University of Hartford - Bachelor of Arts in Communications
Vicki Aubin has made it a life goal to fully and genuinely enjoy whatever she's doing. In fact, that personal rule is what led her from a job in recruiting to one she was really passionate about: career counseling. After having a major 'a-ha' moment during a career coaching volunteer gig at NYU, Vicki realized that she had found her calling helping others achieve the career and life they really want. Now, as The Rockin' Career Coach, Vicki gets to live that calling daily as she helps professionals, and soon-to-be-professionals, get unstuck and on the path to the careers they deserve.
Having personally experienced a pretty dramatic career shift, Vicki is well equipped to offer guidance to clients who come to her a little off of their career path. "Always be expecting change throughout your career and life in general," she advises. "Always be ready to think outside the box to address it." That "think outside the box" creativity is just one of the things Vicki prides herself on, and just one part of a complex equation for helping those that come to her turn that career they've always dreamed of into reality.
Listen to that inner voice (your gut instinct) inside of you.
We absolutely love the idea behind The Rockin’ Career Coach. Could you tell us a little bit about the path that led you to starting your own business?
While I actually started my career in the music industry (hence my ‘Rockin’ theme) and later transitioned into human resources and recruiting, my ‘knack’ and passion for coaching itself began almost 10 years ago when I formally studied holistic nutrition and practiced briefly as a health coach. This is what lit the original coaching spark within me. In fact, it was in my last role as a campus recruiter at a global financial services firm where I realized my favorite part of the job was my time spent personally interacting, supporting and mentoring our interns throughout their program.
Shortly after I left my campus recruiting job, I began volunteering as a career counselor at NYU, looking to stay connected to the university/student community. My major 'a-ha' moment came as soon as my very first student client walked in the door on day one, and I eagerly asked , “How can I help you today?” I felt just as excited to ask the question as the student was to answer! Career counseling instantly felt like second nature to me, and I realized then and there that this was what I was meant to do and was my true calling.
What does your job involve on a daily basis, and what types of responsibilities do you have in your position?
As the owner and manager of my own business, I am the marketing, operations, business development, etc., departments -- all rolled into one -- in addition to being a coach to others!
Depending on the day of the week, you can find me doing some combination of the following: posting career-related tips/content, building new connections across social media, writing and publishing blog posts on my own website and as a guest on other blogs, conducting career strategy sessions with potential clients and/or career coaching sessions with private clients, scheduling and preparing for teleclasses and for my soon-to-be-launched Rockin' Career Club, revising/writing new content and collaborating with my tech coach on my website. And the list goes on...
What is your favorite part of your job?
Short answer: It’s fun and I love doing it!
Official answer: Knowing that I am making a tangible and positive difference in another person’s life at such a pivotal time is indescribable! Especially when that person come to me feeling anxious, overwhelmed or confused about something, and at the end of our conversation/program, they tell me they feel so relieved, empowered, confident and excited to go forward. There’s no better feeling; it rocks.
What is one lesson you've learned in your career that has stuck with you?
Don’t ever discount the positive people connections you have made in your career path, no matter how large or small they may seem. Why? They are all connectors to other people -- and not just connections in and of themselves. In other words, you get a job based on personal interaction and connection. In turn, don’t discount ‘this former colleague’ or ‘that networking event’; you never know who knows who, and personal referrals/introductions are powerful allies in your path to your dream job (and they sure beat submitting your resume into the ‘black hole’ of resumes/job applicants).
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
Work/life balance has always been one of my personal mantras, if not my biggest one, and I certainly have been in some roles and industries where by their nature and culture, the balance was substantially off. In such situations, I would do three things in conjunction with one another:
1/ I develop strategies for using my time at work more efficiently.
2 / I find some activity outside of work that I know gives me a sense of balance, peace and enjoyment.
3 / I set specific boundaries for myself and honor them to ensure I did that activity.
In my case, I would set Outlook reminders to make sure I left the office at a certain time (even If things were swamped and crazy), to actually get to that dance class I wanted to take. And given how great I felt every time after dance class, it would naturally help me to de-stress, recharge and refocus for the next day ahead, with a more positive attitude, outlook and potential for productivity than I would have before.
And, might I add an additional suggestion, from the other end of the spectrum (because it's important for people to hear this): If you are experiencing a lack of work/life balance that has been excessive and ongoing to the point where it's negatively and measurably impacting your health, well-being and work performance, then you can always consider transitioning to another role, team, company or field where the balance is more even and in line with you and the priorities you have set forth in your own life. Do not be afraid to speak up, talk to HR, start searching for a new job, etc. The last thing you want is to reach a burnout point, which is not a good place to be.
What qualities does one need to possess to be successful in your line of work?
While education and practical experience in fields like human resources, recruiting, psychology or counseling are all greatly helpful to becoming a successful career coach, the following personal qualities and traits are for certain:
-Strong interpersonal communication skills: Career coaches listen deeply and patiently, and use expansive and comprehensive questioning that guides and enables their clients to get clarity on their goal(s).
-The ability to think strategically and creatively: Career coaches are out-of-the-box thinkers who help their clients look at 'the big picture' from a variety of angles and options and design realistic, step-by-step solutions that build momentum and results.
-Excellent writing and editing skills, attention to detail and command of English language and grammar: These skills are necessary for helping clients create strong, effective and appealing resumes, cover letters, etc., as part of their unique personal brand.
And to be running your own career coaching business you'll need all of the above, plus additional qualities including but not limited to: focus, patience, commitment, confidence, courage, etc.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
Always be expecting change throughout your career and life in general, and in turn, always be ready to think outside the box to address it (as they say, 'change is the only constant in life'). In other words, go forth with the mindset that there is pretty much always an alternative solution to most problems and challenges you will encounter, whether at work, home or in other areas of life. When something unexpected happens, see it as an opportunity to be creative and figure out a way to still meet that original goal you intended. Something set you back in your career or didn’t go the way you expected it you? Ok, so, take a personal inventory and strategically recalibrate to get yourself back to where you want to be, even if it means forging a new path or route to get you there.
To me, that's exciting and actually, it naturally keeps my creative juices on alert and flowing, which is part of the adventure of life itself!
What are some of the rules you live by?
Ah, I love this question (seriously)!
1 / To make sure that whatever I do in my life — whether it is career, outside activities, etc. — are all things I genuinely enjoy doing. In other words, they must be fun and naturally inspire me from the inside out. Filling my life with experiences that I am passionate and excited about (coaching, dance, music) is a natural, limitless source of adrenalin, energy, positivity, and dare I say, youth serum. It's also the best 'health insurance' out there. (Yes, it's the health coach inside me speaking here!)
2 / Listen to that inner voice (your gut instinct) inside of you. If something doesn't feel right (whether It's a job, an experience, etc.) in one way or another, stop and take some time for yourself to figure out why. Is it the way you are approaching something that is the issue, or is it the goal/destination itself that is somehow in conflict with what you really want deep down inside? Be true to you first and foremost; this only benefits you and the people around you, as it not only impacts your perspective, outward attitude and actions toward the world around you, a.k.a. a huge ripple effect that can even come back and affect you.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We all know people who go into careers they really don’t care for, or ending up switching careers to do something they don't want to do, for the money, prestige, security and/or societal expectations. This may even sound like you. It's likely we all have been in this position at one point in time, and I think you will agree it feels incredibly conflicting, and that is not a good feeling, no matter how much we brush it under the rug, per se.
The truth is, life is meant to be enjoyed, and yes I do truly believe that you can have the career and life you want. You might just need to take a different route to get there than you originally envisioned, and maybe it shows up in a different way than you expected or society expects, and perhaps you might need to enlist the help of other people and/or resources along the way, directly or indirectly. But in essence, we all steer our own careers, and in turn, we make time and effort for what we are truly committed to, so make yours count.