How Being Laid Off During The 2008 Recession Changed Alexis Michaud's Future
Ep. 104
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Alexis Michaud

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    This week, I’m so excited to talk to my friend, Alexis Michaud. In continuing with our spotlight on guests who overcame uncertainty in the 2008 recession, Alexis was laid off from her high-paying job as a lawyer when she was pregnant and the breadwinner for her family! We talk all about how that turned out to be the biggest blessing because it changed her career path.
    Alexis was a tax and corporate law attorney for over 18 years in some of the most prestigious positions at large law firms and technology companies. But in 2018, after her father suffered some unexpected health issues, she knew it was time to walk away. She followed her passion for real estate even though everyone questioned her decision to leave such a successful career. Well, Alexis showed that you can be successful doing anything you want when she brought in more income in her first year as a realtor than she ever did as an attorney!
    In 2020 she decided to combine her legal and real estate skill sets and founded North Advisory Group, a company that acts as COO during a transition and relocation to the tax-free state of Nevada. She is such an inspiration and it’s so cool to watch her navigate all the possibility that lies ahead!
    Where to Find Alexis:

Show Transcript
Goli: Hi, everybody. Welcome back to another episode. I'm so glad you are here. We are going to jump back into some more interviews over the next couple of weeks. I have some really good ones lined up that does not mean that we are just kind of moving on from anti-racism work. I am committed to increasing the representation of black and Brown people on the podcast. I really am committed to showing how people in different circumstances and communities have been able to quit and create these amazing lives. I think it's more important now than ever. I'd always been committed to it. And I realized that I got complacent and lazy and kind of took the easy way out. And I'm recommitting myself to that as well as figuring out how to be more of a voice and continue my own anti-racism education as well as fostering more conversations within my own community.

I'm not exactly sure what that's gonna look like, but I'm figuring that out as I go along. So look forward to that, but we will be going back to some more interviews that will hopefully help you guys figure out what you're doing with your careers. If you don't know, we finally did run the challenge. We're in the middle of that right now. It's a five day challenge of figuring out your own path. If you're interested in still joining, you can go to quitter club dot com slash challenge. We'll have gone through a couple of days, but the videos will still be in the private Facebook group that you can join. So if you think that it can help you feel free to join that challenge. Okay. Without further ado, let's jump into the episode with Alexis, Michelle. I'm so excited about this episode. I've known Alexis for a couple of years now through Instagram, we actually know a couple of the same people in the legal community.

We hadn't actually talked until this episode and I loved hearing her story, and I think he can help so many people for a lot of reasons. So Alexis was actually an attorney for over 18 years. She was a tax and corporate law attorney in some really high prestigious positions. She worked at large law firms and she went in house to very large technology companies. And yet in 2018, after her father suffered some unexpected health issues, she decided to pivot. She resigned without having any plan. And we'll talk about how she decided that she wanted to be a realtor and the mindset stuff that she had to go through, where a lot of us think that taking a transition that other people are gonna judge. It is a very difficult step to take. And yet that was the thing that she loved to do. And she did that and did incredibly well in that.

And now she's decided to combine her legal and her real estate skills and created a company called North Advisory Group where she helps people transition and relocate to Nevada, which is a tax restate. And we'll talk all about that. But another thing that I think that her experience can help. Like so many of us, she was laid off in the 2008 recession. And we'll talk about how hard that was. And she was the breadwinner and was six months pregnant. And it was a very difficult time. And when she was sort of blindsided by it, but like so many people that we've been featuring on this podcast, she will talk about how it was the absolute push that she needed that changed the trajectory of her career. And I really hope that you can gain some inspiration and some comfort in that even when it seems really hard and sucky and you've kind of had the rug pulled out from under you, it can be one of the best things that happens to you. And I think that Alexis, his story really highlights this. So without further ado, let's jump in and talk to Alexis.

Goli: Hi Alexis, thank you so much for joining me today.

Alexis: Happy to be here.

Goli: I am so excited to have you on. We were just talking before we started recording Alexis and I have been Instagram friends for a really long time. And I can't believe this is the first time we're talking, which honestly, I know a lot of people have a lot of bad things to say about social media, but I love that it connects me with such cool people. And I truly feel like we're friends. And so this is so weird, but cool.
Alexis: I totally agree. My husband was like, what are you doing today? And I said, I don't really know her, but I feel like I do. I don't know her, but we're BFFs. I love it.
Goli: Well, I am so excited to have you on one to go through your quitter journey. But I think even more when I noticed that you had commented on one of my posts about having kind of gone through the last recession and being laid off. And I think it's so timely right now because so many people are in the thick of it and very scared and don't know, you know how this is all going to turn out. So I want to jump right in, but why don't you tell us kind of starting back what your start was in being a lawyer, why you want it to be a lawyer and a little bit about the beginning part of your career.
Alexis: Okay, sure. I remember a pivotal conversation clear as day. I'm sure your parents, when

they're raising you how we're going to raise our children, think all this day to day, love attention and baking cookies and like the ice bath and the backyard with your son that you posted on Instagram, that these are the things that they will remember. But what I vividly remember from my childhood was being in the car with my mom and she had an enormous cell phone, like the kind that had a Velcro strap and a big hat. And my mom was a realtor and she was very good at what she did. Just business, business, business business. And I remember her on the phone saying, how many times can they tax a dollar? They tax it when you earn it, they tax it. When you invest it, they tax it when you buy something and they tax it when you die. I just remember thinking that's so unfair.
Is that true? And that planted this weird seed that probably 10 years later, I ended up going to law school to be a tax attorney. And so I just thought my mom works so hard. My biological dad died when I was young and my stepdad - I call him my dad, he raised me and he was a dentist. He worked so hard. I thought it isn't fair anyway. So that's why I went to law school, literally to be a tax attorney. I explored doing other things and when I was open to it, but I was a summer associate with a, at the time, it was just a statewide firm in Nevada. They offered me a job, the partner I was going to work for, he picked all of my tax classes. I took 33 credits of tax law and I loved it. It was fun. I know who says, I think you're like the only person that went to law school.
I know I ended up working almost two decades later with a regulatory attorney. And I was like, who goes to school to be a regulatory attorney too? So that was it. I started as a tax attorney for us, a local law firm. It was a big law firm in Nevada. And then they said, Hey, we don't have enough work for you to do straight tax work. You're going to have to do corporate work as well. So you'll do some a and they sell, they're going to have all this money. You're going to do tax planning with them. And it just went from there. And even that was a blessing.
Goli: Why don't you tell us a little bit the, when you were at that point, even before the 2008 recession, during those six years of practice, did you like being an attorney? Like, were you ever considering doing anything else or were you happy in that role?
Alexis: No, I didn't like it. I really didn't. I loved the clients and I loved a lot of the people that I worked with. I have been described by my financial planner as obnoxiously optimistic. So maybe that's a red flag, but I just could see the good in everything. I mean, who's to complain about cute little outfits, high heels and Starbucks and the beautiful office. How could you possibly complain about that and to be paid well and all of these things, but actually sitting down for 10 hours a day and doing the tedious inside the documents that really don't change very much. You obviously have to have the knowledge to know what's really important, but I loved sitting with people and listening to their stories of how they built their businesses, the ups and the downs. And I loved the people that I worked with, but actually sitting there and doing the legal work.
Goli: No. And on the tech side, you talk about death and disability all day long. It's a drag. And I love what you just brought up though, because it's something that I think is really important. We talked about a lot and I wonder if your views sort of changed now that you have quit, because I think so many people and especially women, I feel like they have a lot of this outlook like, I should be grateful. Like you were just saying, you know, it's a beautiful office. You get paid well, you have a very prestigious, secure job. I should be happy. And I think I find with a lot of the people that I talk to through this podcast and my group coaching programs, they feel guilty for wanting something else or for not being happy. And it's sometimes even find people trying to make the situation worse, or really ruminating over how bad it is so that they can convince themselves that like it's bad enough for me to leave as opposed to just being like, I'm not happy and it's okay. And I can try something else, but we convince ourselves that we should just be grateful. And I wonder if, have you shifted your perspective maybe a little bit now that you have left?
Alexis: Oh, absolutely. I haven't reflected on it too much until you asked if I'd come on the show. So I've had a few days to really reflect on it. And I think I didn't focus so much on the bad, but what I never did was focus on how much better it could be. It never crossed my mind, which is bizarre because when you do MNA, you sit with entrepreneurs all day on who tell their story. And I did, when I would walk out of those meetings in a boardroom and start to head back to my office. I think lawyers are so risk adverse. We'll never hit it big. We'll never grow or build the thing because we're too afraid.
We protect and preserve, but we don't really because that takes risks so that those seeds were planted early. So no, I didn't focus too much on the bad, but I definitely never let my mind go. What do you want?
Goli: I love that. I think so many of us, especially obviously lawyers, because we are just trained to always see what could go wrong and you're just trying to mitigate risk. And so it's so hard to look at kind of that upside and the opportunities that you're giving up by staying stuck and not taking that risk. And I love that you say that, cause I do think that's also, you know, just the way the human mind is like we're trying, we're evolved to try to stay safe and alive. And so you're constantly thinking like, if I can just stay in this comfort zone, then nothing can go wrong.
But exactly what you were just saying. Like you're not thinking about everything you're giving up because it could be so much better than you can imagine. I'm getting a picture of where you are. And then we go into that. We're going into this 2008 recession. So tell us what happened to you in that recession.
Alexis: I often thought, Oh, this could be a movie, not about my situation, but so many people's situations. So 2008 rolls around and this is before I learned to trust my intuition, I could do it in business. I could do it for my clients right away. I was a pit bull and I was protective of them. And just to see danger miles away, when it came to me personally, I did not apply the same principles. And that's okay at this point in time, because even though the story was like, it was traumatic, it does end up so much better.
And there's no, Hey, I could have gotten here without being forced to have to change 2008 comes, no, the economy, like we keep going, like, we're going to lunch... 30 minute lunches and I'll sit with partners and we're watching TVs and like Gordon bearish and we're watching the market and it's just all just balling, like free skydiving balling in. And I had had two really solid job offers within the previous three or four months that were still out there. And then there were all these rumors that my firm was in a merger, potential merger with Greenberg Traurig. And I have one friend. I have a group of people that I call my board of directors. I go to them for advice. And he's my one, a little bit, ER, he's a little doom and gloom. So we get smart attorneys. One of the best attorneys.
I know he was outside the firm and I said, what is going on? And he described to a T what was going to happen in my law firm? He said, Oh, we've heard, they're going to come in. They're going to say, they're going to take everybody is going to be happy. They're going to hold hands with the, you know, the most major partners and slowly but surely they will end up with this group of people, but they want it to begin with they'll shut everybody else. And that will be that. And I thought, Oh my gosh, these people are so open and so nice. They would never slowly, slowly the doors in the office started to close. It was a really friendly environment. It was over a period of months and months and months. And I was doing MNA work. Right? And now the economy is tanking in a way that most people had never seen before.
How much MNA work was there going to be? And I did way more of that than I did tax at the time because the market was so hot. That's where the work was. I have had at this point, we're trying to start a family and I've had two miscarriages and it's been years and now I'm pregnant with my now first kiddo, like six months pregnant, big girl. Okay. Yeah. I'll wait when I'm pregnant and in walks a managing partner and the one employment law attorney, and I'm like, is this actually happening? And during that day I had an email or a text from one of my good friends who was a partner in another firm in Reno because our offices were in Reno and Vegas. And this time I was in Vegas and they were like, they're laying off partners in your office right now.
Goli: Get out of there. It's like an episode of Gossip Girl.
Alexis: And I'm like, I don't know what's happening. Come in. I don't know what they said, because you know, as a lawyer, you weren't trained to be so polished. So professional. So non emotional and pregnancy hormones are real. And I am just, I think it was a quiet ball. And then they would say something like, and we're going to need your phone. I start balling even like, just more like Bridget Jones balling. And I'm thinking to myself, Alexis, this is so unprofessional, but I cannot stop. I have no control over just the sadness and the freak out. And we even had in our firm, we have clients that were taking their own lives, like big clients. I mean, it was just this weird, weird everybody remembers. I mean, it was just such a weird time.
I ended up in my car, I leave and a partner that I used to work with and the first law firm I ever worked with, who I don't think I had talked to in years, called me. He coaches me through what's your, you know, this process. And he actually just tells me how to navigate it. And then he said, I think I have something for you. And I was probably 10 minutes from my office. He called me immediately. That's incredible. Did he know that you were going to guess? Because my other friend who was a partner said out of there, they're laying off people. I just walked into that partner's office and that partner that I used to report to, and he picked up the phone and called me, Oh crazy. And I hadn't even really been in touch with him. He was pivotal.
He said, it might have something for you. And then I reach out, I'll call you in a week. And I was like, okay. I drove straight to my parents' house. And my mom has always been in business for herself. I said, my dad's a dentist. He's always been in business for himself. They were like, you know, those are Sobeys, blah, blah. They never were comfortable with me ever working for anyone because they've always worked for themselves. It was a disappointment to them. That's so like again, the vast majority of people have their parents dissuade them from going into entrepreneurship and it's the safe route. So you don't hear that too often. They didn't even want me to be a lawyer. They really gently tried to move me away from it. My dad said to me, when I said, I want to go to law school, he said, what are you talking about?
When lawyers come to my office, they act like they're on vacation because they can't talk on their phones or work. Cause he's a dentist. And my mom was like, you don't want to be at somebody else's womb ever. You want to build what you want to build and the way you want to build it. And I just, no, I didn't listen.
Goli: That's so funny that you have a wild streak of disappointment. Your parents saw going to law school, but your parents clearly knew what was the future of being a lawyer. But that's so interesting. I mean, going back really quickly to what you went through and I know that you were just saying like, it was a very strange time. And I think, you know, we obviously hadn't seen something like that where everything is just failing and it's just this really free fall. But I also think that that is sort of what's happening right now is that it's a weird time. We've never had a global pandemic and we've never been in this situation. And I really want to highlight these stories because while it really does feel like it's the end of the world when you're in it. And I fully understand that.

And I really want to go back to kind of like what you went through in that interim, because I know how hard it is, but I just want people to have a little bit of perspective. It's like, even though that felt like you came out of it as a society, as individuals, and I'm not saying it's not full of struggles or there isn't hardship. There absolutely is. But I know that a lot of people are panicking in that same way right now because it feels really like we have no idea what's happening and who knows where this is going to go. And I love just showing that like, yeah, we also went through this, not that long ago.

Alexis: The thing is, especially in Las Vegas, we were hit three times as hard as the rest of the country. When it came to home price, depreciation, nationally houses went down about 20% and then Las Vegas, we went down 60% and the number of short sales and foreclosures was, I don't know, a triple, quadruple, the rest of the country. We were hit so hard and we had to, our industry in Southern Nevada, we still sort of do in hospitality. So it's a third of our people are in that industry. It was just a terrible set. They were bad facts. His lawyers say it was just a set of really bad facts.

Goli: I can imagine for you two specifically at that time, just the circumstances. I mean, you're laid off and you obviously were lucky enough to have somebody call really immediately and say, there might be an opportunity, but I think a lot of people in that situation, or right now when they're getting laid off, the reality is, is there's not a lot of hiring happening. There's not a lot of people looking for more work. And then you're also like the added thing that you're six months pregnant. So you're going to have to go on maternity leave. So whether it's you started thinking like nobody wants someone that's going to be gone for three to six months because they're having a baby. And so it's like, what were you going through at the time?

Alexis: Honestly, I was super freaked out for her health. She was a girl. And I just thought with the stress of this what's going to happen. It was the only time I've actually had a sleepless night. I am a sleeper. I can sleep through an earthquake through a lot of things. And that was the one night I had some sleepless nights. Your point, I sent out resumes immediately. I drove my parents' house. I updated my resume. I emailed it right away. Parent's house. My dad's office was right off the garage and walked through, boom, sat down. My mom came in. I'm like, let me just get this done. And then I can freak out, but I got to get this done. So I sent out resumes and then I also said, I'm six months pregnant, but I have my own health insurance and am the breadwinner of my family. I will be returning to work very quickly. Crickets.
Goli: Totally.
Alexis: I never really thought about what would I have done had this other job not turned up now the other job was like a 50% pay cut. I took it, but we had to sell our house. We had to just slash expenses, which was honestly very easy to do because I think when you are working around the clock are not paying as much attention to how much should we spend eating out? I never evaluated all of our insurances. I just did all of it. I just cut. Cut, cut, cut, cut. And I was like, okay, we're still shy. This new job is not going to cover it. We're doing it because it's a job. And I took, like I had planned on taking a six month maternity leave. I took six weeks after an emergency. It was a C-section, I don't feel bad about it. I waddled myself back into that office and I was liking my work for the first time in my life.
Goli: What were you doing?
Alexis: I went to work for a software company and I knew the software company because I had set up, I had incorporated the company. I had done some of the tax work for them. They wouldn't know who I was. Right. I was the new associate working for the partner. This was a more prominent family in Las Vegas. They had hotels and a construction company, and this tiny little software company. I knew nothing about software. I mean nothing. And I told them in the interview and then I would write down words on a note pad during the day at work. And I would go home and Google them because I didn't want them to see my search history. So I'd be like an application platform. Like what does it mean? It was the beginning of like a big love affair with technology. Like one that never faded.
Goli: I love that. I mean, it's fair to say. And I think you said this earlier, but if the layoff didn't happen, you wouldn't have gone in house at a software company.
Alexis: I would've stayed the safe path because that's what I had been educated and trained to do. And I was grateful for the work. And like I said, I liked a lot of the people and I liked the clients and I never would have taken a risk if it hadn't have been forced upon me, I never would have gone in house. In house. Teaches you business in house, teaches you the risk taking. And I know there's different schools of thought when you're an in house attorney, I was very much 50% lawyer, 50% business person. You split the difference between liability and the risk and you keep moving and it started to kind of feed the seed of being an entrepreneur.
And there was no technology. There was no technology in Vegas. How would I ever, it's not like I live in the Bay area. How would I have gotten there blessing upon blessing.
Goli: Yeah, it's incredible. I mean, I've said it before and it, you know, there's a reason that we have the term blessing in disguise, right? Because it doesn't seem like a blessing at the time and it's a lot of heartache and when you're going through it, and then so many times this happens where it is that push from the universe to get you onto another path that you probably wouldn't have chosen because it's not the same. I mean, you were saying you were the breadwinner, you were pregnant, you were making double, like most people are not making that switch. Even if they had the opportunity, like if they could stay in the safe zone, that's what they're going to do.
Alexis: And sometimes, I'm not saying like, that's the purpose of it, but whatever it is, what, whatever it's happening, like using it to realize, how is this in some way, serving me, even though it's hard, even though it's a struggle, even though we have to sell our house and slash our expenses, in what way is this for me? I will say that right around the same time, like I said, I was like 10 away. I can picture it on the freeway where I was from my office, on the phone with that partner. And I hung up with him and I was driving and I just kept hearing in my mind, they let you go. I have been trapped in somebody. Let me like the perspective was there immediate, the fear, the panic, the emotions, the analysis of like, where are we?
How much money do we have? How long is this going to last? What are we going to do? I mean, it was all happening at the same time. It's like you can't process, you can't process it all when it's happening to you. And then bit by bit, you go, this work is fun. I really liked this. I never really loved that house that we had to sell. Now we have a bigger house with a better view for cost. Yeah. Economy had collapsed slowly. It's very slow. The money started to come back and nevermind that we increased our expenses. We had childcare. I mean our savings was dwindling and the savings took a long time to build up. And then you're just feeling like you're bleeding money, but somehow it's still okay. It ends up being better than okay. And then you're like, Oh, thank you for letting me go.
Goli: I love that. Do you think that there was part of it too? Where a lot of times we have really these doomsday scenarios and we're always thinking like, what would I do? I would never survive. And then when you go through something like this and you realize like, Oh, you know, something really sucky happened. It's kind of horrible. And I survived it and it wasn't as bad as I made it in my head.
Alexis: Yes, yes. To all of it. I don't think I never really got my head around it. Hadn't gotten my head around it. I would have slashed expenses beforehand been looking for other jobs or going to those people that had offered jobs to say, you know what? I think I'll take you up on that. Instead. I was frozen like a deer in the headlights frozen, and you could feel a freight train coming. And I, is it taking action? The action was forced upon me and no worries. That's okay.
Goli: Oh my God. I love that. Okay. So now let's fast order. So start going in house. And then you end up obviously doing that type of a career of working in house and technology for a number of years. What was that like? And then what was ultimately the transition to leave law? How did that happen for you?
Alexis: I think with the exception of my family technology is the love of my life from what people would consider boring from building management software, which was that first company that I worked for, it was a tracking inventory to people to building. They had an energy component, like a Greenstar component of how to make your spaces more efficient. We can analyze a gap store and tell them how to increase sales just by reconfiguring the floor plans we could analyze or not. Should you add another gap somewhere nearby? Nope. It's going to cannibalize too much of this, but if we move it three miles that way, then you're going to pull from that part of town and you're going in. That's good demographically, but I think for most people is not exciting. And then I ended up that company was acquired and that was another scary time.
I wasn't there very long when the radar went off majorly and I was watching everything was glass and super hip. And so unlike where I'd come from, and that's something I definitely wanted to say today was I remember sitting in my cubicle, I didn't even have an office anymore. Looking around at everything was a blast. And my company was diverse. Nobody was talking about diversity. Really? This was, I don't know, 15 ish years ago, maybe 14 years ago. I can tell you in my very white male dominated law firm, nobody was talking about diversity. There were people of all different nationalities and agents and the white older man. Wasn't really represented there's anything against the white older man, but you've got it. You just have to have diversity for all the reasons that everybody talks about in a selfless way. Fascinating. And then I was looking in this boardroom with all these executives who represented there were women, there were men, they were heads of software development and sales.
And there were women in big positions. They were all in a room together. And I thought, what is going on? Because you don't put the heads of everybody together like that really ever, because they need to go do a thousand different things. You are not going to put them all in a meeting. And so I remember marching into the general counsel's office or walking in closing the glass door that was like, not soundproof whispering, are we going to be acquired? And he looked at me and he was like, no. And I'm like, are you sure? And there was a couple of things that he had asked me over the last month documents to pull and look at. And it's just all piecing together. Anyway. I don't remember how much later it was, few more weeks. He says, you want to go get a bagel?
And I'm like, we've never left the office together. I don't say I'm like, okay, fine. So we get in the parking garage and we get in his car and I don't put my seatbelt on and I turn to him and I say, tell me what you have to tell me. And he smiles. He's like, no, it was not ended by my directness. And he says, we're in the early stages of being acquired by IBM. I'm like, here we go again. Some more change. I'm like, okay. Okay. So that seems like it could have been scary. They told us right away, accountants lawyers, we don't need you, you'll blow it off at the end of it. We want you to work your butts off during this acquisition. You're going to sacrifice everything. You're gonna be here at 6:30. You're going to be working to 10:30.
We're going to move you into a hotel for just kind of confidentiality reasons for awhile. You don't see anybody. Code names for the transaction. I mean, who is something? And I ended up interviewing much to my surprise for a few amazing positions in IBM. And then I was offered one that I was so excited about and I went to work for them for years. And that led to national work international work different. I will forever be grateful for that opportunity. And how could I have gotten there if I had my rear end kicked out the door, no way it was so fun. And I did acquisition work. So I didn't have acquisition integration. We did 48 deals. And for, you know, two years, four years, four years. And I learned again, every time we went in to do a deal, it was, how did you start the company?
Why did you start the company? How did you now it's so fast. What roadblocks did you hit? How did you overcome them? Why are you an acquisition target? And it was from keeping water clean to like advanced security defense, two, the tower technology to movie technology and file compression. And again, it plans to seed. Then I get the opportunity I had said to my husband out loud, and this always seems to be the thing I think I need to get back into the community. I'm from Vegas. I'm crazy about my town. I've always served in a variety of capacities. And while we were having kids, I worked remotely for IBM. And I got to experience the world from my SEPA. I mean, I'd have calls at four 30 in the morning with India and late in the night with other countries. And it was amazing, but I wasn't in the community just fast forward.
I end up interviewing with a local technology company. And that in and of itself was I was so drawn to it because of 2008, because of our singular economy here with somebody who is spending money and working their tail off to help diversify our economy. And it wasn't tech, it was just in Northern Nevada has done a really good job in the last 10 years, 12 years, since the recession of attracting, they have Google, they have the company switch that I went to work for. They have Apple Tesla's up there building batteries and Nevada and Southern Nevada is growing it. It hasn't grown at the rate that Northern Nevada has broadened in the economy. So I interviewed like eight times for this job, the eight different executives. And I go to work for this local company technology company switch. They have data centers all over the country and do a variety of other things.
If there's hyper advanced data centers, I thought people were drinking the Koolaid when I first went there. And then I learned all about the industry. I learned about power as in like electricity, I learned about solar farms and telecommunications, and I just kept learning and learning and learning. And we went statewide to national, to international, to public in the three years that I was there, we did not increase our legal team. So you were working a ton. I was working like I had never worked in my life and I want it to, yeah, I wanted to do it. My kids obviously were really young and I don't actually think there is such a thing as balance. I think there are seasons of life and my dad got sick. He had retired until he was a dentist. He'd been a dentist for 47 years. You have been retired for two weeks.
He had sold his practice and he would go in a couple days a week to greet patients, hand out cookies, introduce the new dentist. I think he was tired of doing the actual work of dentistry, but he's social and lets people. So that was his favorite thing. And he had a medication interaction that stopped his heart when he was driving and he ends up, thank you. No flatline twice ends up in the hospital. And that's a ride for 30 days of just being at his bedside and wondering is he going to live? And if he lives, he was a college athlete. And even at, it was almost 80 years old, even at 80, he had these normous calves who was a track star. I was watching them literally atrophy before me and I just sit next to him. And then I would drive home at night and have dinner with my little kids and my husband.
And I would go back and sit next to him. And then it gets quiet. And then you hear like code blue or whatever when somebody was crashing and another IC room. And then even though they didn't live and you'd hear the people, the families crying, and then the same nurses would walk into your room and try to shake it off and like, okay, we're going to try to keep this one alive. And, and I'm taking calls literally like the phone is to my ear and I'm like had this suction thing and I'm like drying out my dad's mouth while I'm on the phone with the office and whispering. And I thought, if you don't course correct now, what are your kids going to say about you? When you're 80, you have a chance you're in control. What are you going to do? And I resigned in the hospital parking lot.
He was like no, no, just know you will take FMLA. You will. No, I know. He's like, Oh, Alexis, you were so overwhelmed, but there's no way you want to actually do this. Did you have any doubts? Were you thinking that you'd been working as an attorney for like 18 years, 17 years. And did you have a plan? Not really. Was it more because like just the schedule and I mean, when you're saying this, a kind of course correcting is taking it back a little bit of your life. If I hadn't been blessed with kids and I hadn't chosen to get married and built this, I could be the best workaholic executive ever. As long as I liked the topic in technology, was it for me? I can't imagine liking anything more. The building, the changing, developing new technology every single day. And, Oh, I was so crazy about it, but I'm more crazy about my family. And there was no slowing down, not where I was. It was a rocket ship of opportunity. They made it very clear to me that I had a nice path in front of me. One that I think most anybody would want to have. I just couldn't imagine not knowing my as well and not spending the time with them and recognizing that my dad worked 47 years now. It was time for him to go have fun. And he was basically dead. What do you mean?
Goli: Wow, Right. That's such a powerful reminder. Like, but it's so hard, especially if you love what you're doing. Cause it's one thing if you're miserable doing it all day, which I think a lot of lawyers are, and you're still not seeing your children and you're still, and so it's like, you kind of get to the point of like, what am I doing? It's another thing when you actually do love the work and you're being compensated well, and you have this career, that's been like, you worked up to, and, and then still seeing that and saying like, I still want to choose a different path because I want to prioritize my family life. It's an extremely difficult decision to make.
Alexis: It was our - weren't it wasn't without what have I done in moments? And to be honest, well, one of the lawyers I work with our kids are friends. He would like show up in my yard and be like, what are you doing? Do you want to work from home? Do you want to do this? Do you want to do that? And, and at the time it was a newly public company and it was toxic. Like, do you want to be general counsel? And I was like, if a newly public company I'm so exhausted, why would I want to do that? Like, are you kidding? I mean, for most men in particular, I think they think, how could you not want this? And I'm like, cause I need a chance to breathe. And the precedent, I report it to the president. He was the same way they were so incredibly good to me. It kind of like, I'm a little shaky because she gets this, but I think they paid me for like four or five months and gave me healthcare. I just kept saying, I'm not coming back. And they were like, okay, okay. I mean, there was just so good to me.
Goli: Yeah. But so then you ultimately made the decision and you were saying, did you have an idea of what kind of business you wanted to start or what you were going to do next?
Alexis: Not really. Back to my mom, being a realtor, my best friends who is literally my next door neighbor. We had been best friends since we were 11. It's so fun. Like she'll Marco Polo me, this app we use, Hey, do you have a lemon? I'm in the middle of dinner. And I'm like, yeah. And I literally throw it over the wall. She had been in real estate. She had changed too. She'd started out a history teacher. And then she went into real estate and my mom had been a mentor to her. I mean, because ginger had been around since I was 11. I mean, we just grew up together and we're in our forties now. So ginger and I got to talking and it's all a little bit of a blur. I also had a business coach. So he was very pivotal. [inaudible] This decision, even though he too did not really support it.
So he said, what do you do for fun? I actually hired the business coach when the company went public and just paid for it myself. And I didn't disclose anything going on with the company, but it was more like my staff was growing and growing and growing. And I don't love managing staff, but if I'm going to, I'm going to do it right. And I wanted to learn how to get the most out of them without running them into the ground because we all worked so much. And so I had hired him for that. Didn't tell me the company. I just did it. When my dad got sick, I was said to him, we need to have a different kind of conversation. We need an exit plan. What are we going to do? So he asked, what do you do for fun? And I said, there is no fun.
I mean, it's my job. I don't do anything at all. I don't even watch movies. I don't read books. I work. And I said, well, I do go look at model homes, for whatever reason, Redfin, Zillow, those apps, every single morning, I get a list of the new listings, like a handful of zip codes that I'm interested in. I can tell you what's for sale, who the builder was, what the floor plan is, how big those lots are, what schools are zoned for. If they're walkable, how you could like reconfigure the floor plan, what weight bearing, walls exist, what don't on and on. And he was like, that's not normal. And I was like, okay. So then I'm talking to ginger and ginger is lights. I've never understood how you ever worked for anybody. You have such an entrepreneurial spirit and attitude. I could never get my head around how you were employed by other people.
And we started to talk about it. And I said, how would you feel if I came to work with you? Like, would you help me? Can I pay you to mentor me and get me up to speed? I've done real estate deals as an attorney, like commercial, hundreds of acres of land, that sort of thing, environmental surveys and Thrones and watching construction and helping with construction build buildings. But I haven't liked, but in the person that buys himself the house, the more I talked about it, the more excited I got. And so I thought I could do this. I can do this. And I enjoy it. When people want to go find a home, I do all the work for them. I tell them like, here are the three houses you should care about. And then I would affirm to my best friend, but that was a whole metamorphosis too.
How did you leave being an attorney for a public company to become a realtor? And even I had a negative connotation, even though I saw my mom. She was the epitome of professional in her st. John suits and her big Mercedes and her 70 style glasses with her enormous jewelry. Like my moments college on a beauty scholarship. She's just darling. And I saw my friend, ginger, who I respect so much and so good at what she does. But when I looked at TV and movies and how Welters are portrayed, I thought, can I really go do this? Can my ego take what I considered a demotion in prestige?
Goli: I appreciate you being honest because I think that's what a lot of people struggle with because so many people that feel quote unquote stuck could do a lot of things, but the reason they feel stuck is what are my colleagues going to say? What are the people that I work with that I was, you know, it could be a partner in a law firm, I'm general counsel of a company, or I'm, you know, working for this. I've worked up to this incredibly difficult and procedures position. And then now I'm going to go just quote, unquote, just be whatever realtor or anything. You know, it's not just realtor. I think so many people have a struggle with that ego and the what other people are gonna think and how it's gonna look. How did you get over that? Because that is a real struggle for a lot of us.
Alexis: It took me six months before I stopped explaining why I was a realtor. When people would say, what do you do? If I said, I'm a lawyer and a technology company, their eyes would light up and they'd have a thousand questions, which by the way, I never said, because I didn't want to answer questions. So I would start to say things like, Oh, I work for a technology company. And then they just start to ask a million questions. His tech became sexier and more mainstream. When I was in a law firm, I would say, I work in a law firm and people would assume I was a secretary. So I wasn't one to discuss really what my work was.
But then when I became a realtor, all of a sudden I felt like, well, here's ego. I've been a tax and corporate law attorney for X amount of years. And I decided to follow my passion. And now I'm in real estate and most people would say, Oh, commercial, there's a prestige within the commercial. You do commercial real estate. Everybody assumed when I went into real estate, my former colleagues, Oh, you're going to do commercial. I mean, you've done these deals. You can do it. I didn't want to do commercial. At first that eventually changed. It just took six months letting go of ego, letting go of fear and kind of like growing in to that new role because my entire adult life, all of it, I had been a lawyer. It's funny you say that we've had a couple other people that have said similar things and it's the same situation for me.
It's like, I'd go into like a diatribe. As soon as someone asks me what I was doing. And I had to explain my whole life history and make sure they know I'm smart and that I'm not, you know, and it's so insane. And then, and it is just building up your own confidence or are really recognizing that it is your own insecurity and it's your own ego and understanding that like, I don't actually owe anyone an explanation for anything that I'm doing. And they think that sometimes it does take time. I think knowing that that is normal. Cause a lot of times people think they're not going to have doubt or they're not going to feel embarrassed or whatnot. They have to wait until that moment. And I think it is building up and realizing that when people have a different reaction, I started noticing like, Oh wow, this is just their own insecurities.
They're projecting on me. Like this is just their own biases. And like, okay, that's fine. They can think that it's, you know, whatever it is, I'm happier. And so I'm going to do this because it's my own life, but it does take a while to get to there. It does. You just think I'm happier. That is something that's so many people have said and continue to tell me almost two years out of making this pivot. You look so happy and I'm thinking most people describe me as a happy person. I was the happy light line, you know, with the majority of the executives that I worked with, what were other people seeing? But that's the comment, time and time again is look so happy. Oh, I am.
Goli: Yeah. I love that. And it's like, isn't that the point? You know? I mean, all of this, I know it's like, I'm not saying like we have this, I have to be able to maintain our lives and, and work and you know, be able to finance it and all this stuff. But I think so often we get caught in all these minor details and it really just comes down to like, are you happy? If what you're doing, isn't making you happy, then, you know, why aren't you making a change? And a lot of times it's just because of ego and society standards and what we think we should do as opposed to what we actually want to do. And I think realizing with stories like yours and the reason I love doing this podcast and showing this is because I don't think that we realize how much agency we have for whatever reason. And people think like they have stuck. I'm like, you're not stuck. You can leave any time, but we really truly feel like there's no out until you do it. And then you're like, Oh, I could have done this a long time ago.
Alexis: That's so true. I remember sending you that message on Instagram, about how scary it all felt. And once you get to the other side of it, once you make that decision, all of a sudden, you wonder why was I so scared of this boy, I devoted so much energy to fear of change, to fear of what people that I truly admire, what they're going to think of me. And some people thought I was absolutely crazy and throwing a lot away. The majority of them, because the majority of people that I knew were in corporate America and they didn't have a entrepreneur mindset. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with how they think that when you start to think differently, you're not going to get a lot of support. That's okay. It's totally okay. And how you say agency, that's a big word. This isn't like an exact analogy, but I always think about Volkswagen commercial with the drivers wanted like if you're zigzagging on the road of life and you're in the passenger seat, it hurts. It's not as fun. You're getting tossed around, but yet you're in that car thinking, this is just how it needs to be. And if you just shift a little bit, all of a sudden when you take over, it's fun, you're directing yourself where you want to go.

Goli: That's such a great analogy. Actually. I love that. I've never thought of it that way. And it is so true. I think there's no better way of putting it. It's really just in our heads when you're assuming that like you are the victim of life, like life is just happening to you. It is such a helpless feeling because you have no control. And when you just, it's just a flip of a switch in your mind that like, Oh wait, I have control. I have absolute control of doing whatever I want in my life. And it might be hard and it might need sacrifices and I might mess up and you know, I need to pivot whatever, but that is all in my hands. It is scary, but the most liberating and like fun way of looking at your life. You're like, wow, I really can do anything I want to do.

Alexis: Yeah. You can change time and time again. And so you say like, make that pivot, make that change and be like, what if it doesn't work out? So what if it doesn't you learn something that didn't work and then you do something else. And I guess to that point, I did real estate residential real estate first year, boy, did it work out? I don't know that it will be the same this year, right. With this economy. But I did better that year than I ever did as an attorney. That is unbelievable. I was like, is this a joke?
Goli: And you probably worked a lot less.
Alexis: Yeah, I did. I worked a lot less. I did. It just, wasn't a stressful, you're just not, I supported basically every single executive executive vice president at my company. And so when they needed something, I was the one who was there for them, happy to be there, but I was on their schedule. So they needed a temporary night. They needed six 30 in the morning. If they needed on a weekend, I needed to be there immediately. And I signed up for that. That didn't happen to me. I knew I was doing so, but after a year of real estate, what I realized was I kept hiding some, being an attorney because I wasn't quite sure on how to like, deal with the liability. Quite frankly, what happened in every transaction. It's some point in the transaction, the people would say, well, you know, I hired you because you're a lawyer.
And I knew you would take this seriously. And I went, okay, you can't hide from being the lawyer. So what are you going to do with it? And so at the end of the year, I combine the legal skills, the real estate skills. And I started a relocation company where we do, you're like, let's get you out of no fence, California. It's really expensive. You have natural disasters. Your labor is more expensive. Like come to the data where we want you. We want economic diversification. I know how to do the tax work. The corporate work. I know how to do commercial, residential, real estate. I'm going to guide you through all of that and act as your COO to get you here to a better life where you're more free to talk about fear of change. I know it, I've lived. I'll help you get through it. And it's better on the other side.
Goli: Oh my God. I love that. I love that so much because it's again, like, I think, do you know when you're in it, especially in LA, I mean any kind of traditional field you sorta think like he can only be done one way. Like I can only use these skills in these types of jobs. And then it's funny that once you open up your own vision and like horizon and you see other things, then you start realizing, Oh wait, I can actually do, like, I have these skills. I can use it in this way. Or I can, you know, supplement in this way. And I've seen this happen a lot with people that have quit and then ended up using their skills. Cause I think one of the misleading thoughts that we have is like, Oh, I'm throwing it all away. I'm just like, wait, I've wasted all these years. And now I'm throwing it all away and I'm starting over. It's like, no, you're not. You're taking those skills, whatever you're doing, like it will help you ultimately. And I love seeing when people combine those where it's like, I have 18 years of experience with this stuff. So like, I can help you now do it in this way that other people aren't helping right now, there isn't this service. And so I'm going to feel this - it's brilliant.
Alexis: Yeah. It's been fun at least. Like, did you have a plan? No, there wasn't a plan. There was like, I have some money in savings. I have to figure this out. And it just grows in that it'll grow when you're not so consumed with work, that isn't your life's work and you shed it and you open yourself up to like being able to hear what the universe has in store for you. You start to hear it, you start to read an article and then you see the same type of article two days later. And then you turn on the TV and there's a conversation happening. And like that ones aren't accidents start to pay attention. And instead of going, I could never go. What if I did? And I think that so many times, especially with lawyers, obviously there's no right way of doing this.
And I think a lot of people need a plan. And so that's fine. And like a lot of people start with maybe a side hustle and want to do things on the side. I'm totally for that. If you can do it. But sometimes with careers, especially that are very demanding on time. Honestly, I was the same where I quit without knowing, I know tons of lawyers that have been on this podcast had the same because you just need some space to breathe and like, and be able to pay attention to those signs and see what else is out there. If you can like swing it, if you can have a cushion of savings that would let you give yourself some breathing room, sometimes that's what's needed in order to give yourself that space. You know, it's, everybody has to kind of figure out what's right for them.
But I do think we see this a lot, especially with lawyers too is because it's sort of hard when you're stuck in that working 15 hour days to like pay attention to other science. There's no way to figure out your exit plan when you're that buried. And unless you're in it, I have a lot of doctor friends at the same when your job is all consuming, this isn't, I mean, it's all consuming, like your body aches, your brain, the front of your brain hurts. Your back is starting to get a little curved. Cause you're over that desk so much, there is no room for Oh, and planning. If you do then something falls and that's not an option in those careers. Oh like this, this has been incredible. I mean, honestly, the wisdom that you have given us this hour, I think is going to help so many people.
Goli: Thank you so much. Where can people find you if they want to follow along on your journey or maybe reach out?
Alexis: I'm on LinkedIn, Alexis, Michaud, M I C H A U D. My company North Advisory

Group is the relocation company. So it's North advisory I have a blog that I had started about Nevada and all things home, which is home with Alexis Michaud.
Goli: I love that. I will link to all of those in the show notes and they think everyone should come find you in your beautiful posts on Instagram as well. And so people can find you there. I will put all of that in the show notes. Thank you so much again, Alexis. I really appreciate it.
Alexis: Thanks goalie. Have a great day.
Goli: How amazing is Alexis? I could have talked to her for another hour, but I think that she provided us with so much wisdom in that hour that we did talk. So here are my three takeaways. Number one, sometimes that super scary hurtful thing you are going through is exactly the night. You need to get on a different path.
I'm not saying that it's not hard or that it's not going to be hurtful, but if you can reframe it for yourself and start asking, maybe this is happening for me and not to me, you might see all the possibilities that are out there too. Even if other people think you should love what you're doing. Even if you love it. Even if you think that you should be happy, it doesn't mean that you can't go after something else that you want. So often we're stuck in this space of having to feel grateful for what we have and you can be grateful and still want something else. It's okay to see that there's something missing in your life and you want to go after it. And three, sometimes it takes jumping without a parachute to figure out your plan. Now this may not be for everyone and that's okay. But a lot of times when we are stuck in a situation where we have no breathing room, it's really difficult to see the signs that the universe is giving you. So maybe it's okay to just jump

And figure it out as you go. I hope you guys liked this episode. If you did reach out and let Alexis know, and I will be back next week with another one. Thank you so much for listening. I can't tell you how much it means to me. If you liked the podcast, please rate and review us on iTunes. It'll help other people find the show. If you want to connect or reach out, follow along on Instagram and Facebook at lessons from a quitter and on Twitter at Twitter podcasts, I would love to hear from you guys and I'll see you on the next episode.