Sunday, April 30, 2017

War Stories from Work

In April, I turned 55, officially launched a consulting practice and experienced yet another shifting of my workaday Universe. There was a week of waiting, after 3 interviews and reference checks, on a part-time job that I was excited about. In the same timeframe, there were two unexpected and "leaving in 2 weeks" resignations at another organization where I have been involved.

The people left with tattered spirits. There was a myriad of circumstances in their transition. Both were burned out and frustrated by organizational dysfunction and mismatched expectations. They tired beyond words. I found myself skirting their presence, recognizing the tell-tale signs of mission-driven work gone wrong. I'd seen it before-- both in myself and in others.

I willingly admit that I have baggage. The litany of experiences that I've gained in the seven jobs I've worked and many other clients since I started professional work in 1998 have honed my skills, but also generated some scars. Last year, after I regrouped from my experiment in Boston employment, I created a list of all of the transitions I've endured while working full-time in organizations:

2 times welcoming a new Executive Director 
4 office moves 
1 death of a colleague
2 near-misses that could have resulted in a public relations crisis
1 loss of a major donor's funding that (I came in weeks after it happened) 
1 layoff 
2 cases of severely absent leadership
the year I submitted eight w-2 forms with my taxes

When I returned to the US in May,  the main goal of this next step was to work with happy people in a perfect job- a position that was dynamic, flexible, growth-oriented and fun. I found opportunities and organizations that sounded good on paper but that never called me in to discuss. More than once, I was interviewed because the committee was interested in my background but already had other final candidates. I applied for jobs even though I was overqualified. I keep hustling because one never knows in a small town like Maine what connections will come.  But there are times when I find it wearisome.

This process of continued searching tests your mettle. I've lost and regained confidence and made a bit dent in my savings despite Obamacare subsidies and frugality. I continue to reach out. Launching the website and the business made me connect with the person that I am. The one who shows up just at the right time to move organizations through whatever transitions they are experiencing at the time.

1 comment:

  1. I love Tom Waits and this song in particular! Great pick! And I love hearing your journey -- inside and out -- and know you will be great in your new venture. Will look forward to details.