Unveiling the Secrets of Leadership, Purpose, and Career Changes | Greg Martin

EP149 Greg Martin square (1)

How Can Leadership Define Your Career Path?

Today’s guest on the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast is Greg Martin who is an investment banker, angel investor, entrepreneur, and host of the Lifetime and Work podcast. His podcast is all about exploring careers and the pains, struggles, and fulfillment they can bring. In this episode, Greg shares his journey from pursuing success in investment banking to finding fulfillment in his work.

Here is what we covered in this podcast:

  • Greg’s definition of leadership
  • Greg’s journey to finding purpose
  • Making a big career change  
  • Defining success 
  • Leadership and clarity
  • Layoffs as opportunities
  • The importance of non-technical skills
  • The significance of working with great people
  • Exploring different career paths

If you’re interested in unveiling the hidden secrets of leadership, discovering your true purpose, and navigating career changes, this episode is a must-listen!


As the host of the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast, I recently had the pleasure of engaging in a thought-provoking conversation with Greg Martin, an investment banker, angel investor, entrepreneur, and host of the Lifetime and Work podcast. Our discussion revolved around leadership, purpose, and making career changes. I’m excited to share the insights we gleaned from our conversation.

The Definition of Leadership
Greg’s diverse background in investment banking, angel investing, and entrepreneurship has given him a unique perspective on leadership. He believes that leadership is about understanding the mission of a room or meeting and taking action to achieve that mission. It’s not about being the loudest or most authoritative person in the room, but rather someone who can effectively guide and contribute to the group. This resonated with me as it aligns with my own experiences in the restaurant business where the challenges and rewards are often intertwined.

Finding Purpose and Fulfillment in Work
Our conversation then transitioned into discussing purpose, fulfillment, and personal growth. Greg shared his journey from initially pursuing success and money in investment banking to realizing the importance of enjoying his work and finding purpose in his daily tasks. He emphasized the significance of living in the present and the courage it took to transition from his secure job in investment banking to starting his own food and restaurant business.

Embracing Fear and Change
Greg’s story is a testament to the importance of listening to one’s heart and soul when it comes to making career changes and pursuing big dreams. He admitted that he was terrified of leaving his secure job and not knowing what the future held, but he couldn’t ignore the persistent thoughts and desire for a new challenge. This is a powerful reminder that fear can often be a sign of growth and opportunity.

Redefining Success
When it comes to starting a business, Greg believes that success should be defined based on what an individual wants to get out of their business. He emphasized the importance of being honest with oneself and understanding personal motivations and desires. Initially, he wanted financial success and to be busy all the time, but later realized that he wanted to have influence, make decisions, and help businesses grow. This is a valuable lesson for all leaders – to lead with clarity and define the goals and direction for their team.

Layoffs as Opportunities
Greg shared his personal experience of being laid off and how it can be a chance to explore new possibilities, start a business, travel, or learn new skills. He encourages people to see layoffs as opportunities rather than setbacks and to make the most of the time off. This is a perspective that I wholeheartedly agree with – when faced with a layoff, it’s important to stay calm, create a plan of action, and seize the opportunity for growth.

The Importance of Non-Technical Skills
Greg also emphasized the importance of non-technical skills in a job such as communication, teamwork, and leadership. He believes that these skills are what make a job good or bad rather than the specific industry or field. This aligns with my own belief that working with great people and having a supportive leader are crucial for a fulfilling career.

The MBA Debate
When discussing whether people should pursue an MBA or a master’s degree, Greg suggests that more experience is generally better. He acknowledges the benefits of an MBA, such as the opportunity for career reset and building a strong network. However, he also highlights the high cost and the importance of having a clear direction before committing to such a program.

Final Nuggets of Wisdom
In closing, Greg reflected on the common mindset of dreading Fridays and looking forward to retirement emphasizing that it’s important to find fulfillment in your job and view your career as a journey. He encourages listeners to explore different opportunities and not settle for unhappiness in their work. I couldn’t agree more – life is like a dim sum restaurant full of opportunities that we can choose to accept or decline.

I encourage you to check out Greg’s podcast, Lifetime at Work, where he interviews guests who share their unique perspectives and stories about finding purpose in their careers. And, remember, the journey to finding fulfillment and purpose in one’s career is a journey worth taking.

Mentioned in this episode:


Greg Martin:  If you are unhappy in any respect of your job, then you really do need to kind of go out there and explore because there is a lot out there. And, if you’re sort of miserable and looking forward and just saying, “Hey, I’m going to retire in twenty years, or when I reach 65, and that’s when my life is going to begin.” It’s just the wrong way to think about it. I think. Really, what you need to do is figure out and, you know, what it is. Your career is a journey as your life is a journey. And, you know, it’s super important. And, you know, the key is enjoying that journey, what you’re doing.

Voiceover: This is the Build A Vibrant Culture Podcast, your source for the strategies, systems, and insights you need to turn your dreams into your destiny. Every week, we dive into dynamic conversations as our host, Nicole Greer, interviews leadership and business experts. They’re here to shed light on practical solutions to the challenges of personal and professional development. Now, here’s your host, a professional speaker, coach, and consultant, Nicole Greer.

Nicole Greer: Welcome everyone to the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast. My name is Nicole Greer and they call me The Vibrant Coach. I have got a fantastic guest lined up for you today on the podcast. His name is Greg Martin. He’s an investment banker, angel investor, entrepreneur, and regular host of a career podcast about the world of work and business. His day job involves advising corporate clients and business owners as they relentlessly, don’t we know that, relentlessly, that’s how you got to act, pursue growth at all costs to earn the next million dollars. Working on Bay Street, which some of you may not know is the Wall Street of Canada, Greg is surrounded by high achieving professionals across law, accounting, venture capital, private equity, and the big banks who work eighty plus hours a week to serve their clients. But at what cost to them? Oh, they don’t get any time to have fun, do they, Greg? As the host of the Lifetime and Work podcast, Greg is on a mission to explore the world of work, the ups and downs behind taking big risks, and the payoffs that come with it. Through his diverse work background, Greg brings a unique perspective that emphasizes the importance of purpose. Oh, I love that. Fulfillment and personal growth. Yes. What is your why? Are you on a mission people? As a food guy at heart, What?? His first time as co-founder of running a restaurant, catering, and food e-commerce business during the pandemic was a big lesson in understanding the modern working world and today’s American dream. We have so much in common greg. Welcome to the show!

Greg: Thank you very much, Nicole. Glad to be on. 

Nicole: Oh, I’m so glad that you’re here. I started out in the restaurant business. So I totally, totally get it. Yes, I did the Baskin Robbins. And then I did the Applebee’s. I did all the things. And, so, I totally get that whole thing. I was raised by a guy, uh, my dad,, his name was Richard, but they called him Dickie. And he was the food and beverage director for beautiful country clubs for a long time. So, even when I was not legal to work, I was working in the restaurant. 

Greg: It’s in your blood. 

Nicole: Absolutely. Absolutely. And you know, it’s a love-hate relationship, you know, I mean, I love it when everything’s going great and then you get one crazy customer and it’s all over. But, anyway, I’m so glad that you’re on the show. So, Greg, I am collecting definitions of leadership. What’s your definition? 

Greg: Yeah. Like I said, I was thinking, I knew you were going to ask this. I was thinking of ways to approach it. But I, you know, my thought on, on sort of leadership is that no matter what situation you’re in, any room has a leader. There can be you and one other person, there can be twenty people, it can be your whole organization, you know, your whole thousand person organization, but there’s always a leader and the way I sort of think about, you know, who the leader is, is the person who sort of understands the mission of that room and of that meeting, whatever it is, and then puts into action those things that you need to do to achieve that mission. And, I just sort of feel like, in any situation, that is the leader, that’s who you want to be. It doesn’t always mean it. Talking the most or or standing up there and, yeah, speaking the loudest or with the most authority a lot of times is just, you know, saying that right thing and whoever you are trying to be if you’re trying to be that leader in that room., I think there are ways you can sort of take yourself from, “Hey, I’m just someone listening to this conversation” to sort of understand, hey, here’s what’s going on, and then quickly become a leader. And so, to me, that’s that, you know, that’s what I think of when I think of just that pure word leader. 

Nicole: Yeah, That’s fantastic. That’s a great definition. Yeah, we’re gonna put all these definitions together. We’re gonna figure out what we come with. It’s our little way of doing some research. So, I love what you’re talking about. In your bio, I loved what you said about, uh, you have to have purpose, fulfillment, and personal growth. I love those three things so much. What’s your purpose? Do you know what your purpose is in life? What are you? What are you doing with your life? Greg Martin, tell us a little bit about purpose, fulfillment, and personal growth. 

Greg: Yeah. I mean, the challenge when you ask someone who has it in their bio is they have a very long answer. There’s a lot to it. 

Nicole: Oh, that’s fine!

Greg: Honestly, you know, my story and where I sort of started and to where I am today really comes down to thinking about that. I mean, when I finished school and started doing business I figured I, you know, I’ll take a job I can get. I was in investment banking and I didn’t really think about purpose or what I was trying to do. I was just trying to be, you know, successful and, you know, quoting that, whatever that means. And I think it was just, hey, let’s make money. Let’s have people like me. Let me get promoted. Let me do it. And, you know, over time, I mean, I initially had thought I would be in investment banking for, you know, one or two years. The hours are crazy. It’s, you know, 80, 100, 120 hours a week, like as many hours as you can work, you can fit into a week they do.

And, you know, what my thought was, I’ll do that for a couple years and then go and do something else. What I found was I sort of hit the ten year mark of being in investment banking. I was still there and had this thought of, like, what am I doing here? What is my purpose? What, you know, what am I trying to achieve?
That’s what led to that whole sort of restaurant thing of trying to figure that out. And, I think, you know, through all that,  what I realized is that there was, you know, kind of these elements of things that I liked doing and, for me, putting them together was the core. It’s honestly a lot simpler when I really go back to it, a lot simpler than what I thought I was trying to achieve. I think I had spent a lot of my career trying to achieve something that people would look at and think I was successful. And, I think really it’s me, like, do I, and it comes down to do I enjoy my day? Like my work day and am I doing something that’s challenging and rewarding that the next task is always more challenging and always more rewarding. And as long as I put myself in that situation, I could be kind of doing anything and feel purposeful and fulfilled. I don’t have this thing like, hey, in twenty years, I want to achieve this or that. I realized that’s not good for me. It’s not sort of what I need. It’s really like, hey, today is your life today. Today is now. Worry about where you are now and what you’re doing. And, so that to me is kind of how I’ve framed purpose. 

Nicole: I love it. Yeah. So, this is what he said, everybody. I took some quick notes and I always like to give people the, like, the cliff notes I’m taking. So, you know, you said, if you have purpose, you know, because you have joy and I couldn’t agree more. I mean, like, if you’re having a good time doing what you’re doing, I think that’s kind of what the creator wants for us, right? Like to have to enjoy this life. And that you’re challenged and there’s some kind of reward, whether it’s just feeling good, helping people, or making lots of money, whatever the reward might be. And, you said, it doesn’t really matter what I’m doing as long as I get the joy, the challenge, and the reward. I think that’s beautiful. And, listeners, I’ve offered this before, but I believe in the mission statement so much. And, as you know, my mission statement is this. Nicole Greer’s on a mission to energize, impact, and influence people to lead a more vibrant life through engaging what’s possible and making it probable. If you want a document that will help you do it, it comes from Laurie Beth Jones’ book, The Path, which changed my life. Email me and I’ll get it to you. All right. I love mission, purpose, fulfillment, all those things you’re talking about. That’s fantastic. Well, you made that big change, right? You went from ten years in investment banking and working like a dog. That’s what I heard. Not calling you a dog, you just worked like one, right? 

Greg: It’s better, it’s not a hundred hours every week, but it’s a lot. 

Nicole: Yeah, sounds like it. That’s right. But you learned a lot about money, which I think people are missing in this life, right? You gotta learn, you gotta understand money. It’s really important. You made this big change. And, so if somebody else is listening to this, like I work like a dog too, and I’m busy all the time, and I don’t know if what I’m doing is for me. When is it the time to make a big change? Like maybe starting a business like you or finding a new job?

Greg:  For me, I really wanted to do it at some point. I didn’t really care when, I just knew I had to do it at some point. It was sort of this thing in me. I hope that you know, right? I think that you know within yourself whether you do it. It’s a lot more though how you go ahead and do it. What I did was I very slowly spent a little extra time that I had. You know, free time thinking about it, writing business plans, talking to people, going and actually starting the business. And, so we started a food and restaurant business. We focus a lot on catering and office lunches and that sort of thing. It was right close to where my office was for my day job. And, so I just sort of, you know, got involved slowly that way. And that worked for me. Like I was terrified of going and leaving my secure job. Being able to have enough money, being able to earn a living, being able to support the business, and not knowing what was going on.  I think you kind of have to do it in your own way and I think that’s fine. But at the same time, it became something that I just couldn’t stop thinking about. Like I couldn’t work properly. I couldn’t do my old job the same way because it just kind of kept overcoming my thoughts. I think you just kind of do that. What I was actually looking for was that challenge. My day job didn’t provide that challenge that I needed anymore. And so, you know, maybe not even recognizing that, but that’s what was happening to me now that I look back. And so, you know, eventually I had to do something. It doesn’t mean you have to go start your own business though. There’s lots of things you can do to change, but I knew that I needed to change at some point.

Nicole: Yeah. All right. So, the right time to do it is – I’m hearing like when you kind of get that obsessive thought that just keeps coming back around. Right? Yeah, that’s fantastic. And, so I just really wanted to do it, he said. So like, you know, here’s the thing people, pay attention to what, like maybe your heart, and dare I say this, maybe your soul is trying to tell you, you know, like step out, do something really big, live out the vision. That’s fantastic. So, you went ahead and did it and just noticed that, you know, you’ve got to do this thing scared. He said he was terrified. And I think that’s another thing about being entrepreneurial or, you know, stepping into a whole new career. Sometimes you just gotta do it scared.  What do you think about that? 

Greg: Yes. Well, scary is good. Um, It’s good. My son went to a day camp today which he was terrified of. I dropped him off and he’s crying and just so upset about it. He’s six. It kind of works. It kind of doesn’t work. But I told him scary things are actually good. You’re going to come home and say you loved it. But yes, the unknown is scary. And that’s what it was for me. You know something for however many years and you’re just comfortable there. And there’s a discomfort that you have to have. Again, not going back to that feeling, I had this feeling, I knew I needed to go and get uncomfortable, be in a new situation, but it’s scary. And I think that’s okay.  I think you have this thought that’s for some reason that if you’re sort of not “successful,” that you’re going to end up homeless and without anything. That was never really the downside, but in your head, you’re worried about it. That’s what you think. And, what saving grace I had maybe potentially was that, and I realize this even better now, is that you can always go back. I was in a field for ten, eleven years. I’m very well qualified to go right back into that same field when I got the entrepreneurial thing out of my system which I did. So, I actually left my job and started this food business. The pandemic was very tough on us. I realized I couldn’t do it anymore and I actually ended up going straight back to that career. But as a different person, having learned all these new things, having done just a different experience, having lived this restaurant thing for, you know, two, three yearsWe had done it for five years, ultimately. When I came back to the world of investment banking, I had a totally different approach to my mindset, my perspective. 

Nicole: Yeah, and I will tell you, I think that the mindset that people need in the corporate world is the entrepreneurial mindset. You know, instead of having a J O B, you come to your J O B with this entrepreneurial mindset. It can change everything. I love that. That’s fantastic. How do you see what’s going on in the work that you’re doing right now? How are you seeing companies motivate their employees to achieve their best work? You know, you. You went out, you did this entrepreneurial thing and that’s what I do every day of my life.  And so, it’s like, if it’s to be, it’s up to me, you know, and so I’ve got to show up a hundred percent or as close to it as possible in order to get things done for the day. But you’ve got some experience where you are out there trying to make it happen, entrepreneurially. Stinking COVID messed it up for you. I am so sorry, by the way, that’s terrible. But then coming back to work with this new mindset and everything, what are you seeing that companies could do to help their employees achieve more and do their best work?

Greg: There’s the natural thing of money and money goes so far, but, and people talk about culture as well, which I think a lot of people think it means, you know, do you have socials? Do you have, you know, ping pong tables and all those sorts of things. And those things help. I think people like ping pong and money. Really, when it comes down to it, I think what people are driving towards is having more and more influence, more and more say on the organization, and just being a part of something like so many people would want to be a part of something where we don’t always have to be the leader, the head of the group. But, we do want to believe in something and we do want to be a part of it. It doesn’t have to mean that only companies that have this crazy altruistic vision need to be it. Honestly, it can be, hey, we’re trying to sell paper. And what’s the vision? Like, how are we doing that? How are we employing all these people and making it exciting and sort of doing all that. I think the more you can have your entire organization participate in that and feel part of that will feel important. I think the more and the better culture you create. 

Nicole: I couldn’t agree more. And so, you know, that’s what I’m all about building a vibrant culture and I agree ping pong is fun, but we have to get some work done and I think having socials is great. However, I am going to say for probably the 27th time on this podcast, stop buying pizza for people. They want something different. Would you stop buying pizza? Get a nice salad brought in. Bring in a nice bowl with some, you know, grains and veggies. I’m just saying feed your people so they feel good and they can work well. All right, that’s the end of that diatribe. Okay, so he says, you know, people want more influence and they want more say. You know, Greg, when I talk about culture to people and I give presentations and that kind of thing, I’m like, you know, people want to be part of something bigger than themselves and you said that, like, they want to contribute to the vision, but like, where are we going and how are we going to get there? Please connect my job to how we get there. So I see it. So I think you’re right on. And then when they see it, they can believe in it because you said they have to believe something. I couldn’t agree more. 

Greg: I found that, like running a restaurant, we had like seventeen employees, maybe twenty at our peak, and they’re above minimum wage, but not that much more above minimum wage people, and they all just come to work, like, if you have a vision and you’re trying to achieve something, they come to work with such energy and joy. Every day is not amazing. It’s not going to change that. Sometimes you get a nail in your tire, bad things happen, but, you come into it with this, hey, I know what we’re trying to achieve, and I was a part of it, and that’s what you kind of want, I think, you know, no matter who you are.

Nicole: Yeah, I agree. Well, it goes right back to what you said at the beginning, you know, like some days is full of joy and that’s wonderful and motivating and then some days there’s a challenge and, uh, really, I don’t know about you, Greg, but like, I love a good challenge. I’m like, okay, let’s, let’s put our heads together, you know, let’s dig deep. How can we solve this thing? Let’s get going, you know, and whether the day is full of joy or full of challenges at the end of the day, if you can go, man, we MacGyvered it, we did it, you know, then that’s the reward, right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I love that. That’s fantastic. Well, you know, you mentioned earlier this definition of like success and you kind of said, you know, there’s success and then there’s, you know, fulfillment. But you know, one of the things I want to ask you is what does success mean when starting a business? You know, if somebody said, I want to have a successful business, what would they do and how can somebody achieve it? Or, you know, even if you’re just starting this week, you know, hello, it’s Monday. So, how do we have success this week? How do we achieve it?

Greg:  So there are very easy ways to gauge success with a business and maybe almost unfortunately, because typically with any business, you have a lot of comparisons. If you open up a dry cleaner business, there’s probably another dry cleaner within a vicinity, and you can kind of compare. Are you busier than them? Are they not? How are they doing it versus you? I think that’s the trap that yes, you want to know about it, but don’t define success based on that. I think how you have to define success is around what do you want out of it? And are you getting that out of it? So, you know, why did you open this dry cleaner business? And, you know, is it that you want to golf every morning and have something that works by itself and you can generate a bit of income? Is it because you want to, I don’t know, make $20 million? And do you know what is the thing that you want out of it that is driving you? To open this restaurant or this dry cleaner business. And, and are you getting that? And, and I think, you know, I was never overly honest with myself. I think that was one of my issues. I was never totally honest with myself on what I wanted. I think I wanted to just be successful, which to me meant having a business where I could provide an income to me and lots of people. We’re busy all the time. Like that was sort of it. And what was missing with that was, well, what would I want though? Like, what was, what was my day? Like, what was I doing? What was my influence? A lot of those things. And really, you know, I think over time I realized that I didn’t need to have the restaurant to get that. I wanted to be able to influence people. I wanted to be able to be involved in businesses and help make decisions and help those businesses grow and all those things. And I didn’t, you know, I didn’t necessarily need a restaurant to do that. So yeah, I don’t know. Everyone’s got their own definition of success. But I think, you know, I 100% agree with what you’re saying. You got to figure that out. You have to tell people about it early and start talking to people about it. Why are you doing this? What do you want out of it? What does success mean to you? Because it’s very hard to get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re  trying to go.

Nicole: Wow. That’s a hundred percent right. In fact, I’ve got, you know, I won’t mention it again, friends, listeners, I’ve got a little kind of recipe for leadership right now. This is how I’m putting it together right now, Greg, I’m going to take all these other definitions that I’ve gotten and make sure all these geniuses who come on my show, I’m making sure that it’s in the content, but I, you know, the first thing is like leaders just need to lead with clarity. You know, and that’s what you’re saying, like define success, you know, um, and then everybody knows this is what we’re doing. I have a client working with the folks that are at the supervisory level and they got this big directive from the home office saying we’re going to double what we’re making this year. And everybody’s like, what? And so it’s so confusing to people because they’re like, how are we going to do that now? I think they can. And the people up here think they can, but it’s not been communicated how we can and so then it feels like a threat instead of an opportunity. It’s really, really about that. And, you said this really great little phrase, you said, “I was never really overly honest with myself,” and man, isn’t that the truth about being in leadership is you got to sit your butt in a chair and get honest. Like what’s happening. Right. So important.

Greg: Otherwise you pay for it later.

Nicole: That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. Yeah. And, really everybody, you know, that’s the research skill of reflection. Every leader needs to be seriously good at sitting down and being overly honest with themselves. So, I think that’s fantastic.

Voiceover: Are you ready to infuse vibrancy into your organization’s culture? Look no further than Nicole Greer. Bring her to speak to your leadership team, conference, or organization, and watch as your strategies, systems, and smarts ignite clarity, accountability, energy, and results. Your organization will come alive from within. Email her at nicole@vibrantculture.com. And be sure to check out Nicole’s TEDx talk at vibrantculture.com.

Nicole: All right. So. You’ve got a question that you wanted me to ask you, and you know, we’ve not talked about layoffs on the show before, and so you must have some experience. How can you turn a layoff into an opportunity for career growth? Tell me about that question, and what’s the answer? 

Greg: Yeah, so well, interestingly, I was laid off. It was a mildly funny story. I was working a lot. And, so, I eventually reached a breaking point of, you know, type of burnout and I quit. And my company didn’t like that I was good at it. They had lost a bunch of people already, they wanted me to stay and they were actually quite good about it. And, you know, gave me a bunch of extra vacation and switched my position slightly and did a bunch of things. But then, you know, six to eight months later, the company itself wasn’t doing so well. They decided, hey, we need to do some layoffs. And when I came, they said, well, didn’t Greg say he wanted to leave? Let’s, let’s lay him off. So I got laid off.  I guess I don’t know what’s a curse and what’s a blessing, I guess, maybe at the same time, but you know, when there’s lots of people, lots of people getting laid off across technology right now has been, you know, hey, the last few years, there’s been so much hiring. And now people are getting laid off. And what’s interesting and happening is, in a lot of ways, well, first of all, you get some severance. So you’re paid actually to do nothing, in some cases, or to find a new job. But, if that new job is starting your own business or traveling or doing something else. Like, you can really get a lot out of that. Like, that can actually be a great way. You have this tendency to panic when you get laid off and you’re worried about that because it’s insulting. You know when you’re being broken up with and you have no choice. It’s insulting. It doesn’t feel good. But, I’ve got a few months off here. Like, when do I ever have a few months off? Like, you can do anything. You can go travel for three months. You’re not going to get that chance. Otherwise, you can go start a new business. You can, whatever. I don’t know. Watch all the movies that you have never seen. You can do whatever you want. Learn a language. I don’t know. It can definitely be an opportunity for you. I’m maybe just an optimist at heart, but I think that you just have to work towards turning it around that way.

Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, I do believe in that old saying, when one door closes and another opens. I believe that with all my heart, you know, because I’ve had things, you know, I’m a lot older than you, but like, I’ve had things happen and I’m like, what just happened? And then, if you’ll just stay calm and get a plan of action, then great things can really, really happen out of that. So, I agree with you. And, if you get three months severance, you should not take all three and travel because you’ll be broke, but you should take at least three weeks max and then come home and get your resume together. Get your act together. Yeah. Yeah. And then that’s just mama Nicole saying that. Okay. So, I love that. All right, what are some tips that you might have for identifying the career or the job that is right for you? You’ve had kind of some different hats on: investment, baking, restaurateur, so tell us about that. What are some tips for identifying the career or job that is right for you?

Greg: Yeah, so that’s a lot of the reason and the rationale for the podcast that I host, Lifetime at Work. It’s really about that. Are we happy with our jobs? What are we trying to get out of these jobs? Why do we have them? What’s the right one for me? And I think, by the mid to late 30s, that’s the question that we’re all asking ourselves. We’ve been doing a job for however long and we’re trying to like it? Am I just doing this until I’m retiring? And that’s how I’ve been thinking as well. But you know, it just is the topic. It’s what everyone is sort of saying. But, it’s a challenge, right? You graduated from university. Now, it’s like, let’s go out in the world. And it’s hard to know with conviction that you’re going to do this thing forever. And I think the big thing that people miss though, and this is just me from talking to lots of people on the podcast, talking to people who are, kind of my age going through this and young people as well, trying to find direction out there. A lot of people think of the role and the company they want to work for and what it does. And, in a lot of cases, it doesn’t really matter what it does. A lot more matters what you do and the skills that you do within that business. So, you know, I think that a sales opportunity is probably one of the better examples where it doesn’t really matter what you’re selling. It matters a lot more how your organization goes about selling and what you do in the business.  I found that in investment banking where, in my role as well, it’s not really about the technical know-how of how things work or the math or anything like that. A lot more is dealing with people, understanding what people are talking about, client service, working in teams, like there’s all these things and really that is what makes a job good or bad.  What you need to do is sort of find and put yourself in a situation where you can be flexing those non-technical skills, like it’s not about the engineering, it’s not about whatever, it’s about the communication and the leadership and a lot of those areas where you can be flexing. I think that’s really what it is. So, I think people just get hung up with, for example, the fact that I like sports. So, I want to find a career in sports. And it’s like, yes, maybe that’s ideal, maybe, but it can be really challenging. And you may not be able to find the perfect thing for you within sports. And I don’t think it matters. I think what does matter is that you’re, you know, being challenged in your job, you’re on a track, you’re using skills that you have that can better you, and you can advance in your career. And, I just think that that’s kind of what you’re ultimately searching for. And, it’s hard to know all the jobs out there, right? So you just kind of have to get into it and keep looking. 

Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. I do love what you’re saying though, it’s really about the communication, the teamwork, the people you’re going to work with, and that’s why, that’s what we teach when we talk about Build a Vibrant Culture. You need to be working with a happy group of people doing work that they love. And, to your point, if you could have both sports and that, hallelujah, you won the lottery. But, definitely working with great people is everything. And, they say the statistic, you probably already know this, Greg, is that when people quit a job, they usually don’t quit the job. They quit the manager. And, so, having a great leader is ultimately important as well. And so you get to know a lot about your leader when you’re interviewing for a position, that kind of thing. And, you know, inside of Build a Vibrant Culture, we have a full service of recruiting. One of the things that we do when we recruit for a company is we get the download on who the manager is for the person who we’re going to recruit and share some intimate things about them in terms of like, we’re not just where they went to school or what kind of degree they have, but like, you know, what their philosophy is and what they’re hoping to do inside that, you know, what the career path is for that job. So, you know, when you’re identifying the career or job that is right for you, you’ve got to be working with a recruiter and you gotta be working with a company who’s willing to kind of open up the curtain and let you in a little bit during the job interview process. I find that that is hard for people to find and so when they work with us, they’re totally tickled about that. And it’s really about the opportunity. I call what you’re talking about soft skills. They’re soft skills. Do you agree with that?

Greg: Yeah, they are. I feel that’s where you get the most fulfillment out of these soft skills, for some reason. I never would have thought that.

Nicole:  Oh, absolutely. 

Greg: I’m not a soft skills guy by nature, by any means.

Nicole:  Oh, really?

Greg: Like math, because I can understand it. In school I always liked when there was a definitive answer. But, when you kind of get into it, you know those skills are really important and they’re harder to learn in some cases and really the only way to learn these soft skills sometimes is to get into a job and do it.

Nicole:  Yeah. Yeah. Or, you know, call Build a Vibrant Culture and we’ll come in and teach everybody how to communicate. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. That’s fantastic. That’s right. Okay. All right. So I’ve got, uh, this last question for you, you know, I just recently, maybe about three years ago, finally got my undergrad done and then I kept going and then I went and I got my M.S.O.D., my master of science and organization development. I gotta tell you, I thoroughly enjoyed getting my master’s degree, way more than my undergrad, because it was tough to do an undergrad at 42. But, I’m curious, should I get it? Should people get an MBA? Should they get a master’s degree? Should they start a business or join a tech company? What should people do with their lives after you’ve listened to all these people on your podcast? And, tell them again about your podcast and then answer my question. 

Greg: Yeah. Yeah. So, it’s called, Lifetime at Work podcast. We might just interview different guests about their job and the meaning and purpose and what it is and how they got into it and what they like and what they dislike about it. My goal is to help other people who are listening to reflect on their own job when doing that. And, they understand it better because you’re talking about it. It’s just interesting. Like I have some really good friends of mine who I’ve interviewed. One, for instance, is a doctor. I’ve never talked to him for an hour about being a doctor. Really cool. Like I never had that conversation with him before. And, you just sort of learn about someone in that way. And I think you learn a lot about yourself and what you’re trying to get out of work. And all that. Right. So, um, so I think that’s the big benefit. And, now I’m forgetting your question. 

Nicole: Yeah. Again, if they’re career transitioning or they want to go up at the company they’re in, they want to get, you know, they’re like, I want to get promoted. What do I need to do to get noticed? So should people, you know, not sure about whether or not they’re, they’re living their life with joy, challenge and purpose, like you were talking about earlier, should they get an MBA, start a business, or join a tech company?

Greg: Yeah. So. I do think more experience is better. And, I would say an MBA is an experience, like any school is an experience. But it could be another job. It could be starting a business. I think you have to think of all of it as experiences. You’re going to learn about yourself and a lot about a lot of things doing it. I would say that an MBA, it’s helpful, but what’s most helpful is when you know where you’re trying to go generally and you want to change. The challenge with an MBA is it’s a very expensive thing. Like, you’re not working for two years, you know, generally, and, and you’re paying for it. And, so, to make that leap and to do that, you probably should at least have a pretty good sense for where you’re trying to go because an MBA can actually provide you like a great reset on your career. I know some people who have done it, they were in one industry and they really wanted to shift to another and there’s no way they can get into it unless they did through the MBA and I think that’s great. You also get an amazing network usually when you go ahead and do that. So, they come at a high cost, but if those things, you know, are what you want to do, then totally you can. Though I never got one. I never got a master’s degree. I was just sort of an undergrad. And to me though, the MBA to me was starting a business. 

Nicole: Oh, that was an MBA. Believe me. 

Greg: It was just right for me, right? It was the right thing for me. I needed to do it. I felt like there was not as much in an MBA that I could have learned versus going and starting a business. And, I think I was right, but it’s just pros and cons, honestly. And I think when you’re going and embarking on it, you don’t have to know exactly what you want to do next after you take an MBA, but it is certainly helpful to know the zone that you’re in and where you’re trying to head and knowing that that is going to be the right thing. And most people with a master’s do that, right? You’re trying to get a master’s cause you want to really specialize on this thing to get somewhere. And, if that works, then totally, but I wouldn’t do it to just find yourself. It’s just really expensive. 

Nicole: Yeah. And, and maybe, maybe do it like I did it. Wait till you’re older. 

Greg: Yeah, exactly. 

Nicole: Yeah. Because then, you’re like, you know what you’re interested in. I mean, still in your 30s, it’s kind of like I’m still kind of figuring it all out, you know? And here’s the thing I would like to tell you about MBAs, which I learned. I teach at University of North Carolina at Charlotte as an adjunct and it’s about 60, 000 for an MBA, I think, and I think that’s out there, but there are so many flex programs. That’s the other thing I would say is I know so many people who are taking one class towards their MBA at a time. So just take one class. You don’t have to buy the whole package, you know, you could just take one thing at a time and say, is this fun? Do I enjoy it? Because I love what Greg Martin is telling us today that you got to find joy. You have to find a challenge and you have to find reward in what you’re doing. And I just love that. That’s your heart. You know, that you’ve got to live this life. What I would call a vibrant life, instead of a vibrant culture. That’s awesome. Well, we are at the top of the hour and I know that everybody’s like, wait, don’t let Greg Martin go, he’s got something else to share! I’m wondering if you’ve got one more nugget of genius that you’d like to leave with our listeners, especially regarding your podcast, Lifetime at Work. Are there some nuggets that you’ve picked up from that or something else you’d like to leave with us as kind of something to remember Greg Martin by? 

Greg: Yeah, I’d say for someone who wants to listen, and this is just something that I’ve noticed from talking to a lot of people, when I go and have a meeting with someone and especially if it’s on a Friday, I usually get this whole, when you ask them, how are you doing? That’s a Friday. It’s Friday. Like they’re just happy that the week was over. And I think that’s great. You know, I don’t do that. Um, typically I’m actually really conscious of it because it’s kind of a pet peeve over time. I don’t, it’s not about Mondays being good and Fridays being bad. I just very firmly, personally believe that you can get an incredible amount of fulfillment out of your job. Like you can like life’s purpose out of it. And, like I say, to hide on the podcast a bunch of times with, uh, with various guests, you know, a hundred years ago, there was, you know, I don’t know, ten jobs. Like there wasn’t, there were very few things you could do. It’s unbelievable how many different things we can do today. That both provides an incredible amount of opportunity, but it’s also kind of daunting because it’s hard to even conceptualize how many different types of jobs, companies, and things you can do out there. But, if you are unhappy in any respect of your job, then you really do need to kind of go out there and explore because there is a lot out there. And, if you’re sort of miserable and looking forward and just saying, hey, I’m going to retire in twenty years or when I reach sixty-five, and that’s when my life is going to begin. It’s just the wrong way to think about it. I think what you really need to do is figure out what it is. And, because your career is a journey as your life is a journey, it’s super important you know the key is enjoying that journey, what you’re doing. And, so, that’s what I try to get out of people ultimately on the podcast as well. Everyone’s got a bit of a different take and a bit of a different story on that. But, you can definitely learn a lot from people and the mistakes they’ve made. So, that’s kind of the idea. 

Nicole: That’s fantastic.  Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. It’s all about fulfillment. You know, Greg, I had a master coach tell me one time, he said, life is like a dim sum restaurant. I don’t know if any of y’all have ever been to a dim sum restaurant. It’s a Chinese restaurant where they have little carts and these little guys and gals run around the restaurant and they’re like, do you want one of these? Do you want one of these? Do you want one of these? And you can say yes or no. Um, and really he’s like, you know, if people could just see the opportunities that are out there. And so if you want to listen to people who have explored all sorts of different roles and positions, go over to Greg’s podcast. He’s a lifetime at work and you can find him at lifetimeatwork.com. And, also, Greg is on LinkedIn, of course, so go to LinkedIn.com and find him at gregmartin416. Greg, I am so grateful to have you on the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast. Anything else you want to share with the listeners before we sign off? 

Greg: No, that’s great. I appreciate the opportunity and love, love chatting. Thanks for having me. 

Nicole: Yeah, it was definitely a pleasure. All right, everybody. I know that Greg and I would both personally be so indebted if you would go down right now and click the like button and subscribe to the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast. And would you leave a little love note for Greg? I mean, the guy is all about joy, challenge, and reward. He’s all about chasing down that feeling that there might be something else you could do with your career, taking the opportunities, being overly honest with yourself, and figure it out. Know where you’re going to go. Thank you so much, Greg Martin, for being on the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast. 

Greg: Thanks.

Voiceover: Thank you for joining us on this episode of the Build A Vibrant Culture Podcast. If you’ve found value in today’s episode, please take a moment to leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform. Your feedback helps us improve and reach more like-minded listeners. Remember, the journey to building a vibrant culture never stops. Stay inspired, keep nurturing your vibrant culture, and we can’t wait to reconnect with you on the next exciting episode of Build A Vibrant Culture Podcast.

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