How To Transition into a Career You’ll Love & Make Your Next Move, Your Best Move with Kimberly B. Cummings

Episode Number: 218

Episode 218- How To Transition into a Career You’ll Love & Make Your Next Move, Your Best Move with Kimberly B. Cummings

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Jamila Souffrant 0:00

You're listening to the journey to launch podcast How to Make Your Next Move Your Best Move, Transitioning into a Career You Love with Kimberly B. Cummings.

Welcome to the journey to launch podcast with your host Jamila Souffrant, as a money expert who walks her talk, she helps brave Journeyers like you get out of debt, save, invest and build real wealth. Join her on the journey to launch to financial freedom.

Hey, hey, hey journeyers Welcome to the journey to launch podcast. Now I have a special episode. Listen, all my episodes are special. Don't you know that already? Like, seriously, I really aim to bring you really good content, really good interviews really good motivation that fuel you need for your journey. And you're going to get that in this episode. Now today we will be talking to Kimberly B. Cummings. Kimberly is a career and leadership expert whose mission is to help women and people of color navigate the workplace, make more money and become industry leaders. Her development company manifest yourself provides organizations with tailor made solutions. Plus she literally just came out with a book if you're listening to this in real time when this episode drops, on June 9, her new book, her first book, next move, best move transitioning into a career you'll love. So in this episode, you're gonna hear some real tips, practical solutions. Right now, if you are in corporate America, or if you are in a career, or entering into, you know, your first job, whatever that looks like, where you can maximise on the current position you're in, so that you can leverage it to get to the place you ultimately want to be. And so I really think you're going to enjoy this episode because I know I talked a lot about you know, potentially leaving work leaving the corporate field. But perhaps you really don't hate working or hate the job you currently have. It's just you haven't found the right one you haven't learned to love it. You haven't use your strengths to gain mastery. But I think it's possible. I know it's possible. I know there are people who absolutely love their careers. And how amazing is it to not only be in a career you love but also use that to fund your financial freedom dreams, your life goals and dreams while reaching financial independence. So this is going to be a treat. I hope you enjoy it.

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If you want the episode Show Notes for this episode, go to or click the description of wherever you're listening to this episode. in the show notes. You'll get the transcribed version of the conversation, the links that we mentioned and so much more. Also, whether you are in OG journey or are brand new to the podcast, I've created a free jumpstart guide to help you on your financial freedom journey. It includes the top episodes so listen to stages to go through to reach financial freedom, resources and so much more. You can go to to get your guide right now.

Okay, let's hop into the episode. Hey journeyers I'm a Excited to speak to you today with today's special guest, Kimberly Cummings, who has a new book out, which should be airing when we're dropping this episode. So that's pretty amazing. It's called next move, best move transitioning into a career you love. Did I get that? Right, Kimberly?

Kimberly B. Cummings 5:14

Yes, you did.

Jamila Souffrant 5:16

Yay. Okay. And she also is the founder of manifest yourself, and why I'm excited to talk to Kimberly and Kimberly why I think this will be a wealth of knowledge. And just practical, tactical helpful steps for people is because while I talk about financial freedom, and I know a lot of people who listened to me want to escape corporate America, you know, I am a proponent of like, Listen, if you're there, while you're there, do your best work, make as much money as you can, and make it work plus, entrepreneurship is not for everyone. So some people actually enjoy what they do or want to enjoy what they do and don't mind working in a corporate setting. And so you are going to help us you're going to help our Journeyers and listeners make the best of where they are now make be able to capitalize make the most money and enjoy their career. So welcome to the podcast.

Kimberly B. Cummings 6:04

Thank you for having me.

Jamila Souffrant 6:06

And if I could say so one of the things you said that you haven't been really able to talk about, and but I think it's really relevant to your story and your work. In career development is your own career path. You recently quit your job.

Kimberly B. Cummings 6:20

I did. And I can definitely say I was one of those people who loved my job. I loved it.

Jamila Souffrant 6:28

Well, so I want to talk a little bit about you quitting your job you're doing now your company full time you know, your author, not published author now. So here you are, you have like the best of both worlds, it seems like you were having a thriving business on the side and your career you love. So you have that steady paycheck. And then you had like this excitement of entrepreneurship. So what made you quit your job? And then how did you get to your heights, you know, where you did end up where you worked.

Kimberly B. Cummings 6:53

So the reason why I had to leave Honestly, I'm like, I feel like I pray for years about certain things. And exactly what I asked for happens. And I always come back, like why did I pray for that? Like why, like I should have said I wanted it differently. But for years, I pray because I wanted to be a full time entrepreneur, but I also really, really liked my job. So I was like, Well, you know what, God, what I want you to do, when it is time for me to leave, I want you to make it so I can't do both. Make it that way where it is impossible for me to do both. And when I tell you this year, was so hard because I was trying to hold on to both at the same time. But I'm not sure if you've read the big leap by gay Hendricks I always say like, what if you're operating in your zone of genius, or even in your zone of excellence and doing it in two different zones. It's impossible to operate at such a high level on both sides. And I got to the point where my health was suffering, my mental fortitude was suffering, I was so overwhelmed and so tired. And I'm type A so I was like, let me just do all the things. I was dying. And I was like I can't, I need to make a decision. And that's when I chose my company. I've always said that. If it came down to it, I would choose my company, I wouldn't choose the place I was working for. And that's what happened for me and a little bit about my career.

So once I got into a career that I loved, because you know, everybody's had some jobs that we won't call a career. I was in career and leadership development. So I started my first career as a career coach. And the fun thing about that, I always say that I've been trained to work with everyone except for like lawyers and doctors. I've worked with every single field from 18 year olds who don't know what to do with their life in college, through 60 year old who want to kind of do a little something but not quite retire, but kind of ease out into their retirement days. So my background really is in helping people get their careers together. So I did that for nearly 10 years. And then I transitioned into diversity, talent acquisition strategy at a fortune 100 company and financial services, and kind of built out their functions to how to recruit, retain and advance their women and people of color.

Jamila Souffrant 8:56

Yeah, and that's amazing. And so one of the things too, is now you're teaching people how to love the career or create a career and getting to the positions and career positions that they will love. Everyone I think wants financial freedom or options.

Kimberly B. Cummings 9:11


Jamila Souffrant 9:11

But sometimes I feel like people are striving for this financial independence freedom goal, because they just want to quit their job. They don't like what they do. And perhaps if they just found something they loved, even if it's working for someone else, while still pursuing financial freedom, they have the best of both worlds. It's like sometimes people like think, yeah, I just want to quit my job, maybe just that job. Maybe you don't want to work for this company or in this position. But it doesn't mean you don't want to work. You just have to find out what that looks like. How did you get to the position that you ended up loving? Because you said you'd love to quit before you quit. And then we can talk a little bit more about how people listening right now can transition into a career they love.

Kimberly B. Cummings 9:48

And so I honestly a little bit of it was trial and error, trial and error and building really great networks. I think were how I was able to find something that I love. So I started my career at one company Let's just not even talk about that one because it was terrible. And it was a job and I needed a job after college. And I tell this story in my book is like, when you don't know what you want out of the world of work, you get jobs just as ambiguous as you are. Like, if you really don't know what type of position this is, like, you just need a job, I guess, because you didn't know what you wanted. So you get something like that, that you probably didn't find joyful. Then my next move I made strictly for the money. I started working in financial services years ago, I was like this whole living in a studio apartment and not being able to afford furniture was for the birds. I had some friends working in financial services as bankers, I was like, well, I want money, too. And that's what I did. Again, I was there for almost two years didn't really find happiness. And I really sat and I said, Well, when's the last time you thought happy can really like when was the last time and for me that was in higher education as a student in higher ed. I was in so many organizations, I had multiple jobs on campus. And I loved I was like, Well, what can I do as an adult now on a college campus, and one of the quickest ways to get in that I found is through admissions. So I got into admissions, I've loved the job, speaking with different students working in high school settings, and kind of selling college, you know, financial services, selling loans, investments, mortgages, I was like, Well, I don't really like that. But you know, what I can sell a college education, because that I believe in. But I learned very quickly, that university wasn't really a fit for me. And I also felt like you get all these students into the college, and then they don't ever talk to you again, like most people don't know who their admissions counselor was, like, how can I have a deeper relationship, and that's when I learned about career services. And the first time I saw a student get a job as a direct result of working with me, Oh, my gosh, I was so hooked. Because you literally change that person's life, their career path, everything, when you get into a job that's making good money that you're aligned with that you're excited about, I'm actually still keep in touch with that student. They stayed at that job for probably like, eight years or so. And like, I loved it. And then I continued to build on that year after year moving into different roles and Career Services, trying the other side and talent acquisition. But that was really, that moment, when I saw someone get a job. I was like, Okay, this is what I'm going to do. And clearly I love to play then I started a business doing the same thing. So it was just like my life. 24/7.

Jamila Souffrant 12:18

Yeah, and you just said you thought back to what really brought you joy, let you know wasn't really tied to money. It's seen but what what inspired excited you and it brought you back to like your college years. And Fun fact, when I was in college, I like what part of my jobs on campus was working in the admissions office. So I brought back a few memories. And so when someone is thinking now about what they want to do, whether this is someone maybe this listening, getting out of college, maybe someone has a kid that's, you know, transitioning into a career, or there's someone in their 30s, or been in this career that they don't know about for a while, how do they start to and you talk about this in your work, look at their experiences to direct their next move, like how do they know what they should do they have multiple joys or loves and things they want to do.

Kimberly B. Cummings 13:06

So one of the things I make all of my clients do is kind of look at their resume. And I mean, the long version, the version that has all the jobs that you hated, you loved everything on it, and stop thinking about the nuances of that job and start thinking about the skills that you gain. So my first job out of college, I worked at an office supply company, and I was a marketing assistant. That was like short term for like a data, a data like entry person, like they lied to make it sound like it was supposed to be exciting. It was not I hated it. But when I think about that people like oh, well, you just enter data into a system. And I was like, No, I actually learned about pricing patterns for customers, I learned about how to almost prioritize and give folks preferential pricing, how to understand what their relationships were with a business, I learned professional skills just being in the workplace. For the first time, I learned a little bit about client facing and sales. Those are the things I learned from that. And like then I have my clients kind of cross that that thing that they never want to do again. So for me, that wasn't data entry, I will never do that again. And then circle the things that they were most interested in. And kind of learning the ins and outs of a business, learning a little bit more about the sales process. And definitely that preferential pricing, because now as a business owner, that's super duper helpful for me. And that's why I have all my clients kind of go through their resume and do that for each and every job, and then start to make a list like these are all the things I want to do. These are all the things that I don't want to do and then think about industry. So for me, last time I was happy was in higher education. So what was the last environment that you were in where you felt happy? And what I recommend to everyone is like thinking to your increments, stop thinking about forever and five and 10 and one years, don't think about that. Just think about what could you see yourself doing for the next few years? Yes, you need to have a five to 10 year vision but that's more to anchor your steps every day to the end of my book the whole goal To put together a two year career strategy for yourself, so that long term goals like okay, so I could see myself being a director in five years. Okay, so is the next move that you're making going to help you get there? Yes, then you should go that route? No. Do you want to do it just for fun and maybe think about a new way to pivot? Or do you want to make sure you're staying on that career path?

Jamila Souffrant 15:23

Yeah, that's excellent advice. And also, sometimes people don't even see the tangential skills, the shadow work that's happening. They don't even recognize like what you just said, data entry, but not really, it was all these other amazing things that you so eloquently, were able to list out. And I know that someone right now is listening and say, Well, I just do this, like, it's not a big deal. But they're undervaluing their, their time and their experience. And so I hope if you're listening, you're really even just listening to Kimberly, describe what she was able to do in this data entry position. Because if you can, if you're able to, to communicate that in a resume or in an interview, and to prospect prospective jobs, like you will for sure, elevate your status or wherever you're going.

Kimberly B. Cummings 16:06

Oh, yeah. And if you're definitely not sure, I love to look at job descriptions just for highs, honestly, especially when I was applying for jobs. Go look up your job title, look at the adjacent job titles, because we all know that different jobs are called different things that every company but you're really doing the same thing, and start to look and be like, Hey, I do that. But we call it this. Oh, I think I do that too. And that can give you a little bit more insight into what you're doing every day and what the impact is.

Jamila Souffrant 16:31

Yes, yes. Okay. Let's talk about branding. Right? So oftentimes, in branding, you especially as entrepreneur, like if you're a digital entrepreneur, it's all about branding, and how people see you as a brand. It's very clear. But there is branding that happens in corporate America in the office, right, there is like the personal brand that you are going for in the professional brand. So I want to know like, Is that the same thing? I know, we talked about it. But is that considered the same? Or are they separate?

Kimberly B. Cummings 16:56

I think that they're the same almost, because when you're thinking about your personal professional brand, it's a combination of things that are innate to who you are things that are never going to change elements of yourself and your family and friends still see. But then there's almost a professional layer on top, I think for entrepreneurs when we hear branding, I think the first thing I think about is like a website, right? Like,

Jamila Souffrant 17:16

right, the website, the colors, I think about the colors, the logo. Yeah,

Kimberly B. Cummings 17:20

exactly. So when we kind of transfer that to being a full time professional, I think people are like, well, I don't need a website, I don't need that. I'm like, you don't need those things. But what I tell people, that is the experience you provide to anyone who interacts with you. So what is the experience? What is the characteristics that people see? What are the skill they are always able to provide? What are the things that you're really, really good at? And what are your colleagues say about you? That's more of what your brand is? Like, when someone answers the question, why should they hire you? What would they say? My husband always jokes and says, This is the reason why you get married? Like what is that person going to say about you? Like, why did they decide to marry you. And it's not just you know, you had an 18 inch weave, I don't even got hair on my head, or like you know how to do your makeup flawlessly, or you knew how to interact with that person's mom perfectly. It's all these other skills who are innate to who you are. And that's really what your personal professional brand is, but just putting that into the workplace. So for me, the example I'll give is that I've, the last four jobs I've had have all been integral roles or very closely to integral roles, they were refashion so I was the first person in it. And I've always had to build strategy. People know that when they come to me, I'm able to see your problem from A to Z and bring out the incremental steps and show you how we're going to get there with a strategy and execute. That's what I'm known for coming in, I always answer questions straight to the point. And you're going to get the answer. If I don't have the answer, I'm gonna come back and give it to you later and integrate it into my strategy. That's a part of my brand in the workplace.

Jamila Souffrant 18:56

Yeah. And I also like that, you know, we didn't even talk about physical parents just now when it came to branding. I know that is a part of it, you know how especially depending on where you work and the sub sect segment of where you are, but that does, depending on your industry matter in some areas, like right, right how you present yourself. But it's also important to know when we just said personal brand was more about your skill sets, and like what you brought to the table outside of what you look like. So when it comes to now, also just like a parent and how you show up in the workplace? How important is that? Because parts of me are just like, why can't I just show up the way I am right? Like, especially for black people and black women and you know, like all these things about our hair and our what we how we dress and our style, which it can just not always match with if you're working in these cultures that don't understand. Right. So what are your thoughts on that? And how can we authentically show up though, as ourselves in the settings?

Kimberly B. Cummings 19:50

Oh my gosh, I feel like this is especially timely because Have you seen the thing about Monique and women going to the airport and bonnets Oh yes. It'll go on.

Jamila Souffrant 19:58

She was Yeah. So for everyone. Just like Quick Monique, the comedian, the comedian was saying she had like a video saying Why do you know women? Why are we showing up to the airports and bonnets and not taking pride in our you know how we look? And so people were like, yeah, like, What's up with that? And some people were like, because I'm just going to the airport, you have no clue where I'm coming from, where I'm going, or why I'm this way. So don't judge me based on this.

Kimberly B. Cummings 20:20

Yeah, exactly. And I feel like the workplace, I want to share my comments. I'm not trying to get slammed on the internet every morning, but I will say that you have to understand the norms of your workplace, right? My company, manifest yourself goes into so many companies every single year to do trainings. And I mean, pre and during COVID. All right, because COVID isn't necessarily over. But every company has a flair to it, right? Sometimes you can go to old school financial services, and you know, people are wearing suits every day matching with the pearls around their neck. Like that's what it looks like, you can go to a tech company or like a fin tech company. And people are wearing jeans and a button down no tie. So I think it's important to understand what the norms are of the environment that you're in. But then also add your flair on it. Figure out what is the piece that you because you don't want to go to a place where you're completely uncomfortable. But then at the same time, if you're an old school finance, wearing jeans and a T shirt and going to work for you, you probably need to think about working in tech. So it's understanding what the norms are and what is going to be your thing. I'm a big believer in still bringing yourself to the workplace. But you just need to also be aware of what's like appropriate and not appropriate.

Jamila Souffrant 21:34

Yeah, and it's I'm laughing. So because I wrote when I was working in corporate America, and I always had this rebellious spirit. And I'm like, I was always trying to rebel in my little ways. And you know, I'm a grown woman at this point. But I got a nose ring. I remember, I got a nose ring. I'm mind you I'm working in a corporate setting. But you know, I'm in New York, I think the other regions were more flexible, but I'm in the home office. And I remember I got a nose ring. And I'm like, I'm getting a nose ring. Like, I'm not gonna like not do this because of this company. And I got it. And I had it for years, I remember on someone that he meant well, but he was just like, you know, like, he kind of pulled me to the side. And he was like the nose ring. And in my head. I'm just like, not that, you know, people judge you based on it, especially outside clients, where I knew kind of were judging me. But I also felt like it made me stand out. So I did eventually remove it just because I was over it. But it's also one of those things where it's just like you have a life outside of work. And some things are more permanent than others, like a nose ring. You can't just take it in and out. Anyway, it was one of my experiences with how do I show up and be myself, but also like, this is the culture like no one is doing this stimulus. So you do have to be aware of what this can translate to.

Kimberly B. Cummings 22:38

Exactly. I've seen folks who they always have glasses on there are so fire like all different prints and colors and that sort of thing. Or some people wear like a brightly colored colored suit. So they could be in an environment that's a little bit more stoic. But they're like, Well, you know what, I'm wearing an orange suit, when that's what it is. So I do believe you can bring your flair. But there's that line, like, clearly you have the nose ring. And you still had it? And you were a okay.

Jamila Souffrant 23:05

Yeah, I was like, Whatever.

Kimberly B. Cummings 23:08

I'm pretty sure you were still successful, you can do it. Is it worth it? Is it you? I think it's just there's a difference between like fighting against the grain because you fighting against the grain. And this is really like innate to who you are. And does this make you happy,

Jamila Souffrant 23:21

right. And you also have to be good at what you do and have those skill sets to back it up. So you can't like just do that and just be trash at work. Like you have to also be good at what you do. So you can stand up and be like, Listen, you need me, like I'm really good. So if that's the reason you're not gonna, like want to work with me or fire me or promote me that's on you. So one of the things that I love, and I never really saw it talked about this way, but you talked about mentors, peers, and sponsors, and we all heard those terms before, but I love how you break it down that they're distinct people that we should all have in our lives, and how you interact with them and what they're able to do for you. And you know, not just what they do for you, but the ongoing mutual relationship. Can you break that down for us?

Kimberly B. Cummings 24:02

Definitely. So I think, in short, I'm actually teaching a workshop on this tonight. So I'm like, I probably just bring my slide up to mix, right. So you have peers, so peers are the folks who are like day to day in your job, right? You need to work with them to get your job done. You don't want to be an island, wherever you are, right? You should not just be out in this world doing everything by yourself. You need peers and relationships with folks who are in similar roles, who may be a step below or a step above, but those are the folks who you partner with every single day in your job. You need coaches like the same way we have coaches in professional sports. Those are folks who can help get you to the next level. Um, sometimes you may hear them called teachers, right? Like, they will teach you the skill that you are missing in a safe environment to help you get to the next level. So for instance, in my jobs, I've had a lot of data analytics. I am terrible y'all at data analytics. Please don't make me make a pivot table, you'll see real tears come on my eyes. I had to pull someone aside like, yo, can you teach me this? Like, how do I do this? How does it work this way, you have mentors, which is like the hot conversation, right? So mentors, those are the people who have been there done that, they may not be able to teach you or they may not have the time to sit down and teach you. But generally, I say those are like the day to day woes of your job. So maybe after that man pulled you to the science, and hey, you doing a lot with his nose ring, that's more of like a mentor conversation, that they'd have almost like the auntie conversation that Monique says that she's having, then their sponsors, those are really important, because I would say those are the people who can pull you up from where you are, and put you where you like to be. So when you're in a job, let's say you're an analyst, you want to be a manager, that person is the one who has the power to pull you up and be like, no, they need to have this job, put them in the room, you're normally not in the room with them every single day, they may not even have the bandwidth to mentor you. But you see them when you can you make a great impression. And they'll talk about you in rooms that you probably are not going to be invited to. And then last but not least, you need colleagues who are also external to the company. So many folks just want peers in their company, they think that their company is essentially the world, but you need to have people outside of your current company. So you can learn about trends in the industry, things that are happening. I'm a huge believer in professional associations. I've been a member of one since that first career development job, and you learn so many things that you could bring back to your company and you build a network to help you when you want to get another job that happens to be outside of your current company.

Jamila Souffrant 26:32

Yeah, so that's an even as an entrepreneur, these all apply. Because I often find that part of my success, and I'm sure for you, it's like, you know, networking with the people who do the same exact thing you do, like in the personal finance space is there's a bunch of us. And so it's really nice to make friends in this way. Because it's a lot of gain and benefit in terms of just synergy with just helping each other out. But then there's these other levels of people who are not in the personal finance space. Totally, like separate the also can help you and then what I want to get to is how people develop their relationships with the sponsors, right? Like the mentors, and sponsors are important. Everything else is important, too. But how do you make these connections with the people who are seemingly very busy, who may be getting a lot of inbound requests for sit downs and talks? Like how do you create those relationships.

Kimberly B. Cummings 27:20

So number one, I believe you have to show up and show out in your work. Don't be out here trying to get a sponsor to notice you and your work is subpar. Because that's one of the first things they're going to spot and be like, Why? Why am I talking to you? Why am I wasting my breath on someone who can't even do their job, right? If you need help doing your job, you need to start with those teachers and those mentors to get you to a great level before you start activating with your sponsors. The biggest thing I like to do with sponsors is find out the room that they're in, what are the rooms that they're in? And how can I stand out in those rooms? So in a virtual environment, what webinars are they speaking on? What professional associations are they in? And how can I speak up? So the way that I generally like to do what I like to ask really great questions on those webinars, um, to make sure that I stand out and kind of show off that I did my research. So I would say something like, Hey, I noticed that in your last job, you published an article on blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, where you talked about the intersection of this and this, I'd love to hear your viewpoint on that now, three years later, when you hear me ask that question. Okay, so home girl knows I used to work there, actually read the article. So it gives me a little bit of shine, and then I'll follow up with an email introduction. But even better than that, and I'm going to ask someone to introduce me, I really like to get that introduction, I can introduce myself, I'm more than happy to do that. But if I can get someone to make an introduction, that's really great. Or I'll find out other people who I can get in contact with first, who can get me in contact with that person. So maybe we're talking about traditional workplace, right? This person is a senior leader, and they have five direct reports, how can I get in touch with one of their direct reports first, and get to know them, and then ask them for an introduction. So it's definitely a long game, too. I don't think that if you meet them on January 1, and by February, you get that introduction, it may take a little bit of time, because again, when you get this person knowing that you cannot see them all the time, you need to make the most of the time, you don't want to get into a meeting and the only thing you're asking me is Oh, well, tell me a little bit about your career. How did you get here? Like you don't want to ask them questions like that. You want to make sure you can have a meteor conversation. And that takes understanding them understand their environment. And that's why when you can talk to their direct reports, or people who are around them first to get a sense for who they are. That really makes your conversation much more meaningful once you get to that room.

Jamila Souffrant 29:42

Yeah. And so another thing that comes up is even come up for me as you're talking is how do you do that in a way that is not annoying and or seems like you're using the person because oftentimes, like I know, like I see when people are trying to reach out to me and they're doing it in Like a really great way they're playing the long game. They're not just automatically like asking me for something. And I've been able to do that with others too. But then I've seen people who will come on like, kind of too strong. And it's immediately like, Oh, I know you're only reaching out for this thing. And maybe because I know this person. So how does one navigate doing it in a tactful way that's not pushy, and also doesn't make the person feel like you're just using me to get to the next person or for this thing.

Kimberly B. Cummings 30:23

So number one, be patient. Don't feel like you have to come to the conversation with an ask. I'm fortunate that I feel like I've been able to sponsor some folks. If I see someone who I like that one of the first things I'll say to you is, oh, how can I help you? What do you need? See if you can get yourself in a situation where you've shown up and show it out enough? Well, they can actually say that to you. And if not work on building that relationship. And be patient. Some of my mentors, especially in the corporate space, they are folks who are busy, right, I can make a meeting right now. So if I were to call one of my mentors in the workplace, my sponsors in the workplace and say, Hey, I'd love to get on your calendar. If I say it's not urgent, you best believe maybe I'll get a meeting at the end of July. And then a week before that meeting is going to get pushed to like mid August, or maybe pushed again to like September one, after they get back from one of the Labor Day weekend. So be patient with getting on their calendar, make sure that you're coming with insightful questions about the work about their team about outside interactions that they have, see if there's any place that you can help. One of the things I've also done is strategically ask, are there any stretch projects on your team that I'd be able to assist with, to get to know your work better? Are there any synergies in between our work and see if you could figure them out? First, they like you notice a synergy and see if you can get on a project. Um, so they can see your work in action, don't just worry about the immediate. So for you that maybe, hey, I would really like to be considered for the analyst role on your team, you don't want to come just with that. Because again, they don't know you, make sure you give opportunities to see you in action. And that's why getting to speak with their direct reports can be so insightful, because they can speak about you first. And maybe even tell that person before they meet you.

Jamila Souffrant 32:06

Yes, this is pure gold, I hope you guys are taking notes. Because like, so the other thing is mastery. And I want to like talk about this mastery in your current role and in your current role. Because again, I know that I have some people listening who are, they really just want to get to the next thing, they think the next thing will solve all their problems, they'll be happy then. And you know, you are a big proponent on fix what it is where you are now, like master your current role before you go to the next one, or won't be your next best move. So talk a little bit about why it's important for people to get better where they are right now, despite the fact they might not think they belong there.

Kimberly B. Cummings 32:43

This is one of my soap boxes. And I feel like if any of my mentees or people who've worked with me are on this call they've like really came you're saying that again? One of my biggest pet peeves is people ask me for promotions when they haven't mastered what they currently did. And I mean, really and truly mastering your job, your operating and excellence. And for me mastery is being able to make an impact and a full cycle impact many times you can make an impact just by you know, innovating on an idea. But have you taken it to the next level? Have you tested it? If you make an impact with one thing? I'm pretty sure there's going to be problems after what are you able to problem solve? And change those things? Are you able to manage your workload? Are you able to train someone else on the things that you do? And they're able to do it hands down? No questions asked? Are you the go to person for whatever your job is? Or are people still going to your leader or going to someone else in the team because they're really not quite sure what it is you're supposed to do? Are people complaining about you on a consistent basis because you don't get back to them in a timely fashion. A lot of times people want to get promoted because they've been in a role for a certain amount of time, not because they've actually made an impact and mastered what they're doing. That's why I think mastery is so important. And honestly mastering your role only helps you get to the next level because you have more stories to tell. You have more facts to share, most likely more testimonials about the impact that you've made. And sometimes when we focus on getting to the next level, we forget that we can maximize where we are. If you want to get another job, I tell the person I tell everyone, it takes generally about six months to get a new job. Unless there's like a next logical step. And you've already been networking, maybe you can cut that down. But generally it takes people about six months. And in that time period, I think it's important to still be doing great work, and making sure you can milk, that job for everything that you possibly can because you're already there. So why not get as much as you can before you move someplace else, especially if it's an internal role. I think the last thing I'll say is that if you're looking to get promoted within your current company and not go external, you are essentially on the longest job interview you've ever had in your entire life. Right? When someone else interviews for that job, if there's an external and internal search, an external candidate can come in and sell them the world, the world and it interview, make it sound amazing, they will change everything. But when you interview, you also have to break past the brand that you've created in that time. If you're not someone who's innovated, you're not someone who's mastered you don't have a track record of success. What is going to make them think that all of a sudden, this new job is going to be what you needed to do everything that they wanted you to do?

Jamila Souffrant 35:20

Yes. Okay, so someone's listening, like, Alright, Kimberly, I'm ready to like, take this seriously and ready because I want to make that money. I want to make an impact, but they have not been showing up, you know, the way that they should have been and but they're ready to make a change. One it? Is it too late to ever rebrand in the same position and role? And how does one make a change? Like do you have to do you announce it? Do you say to your if you know that you've been subpar, have been doing subpar work? Do you go to your manager? and admit that? Or do you just change? Like, what are the strategies to help level up in your role if you have not been doing that?

Kimberly B. Cummings 35:54

So I do not think you should announce it. Definitely not. I think that you should just show up and do better. And figure out ask for some feedback, if you're not quite sure, cuz I will say as someone who's been very busy in the workplace, I've managed larger teams. Sometimes I may not notice because I may be too busy myself if someone's been slacking. But if someone were to ask me for a recommendation, I probably wouldn't be able to give one because you haven't really been showing up. But I wouldn't necessarily know that you've been trash, a trash employee, I don't recommend announcing it, because you may call attention to yourself. I hey, I've been logging off at 330 every single day. I'm so sorry. Like,

Jamila Souffrant 36:32

I don't need to know that. Cuz like really, I don't even know, like, thanks for telling me now

Kimberly B. Cummings 36:36

I was ready. Now I'm gonna make sure I ping you at 335 every single day to make sure you're still online. So don't announce it. But start looking at your role with a fresh lens and figure out what are you able to do to take it to the next level? Do you have clear goals that you can maximize? And if you're not sure, one of the questions I always ask people to ask their bosses is, you know what I'm really interested in growing in this company. I'd be interested in moving to this type of role. What is it that you would need to see from me in order to show that I'm ready for the next move, and be quiet. Don't say anything else after that. Allow them to tell you what they need to see. And then put that in your career strategy to start getting close to that start reaching out to your mentors, and ask what they feel are the biggest challenges for you talk to talk to other people to make sure you can really create an action plan to level up.

Jamila Souffrant 37:31

Yes. And do you think it's different in the virtual world now that everyone or not everyone, but there are some people now who are working from home and this seems to be a permanent change? Or this is going to be a hybrid? That this is going to be a different type of networking or different skill sets? Or is there a different way to show up now that we're mostly Some of us are online? Mostly,

Kimberly B. Cummings 37:51

I think you have to be intentional. What I always say is just imagine working in the office setting again, right? You're on a floor with how many hundreds of people in some big old building in Manhattan or no matter where you are, honestly, most offices have this open space environment, right, where we're all sitting together. And imagine being there and your boss gets up to go to a meeting and she forgets that your work is a key part. Right? She will Oh, hey, can you come on into this meeting real quick? Do you have a sack like people will walk around the office and see you and that will jog their memory to connect with you to invite you to the meeting to do the things now that we're virtual, you have to be intentional? How can you recreate those moments to get on someone's calendar to get in someone's face? And sometimes that just means that you have to reach out? Hey, I'd love to schedule a 15 minute catch up with you. At the end of today. This was a rough week, you know how can our team get together have a little virtual happy hour at 515 start joining your er g groups I think it just the onus is a little bit more on the employee right now. To make sure that they're included to make sure that they're still networking still building relationships. And for anyone who's listening who's a people leader. Also think about how you can get your team involved how you can build camaraderie amongst your team. I know when things started opening up during the pandemic, I reached out when and I reached out to people who I managed in the past people from my current team and said hey, if you're comfortable definitely a no if you're not comfortable but if you are comfortable I'd love to grab a coffee or grab ice cream or grab dinner like outdoor seating. This was like October right when they things started open like a little bit. And I started asking folks would they be willing I think like when I think about teams that I've worked on I generally know where everyone lives ish Are you close where you can take a walk together figure out ways where you can be intentional to have a WebEx you know, have a zoom, you may be tired of them but you know, have a quick one and and make it casual. Or see if you can even connect outside of the office if you're open.

Jamila Souffrant 39:48

Oh, that's some great tips right there. So the thing I want to really ask you is because you're brand new into full time entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship, how many weeks has it been a month

Kimberly B. Cummings 40:00

I think it's like two, three weeks,

Jamila Souffrant 40:02

two or three weeks. Okay, so two, three weeks as an entrepreneur full time. And so many people are looking to get to that stage, like they're running something on the side, or that's their goal, their dream. But you've been running manifest yourself, like, for a while now, on the side, as you've been, you know, in your career, so you've had a taste of it. But now that you're full time, like really full time, how's that experience been? For you? What has most surprised you? And what has been like most challenging so far?

Kimberly B. Cummings 40:32

So I feel like my answer is jaded. So you may need to ask me again, and like, ask me after the book tour, because I feel like I was so busy planning for the book tour with events and meetings and everything else that I feel like it isn't different. Because I'm still working like a million hours since I was still working like seven to seven. And sometimes a little later, just the way I was in corporate and managing my company. So it doesn't feel different. But what I will say is that I love having full control over my calendar. That is the biggest thing. I think when you work for larger companies who have like really great security systems, there's no way to merge your calendar, your personal your business and your company calendar in a system like calendly, or acuity. So I really love being able to look at my calendar and know this is it, I don't have to go back and forth. I love being able to do block scheduling, to the best of my ability to manage, like my energy and manage like talking time versus working time. But I don't necessarily feel the difference yet. But I'm pretty sure you know, probably come July one, you may want to send me a text and be like, hey, you're right. And make sure I'm not in the corner, like oh my God, why did I resign? Because even in the moment that I read that I up till my last day, I was like maybe I should take back my resignation. Because I really like my job. My team is incredible. I was like, maybe maybe I could still keep it but I knew I couldn't. And now looking at my schedule, I think my first week of being an entrepreneur, I looked at my husband, I was like, yo, how would I have done this? Like, how was I even doing this? While working a full time job. I was like, I don't understand how I was doing it. So I'm excited to just have more brain capacity to do all the things and put them where I'd like them to be.

Jamila Souffrant 42:19

And were they okay with you doing what you did on the side? Because some companies or not, or was it kind of like? Yeah, almost. Okay.

Kimberly B. Cummings 42:27

So for any like larger company. So my work with my company is like adjacent to the work that I did in corporate America and with all the jobs that I held. So it's always been, I've had to be very clear on what my boundaries are. So I've gone through public affairs, I've gone through their legal counsel the whole nine. So I wouldn't say that they are not supportive, I would say they watch on a regular basis. Yeah. So it's been a little uncomfortable. But I also as a contingency of getting hired when they give me my offer letter, like, I'm not showing that my company just I, you know, like, I want to accept the offer. If you're telling me I have to stop, like that's not an option. So let me know if you're gonna accept me and my company. And I always had clear rules. That's what I tell all entrepreneurs, if your work is closed, especially with cars, you'd have them anyways. But especially if your work is aligned to what you do, make sure that you can share your rules to make sure that you're not competing, that you're not like poaching customers that you're not. For me, it's like I don't coach, anyone who works at any company that I work for. Things like that. Just make sure they know what your lines are. But the second use that again, wishy washy with Well, you know, I'm not really sure that hasn't happened before. They're like, Oh, okay, we can't trust you. So that's been the hardest part.

Jamila Souffrant 43:46

Well, it's good that you also came to the table, and you had the business already. So you told them at so they knew that coming in. And what happens sometimes is you're already in a company in your start that happened to me, like I didn't have journey to launch when I was at, you know, my, my company. And so that started while I was there. I never mentioned it to them. And so do you think I guess it's gonna be case by case basis? I know that but is it? When should someone tell their company that they are doing something on the side because me, I was just like, I'm just gonna do this until like someone said something like, want to see what happens. And then like, it was funny, because I remember I was featured on the news. And so the security guard, and a couple people saw it and they were like, were you on CBS last night? I was like, I don't know. I don't know. I don't think so. So,

Kimberly B. Cummings 44:33

I always say look of your HR policies. Just make sure you're in alignment, I think, especially larger companies generally have a clause in there about outside work about conflicts of interest. I always like to just be sure I'm that person who's also overly cautious like I believe everybody can go ahead and do something. And then my behind gets in line, the last one like number 1000 they're like Kimberly B. Cummings. We might have a you bye Related section blah, blah, blah. So I'm always cautious. So keep that when you're listening to my advice, but I always say it's good to look at your HR handbook. If you don't know, ask employee relations and say, you know what they give like, of course, you probably have to give your name and just say, hey, like, I'd love to know what the policy is on having an outside business? Well, well, I'll just ask to your aware and see what happened from there. But especially like if your business starts getting some traction for me, my company was at a point, especially when I transitioned to this job where I couldn't hide it. Like I was, in essence magazine, like, right when you opened up, I think like two months ago, after moderating a panel, a lot of people read Essence magazine, they were like, I saw your face. It's my name. And this is that, like, I've had some I've had some pretty big news features, so I can't hide it. So for me, I'm like, let me just disclose, because the company I work for would definitely come and slap you on your wrist. And they probably only slept one time before they fire you because I've heard about some other folks. So I like to disclose just so I don't, I don't want no smoke.

Jamila Souffrant 45:58

Yeah, yeah, that's that's so funny. I remember what right before I gave birth, I was on maternity leave for my third. And my money magazine article came out. And I remember getting an email, like from my one of the admins there, and they're like, this is circulating now. And it was funny, I was like, I've been figured out but I knew that I was going to go back into the office because I was about to give birth. So it felt a little bit more like Alright, well, you know, I don't know why I was so nervous or secretive about it. Because in retrospect, I feel like now I know some of them listen to the podcast, and are supportive and are like, wow, you did that they kind of like, Why didn't you tell me because I like I kinda want to learn what to do what you were doing. But it's just one of those things. I think for people, like you said, it's case by case it's based on your own risk tolerance and what you think you can do. Okay, last thing, because I know that something else that people are very interested in is how did you prepare for taking the leap financially for entrepreneurship? Was there like a certain milestone you wanted to in your business as income? Did you save up a certain amount? Like, what was that like for you?

Kimberly B. Cummings 46:58

So it's so interesting, because I will say that one of the reasons why I was super nervous is because I thought I could do more. But then I realized and speaking with one of my business mentors, that it's like, there's always going to be more you can do. So I saved about four months of living expenses. And then I closed some big deals, which made me feel like I had a pipeline of income coming in. And that's what made me feel comfortable. But then also, it was just the stress, I knew I was not going to be able to last too much longer and not lose my entire mind. So I had to make a choice. And I think also with the book tour, too, I think knowing that the book is dropping, I was just looking at my calendar, and I was like, how are you going to do this? This does not look possible, and I started to get nervous. So I think for me, it was a combination of all things. And then also just trusting like, hey, like you can do this, if you did, if you did these numbers with a corporate job. What would you be able to do if you actually gave this your full attention or all the attention you gave to your corporate job and your business? So that was I just kept on telling myself like you did it before you could do it again. You did it before you can do it. Again, this is not this is not rocket science. You've done it. You have a tracker.

Jamila Souffrant 48:04

That's awesome. Okay, Kimberly, let everyone know again, the title of your book where they can get it and who it's for, like who's true should be running to pick this up?

Kimberly B. Cummings 48:12

Yes. So the title of my book is next move, best move transitioning into a career you'll love. And this book is for you. If you're finally ready to stop being an employee and become a leader in the workplace. I would say this, this book is great for college grads, but it's really geared toward like experienced professionals who have been doing something for a few years, they're starting to feel a little stuck. And they know that there's something else out there for them in the world of work. And they're ready to make that change and really build a career become a leader. If you go to next move, best move book .com, you can find all the places you can buy it is wherever books are sold. And I hope you grab it. I'm so excited.

Jamila Souffrant 48:54

Yes, I'm so excited for you, Kimberly and I will link all of that in the show notes too. So thank you once again for coming on the podcast. I know this will help a lot of people level up, make some more money and love the careers they're in.

Kimberly B. Cummings 49:05

Thank you.

Jamila Souffrant 49:10

I really hope you enjoyed that conversation and that you took notes there was so many gems dropped here. The way Kimberly speaks about career and work and even you know the way she talked about from her data entry job and the skill set she gained from that. Being able to pull that out the skills that you learn the unique experiences there is something right now that you're doing that if you reframe it, if you look at it in a different way is gold will lead you to gold. So I want you to recognize that go back and listen take notes, share this with someone who you know right now hates their job or knows they can be doing better and need some legitimate tips and then tell them about Kimberly's book. Next move best move which is out right now.

Another thing if there was something that you really loved or if you're listening to this, take a screenshot on your phone and share it on Social media. I'm on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I'm mostly hanging out on Instagram. But tag me with the screenshot of you listening wherever you listen and maybe something you have taken away from this episode, something you're going to do differently or improve upon. I'm at journey to launch on Instagram, make sure you're following me there. And then tag Kimberly, her Instagram is Kim B. Cummings. So Kim B Cummings again all this is going to be in the episode show notes for you to look at.

Don't forget you can get the episode Show Notes for this episode by going to journey to or click the description of wherever you're listening to this and you can still grab your jumpstart guide for free to help you on your journey to financial freedom by going to journey to

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What if you were able to create a career you enjoyed & loved, while on the path to Financial Independence? This week’s guest, Kimberly B. Cummings, is a career & leadership expert who shares practical tips and solutions on how to transition into a career that you’ll enjoy & that allows you to thrive. Kimberly is also the  author of her first published book, “Next Move, Best Move: Transition into a Career You’ll Love.”

Kimberly was able to identify her strengths, leverage her skills, build her personal and professional brand to intentionally land her dream career, now she’s giving you the blueprint so that you can do it too. She also shares about her decision to quit her job and become a full time entrepreneur and shares about; her transition, how she made the financial leap, and tips on how to tell your employer about your own business. 

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • How Kimberly found a career that she loved and the steps you can take to find one
  • The importance of a personal and professional brand
  • The difference between peers, mentors, coaches, sponsors, and colleagues
  • How to tactfully reach out to sponsors
  • Why it’s important to reach mastery in your role and have an impact
  • Why she quit her job and became a full time entrepreneur + much more…

Watch this interview on Youtube here.

I'm Listening to Episode 218 of the Journey to Launch Podcast, How To Transition into a Career You’ll Love & Make Your Next Move, Your Best Move with Kimberly B. Cummings Share on X

Other related blog posts/links mentioned in this episode:

  • You can grab Kimberly’s Book, “Next Move, Best Move” here.
  • Listen to the Learn to Trade As A Side Hustle To Reach Your Financial & Life Goals FREE Audio Training with Teri Ijeoma by clicking here.
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