Purpose Driven Career Case Study with Kristen Barba

How to Turn Your Skills and Passion Into Your Dream Job and Life


When Kristen reached out to us for the support she had been in a highly stressful reality tv producer role for the last six years. She was burnt out and wanted to find a job that met her personal and professional requirements. Not just the title or salary, but inspired by the content of the work, working with co-workers she likes, and having a good working relationship with her future boss. She also dreamed of a flexible working schedule that would allow her to focus on other passions outside of work. She used to be an on-camera host for small companies in their training films and participated in other entertainment hosting projects. It was a side gig that allowed her to express her passion, thoughts, and opinions on the world in a positive way.  


Here is Kristen's eight-month journey from leaving a toxic work environment to landing her dream job at CMT that utilizes her skillset and allows her the space and support to pursue her passions outside of work.

For six years, I tried my hardest to get out of my job in reality television. I wanted to work in television but fell into post-production, and became good at it, so I kept going. But it was stressful, and I was working 24-7. Sometimes, I would work for 72 hours straight without sleep. So I just put my head down and forgot to pop up and say, “my gosh, what am I doing with my life and career?

Once the pandemic hit, I worked even more hours, and then I just decided that this wasn't what I was happy doing. This isn't what I thought I would be doing out of college. I thought I would be doing something more creative. But instead, I had fallen into this managerial, very strict, very organized role with budgets and all sorts of stuff. I didn't love every co-worker and started resenting them for not having boundaries. 

Over the years, I had put on 30 pounds due to stress and no time to eat healthy food. I felt sick. I was exhausted and stressed out all the time, and I just had this moment of clarity where I knew I had to change my life. 

Before I found Kori, I thought this was something that I could just do on my own, but I was just drowning. I was just stuck. 

So once I had my initial conversation with her, I thought it was great because it wasn't just, “here are your skills, and this is your job,” as I'd noticed with a few other career coaches. Instead, Kori’s approach was more like, “what do you want to do with your day, and how do you want to live your life?”. Then you have the tools and small goals to keep you moving forward and being held accountable.

The goal I had going into the program was that I wanted to leave my current job and figure out how to do that without burning any bridges. I just wanted to move into a work environment where I felt more comfortable, which would give me a little work-life balance because, up until that point, I'd never had that.  

I also wanted to get back to on-camera hosting. I started hosting on camera right after college, and then this new job in reality television just took over my life to such an extreme that I had no time for any other side projects or anything else. On-camera hosting was something I loved so much, and it was so hurtful that I had no time to do that anymore.  So I wanted to try to find balance and bring all of my passions back into my life. 

The most impactful part of the program was that the process made me think about my life as a whole and not just a nine-to-five situation. When we did values and envisioning the perfect working day, that helped me because I had always just been like, “well, this is your job. This is just what happens. Whatever they want you to do, you do”. But after I could see that I'm not at the mercy of the company I work for. I can be in control of my day and envision what kind of life I want to have. I also realized this during our coaching, and even after coaching, it wasn't necessarily what I was doing in my job or the actual tasks I had a problem with; it was how my entire life was structured around those tasks. 

Now that I moved into a position where I do get that space to think for a little bit outside of work, it's like, wow, I'm good to do all of whatever you need because you respect my time and boundaries. So I'm here to respect your time and the work that you're giving me.

The most significant result of the program was I got a new job at CMT that I enjoy! My boss is awesome. I have a lot of respect for her, and she has respect for me. In addition, I can do my on-camera hosting work, so I've brought all of those things into my life together.

I recently was able to go on vacation. It's always been a running joke with my best friend over the last ten years that I've broken down hysterically crying because they would call and text me because  I was the only person who could answer work questions. And I’m thinking, “my God, give me a couple of days, leave me alone!” 

My new boss didn’t email me the entire time I was on vacation! Instead, she responded to my emails by saying, “listen, Kristen's out, but don't worry about it. I'll take care of it.” My best friend laughed that this was the first vacation I've ever taken where there was no crying, which was a pretty big feat because that has never happened to me! 

Over the last eight months, I also lost 30 pounds, and I’ve never felt healthier!

What's next for me is I'm still at CMT. I started there for a six-week contract, and they keep extending me. It's a creative job, which is perfect! I also now host for Amazon Live and live stream every Tuesday, where I show off home and beauty products. It's a lot of work, but it's a lot of fun and a good experience. I get to go into a studio, have a producer, and talk for an hour and a half straight, so it takes a lot of stamina. Still, they pay me, and it's something that I can put on my resume and continue working on my skills. And my CMT job is happy that I'm doing this, so it's all working out! 

If you are considering joining the program, you just have to jump off and do it. I kept procrastinating out of fear.  It's a big step to say, “okay, I'm going to leave my job, find something else” because you have so much of that security, especially if you have a full-time position. 

It's hard to let go, but once you do, you must trust yourself and your skills. It took me a while to do that. Kori always used to ask me, “what are you good at” and I would be like, “I don't know!” I was very timid about it and didn’t want to brag about myself because that's very hard!  But, once you’ve established what you’re good at and have the clarity on what you want, it’s easier to leave a position and start to look for new paths and put yourself out there, and opportunities will eventually fall into your lap.


Watch our Case Study video with Kristen Barba and Kori Burkholder







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