Finding My Dream Job

Tuesday marks my one year anniversary with my company, Prairie State Legal Services. I can’t believe it has been a year, but more importantly I can’t believe everything that has happened. A year ago in October, I was cut to part-time at my old job due to the economy. It was a Friday afternoon and I was told that it would be effective starting Monday. I was shocked, and at first I was too scared and embarrassed to tell people. I thought I had failed and didn’t know what was going to happen. My husband and I had bought a house just two months earlier and we needed that dual income. After a weekend crying and getting great advice from my parents, I decided this was not a failure but an opportunity.

While I loved my co-workers and appreciated my first job out of college, it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I often joked that I was wasting my parent’s money because I really wasn’t using anything I learned in college. There were days where I wouldn’t have any actual work to do and I quickly became frustrated. So when Monday came around, I went to work that morning, and spent the afternoon updating my resume and job searching. I began reaching out to friends and quickly found a support system I didn’t know I had. I began searching all of the job sites as well as Craig’s List and LinkedIn. Every day I looked for jobs and sent out resumes. I believed that this was going to be an opportunity.

A few weeks had gone by when I came across a job listing on Craig’s List. Now for those of you who pay attention to the news and have heard the scam stories, trust me when I say it looked too good to be true. The job description seemed like it was taken out of my course catalog and written just for me. And on top of that, it was at a non-profit. This may seem like an odd statement, but after a semester working at a non-profit in college, it was my dream to someday work at one again. Not only could I do what I love, but I got to help others in the process. There was a contact name, which made me feel better, but I was still nervous. As I began to write up my cover letter and collect some writing samples, a good friend of mine contacted me. She told me that there was a job opening at a non-profit and it sounded perfect for me. When she told me where the job was, my mouth dropped. It was the same company! I quickly finished all of my documents and put them in the mail that day.

As I waited, I grew nervous. What if they didn’t call me back? How much longer could we survive on my part-time salary? So while I waited, I continued to search. During that time, I did receive a job offer, but the salary was the same as what I was making part-time, so I declined. Then I found an option. I could work part-time in the morning at my job, and work-part time for the Chamber of Commerce in the afternoon. They needed help in a few different departments, and I was grateful for the opportunity. While the specifics for that job were being discussed, I got the call that I had been waiting for. The non-profit wanted me to come in for an interview! I spent two days updating my portfolio and went in to my interview confident. That is until I saw the other people applying. The interviews were running late, so when the person before me stepped out, my heart sank. There stood a woman twice my age with twice my experience.

During the interview, everything went great. I won’t lie, I felt it was the best interview I ever had. My confidence had been restored, but then I walked out the door and saw the next candidate. She too was at least twice my age. I left with a mix of emotions, but tried to stay positive. A few days later the Chamber called to offer me the part-time position, and I accepted. It wouldn’t be quite what I was making, but it would secure us financially.

A few days later I was sitting at home when I got a phone call. It was from the non-profit, and I assumed the worst. So you can imagine my surprise when they offered me the job! I couldn’t believe it. They told me I was exactly what they were looking for, and the salary was MORE than I made at my old job when I was full-time. I was so excited that when I called my husband, he thought something bad had happened to me. I was screaming and crying into the phone so much he couldn’t understand me! And I have to say that a year later, I still feel that same joy and excitement about my job.

And while being happy in my job is important, there is a bigger lesson that I have learned. At my old job, I would come home frustrated and agitated, and it showed. It began to affect my relationship with my husband and I was just depressed. After just a few months at my new job, my husband and I both noticed how much happier and easier things were. I wasn’t coming home frustrated, I actually had things to tell him about my day, and I was no longer depressed.

I know this isn’t a great economy, but I challenge you all to think about how happy your job makes you. Does it influence your personal life? Are you truly happy? If not, look around. Seize the opportunity to make yourself happy. As I come up on my one year anniversary, I am not only thankful for giving me a job I love, but also giving me a life I love.

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~ by Karissa on November 7, 2010.

6 Responses to “Finding My Dream Job”

  1. Thanks for sharing this. This is the kind of story people need to hear right now.

  2. Congrats on a year! It seems like only yesterday that Kelle (the previous IGNITE director) helped you find and land that job! It’s so great that IGNITE can help people find positions they love. The opportunities for networking that IGNITE offers may lead to a new job or a new opportunity! Glad IGNITE could help you find this position.

  3. So glad you love your job! It’s rare these days. I love my job too – just wish I didn’t have to move 150 miles to do it!

  4. It sounds like you were relentless in searching for jobs, and didn’t waste any time sitting around. That gives me inspiration to keep looking! I’m not sure how IGNITE helped you out though, it sounds more like your previous work experience and skills got you those 3 job offers. Congrats on landing your dream job! Now to go and find mine…

  5. Steve – I should have clarified a bit I guess. Karissa’s past experience and her persistence definitely helped her land her dream job but she had some help from IGNITE in finding the job. The previous director (Kelle) had some connections there and helped pass the job along to her. IGNITE also gave her some great experience to use in her interview. She’s one of IGNITE’s success stories in the fact that she used some of her IGNITE connections to help her find her dream job. Her connection to the Rockford Chamber also came through IGNITE. Her story is inspiring so I’m glad she shared.

  6. Persistence pays off, and helps you build those connections, too. Thanks, Karissa. I needed to read that this week.

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