Episode 8

Taking charge of your career with Rick Veronese

Career Coach Rick Veronese shares his story from Italy to England, from pre-career to UX Designer to Career Coach. Most importantly, he and the Problem Busters discuss how all of us can reframe our views on our careers and having identified what matters to us, take charge of our careers and next steps.

We also talk tech, FIRE (Financially Independent retire early) and how keeping expenses low can shave years off your working life (and how retirement for many is not stopping, merely starting to do only what you love, for the love of it).

About the show:

Problem Busters is a show that explores solutions to the biggest and the smallest of problems. Hosts Jonathan Goodwin and Oliver Happy discuss making the world a better place with guests from far and wide.

About our guest:

Rick Veronese is a Career Coach currently based in Valencia, Spain. He built a successful career of his own in UX (User Experience) Design in the thriving Bristol startup scene and is now taking all he has learned, adding a healthy dose of living within your means, and helping others take control of their careers.

Show mentions:

  • Growing up in a small town in Italy, and realising that travel was the passion
  • Moving to the UK, to Bristol and studying design
  • After 7 years working in Design for Fintech in Bristol, moving to Valencia Spain
  • 03:42 making a life change based on google search - to Bristol
  • London not being the only tech hub in the UK, Brighton, Bristol and others now included in the mix.
  • 05:45 Self-taught design and how getting on google helped to understand the fundamentals of design, online resources etc.
  • 06:30 Why Design? Wanting a creative career and just simply searching for jobs that you could do on a computer
  • Web design with Adobe PhotoShop and Adobe Fireworks
  • Moving into HTML and CSS
  • Then moving into a pure play Design role and into UX, then into research and strategy
  • UX and going into the rabbit hole with learning more about design.
  • 09:00 the journey from google search into web design
  • 09:30 What is UX? User Experience. And why should we and our organisations care about it? <-----
  • Good UX and Bad UX and how UX has emerged from Design over the years.
  • 11:45 What is the role of the Designer and the Design team in a digital business? The Designer as a connector of sorts, between the product and how it should work, and the business objectives of the company.
  • Designers connecting different elements of the company
  • The sociology and psychology behind exploring the human psychy.
  • 15:00 The career problem - and realising that life is short and not wanting to go on spending it in a job doing something they don't like.
  • The fulfillment question - are we entitled, unique snowflakes who expect too much from our careers and wanting it all right now? Or do we all deserve to be fulfilled and to have a choice?
  • 17:00 The fulfillment gap and there being a stressed out, burned out state for so many people (and wanting to help them find their place).
  • 18:45 The unrest that comes from a misalignment between what I want to do and what I am doing, leading to stress.
  • Career coaching as a way to help people find their way to their own path
  • 20:30 Summing up the concept: The person comes before the professional. Career growth as a by-product of growth as a person. When I focused on my career, I didn't see career growth, when I focused on me as a person, the career grew. <----
  • The painful realisation when understanding that for there to be growth, there needs to first be a period of non-growth. Of stagnation.
  • 22:00 Career progress as similar to the creative process. You struggle but you know after this will some kind of epiphany, eventually.
  • Lay-offs and lockdown creating a period of stagnation and struggle for many people.
  • The role of guilt in realising that a well paid job may not be what you love to do, especially if you have it all on the surface.
  • 26:00 Lockdown as a catalyst to change for people, as an accelerator for change. <-------
  • Zoom calls are not the same thing as real human connection.
  • LinkedIn as a way people start to reach out to folks they'd like advice from
  • 27:00 What mistakes have been made along the way in your career and what have you learned?
  • Scrolling job boards not being a great way to find the right job for you.
  • It's important to be picky about the jobs you apply to
  • 28:00 the biggest mistake I made - not focusing on my mindset enough before focusing on technical career. Taking care of myself first, would be the first thing I'd do going back now.
  • 29:00 If you are in a place where you know you need to make a move and you aren't sure what to you, focus on your vision, what you dream about (within realistic expectations) and begin to move in that direction. <-----
  • A focus on your values and roles in life, set your own standards and then take your actions based on that.
  • Don't take actions based on society's rules, or what your parents say.
  • If I'd done that introspection, I would have got where I am today much quicker.
  • 31:00 What steps anyone can take to being to make a start on change in their career?
  • 32:30 Steps for the overworked professional or someone who has found themselves outside of a job. <-------
  • Working out what you want to do requires real work, sitting down and putting pen to paper to establish what you want and how to go out and get it.
  • Contribution as one of the main drivers of people
  • It is hard to set a vision that is just for yourself - it is always going to be stronger to include those around you.
  • 35:00 Setting a deadline - where you want to be in 10 years' time. Most people miss this and get 10 years down the line before they know it.
  • Financial security as not worrying about money. Not worrying about bills, about going on holiday, on running out of cash. Having enough to cover your expenses.
  • 37:30 Financial independence as taking it a step further, getting to a point where you don't really have to work anymore. Expenses are covered based on having saved and invested in the years beforehand.
  • 39:00 The school system not providing personal finance education. Financial education should not be a secret.
  • 42:00 Getting charge of your finances is painful but simple and also important. Look at your expenses, see where your money is going. Hold up a financial mirror and identify areas you can save money (spend less, save more).
  • Do the math - Measure Money in at beginning of the month, money out at the end of the month.
  • Get educated on how personal finance works.
  • Certainty of finances (some savings) as a springboard to making a change.
  • The Sharing section:
  • Book - Jordan Peterson's 12 rules for life
  • Takeaways from the book - Diving deep into human interactions, how we think and what consequences our actions have. The ultimate self-help book, with some science backing it up.
  • Reading books is good, and listening to them on Audible is also great.
  • Article - Rick's review of Jordan Peterson's 12 rules for life (6 rules for design life)
  • The 6 rules of design life; You're a bad-ass (be an expert in the way you act), Take care of yourself before thinking about others (take care of the person before the professional)
  • 50:45 How do we take more accountability for our actions in our career? Having a coach or a third party (friends/family) ensures you are held accountable to making change.
  • Having a coach as a way to ensure you invest in support, take action and get held accountable
  • The idea of a job club - an environment where a group of people help each other and hold each other accountable. Ask each other about it constantly.
  • Find an environment that inspires and empowers you
  • Sports teams as a powerful force for taking action. Teammates hold you accountable if you don't train.
  • The FIRE movement - Financial Independence Retire Early and a big community of people out there who are working on their personal finances and are focusing on also enjoying their lives.
  • We have the means to invest and make money, we just need to get focused, get organised, and get started on making steps towards retiring early and doing something they love.
  • It's not about not working any more, it's about reaching financial independence, so you can go and do something you really enjoy.
  • The love and hate relationship with the laptop and phone in this modern world
  • The fitness tracking (a huawei tracker) that keeps track of calories burned and considering an upgrade soon.
  • Nora ring - a ring you wear, which gives you all kinds of stats about your sleep and how you as a person are doing health wise.
  • Using sleeping stats to work out best time to go to bed and best time to get up.
  • Garmin as a fitness tracker.
  • A lack of a commute as a tough choice - when do we try to find the motivation.
  • 01:03:00 What change would I like to see in the world? Wanting to see more people fulfilled, a society that actually works. A society where people can contribute to something greater than themselves. A society to be proud of. <-------
  • Rick's program - the FIRE career.
  • The FIRE Facebook group Rick is a part of: https://www.facebook.com/groups/thefiremovement

Logo and concept by Christy O'Connor

About the Podcast

Show artwork for Problem Busters
Problem Busters
Highlighting people with ideas

About your hosts

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Oliver Happy

Oliver works in tech and builds things that help improve people’s lives. He hosts indie podcasts Old Fox Young Fox, Problem Busters and Gone Workabout. Oliver is a Kiwi, travels a lot, eats a lot and loves sharing good ideas. He is determined to leave the world in a better state than he found it.
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Jon Goodwin

Jon Goodwin works in financial tech implementing clever solutions that help simplify business processes every day. His passions include science, engineering and dreaming up solutions to common problems. In his spare time he is a multimedia producer & friendly co-host of two podcasts the Bouyon Boys and Problem Busters.