Labels are a pretty handy tool for helping us make sense of the world around us. I’m a husband, dad, son, brother, coach, runner, blogger, geek, etc. Sometimes they are accurate and useful, others they are unwarranted and hurtful. Some labels we assign to ourselves, while others we earn through experience or assigned by what we do or don’t do, who we know, or how we spend our time and energy. They can unify us and they also divide us, but at the end of the day, they are just labels. They do not describe us as a whole, just a certain facet of us. Be that as it may, some labels carry more weight and meaning than others.
Last week I was forced to accept a new label, one that I did not want or expect to be branded with, but one that I’m now coming to terms with: UNEMPLOYED. Unbeknownst to me the company i had been working for moved in one direction and I moved in another and what resulted was that they no longer saw the need or value for the position that I held and it was subsequently eliminated.
The timing was probably fortuitous, as I think I was settling for a little less than I really wanted out of my career, and the nature of my job was getting a bit monotonous. I also realized that things that I valued the most like mentoring and being mentored, having upward mobility, getting professional development, and helping others didn’t necessarily hold the same level of importance to them as it did for me. But as the saying goes: “you can’t move to the future by living in the past.” It’s definitely time to move forward.
I find myself in an exciting, yet very uncertain, place in my life where I’m able to ask myself questions like: “if I could do anything in my career what would it be?” and “if I had the choice to move to any type of field, industry or organization where would I go?” In a situation that, up until recently, was out of my control, it provides with with a source of inspiration, power and control.
I really still have a lot that I need to figure out. After all, getting what you want sometimes requires giving up some of what you have, but I’m slowly defining exactly what it is that I want. The one thing that I feel relatively confident in saying is that I want to return to working in the Association space. This is due to my prior experience at PMI and all of the phenomenal friends that I made (and remarkably still have considering how long it’s been since I was there)! It’s also where I feel like I can make the greatest contribution and have a durable and long-lasting career.
One caveat here…I’m not limiting myself to only the association space, rather I’ve identified my time spent there as a point in my career where I felt the most personally and professionally fulfilled, and therefore I thought it was a good place to focus my initial search. However, if an attractive position that aligned with my career goals and interests happened to come to my attention in a small business, large corporation, or academic institution I would surely give it serious consideration.
As for what I’m looking for…I’m truly a generalist with a ton of interests, skills and abilities. I have years of technology and education experience, have a pretty good handle on social media, online marketing, and things of that nature, have solid project management experience and skills, a bunch of volunteer management experience, not to mention a ton of other stuff that is better suited for a resume rather than a blog post.
Here’s the thing, I need your help. If you are hiring for, or know somebody who is hiring for a position that may be of interest to me and in line with what i outlined above, I’d appreciate it if you could let me know. If you hear chatter in your professional networks, social networks, or around town let me know. For those of you who have interacted with me, personally or professionally, if you like my style, perspective and capabilities, could you share my story with your friends, colleagues, executives, etc. I’d be extremely appreciative. You can also tweet it, like it on Facebook, share it, whatever works for you…just please help me get the word out!
The association community, while large, is still rather close knit, so I’m a firm believer in the fact that it’s not just what you know, but also who you know. I know many of you and you’re all pretty phenomenal, so I’m hoping that you all know some phenomenal people that you can connect me with.
So to bring this full-circle…we can chose to be defined by the labels that we accumulate through life or we can use them as a catalyst for change and source of motivation and inspiration. I’m choosing, as I hope you’ll choose, the later. While I don’t particularly love my newest label, I also refuse to be defined by it. I want to be known, respected and remembered for how I acted and reacted during tough times. Down but definitely not out!
Thanks for reading!