I’ve been gone a while. For a bit I was dreading the accountability. I didn’t achieve my smart goals. All the things I “should have” been doing give me acid in my stomach. And every so often, they feel natural, just every so often. Anyway…I have news… 🙂
I’ve received a verbal offer for a two month “trial” period for what I believe to be an exciting operational finance related position. Its a different type of company than I’m used to– a rag tag, small startup- in another city but I’m willing to try it. I think it might be fun. As this opportunity rolled in, after a few months of waiting for them to get back to me, I was working on another exciting opportunity at another startup working on an online product. Both these things happened at once and to make it more busy a third interview cam my way for an entirely different opportunity in private wealth that I have decided not to pursue for now.
Perhaps my diverse opportunities exemplify my confusion on what I want to do “when I grow up”. I’m past 35 so perhaps this is not a good thing. No matter. I will try to be as excited about a clean slate as I was in my 20s. I remember the butterflies in my belly, partly from excitement and partly from fear. These days, those butterflies are mostly fear but I have to find a way to turn them into excitement. Perhaps I am finally getting this career change on the road. I surely hope so. I’m ready to get going!
I’m a self help junkie. I guess I figure SOMEONE out there knows what they’re doing! That’s not always the case but in reading books and articles on job searching I have often read that it’s good to volunteer while going through a job search or career transition. I have often looked for volunteering opportunities regardless and about six months before I left my job I started volunteering for the Taproot Foundation. Taproot is an excellent organization that puts groups of professionals together on consulting projects that last about 4-6 months to help non-profit organizations. Having volunteered for several organizations in the past, Taproot is a wonderful, well-organized, professional foundation that, I felt, treats their volunteers as professionals and seeks to provide quality help to their “client” base (the non-profits they help). We had an awesome group of five finance professionals that sought to advise and build a financial model for an education non-profit. This project reminded me of what it was like to work with a cool team on a cool project for cool people.
Now that I am out in limbo I have done a little volunteer work for the same education non-profit that we worked with through Taproot and, while it doesn’t give me the “boost” that I expected, it does get me out of the apartment to interact with people in the real world for a good cause. It helps me check a “completed” box at the end of the day that includes an appreciation for my efforts, as opposed to the hated, fruitless tasks related to that which we shall…. not…… name….
It helps that I worked with this organization before in a professional capacity so I am able to use at least a small portion of my professional skills. Still, I think I might try volunteering in something more active or hands on. Perhaps something I’ve never tried before is in order– an animal rescue (though I risk coming home with another pup) or a gardening circle (I haven’t had a farmer’s tan -or any tan!- in years). The verdict is still out on how much volunteer work helps your mindset during the job search, however, I highly recommend Taproot Foundation as a great organization to volunteer with. Another organization I enjoyed being a part of was Streetwise Partners which seeks to help under-resourced adults improve their employ-ability by improving their office/administrative skills, improving their computer skills, providing mentorship and helping them understand that process which shall… not… be… named.
Happy volunteering and Happy hunting.
After ranting about the silent treatment the universe decided to give me a little something back. I had coffee yesterday with a woman I met through the job hunt madness. She has more experience than I but our career aspirations are tangentially related. I have only met up with her once before, about two months ago for lunch, and I liked her energy so I decided to hit her up again to chat. She has recently found a job but she made time for me. And it was so nice to hear her encouragement, her affirmation that the process is hard and tiring, even for someone with as much energy and experience as she has. She offered to put me in touch with a few people that might be useful and I was on my way, standing up a little straighter from her genuinely kind pep talk.
I suppose I should focus on and be thankful for those people who are open and willing to help, even if only on one small step, one connection, one piece of advice. I appreciate those that do put me in touch with their contacts even though my email is out of the blue and I haven’t spoken to them in years. I appreciate those alumni who answer my emails and are willing to chat. Sometimes people are willing to chat whom I just happened to find on Linkedin and I thought they could help me- no connections, no introductions. I appreciate those people who are encouraging of my career transition and give me tangible advice and a bit of encouragement. They tell me what was helpful to them in their job search or transition, they recognize some things they should have done but didn’t do because they understand its hard to do, they acknowledge the difficulties and encourage you to push through because they did it and they hope that I can too. Looking back, when job hunters “networked” me I might have been an average contact at best. It’s hard to know how to help sometimes but even just saying yes to a call and giving fifteen minutes of your time breaks the cold shoulder pattern that makes the job hunting process so difficult.