Three jobs in two years.
At first glance, it may seem as though I lack focus in my career. But au contraire, every role I’ve taken and everything I’ve learned has led me to this point.
In a little under a week, I will be the new Media Relations Manager for the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Essentially, it’s my dream job. For a few years now, I’ve desired to work for a nonprofit that benefits girls. Writing is my first love, but helping young girls is my passion. Finally, I’m able to do both as my day job.
Back in the day (okay, about 10 years ago), I wanted to become a journalist so that I could create a teen magazine for girls of ALL colors and ethnicities. I’d grown tired of mainstream media dictating who and what is beautiful.
And so my career as a journalist took me from smalltown newspaper reporter in Harford County, Maryland to digital content editor for a national publication in Chicago, Illinois. But then I’d grown weary of breaking news and social media. Basically, I was burnt out and my heart was no longer in it. I thought to myself, “there’s got to be more than this.”
I made a short list of dream companies and quickly got to work learning everything I could about them and key people who worked for them.
After months of
stalking, I mean, researching, I’d landed an interview with the local Girl Scouts council. I didn’t get that particular job, but I didn’t give up either. Later, I was offered a communications position with the local school system and I happily accepted it in order to learn new skills that would help me get to where I eventually wanted to be.
And it paid off. About six months after I started, the Girl Scouts called to offer me the media relations manager position and the rest, as they say, is history (not quite, but that’s another post for another time).
In short, I pursued my passion with a purpose. And you can do it, too. Here’s how…
1. Do your research. Ask yourself what it is you really want to do. As in, what would you do for FREE if you could? This is your passion. Look into companies whose ideals align with your passion and learn all you can about them. Identify people who work at those companies you can meet for “informational interviews” (social media is great for this); networking is your new best friend. Right now, you’re a sponge and your job is to soak up as much information as possible.
2. Be strategic. There may not be any immediate openings at your dream company…and that’s okay. Gain the skills you need to be the best candidate when a role does become available by volunteering at the company (or a similar one). You may even need to make a lateral move at a different company to acquire those skills. Whatever you do, be careful not to take a major step backward or risk losing all the advancement you’ve made.
3. Don’t give up. Finding a new job, especially one that “sets your soul on fire,” takes patience, perseverance and time. You may strike out at first, but what’s important is that you get back up to bat. Build a support group around you to cheer you up and remind you why you embarked on this journey in the first place. It’s so easy to get discouraged, but the payoff is so worth it.
(Images via CreateHER Stock)
What is your passion and how are you planning to pursue it? Let me know in the comments!