Steve Gwisdalla Wants You In A Better Place

Dexter resident and corporate coach Steve Gwisdalla explains how you can use the strong economy to your advantage in furthering or changing your career path. I had a chance recently to sit down with him at Joe and Rosie’s and hear what he had to say about it.

A strong economy such as we’re currently experiencing creates lots of jobs. Demand for labor is bigger than supply in a lot of cases. Such a situation is a golden opportunity for people to take advantage of in moving themselves into a more satisfying career.

“The market out there as a labor statistic is good,” Steve tells me. “People are working, but if you look at employee satisfaction surveys, there are a lot of people out there who are unhappy, that dread getting up every day. They go to work because they have to. They’re doing things they have to do and not things they want to do.”

Steve has been placing people in careers for more than 20 years. He started out as a recruiter for Ryder Logistics, a Fortune 500 company, visiting colleges with strong logistic programs and from there eventually moving into administrator roles working with colleges in their job placement efforts for their students.

Steve Gwisdalla

Steve was however unsettled in his role as administrator so he coached himself into a new position. “I missed the one on one interaction,” he explains. And that’s his key starting point for people who are looking for a change: What is it you want to do? Steve asked himself that question and left the secure world of college administration and returned to working one-on-one with people, coaching, consulting, and recruiting.

“I realized no one is doing it the way I’d like to do it,” he explains. “Everyone (in recruiting) is interested is ‘turn and burn’ meaning, I get him and job and move on. I get her a job and move on. Never coming back to check on how it’s going or asking ‘Is this what you really wanted in the first place?’”

Striking out on his own five years ago, Steve has left the traditional model of job recruiting behind. It’s no longer about filling positions with people, but rather about fulfilling the person in their career. “Maybe they’re in the right work environment but misfiring on how to make it work,” he says. “I try to help them find their path.”

That path can be within the company they’re in or maybe out of the company. It’s no longer just about finding a different job; work satisfaction is about helping people navigate the business world to find their best path. It all starts with that question that Steve asked himself.

“Ask yourself, ‘What do I want to do?’” he advises. “People will spend more time planning a vacation than building a resume. The people I work with now are current employees looking to make a change for something better, something significant.”

What do I want to do? That’s a really tough question to answer honestly because it means going to a deeper level inside yourself. “A lot of people can’t answer that question initially,” Steve says. “All they know is that they don’t like where they’re at. But change for the sake of change never leads to change,” he adds. “Things will be different for a little while but then you’ll be right back where you were before; dissatisfied.”

“I spend very little time early on talking to candidates about what’s on their resumes,” Steve explains. “We’ll get there but it’s not what’s important right now. What’s important is who they are and what they want; what they really want.”

“There is something about the job they currently have that first drew them in,” he says. “Jobs are like marriages. Two people have to say yes; the person offering and the person accepting. You said ‘yes’ to this job for a reason.”

“We work through the ‘what do you want to do’ and the ‘why did you choose this job’” Steve says. “In there lies the answer to your path ahead. Those are the two things to focus on more than anything.”

“It’s a purpose driven path,” he adds. “If you go about a search with just what’s on paper, your resume, your path becomes very linear and two-dimensional leaving the third-dimension of fulfillment largely empty. I strive very hard to find where that third-dimension lies for people and go from there.”

Steve tells the story of one such placement he recently helped. “Last year a graduate of U of M’s engineering school came to me for help finding a job. Due to some trouble in his youth, he was a late starter, I’d guess around thirty-years-old. When we first met, he didn’t know there were options. He just wanted to get a job.

“We talked through the questions: Why civil engineering? What do you want to do? What we learned was that he really wanted to work with alternative building materials that minimized environmental impact. There was a company that did just that, but he didn’t think he was qualified because of his past history.

“He was trying to hide his past and I suggested, ‘Why don’t you just come out and tell it to them? People really appreciate people who’ve overcome adversity.’ We coached him to the point of having a conversation with these guys and got him a job with the company he wanted. It’s his dream job.”

“The old job mentality used to be thirty-years at one company,” Steve says. “I think most managers out there have realized that things have changed and accepted it. You’re now going to get five to seven years out of somebody before they start looking to move on. What good companies do now is offer their employees different opportunities, different challenges, because if their people don’t feel challenged or inspired somehow, they’ll look for another job.”

Steve believes this strong economy is an excellent chance for people to improve their career path. Employers are looking to increase their workforce which opens up possibilities. This is a good time to pause and consider what you really want and then go find it because it’s probably available.

If you have any specific questions of your own for Steve, you can reach him through his website at

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