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Article -> Identify Impact for Career Search

Date Added: October 2009

Note: This article appeared in the October 18, 2009 issue of The Green Bay Press-Gazette.

I recently accepted a new role as Executive Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeastern Wisconsin. Many people are conducting career searches, so here are some lessons learned.

My search occurred from want -- not need. Despite having flexibility of owning my business and having fantastic clients, many months ago I decided something was missing. It wasn't money or health insurance... it was personal fulfillment.

While I enjoy most client interactions, I smile more and was happier when discussing volunteer opportunites or non-profit endeavors. My personal fulfillment related to impacting others' lives. So, in a terrible economy, I sought a new career aligning my skills with my personal values.

My personal journey taught me to:

  • Be patient. All searches require patience if you don't want to search again in a few years.
  • Be honest. We're told to answer interview questions and tell people what they want to hear. Instead,tell the truth and speak from your heart -- not your head.
  • Admit mistakes. We all make them. It's more important to explain how you resolved it and what you learned.
  • Ask difficult questions. People are afraid to do so because they won't like the answers. Yet, the answers help determine the right fit.
  • Network relentlessly. Meet people and solicit feedback to help with your self-reflection.
  • Be transparent. You are who you are. Don't try to be someone else.

My personal journey led me to better understand how to best impact the lives of others. We all define success differently. When I started my search, I defined success as a role fitting my stengths and skills within a large organization offering fair compensation.

My definition of success changed. It's now defined as "impacting the lives of others" and my new role is part of my path to accomplish this. In effect, I'm taking a role to work more hours and receive less compensation. Some say I'm foolish; yet, I'm able to collaborate with amazing employees, volunteers and youth to grow the organization and make it prominent within Brown County.

Jackie Robinson said, "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." Identify your impact.




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