14 April 2008

Career Change #1

I read somewhere, some time ago, that one can now expect to experience 7 or 8 different careers in a single lifetime.

I've been in marketing and communications for nearly 8 years. For most of those years, I've somehow managed to work at the manager/director level.

I suppose that happens when you work in small-ish non-profits where you can easily expect to post the director title on your nameplate or email signature because you're the expert in the organization. Mostly you become the expert not because of this experience you've managed to amass over a number of years in your profession, but because you are the only person with any iota of knowledge on staff. You often work on a team of one, this one does include yourself, and there's no one to challenge your self-proclaimed expertness.

All of this to say, is that I'm thinking I might be due for a career shift.

One of my longtime dreams has been to work as an executive director of a small, non-profit organization. My organization of choice would be this one or this one. I'd even consider working for this one (which just posted for an ED but with the current family situation I felt I couldn't give it what it would need, so I opted not to apply), this one or this one (but who knows what I could ever do here).

I've been thinking that I'd like to work in camping. I could work here or here, but neither of these are based in Ottawa. I don't really think I'd like to work at the direct service delivery level. But I enjoy supervising staff and ensuring that the resources and systems to run and support the organization are in place.

Given my new interest in gardening, I'd love to work somewhere where I could acquire new knowledge like a sponge. I was thinking something like a gig at a garden centre or landscape company. Only, I don't think I'd be so good at the manual labour side of things. I'm good at coordinating and planning. I'd be good at cultivating customer relationships. And, I'm good at project management.

There's just so much that I'd like to do, I just don't know what it is that I want to do. All of these decisions need to keep in mind that I can't earn less than I earn right now - and now, I'm more underpaid than I've ever been.

I'm just tired of facing the same battles wherever I go.

It's exhausting having to create an argument and buy-in about why branding is important. I work in organizations with cultures that revolve around leaving everything till the last possible minute to get done. I hate that everyone thinks that the marketing cure-all is to simply create poster or that marketing begins one week before you launch a new program. I hate that no one realizes the amount of time it takes to craft text or design a project. The amount of review and revision that has to take place for 1 page to 20 page documents. I hate that I have to write/re-write everything produced. I hate that we never get past the we-have-to-market-right-now-or-it-will-all-be-over mentality that we never get to planning, strategic initiatives or simple communications with our members or staff. I hate that if no one can figure out where responsibility should go in the organization than it must be a marketing issue - from uniforms and signage to office supplies and mail.

Work makes me grumpy.

But most of all, I don't love it anymore. And that is a sign that I should start thinking about career #2. Suggestions? What would you do if you got to choose another career?

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