So, last January I was recruited for my dream job. And when I say dream job, I mean it in every sense of the word. I lived the mission. I had my finger on the pulse of all things in the community it served. In reading the job description, I possessed every skill to knock it out of the park (while remaining humble about it, of course). Hell, I even had the t-shirt.
I was offered the position in a matter of 24 hours and I about jumped out of my skin. I was literally floating on cloud nine when I gave notice at my current job – an excellent position I had no intention of leaving. But…the dream job was calling.
One month later, I was taking selfies by the company sign and posting it to social media to announce that I had officially “made it.”
I knew of some of the internal struggles going into it and figured it was worth the gamble. I’m an optimist by nature, and my hubris made me think that maybe, just maybe, I could help right the ship. But, you don’t realize a lot of things until you’re in the trenches and, while the dream job wasn’t really a dream in the end, I am thankful for each and every day I spent there, the lessons I learned, and the family I made.
LESSON 1: LIVE IT
While I had been a part of the community for many years, I hadn’t been at the forefront. I was now at the precipice. The tip top of the pyramid. I was in the White House. More importantly, I had the opportunity to make a true difference and influence change and the direction of the organization from a unique perspective seeing as how I’d been part of the community for so long.
I threw myself into it – just as I should’ve. I learned everything I could. I talked to everyone I could. I was a sponge. I wanted to be a better version of myself now that I was in this position of influence. I put myself out there in a personal way that I don’t usually do. I leveraged our assets and went to work.
And I have zero regrets.
LESSON 2: LOVE IT
I seriously loved every minute of my time in this position – even the mind-numbing, bang-your-head-against-the-wall ridiculous ones. I was in my element. Doing what I love, working with people I love, entrenched in the community I love. Making a difference…I hoped. At the very least, I felt that I was and that counted for SO much in my soul.
Even when I began to see the reality and know that this likely wasn’t my long-term place, I put my love for the mission at the forefront. That was why I was there after all. I continued to do what I could to make a difference until my last minute, literally.
LESSON 3: LEARN FROM IT
The lesson I took from the last year was to have a voice.
I was so immensely prepared to be in this role – arguably more so that any other I’ve had. I understood the mission and our direction. I knew what the community wanted and needed from us as an organization, and I was willing to do everything in my power to make that happen. I used my voice in an attempt to keep us on track and bring us forward – which was not always well-received.
Past me would’ve let that bother her, but this me was prepared to go down fighting. And, in the end, it was my decision to leave when I no longer felt aligned and that I couldn’t continue to make a difference.
In refection, perhaps it’s not actually a good thing to have a job you’re so infinitely passionate about. I realize that sentiment probably sticks me squarely in the “Debbie Downer” category, but I think there’s some truth to it.
When you’re at the epicenter of what you care about and witness struggles and the decisions that create those struggles, you take it personally. Particularly when you have no power to fix it.
That last part was a harsh reality for me.
But, as I age, I’ve learned that there will always be factors I can’t control. The voice of reason will not always be heard. Some people will always have more influence than you and, while that’s a hard pill to swallow, it’s a reality. Passion isn’t always enough and politics ain’t my game.
That last part I know…well.
The lesson here is that, even though I had to make a tough decision in the end, I wouldn’t take back a single day of the last year. My love for the community is unchanged, and to be a part of it in that capacity (even for a short while) was worth every single second.
One thought on “I Had My Dream Job for a Year and This is What I Learned”
You are still in our hearts and in my head….. encouraging me and cheering me on. I can’t thank you enough for all you did for us and our mission. It tears me up that we lose people that are faithful to our mission, talented and gifted…..because of politics and control. Heartbreaking