I am a few short weeks into be gainfully unemployed and I’m loving it! Gainfully unemployed may seem like an oxymoron so let me me explain my thought process.
After 26 years at Target, I am working on a career change; moving into nonprofit leadership. I am approaching this change from 4 dimensions; 2 of which are introspective/internal and 2 of which are outward facing/collaborative…
Administration – very much internal, not a ton of fun but absolutely necessary. I need to create a data base of networks, change over my phone, update my contacts, create a stronger digital/social media presence, update my LinkedIn, create a ‘go to market plan’ for myself, etc. This takes a TON of work and is absolutely critical in my ability to be intentional about “what” I want to do, “where” I want to land and “who” I want to work with. I’m excited to say I’m making great progress in this space (updating contacts, etc) and am learning a lot (digital/social media) but there is a ton more to do and keeping up on the the details will be never ending.
Strategic Intent – also internal but directed at motivation. I’ve spent the last year understanding “what” I want to do (COO at a children’s/family services organization that is going through big change/growth) but now I need to research “where” I will be able to add the most value (which organizations) and “who” will I be learning from/working with (leadership and culture in those organizations). In order to understand this, I need to be able to articulate my values and skills. This is harder than it seems. How do you describe your skills and values in a way that is authentic, realistic and not trite? Thankfully I have great council and friends that are helping me with this process.
Connections – external networking to learn more about the “where ” and “who” as well as share my story. I am enough of an extrovert to know that I won’t have any energy if I spend all of my time in Administration and Strategic Intent. I need to dialog, interact and learn from others. This week I’ve had the privilege of meeting with some amazing people at really impressive organizations. (YWCA, Bellis, Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery, Planned Parenthood, St Olaf, Catholic Charities, ThinkIT, Boy & Girls Club, St Paul Chamber of Commerce, St Philip the Deacon, Continuum Center and The Family Partnership). I used these networking meetings to get insight into “where” I might add value and “who” are leaders that I could learn from. They’ve also been invaluable in connecting me with resources where I can dive deeper into financial/tax information (990’s), organizational structures and organizational goals, all of which will help me narrow down my target organizations. Every single person I met with this week was helpful, smart, innovative, creative, business oriented and mission driven. I feel like I’m discovering my tribe and I am so excited to continue to connect into this amazing space.
Consulting Efforts – actual work product with a few key collaborative partners. I also know myself well enough to know … I’m a driver. I need to produce. I need to add value and have tangible outcomes. Knowing this, I’ve started conversations with a few key organizations that I am passionate about … Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery, The Jeremiah Program and Bellis. We are each in discussion on how I can help with a strategic project in the near term. With Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery and The Jeremiah Program, I’ll be leveraging my business architecture facilitation skills to help with strategic initiatives. With Bellis, I’ll be harnessing my organizational skills to help them create a volunteer database to assist with operational, database and event planning needs. I can’t wait to get started. While this is all probono work, I’m excited to learn more about these organizations first hand, generate some good nonTarget work product examples AND, most importantly, fill a need.
So, back to being gainfully unemployed. While I am currently not bringing in a pay check, I am more energized, engaged and excited than I have been in a long time. I am excited to start each day and have a spring in my step about the possibilities for the future. AND, I believe I’m adding value. In this definition of success, I am very much gainfully unemployed and loving every minute of it.
I’ll continue to share my journey and leanings through regular updates.
In the meantime, my mantra has become …
This … or something better … for all involved …. at the right time