Want to be a leader? Get thrown in the fire

May 24, 2011 at 7:31 am | Posted in Career Moves | 2 Comments
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In about two months I will be entering into uncharted territory in my career.  At the command of her unborn child, my boss will be out on maternity leave, leaving me alone without the support and guidance I have grown used to.

Working in a department of one, and then one and a half, plus my boss, who also oversees two other departments, I often turn to my boss as a sounding board, as a partner, as a second set of eyes, as the person making the final big decisions.  I’m still feeling out what decisions I can make and the processes I should follow to get things approved.  It’s complicated and every situation is different.  I also count on my boss to be my ears with the rest of leadership, who often don’t share all the information they have with the minions.  My boss shares a lot of this with me, because it does effect my work.

So I’m losing my crutch.  That’s the part that I have to get used to. And that’s where the opportunity lies.  This is my chance to flex my leadership muscles, to step up to the plate and make decisions when I should and turn to higher ups when appropriate.

This is kind of a big deal, and definitely interesting timing.  My boss is missing our annual conference, and the conference planner just quit.  This is definitely going to be interesting.

So I’m definitely worried, but I know I’ll be ok.  At my last job, my supervisor called me over the Christmas break to tell me she shattered her ankle falling off a scooter.  She was out for 3 months on disability and I had no warning, so I’ve been without a leader before, but somehow this seems different, probably because I feel like I have a lot of opportunity for growth this time around.  My organization is very innovative and good at recognizing hard work, and everyone knows how much I rely on my boss, so hopefully people will be kind to me.

So this is going to be interesting.  I hope I learn a lot from this experience and I hope my colleagues take notice.  I am a leader, I know I am.  And this is my opportunity.

The Kids from Yesterday

January 27, 2011 at 9:47 am | Posted in Life and Living | 4 Comments
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adventures in babysitting

It seems like a lifetime ago that my main source of income was taking care  of children.  For six years, I watched kids from aged 11 months up to 11 years and made really good money doing it.  It was a pretty easy job most of the time (except for that summer where I watched 3 young boys — boys really are harder than girls).

I had started out working at a local day camp. I had 11 three year olds to care for with the help of two other counselors.  Since the kids were so young, they were only in the program for a half day, but I still got paid for the full day. I would use the remaining time to work at Dunkin’ Donuts and hang out with my friends.  It was the summertime, after all.

Most of my babysitting experience was daytime work, not much of that Saturday night babysitting that I really hated. I really got to know the kids I watched, but I only really watched them for a couple years before moving on to the next stage in my life.

My last babysitting job was when I came home from college.  I had graduated early, but still had a few credits left to complete my degree, so I took my last two classes and babysat for two girls, aged 8 and 11.  At that age, it’s really all about play dates and dance class, so there was a lot of chauffeuring as part of the gig.  The girls were great, and I have kept in touch with them via Facebook ever since.

Recently, the older one had a status update that said she had just turned 17.  When I read this, I literally almost fell out of my chair.  Where had the last six years go?  How did she get so old?  She’s too young to drive, too young to go to college. These are things I can’t handle.

A few years ago, I ran into one of my former three year old campers.  She was 11 when I saw her.  It just doesn’t register in my brain that these kids have grown up.  It’s a strange thing to imagine people that are younger than you aging as well.

I will always remember the kids I watched at the age that I watched them.  I will always remember Mia looking like Dora the Explorer.  I will always remember Jocelyn doing gymnastics in the living room.  I will always remember Savannah and her love for writing.  I will always remember Dakota picking on Madison.  This is how these kids will always be to me, in my memory.

The title of this post is inspired by a great song from My Chemical Romance. Check it out.

Considering a Back up Career

January 13, 2011 at 7:41 am | Posted in Career Moves | 6 Comments
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photo credit: mylimitlesssuccess.com

There are lots of statistics out nowadays that tell you what industries will be hiring over the next five to ten years.  These, of course, are all predictions, and clearly the numbers don’t go beyond ten years because no one really knows what industries will even exist twenty years from now.

Well, I for one don’t want to be a victim of the new economy.  That’s why I am already thinking about what I would do as a career if I couldn’t do what I am doing now.  I am beginning to brainstorm what avenues I would take and what I need to be doing over the next few years to prepare for that back up career.

The thing with my work is that it can be applied to very many industries.  As a communications professional, I have worked solely with non-profits for nearly six years and the array of organizations have varied widely.  All organizations need communications, but in the non-profit world, it’s not always easy to make a case for funding communications positions, since some employers either don’t understand the importance of the industry, or, more likely, don’t see the connection between the work and the dollars brought in.

I know this particular skill set is valuable, and that I could even make the bridge to the corporate world with it — that’s definitely not something I would rule out.  But you never know what the future will bring.  You never know when the next recession will be, and what jobs will be affected.

So what else would I do if I couldn’t do what I am doing now?  Perhaps I’d get into the programs or fundraising aspects of non-profit work.  Maybe I’d become a lobbyist.  Maybe I’d beef up my graphic design skills and focus in on that.  Maybe I’ll dive real deep into web work and even learn some programming. Maybe I’ll do something completely different like become a professor. Guide to Career Education is a valuable source of information if you’re looking for institutions that offer a variety of degree courses for possible career options in the future.

Right now, I’m not sure which direction I will go down the road.  It is possible that I will reach the peak of my current career track and decide to do something completely different.  I’m not really sure.  I feel that over the next few years, I need to at least decide on what I’m going to do to gain more diverse skills.  Perhaps becoming the Renaissance woman will play in my favor.

What would you do if you had to switch careers?

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