I started a new job this week! I have been meaning to talk about career stuff for pretty much the entire summer but I kept putting it off, so now it has become quite the update. First, some back story.
Around this time last year I was becoming very unhappy in my job. A lot of factors were contributing to this, but rather than going into them all I’ll say the biggest one was that I was no longer doing what I wanted to be doing. My communications/marketing role (so website, social media, PR, graphic design, internal comm, etc.) had turned into running this beast of a program and event management. Still communications as I was the only one in the communications/marketing department, but a lot of the time was VERY heavy on event planning and program management and all the admin work that goes along with that (I am really not an administrator, my strengths are more on the creative side of things).
I can’t blame the company because it was small and they needed someone in that role, but it was becoming very high stress and when I was thinking about my ultimate career goals, my current role was not really in line with them and I felt like I had somehow gotten off my track. It’s funny, because what started me thinking this was an exercise my CEO had us do around Christmas last year, where we had to list 20 loves (which I posted about), our 3-year career plan, and complete a detailed personality profile (DISC profile). My 20 loves were real, and my DISC profile nailed me, but I felt like I was faking my career plan. I had no idea. But after looking at my list of loves, and the strengths and weaknesses in my profile, nothing I was doing integrated with them in any way.
The experience I gained in that role was invaluable. I made lifelong friends and amazing contacts, and I learned a lot about myself. But it was time to move on. To what though, I didn’t know.
I officially put in my 30 days notice in March, but I ended up staying until June until they could find a replacement for me. So around mid June I was done.
I did not move from that job to another full time job. A couple of years ago I would not have been able to do that, but this ended up being the ideal time of my life to figure my stuff out. Evan was extremely supportive of my decision surrounding this. I believe his exact words were “If you’re not happy in your job you should leave. So we won’t save as much money as we wanted to this year, it’s more important that you’re happy.”He is the best ever (as you know), but I would have said the same to him if he were in my situation. We don’t have a lot of expenses right now and we don’t have kids or anything, so it seemed like if I was going to make a change, now was the time to do it. I decided to try consulting and freelancing for a bit to see how that went. I told myself that I would try it for the summer, see how it was going, and then reevaluate.
I was incredibly lucky to score a major client almost immediately. They hired me to do communications/social media consulting for at least 20 hours a week (usually more), and I was so thankful that happened because it gave me time to try to do my own thing on the side while having a steady gig and money. Their office isn’t too far from our condo, so even though I was an independent contractor they invited me in and treated me like I was a part of their team.
It was a very fun place to work, and I had a really good time being a part of their team. Some of the people there are the best I have worked with in my life. Being a consultant was great, and I did have more free time this summer, which was also awesome.
But I was starting to get antsy. My career has always been important to me and I just want to love what I’m doing. I also missed the steady hours and paycheque of having a regular 9-5 gig. My schedule was kind of all over the place and it was getting to me. I like routine. One day I would like to somehow take my income online and do consulting and writing and make enough money to support myself solely through that (so I can move to the middle of nowhere and live on a lake), but now is probably not that time.
I started thinking about when I was at my best career-wise, and I think it was when I was working for OFSAA, a non-profit organization that runs sports championships for high school students in Ontario. I worked there for nearly 5 years and I loved it every day. What I loved about it the most was feeling like my role was important and what I was doing was actually making a difference in someone’s life. And also working with the many volunteers who were so passionate about the mission of the organization. The non-profit sector is just so different from the private, and the more I thought about it the more I wanted to steer my career back in that direction.
An opportunity happened to come up with Girl Guides of Canada, an organization that I am pretty familiar with as I was once a Brownie…
And a Girl Guide…
And long story short, but I am now a Communications Coordinator with them!
I just started on Monday and the first week in a new job is always the worst, you don’t know what you’re doing and you don’t know anyone, but so far so good! Their office is also in my old neighbourhood, which means I am back in my old stomping grounds and can take lunchtime walks in my favourite cemetery (that I once got trapped in).
And I’m sure you’re wondering (because I was), so yes, sometimes there are free cookies. That is obviously a plus.
I thought about trying to get that added into my employment contract but it wasn’t even necessary. In my interview they asked me my biggest weakness and I said “Girl Guide cookies,” (which is true, the vanilla ones though, not the mint ones) and they seemed to really enjoy that answer.
So I am feeling pretty excited and like I am back on track.
Also, I just want to say, if you are unhappy in your job, leave. Life is too short to not enjoy what you’re doing. For me the stress was seeping into other aspects of my life and really starting to affect me. And if you feel stuck because of financial reasons, at least make a plan to get out. It was very scary to leave my job with nothing concrete lined up. It was a risk for sure. I’m not rich, I need to work. But it was the best decision I could have made and I have zero regrets.
So now you’re all caught up!