You’re hired! Those two little words are something that I’ve been dying to hear for the past 8 months. (So have my parents…) After losing my job last August, I took some time to really think about what I want to do with the rest of my life, and while this blog has taken me in so many different directions and revealed so many of my talents, I think I’ve always known what I’m meant to do. Change the world! One event at a time!
I’m having an internal struggle with how I should approach writing about this on the off chance that the people interviewing me peruse my blog, but as this is a full-disclosure kind of thing, here goes nothing.
“Apply for 5 different jobs that you see as possible careers.” – from my cousin Terri Hafertepen.
I have had a wide variety of experience throughout my career. I’ve been everything from a Cocktail Waitress at Montgomery Inn Boathouse to an Account Coordinator at Powers Agency. I’ve planned fabulous events for clients and driven all over the Tri-State area to create a preferred vendor list for a new marketing plan. I’ve served as a self-proclaimed concierge to our fabulous little city. I’ve networked my heart out. I’ve shot incredible promotional videos for well-deserving non-profits and escorted Big Boy around the Greater Cincinnati Area prepping him for his Founders Day Celebration. I have evaluated home inspections and built incredible relationships with general agents over the phone, having never once met them in person. I’ve written columns for company periodicals. I’ve designed promotional materials. I’ve scanned twitter feeds and unintentionally ended the serving career of a few less than stellar employees. (I still feel very bad about that, but you should know better than to bad mouth your company in a public forum.) I’ve pretended to be a potential customer to evaluate competitor programs in an effort to help improve our own products and services. (I’m not entirely sure that one was ethical, but it was fun!)
I’ve also had quite a lot of experience doing things people don’t pay me to do. I volunteer. A LOT. I’ve coordinated large, fabulous galas. I’ve put on cooking classes. I’ve helped provide hundreds of new moms with necessary lessons and supplies to ensure a healthy, productive start to their child’s life. I’ve mentored a sweet, bright little girl named Destiny, whose growth and development surprises me more and more every day. I have delivered rack cards to every single hotel in a 40 mile radius of Cincinnati. Just this morning I helped reveal a new Augmented Reality feature for the Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit at Cincinnati Museum Center. It’s so awesome. I highly recommend you check it out.
This little lady seriously is my pride and joy. She’s a straight shooter, tries so hard at everything, says what’s on her mind and makes me laugh so much. I hope I don’t screw her up… 🙂
The point is, I’ve done a lot of different things that have provided me with a set of skills that could really lend themselves to a variety of opportunities. I’ve also put a lot of miles on my car. I have a lot of interests, as well. Rather than applying to thousands of positions, like I have before, I decided to be more calculated about it.
My parents are both very intelligent and great at what they do. My mother, who inspires me to be just like her every single day, is an incredibly active community volunteer. My father is one of the brightest, most driven businessmen I’ve ever met. They try very hard to help me in this process, but I’m kind of a pill about it. I’m stubborn and want to do it on my own. I decided to reluctantly take my parents’ advice and read a little book called StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. They gave it to me and my siblings for Christmas a few years ago and it continued to sit on my shelf and collect dust. Then I cracked it open and wondered why I’d never done it before…
You read about 30 pages and take a brief (180 or so questions) online assessment and almost immediately, it evaluates your answers and provides you with your top 5 qualities or things that you do best. This book teaches you to focus on the things that you are inherently good at, rather than trying to improve the skills you don’t naturally possess.
I mean, duh. That makes total sense. All our lives we are evaluated on our progress through school, through jobs and throughout our every day activities. Have you ever received less than satisfactory reviews on your performance? “Needs improvement” should now be read as “Not your strong suit, let’s try something else.” For example, I’m the first one to admit that I have flaws or things that I’m not particularly good at. This is why I’m not designing jet engines. It’s in everyone’s best interest. So I sat down and took my assessment. These are my results:
Now, for those that have not read the book, you have no idea what that means. Fortunately, it also provides a handy little description laying out exactly what each of those represents. Then it goes further to tell you what you should do with these strengths and 50 different aspects of an action plan for EACH THEME to help utilize it to the best of your abilities. Awesome.
For those of you that know me, most of these probably come as no surprise. I’m a wear my heart on my sleeve, upbeat, life of the party kind of girl. I’m sensitive and intuitive. I’m also an ENFP, for those that are familiar with the Myers Briggs system of measurement.
For more information on what that means, visit: http://www.personalitypage.com/ENFP.html
So after looking at these two systems of evaluation, I narrowed down my skill set and starting scanning the job boards, as I generally do every morning. My first choice is ALWAYS The ArsWave Job board. ArtsWave features all kinds of career opportunities for local creative-based nonprofit organizations. I imagine that no matter what role I eventually end up with, it will have been posted on this page.
I have set some criteria for what I want to do.
1) I want to work for a non-profit. I am not a sit in a cubicle, filling our paper work for the man kind of girl. I want to make a difference and know that the hard work I put in every single day is for a greater cause.
2) I want a different day, every day.
3) I want to interact with others on a very regular basis. Solitude is not my friend.
4) I want to experience new things in an environment where there is opportunity for growth.
5) I want to be inspired by the place I work and the people that work alongside me.
6) I MUST love what I do.
I woke up Tuesday morning and, low and behold, right before my very eyes was the job I was born to do.
Job #1: Event Coordinator for the Cincinnati Art Museum.
Reasons why this is perfect for me: (though, if you have been reading any of these blog posts, or, I don’t know, talked to me…ever, I’m not sure that there is really a need for explanation)
1) I love to plan events. A lot.
2) I love art.
3) I love to talk to people. A whole lot.
4) I love to solve problems. Really tough ones like the caterer is stuck in traffic and the event starts in 4 minutes. WHAT DO WE DO!?
5) I looove Cincinnati.
6) I looove non-profits.
I realize there is a lot more to this position than those 6 things, but when it comes down to it, fundamentally, everything I’ve ever wanted from a job lies in this very position. I was so excited after reading over the job description that I immediately set into action. I drafted a new cover letter, created a relevant resume, put together some writing samples and sent it on its way. I also contacted anyone I knew that might be able to help connect me with the powers that be at CAM. Disclaimer: If any of you have any interest in applying for this job, don’t. It’s mine.
I just got word that I have an interview tomorrow. If any of you know anyone and should feel so inclined to call in and tell them how incredibly amazing I am, I’d genuinely appreciate it! For those that have already helped me, I genuinely appreciate your support and guidance! Fingers crossed!
Then I came across another incredible opportunity.
Job #2: Development Manager for JDRF.
Development is a bit like sales. Except, by giving money to the organization, you don’t actually get any product in return. You get exposure. You get a tax deduction. You get the feeling that you’ve done something good. But other than maybe a table at an event or your name on a building (if you give a whole, whole lot), there isn’t anything tangible you get in return. Imagine trying to sell someone something and then say thank you for your money, I don’t have anything to give you. It’s not an easy task. But for some reason, it seems to be something that comes naturally to me.
I like the challenge of getting to know your donors, building that rapport, finding common interests and eventually, going in for the ask. Making the ask is a very delicate situation and should be handled differently with each individual. Determining how each situation should be handled is part of the reason I love it so much.
I reached out to a family friend for some sort of connection to the powers that be, but received confirmation today that they have already filled the position. Thank you for your help, as well.
Job #3: Pretty much everything I qualify for at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center.
This is another job board I frequent. I love kids and would find working for CCHMC to be an incredibly fulfilling work environment. I reached out to one of their HR recruiters whom I’ve been working with over the past year and applied on their less then easy to use job site. This list of options includes:
Communications Specialist – Patient Services
Business Development Manager.
Job #4: PR Manager at Newport Aquarium
How cool would that be?! I know it’s not a non-profit, but I would definitely be excited to go to work every day and see all the incredibly cool animals. I bet I’d get to play with the penguins…though, last time I did that it was not as desirable as I’d imagined it’d be. Is it appropriate for a 29 year old to spend her lunch break like this every day:
‘Cuz I will.
Job #5: Accessories/Purse counter at Nordstrom
Just for kicks. If one of these other career opportunities doesn’t work out, there’s always time for a part-time gig slangin’ handbags to housewives! Commission + discount = Happiness.
I think it’s pretty clear which one of these I want the most. While I spend most of my mornings looking for potential opportunities, Terri’s encouragement came at just the right time. I was reinvigorated and I basically stumbled upon what I’m hoping is the perfect job. While I’m not positive this will end with those two little words, I’m incredibly hopeful. Fingers crossed!!!