions that you take? I guess the first thing you'd have had to do was work out what was out there, what was available and what might suit you?
Jay Badahur 9:03
Yeah, definitely. The first step I took was the wrong step. And one of my mistakes was I just mass applied online to many things in sales. That's not a productive way to go about it. You can land things by doing that, but what you'll find more often than not is, what you find in that process will not be fulfilling for you in the long term. And you'll once again find yourself looking for something else. There's two main reasons that I wanted to get out. I realised pharmacy was not letting me live the lifestyle I wanted to live, and it wasn't letting me make the specific impact I wanted to make. So, I spent tons of time in college taking walks, daydreaming about alternative paths, but what I decided to do was finally take action and really write down some of these things and make sure I was asking the right questions. So, I asked myself, what kind of lifestyle do I want to live? How much money do I need to make that happen? And what kind of an impact do I want to make? The perfect balance for me happened to be this digital health space, because I have a lot of flexibility to go on trips and travel, which I like to. I get to help make changes in the healthcare system, which makes me super happy. So, that's the beginning of that process - started thinking about lifestyle, and also the impact I want to make.
Jeremy Cline 10:12
When it came to asking yourself these questions, did you just have a go at working out what questions to ask yourself, or were you looking at self-help books or career coaches or whatever to help you know what questions to ask?
Jay Badahur 10:29
Good question. So, in the beginning, I just started asking myself questions, and then deeper and deeper questions, which I had never done before in my life. I just went along with flow. For the first time, I started asking some questions. What do I want out of life? And I knew I needed to say more than just the basic answer of paying the bills. That was kind of my default answer, but it wasn't the truth. So, I needed to dig deeper. I just didn't want to admit that. I started thinking about that and I realised, you know what, I want to travel more. I don't want to wait until I'm 62 years old to do that. Then I started thinking, what kind of impact do I really want to make, beyond just enriching my own bank account and making sure the bills are paid? I said, I don't want to maintain the status quo in healthcare, I want to be a part of some change, because I knew there were some cool companies doing some cool things. From there, I got deeper and I said, okay, so I know what I want to do and what I want my life to look like. What kind of jobs will let me live that life and not just show up and with a monotonous routine? Then I started thinking, do I have the skills? Can I learn them? How can I learn them? I really drove myself crazy asking questions. But eventually I did systematise the process and make it a lot more streamlined.
Jeremy Cline 11:33
As you were going through this process of asking yourself all these questions, was this all something that you were doing yourself? Or were you discussing it with anybody? Did anyone else know what was going on in your head at the time?
Jay Badahur 11:45
In the beginning, I was all by my lonesome. I might have been reading some blogs, I definitely checked out the Tim Ferriss blog for some inspiration on questions I could ask myself, but when I got further down the process, I started talking to friends about it. And that's because I was getting excited about it. When I stopped just mass applying online, just trying to throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks, asking these questions actually made me really excited for the future for the first time in a long time. And that's what made me want to tell my friends about it and tell them what I was doing and what I was thinking about doing. I definitely talked their ears off about the fact that I was thinking about changing careers, and they were super supportive about it, which is awesome. I have the best friends in the world.
Jeremy Cline 12:24
Were there any of them going, 'Come on, Jay, you are in a great position here. You're in a fine profession, pharmacy is something that's going to, people are always going to need medication,' that kind of thing. Was anyone saying, 'What are you doing?'
Jay Badahur 12:37
Yes, on the family side for sure. I definitely heard that one before, that people are always going to need their medicine. What are you doing, you're wasting your time. I definitely had some friends also, maybe one or two friends I could think of that were not dismissive of what I was doing, but thought I was just crazy - pharmacy pays so well, you could have everything you want, why would you want to make a move like this and 'throw it all away'? And when that came up, I did start to doubt myself a little bit, and think, maybe they're right, maybe I need to just do what I went to college for. And it went back to that negative self-talk, that maybe life isn't really that enjoyable. Maybe it really is just that grind for 40 years. But something in me told me to persist and stick it out, give it an honest shot. And I'm so happy I did, because it wasn't that long before it worked out. It was a few months.
Jeremy Cline 13:24
And I guess another aspect of that is that you had invested both time and presumably money in this education. And there's the sunk costs fallacy, where you've spent so much time doing this and spent so much money doing it that you kind of feel obliged to carry on doing it.
Jay Badahur 13:41
Yes. And it's weird you bring that up, because I actually wrote a whole article about the sunk cost fallacy. That kept me at bay for a while, because I was thinking about that. I spent six years getting this degree, there was the tuition money involved. Then when I got really in a bad mental health space, I decided to flip that on its head because I was just so desperate for alternatives. When I flipped the sunk cost fallacy on its head, I realised the real sunk cost here would be if I spent the next 40 years of my life unwisely, just because I spent the last six years doing something I'm not fond of. That would be a real tragedy and a real sunk cost. Sure, I did something I'm not crazy about for six years, but that doesn't mean I should waste the next 40. And that attitude changed my life in a lot of different ways. I always try to do that now. Whenever I think hey, I sunk a bunch of time or money into this, but I'm not happy doing it, I try to flip the sunk cost fallacy on its head and see the other half, if that makes sense.
Jeremy Cline 14:36
That makes perfect sense. And I think that's a great way of looking at it. So, yes, you've spent six years of your life or whatever, doing this thing, but there's still another 40 plus years. So, do you really want to stay respectively digging that same hole? So, yeah, that makes complete sense.
Jay Badahur 14:53
My opinion is that life is long. Six out of the however many years I'll be alive, doesn't mean I have to make the rest of it a mistake as well.
Jeremy Cline 15:02
As you were going through this process and painting this picture of what you wanted life to look like - you wanted to travel, you wanted to make more of an impact. How did you match this to what you're doing now, the digital health sales? Were you aware of digital health sales as an area and then you started to realise that it matched up to that? Or was it something that kind of came out completely left field, it wasn't something that you knew anything about it? How did you discover that this was your match?
Jay Badahur 15:37
When I was in pharmacy, I actually became aware of digital health companies pretty late on, and that's when I started paying attention to industry news and started seeing some companies that were disrupting the US healthcare system, which - everyone in healthcare in this country knows we're desperately in need of some disrupting. So, that's when I became aware of some of those companies, started researching them. But before I landed in digital health, I actually made a mistake and landed a sales job in a different industry, an industry I wasn't fond of. And I got that job by making the classic mistake of mass applying to a bunch of different jobs with the same resume. When I got there, I found myself looking for another job within four months, because it didn't match up with the life I wanted to live, it wasn't helping me make the impact I wanted to make. It was just a change for the sake of change. And that's when I decided to really systematise this process and get serious about the questions, which is what landed me to digital health, which I have been doing for a while now.
Jeremy Cline 16:32
Before you were applying for sales jobs, were you were able to apply for sales jobs and get a sales job, albeit one that you didn't like doing, without having had any previous sales experience, or was this something where you had already built up a bit of experience?
Jay Badahur 16:48
That is a very good question. When I got into it, I had no experience. Basically, I just made my own experience, which is something I love telling people to do. So, I reached out to a hiring manager at a company that accepted my application, was interested in interviewing me. And they said, 'You have a very interesting background, but why this job?' So, in order to prove the skills, I actually wrote up some sequences and some strategies I might employ if I were to be hired there. And I'm pretty sure that's what got me hired. Came to the interview, we got along at a personal level, showed them some of the work I came up with, and I think that helped ease their fear that my lack of experience would be a problem. I love telling people to do that now, to just create experience, if you don't have it.
Jeremy Cline 17:28
To paraphrase, if I've understood this correctly, you couldn't go in and say, 'I've had this number of years' experience in sales in this company, here are the figures I achieved', that kind of thing. But instead, you could go in and say, 'This is how I would approach this job, this is my business plan', if you like. And that was what they liked.
Jay Badahur 17:48
Absolutely. I researched the company, the industry, pretty in depth in preparation for my interview when I came in, and I had some stuff printed out, including some work I had done. And I think that's why it wasn't a problem that I didn't have quotas or figures or revenue numbers.
Jeremy Cline 18:01
How did you go about putting all this together? How did you get this creating your own experience when you had no experience in that area? How did you know, did you know what was going to work?
Jay Badahur 18:13
The key to this is research, and honestly in that case, I didn't know what was going to work. But the next time around when I was moving from that sales job into digital health, I did know what was going to work. And I did that with some informational interviewing. Basically, I connected with people from companies that I thought were interesting and cold emailed them really politely, but cold emailed them, it works. And I got them on the phone, just did a little informational interview. Learned about where the company's going, plans for the future and what some of the challenges are. And by learning that, I was able to bring value to those interviews and those conversations. And that actually got me a referral to have a formal interview and then eventually get hired. So, when you do that networking and informational interviewing, that's how you can be sure, and not just hope you're doing the right things. And of course, the key is tons and tons of research.
Jeremy Cline 19:02
I'm dying to go into this process in a bit more detail. So, first step I guess is that you identify the kind of industry that you want to work with, and a number of companies that you might want to work for in that area. In terms of finding the people to reach out to, you were using things like company websites, LinkedIn, that sort of thing?
Jay Badahur 19:26
LinkedIn was my saviour for that, because you can go to the People section and you can search by team. So, in my case, I was searching for the sales team. And that way, you get rid of the possibility that different companies use different titles for essentially the same job. So, in sales, sometimes they call them account managers or business development. I got rid of that mystery by just typing in sales. And it showed me everybody in sales. And that's how I found the person that eventually became my direct manager.
Jeremy Cline 19:50
And what was your cold email, what did it say?
Jay Badahur 19:54
It was very polite and just no pressure. I started off just by saying, 'Hey, I'm Jay. I work at this company. I'm really interested in this space, I would love to be able to ask you a couple questions about your experience. If you don't have time, I understand. But I'd be super grateful for just a couple minutes of your time.' That's pretty much it, and just filled in some personal details about the company, just to prove that I did the research and I knew who I was reaching out to. That's it.
Jeremy Cline 20:20
Did you give any kind of an explanation in your email why you wanted this information?
Jay Badahur 20:25
Yes, good point - I did mention I was looking to transition from what I was doing into digital health sales. That way, it wasn't strange that I wanted to get on the phone and ask a couple questions to my future manager.
Jeremy Cline 20:38
Okay, so, you really were just upfront saying, hey, you work for a company in an industry I'm interested in, would you have time to spend a bit of time to talk to me about that industry?
Jay Badahur 20:51
Definitely. Yep. Cold emailing works if you're just polite and upfront, and have no shady motives. People tend to answer.
Jeremy Cline 20:58
What was your success rate?
Jay Badahur 20:59
So, I did that for both digital health jobs I've had in the industry - worked out both times, got them on the phone, built a relationship before I even applied online. And it was awesome. It took away the stress of just sending your resume into the black hole and waiting for somebody to come back and the automated thank you email from HR. I didn't have to deal with any of that until after I spoke to a real person. And that felt so good, knowing that somebody was pushing this through and there was somebody I could reach out to check on status.
Jeremy Cline 21:25
How many emails did you send out compared with how many got back to you and say, sure, I'd love to chat?
Jay Badahur 21:32
The first round when I was looking for digital health work, I sent out five. And four of those people got back to me, and I talked to them. The fifth person I followed up with a couple times, no response, and just said, okay, not interested - no problem. Following up is important. But four of those five people got on the phone, that's actually how I was able to find out that some of those companies maybe weren't the best fit for me. So, I thanked them for their time, moved it on, narrowed it down, and eventually landed a job in the diabetes space that was really, really rewarding, because I have a family history of that stuff. So, really cool company to work for.
Jeremy Cline 22:05
Four out of five sounds like an unbelievable hit rate, to be honest. I thought you were gonna say, I sent out 50 emails and got five replies or something like that! Four out of five - were you surprised at the number of positive responses you got?
Jay Badahur 22:19
Yes. And it took a few days. And I did get discouraged at first - I said, it's been two days, nobody's answering me. But these people did get back to me, and I think the reason the hit rate is high, is because I was hyper-targeting. This wasn't a generic canned thing I sent out to 50 people. And if I did that, then I would hope for one or two responses, but I took the time to personalise each email, make a subject line that I knew would catch their attention. And I think that's why I was able to get that high hit rate. I was just being personal with it and focusing on a couple of people.
Jeremy Cline 22:50
What was your subject line, out of interest?
Jay Badahur 22:52
A lot of times, I would just thank them for something or say 'quick question' - thanking somebody for something is really cool if they have work that you enjoyed. So, some of these folks would have an article published or a blog post published. I would read it, get some value out of it, and I would thank them for it and say, hey, I sent this to my mother - which is true, especially in the diabetes space. My mother has type two diabetes, sent some blog posts from that company her way and I was able to thank them for it. If I can't do something like that, I will just say 'Quick question, John', 'Quick question, Mike'. People don't mind answering a quick question. So, that's where the open rates are coming from.
Jeremy Cline 23:26
And in terms of this approach, because I love this approach of starting out in your email thanking someone for something - not many people are going to think of this. Is this something that you just figured out yourself, or was this something that you'd seen someone else do?
Jay Badahur 23:43
This is something I compiled from researching cold email outreaches, actually. I compiled a bunch of different ones. I actually tried a few different ones before I got serious with it. And in the beginning, I did try more of a mass approach, where I was trying some of these templates I found online, and realising it wasn't working. So, I used multiple templates to make my own, and I found my favourite one was trying to thank somebody whenever possible. And that extends way beyond cold email. I've tried to develop a life attitude of being grateful. It's just so positive for my mental health. But I think that really spreads to other people when you send an email like that, even if they don't know you yet. I feel like that's why those thank-you emails get replies.
Jeremy Cline 24:21
That's absolutely fascinating. How did you go about collating all this? You said this has been through a few different iterations. How do you organise the responses and analyse what works and what doesn't work?
Jay Badahur 24:35
Yeah, I love analysing stuff. A big part of my job is to be involved with the marketing team. So, I love analysing data. I can tell you the first cold email I ever sent to anybody, even though it was meant to be from me to him, he emailed me back in five minutes and said, 'Take me off your list'. I put that into a document and I said, this one is bad. Don't ever use this again. And I started tracking my open rates, and if I got any kind of reply I would put that in a doc. And that really help me boil down what was working and what wasn't. I used to send a lot longer, more wordy stuff that sounded more like a sales pitch. 'Oh, I know this, I can do this for you, yada, yada, yada, please get on the phone with me' - that wasn't working. Eventually I boiled it down to a simple 'Thank you for publishing this piece, I really enjoyed it. I'm looking to get into X, Y, and Z, would love to pick your brain since you've been doing this for a while. If you have 10 minutes next week, that would be fantastic. If not, I understand, but would be super grateful for your time. Thank you.' Nice and simple.
Jeremy Cline 25:27
And when you finally got to speak to people, were you trying to arrange these in person, or did it tend to be over the phone or video call or whatever?
Jay Badahur 25:37
These tended to be phone calls. And that's because these digital health companies are pretty distributed. You have folks in San Francisco, Denver, New York. We tend to be all over the country in this field, because we travel, during non-COVID times. So, those were phone calls.
Jeremy Cline 25:52
And so these calls are important for two reasons, one is that they are to help you get the information that you need to work out whether this is the right sort of company that you work for in the right sort of area, but also to develop the connection and building up the network with these people. So, what preparation were you doing for these calls before you got on the phone?
Jay Badahur 26:15
That's exactly it, these calls help you build a real relationship. And some of these folks I'm still in touch with, as well. The preparation I was doing was to make sure I showed up with really great questions to ask and not wasting their time. Really asking them about their experience, asking them about industry specific stuff, company specific stuff, referencing company news, you can find all this just by googling it. And then asking about their team's challenges, which is where I want to come in and provide some value on a follow-up email or follow-up phone call saying, hey, I was thinking about that thing you told me about that you were struggling with. I have a couple ideas, do you like any of them? And adding value makes your resume - I don't want to say irrelevant, but it makes it a lot less significant if you don't have the right experience or if you're coming in from a different field.
Jeremy Cline 27:00
And then when you've had the conversations - I can tell you're a very analytical person - what sort of analysis do you do afterwards to work out what the next step is?
Jay Badahur 27:12
Next step is to use whatever I learned in that call about the company and the challenges to just research the problem. So, I can tell you, I had one person saying, 'Our team is very small, we're having trouble attracting new business.' So, one thing I did is I crafted an email sequence that I thought they might use to create new business. Sales manager liked it on gut instinct, and said, 'This is really cool, I want to pass you along to our co-founder.' Ended up interviewing with him, passed on to a formal application and interview process, and I was able to get hired at a digital health company with no practical digital health sales experience.
Jeremy Cline 27:51
And presumably, they weren't necessarily advertising either. You just said, 'Hey, I can do this' and they thought, okay, yeah, we could use this.
Jay Badahur 27:58
I actually found them on a site called AngelList. And they didn't have a job posting open, but I decided to just find a person on there, reach out on LinkedIn, and try and build that connection, because they said they were growing and I went in on that. Maybe there's different ways I want to come up with now to find out who's hiring, who's not. But that was the way I did it back then.
Jeremy Cline 28:18
And how much crossover is there between what you do now and your old career in pharmacy? Okay, they're both in the health space. But is that where the similarity ends? Or are there things that you've been able to draw on from your pharmacy background that have helped you in this career?
Jay Badahur 28:35
Yeah, to be honest, the word health is about where the similarity ends. One advantage I do have with the clinical background is when I go through trainings and stuff, I actually just breeze through the disease states and everything like that, because I've learned it already. But other than that, in my role, I don't need to have in-depth understanding of clinical problems. I'm trying to sell and market here, so it's more about building relationships with other people and convincing people of the benefits and value of these products. I would say there's almost no similarity, I just have a couple advantages on trainings.
Jeremy Cline 29:04
Okay, and so, how long have you been in your current position?
Jay Badahur 29:07
My current position is actually pretty new. I've been in this one for five months, but I've been in the digital health space for over a year. In both jobs, there's a lot of parallels that I love. I get to work less than 40 hours a week because I try to be efficient with my time, try to automate things wherever possible. And I've actually found myself making the same salary I would in pharmacy. I'm making basically the same salary as some of my old classmates, and to be quite frank, I'm making more than some of them. And that's because there's a saturation problem in pharmacy, the full-time hours just aren't there, especially on the East Coast, where I am. So, people are working 15-20 hours a week and not making the salary they were promised, which is a shame. But yeah, I love that I get to be efficient with my time, get rewarded for performance, and then get to call it a day when I'm done.
Jeremy Cline 29:54
Having had this year's experience, are you still convinced that this is where you should be, this is the right area for you?
Jay Badahur 30:02
Yes. For the first time in my life, I feel like I need to go full throttle on this. I like what I'm doing. I love where I am. I love everything about it. And I've never had that feeling before. I always felt like, I'm just going through this, just putting up with this to get to something better. Let me get this over with. I don't feel like that anymore. I don't feel like I'm getting anything over with. I love getting to work every day, talking to my co-workers and doing the work that I do.
Jeremy Cline 30:25
Where do you see this taking you? I'm certain, having had this conversation, that you've got a good idea what you think you'd like things to look like in a year's time, in five years' time. So, talk to me a bit about what your future plans are.
Jay Badahur 30:40
I actually had a recent conversation with my manager. In a year's time, I'm looking at a team lead role, which I'm excited about. Five years' time, I'm looking at some kind of a managerial role, managing a team. And that really excites me, because I had some cool mentors in this digital health space. And I would love to be a mentor for other people coming into it as well.
Jeremy Cline 30:58
Do you ever see yourself going the entrepreneurial route in the digital health space, starting your own thing?
Jay Badahur 31:05
I've started to bounce that around my head. Right now it's just a thought, I don't have the knowledge yet to know where I can benefit people in the space, where I can contribute and make things better. But as I get more experienced in this space, I'll talk to people, I'm going to be looking out for that. And who knows, maybe one day if I can find the right clinicians and data scientists, maybe I'll have a good idea.
Jeremy Cline 31:25
And I mentioned that you founded this website, Evacuate The Office. Can you tell me a little bit more about what that is and who it's for and how you're trying to help people with that?
Jay Badahur 31:34
Yeah, sure. I founded ETO because I finally systematised my process for changing careers, not only in terms of finding the jobs and landing the jobs, but thinking deeply about what I want to be doing and what I want my life to look like. And I realised that for a lot of people, that dream job is not necessarily doing your mission every day - it could be creating more time for yourself, more flexibility. And people seem to feel really stuck - from talking to people I know and reading online, it seems like people feel ripped away from doing what they were meant to do. They feel so bogged down in their routine, but they don't know how to get out of it. It just feels endless. And I wanted to systematise my process and share it with people, and that was really the inspiration for starting that blog.
Jeremy Cline 32:18
And so, if people go and have a look at Evacuate The Office, what will they find, and how will it help them?
Jay Badahur 32:25
They can find my free tool, the Career Change Cheat Sheet, which was pretty popular on Reddit. And it walks you through the process to figure out what kind of lifestyle you want to live, the impact you want to make, what can you realistically do now, And it also helps you validate your idea, there's a built-in mechanism in there.
Jeremy Cline 32:42
That sounds like an extremely valuable tool. And where's Evacuate The Office going to take you? I mean, is this something where you just want to put this out there to help people? Or do you see this becoming more of a side hustle, maybe more of a side business?
Jay Badahur 32:57
I'd like to make it a side hustle, spend some time every week, maybe coaching some folks. I think that would be cool. Right now, I'm just working on creating content, sharing stuff and getting the word out there.
Jeremy Cline 33:08
I don't think there are many people who, even if they have successfully gone through this kind of process, would necessarily think to share stuff out there and help people, all whilst doing the job that you love. I think that's fantastic. You mentioned that you looked at Tim Ferriss's blog, and things like that. What other stuff have you found that's helped you through this journey? What other resources have you drawn on to help you with your own transition?
Jay Badahur 33:34
Normally, I'm not a fan of quotes. I find them to be pretty cheesy. But there's one quote I loved from Tim Ferriss's blog, that I think helped push me through my career change when I was feeling discouraged. Somewhere on his blog, it says, 'If you can't win the game, then change the rules. And if you can't change the rules, then ignore them.' A book that I think everyone should read that changed my life was Influence by Robert Cialdini. It's really a marketing book from 1984, but I used the principles in that book not only in my job, but to build these networks, to cold email these people, to get them on the phone and to build these networks. I think anybody can benefit from it.
Jeremy Cline 34:13
And I can second that, I read that book some time ago. And it bears rereading. It's a fantastic book. And it's one of these ones, you said it's from the 80s, but I think the principles just continue on. It's like How to Win Friends and Influence People, which I think is even older. But again, the principles just keep on applying.
Jay Badahur 34:31
That's an excellent book as well, I just find Cialdini a little bit easier because the language is more modern and updated.
Jeremy Cline 34:36
I think the thing about Influence is - my recollection of it - it's presented as your kind of armour to stop people influencing you. So, it's how you spot when people are trying to influence you and what you can do about it.
Jay Badahur 34:51
That's true. It's not just about influencing other people, it's about protecting yourself from bogus commercials and shady salespeople selling you used cars or something. Yeah, it's an excellent book for anyone to read.
Jeremy Cline 35:01
Excellent. And if people want to get hold of you, how's the best way that they can do that?
Jay Badahur 35:06
Best way is to check out my website, evacuatetheoffice.com. I'm also always available at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm going to work on getting my own domain email soon. But right now, shoot me an email. I'll read it and reply.
Jeremy Cline 35:20
Awesome. I'll put links to all of that in the show notes. Jay, I've actually loved hearing your story. I think this is brilliant, the approach that you've taken. So, thank you so much for your time.
Jay Badahur 35:29
Jeremy, thank you for having me on this podcast after listening to it for a few months. So awesome to be on it.
Jeremy Cline 35:34
Thank you very much. That's really good to say.
Jay Badahur 35:36
Thank you, Jeremy.
Jeremy Cline 35:37
Okay, hope you enjoyed the interview with Jay Bahadur. I really enjoyed interviewing Jay. He's such a humble guy, quite quiet, but the system that he's created and the ideas he was suggesting were, I thought, absolute gold dust. To some people, they might seem obvious, but to a lot of people, they're not going to be obvious at all. And I think what Jay has actually been doing is really quite innovative. Some of you will have heard of the idea of the hidden job market. So, the job market that isn't adverts on recruitment boards or on company websites. Just because a company isn't advertising that it's recruiting doesn't mean that it isn't, and Jay's found a great way of tapping into that hidden job market and finding the opportunities - of reaching out to people to see whether there's a position available for him. I also love the way that through trial and error, he discovered that the way to get people to take notice of his emails was through expressions of gratitude. He started by thanking people for a particular piece of content they'd written or whatever it might be. That's clearly an approach which has worked for him. So, maybe it's worth trying.
Jeremy Cline 36:45
There's detailed show notes with a summary of everything we talked about, and links to where you can get a hold of Jay and the resources he mentioned, you'll find them at the Change Work Life website, that's changeworklife.com/70. Jay's methodologies for changing career completely and finding jobs in this new area is something that's really worth sharing. So, I'd love it if you share this episode to your contacts, across social media, wherever you've got connections with other people. You'll find on the show notes page for this episode links where you can share this episode on places like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. And also, there's links on my website to my Facebook page, my Instagram page and my Twitter profile. And I usually post details of my episodes on all three of those. So, feel free to retweet or share or whatever you do on Instagram. There's definitely more people who need to hear about Jay's approach to finding a new job. We'll continue Take Action January with another great interview next week and I can't wait to see you then. Cheers. Bye.
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