May was a big month. A game-changing month. So much so, I may or may not be writing this in June and publishing retroactively so I can technically still follow my monthly blog post goal.
Two major things happened for me, all within less than three weeks.
The first major thing that happened was that I embarked on a six-day road trip through South Dakota (where both my parents are from) with my little sister over Memorial Day Weekend. I had been planning this trip for a few months and had one very specific intention with it. It's been a little over a week and I'm still processing the experience, but I'll be sure to share an update.
The second major thing is that I left my job and started a new gig. The process may have been the fastest ever in my career. I was approached about the gig one day, had a series of interviews over a few days, and had an offer exactly one week after first hearing about it.
Whoa-what? You may be thinking that sounds fast, considering both my level of experience and what I felt I was worth (all women should learn to negotiate) and the current job market (new job creation is slowing down) and how long it typically takes someone to find a new job (on average, you should be spending one month on the job search for every $10,000 you expect in a salary). I remember telling my parents about it and they reacted as they do every time I have a new job: "I just don't understand how these opportunities fall in your lap". As a recession era grad in the most competitive job market in a very volatile field, good opportunities aren't exactly raining down all the time. However, there are a couple of aspects about this gig that I knew it would be a risk worth taking:
An old colleague of mine was the hiring manager. She saw my name out of a pile of resumes, recognized it, and advocated for me amongst the rest of the team to make them feel comfortable about hiring me in a short time frame.
The gig included a lot of factors I was familiar with.
For the past year, I've been thinking about what I've enjoyed most throughout my career and what I would ideally love to focus on moving forward. Overall, I found that I loved to develop and provide thought leadership for clients, focus on a holistic marketing strategy, and above all else, write. I also wanted to leverage the existing data and research skills I've acquired over the years. My gig now is focused exclusively on thought leadership and strategy (win win).
The parameters of the gig are new for me, and I welcome change.
The job itself is a contract role, which is a new experience for me after several years working as a full-time employee. Despite the fact I need to pay for my own health insurance, I'll be making more than I did as a salaried employee and because I'm paid hourly, the amount of time I work per week is capped. My husband has been working as a permalancer over the last few months and also has a capped workweek, which really has been life changing for him in terms of having a better work/life balance.
Despite the fact it was a quick turnaround from first hearing about the job to getting hired, there were many factors already in play that made this opportunity seem to appear out of nowhere:
Remaining active in my networks.
Anyone who is a part of NYC agency culture can attest its actually a very small world, which means you will certainly run into people you used to work with or previously were your clients. It also means that almost everyone is willing to catch up over coffee, read your blog post, or respond to your LinkedIn message. Half the reason I started writing monthly blog posts on this personal site was so I could have an excuse to update my feeds at least once a month. Over the past year I also have been working to grab lunch / drinks / coffee / cake with people I was already previously connected with who I admired and respected.
My LinkedIn and resume were on point
Someone once told me I had the most detailed LinkedIn profile they've every seen. All of that credit goes to FindSpark, the organization I helped co-found back in 2010. We hosted countless webinars, panels, and workshops on how to trick out a LinkedIn profile. I also updated my resume almost every two weeks this year and will confirm once and for all that all the recruiters and hiring managers were right: a one-page resume is always going to get the fastest reaction.
I knew what I was looking for
You'll get to a certain point in your career when you'll say you're not looking for a new job, you're exploring new opportunities. You never know what might come your way, and it's also good to know what is out in the market. I tend to have recruiters reach out to me somewhat frequently, and even if the job initially isn't something I would be into, I also try to find out more to gauge 1. what sort of jobs are available 2. what roles come to mind when recruiters see my profile. I've explored a number of opportunities in the past couple of months, had a few interviews, and got an understanding of what I wanted and most importantly what I did NOT.
So this "dream gig" may seem like it was manifested overnight, but it only truly came about for two reasons: 1. I recognized it as a good opportunity based on my "market research" and 2. I have years of experience in both working and job hunting, and have the network to back it up. Overall, I'm very excited to have a new gig that lets me tap into my existing experience, but also provide a new type of experience as a contractor. The past few weeks have flown by and I'm honestly still processing everything. Starting a new gig is always hard, but there is nothing like a fresh start.