Sometimes, the right career change can happen without completely changing careers.
This a guest post by Shoshanna Jaskoll. If you’d also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.
Back in college, If you had asked me to rank possible careers for myself, my current one would not have even been on the list. I would have started with Astronaut, continued with Minister of the Environment, and possibly ended with Avocado Picker.
Being 5'1″ knocked me out of Astronaut contention- (Also, I stink at math, but officially I blame the height thing). Minister of the Environment could have happened, maybe, after many, many years of grunt work, excellent ulpan and working my tuchus off to meet the right people.
In the end, I did meet the right person- and I married him- thus changing the trajectory of my life for the better.
Long story short, after our first Aliya and subsequent 6-year move back to the States, I found myself working for various non-profits in the Jewish world in various capacities. During that time, I continued freelance writing which I'd always done.
When we decided to move back to Israel, I needed a job. My resume was a conglomerate of positions; educator, writer, editor, intern at a few prestigious organizations, and a degree from Rutgers with some graduate courses thrown in. I had no idea what NBN (Nefesh b'Nefesh) might come up with for me.
When I got the call that I was being asked to interview for a non-profit organization as the Resource Development Coordinator, I was worried. Fundraising? NOT something I ever wanted to do, I hate asking people for money… but I really wanted to move to Israel and if I could sweep the streets, maybe I could do this. My sister conveniently had a baby, and I went to visit, fitting in the interview at the same time.
The interview was with the Chief Exec as well as the headhunter he had hired. I answered questions about myself and my abilities honestly. I could write, I was passionate about Israel and Judaism. I had compassion for those in need and I was comfortable meeting and speaking with people. Also, my Hebrew was passable.
Within 30 minutes of finishing the interview, they offered me the job and some training to ease my way in.
Now, there were things I needed to learn, and discomforts that I needed to get over, but I found that I could do it. My main discomfort- asking people for money – was ameliorated by the fact that it was mostly in writing and by remembering that I wasn't asking for me, but for those who really needed it. I grew into the field quickly, coming up with ideas and solutions to previously cumbersome tasks.
This job, which I never would have considered applying for in other circumstances, launched a new career for me. After a year with the original org, I moved on to work under a professional with decades of experience (the original headhunter!). I also read – a LOT – about the field.
Eventually, I wanted needed different work hours, and to work in my own style. I began a partnership with 2 other professionals whose strengths complemented mine (and who also happen to be my sisters). Together, we offer non-profits many of the services it takes to run a successful non-profit; from board building, to media placement, from website content to grant writing. We now have a great client base and work with some of the best non-profits in Israel.
I must thank David Maeir Epstein– Resource Development for Non-Profits (and NBN) for seeing what I could not, hiring me for that first job and then later for another, and training me with patience and professionalism.
If I hadn't been ready to try something new, consider my skills in a new light and trust in myself and others, I would not have the career I do today. Working for myself allows me to make my own hours and choose my clients- extremely important for a mother.
I still look at photos from outer space wistfully, and I am still determined to fix Israel's environment. But, I now see that making a difference – a real difference – is so much easier when working with people and organizations with the passion and drive to do so. It is also very rewarding.
Not having a job is an excellent time to consider possibilities you've never thought of before.
Don't box yourself in. You are not defined by your degree, a certain skill set, or even what you think you are good at. Don't make assumptions. Explore different options and take chances!
You very well might end up doing what you'd never thought you would- and loving it!
Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll lives in Israel with her family. Having founded REACH3k, she works with outstanding organizations showcasing what makes them unique and helping them reach their audience- wherever they are. You can follow her on Twitter @skjask and @REACH_3K
This article is part of the 4th Annual JobMob Guest Blogging Contest, which was made possible thanks in large part to our Gold Sponsor, Jason Alba of JibberJobber. If you want Shoshanna Jaskoll to win, share this article with your friends.
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