Friday, October 05, 2007

A Little Self-Talk

Sit down, Ladybug. We need to talk.

Yeah, we noticed that you haven't landed a job yet. And we noticed that you're beating yourself up about it, wondering why you always seem to be one of the final two candidates, losing the position to someone with more negotiation experience in China or someone who's more technically savvy, or someone who actually likes organic chemistry (or someone who's "not so nice"?!?!).

But the thing you need to remember is that it isn't about "landing a job." It's about finding a fit. It's about engaging your passion.

Your career focus isn't easy to peg. It's not like you're a cook or a doctor or a teacher. There's no one concise title for what you do, and that makes finding the perfect fit a challenge. Sure, you develop media -- but you're not a programmer or a cameraman or an artist. Instead, you manage and coordinate those people... so you're a PRODUCER.

Easy enough. But a producer of what? You, my friend, are a phenomenal producer of materials for kids and youth, preferably media that somehow enhances their day. The reason you haven't gotten (or turned down) jobs that focus on dry, boring content for adults is because... well, because it's dry, boring content for adults!

Remember the "engaging your passion" thing?

Your passion is in creating and developing fun and engaging media for youth. Like FUEL and CHILL and Blue's Clues and Carnival Countdown! Remember how much you loved working on those projects? Remember how you felt that that work perfectly utilized your skills, your interests and your experience? Well, if you remember that and hold on to it, the right fit WILL reveal itself to you.

Which brings us to today's interview -- which has nothing to do with producing media for kids, but which has gotten you more excited than any job prospect in a long time. This one is for an Executive Director position for a non-profit childbirth education and doula organization. Somehow you've made it into the interviewing rounds for this one -- in spite of the fact that your resume only mentions your childbirth education and doula experience in passing. You know why? Because of PASSION. You're a birth fanatic, you love helping birthing families, and you were part of an online birthing community for ten years, so even though your resume focuses on product and program management and educational media production, the board of this organization saw something in you that warrants a closer look.

Remember, too, that you always seem to gravitate back to education. When you looked at returning back to work after your 7-year childrearing hiatus, did you go immediately back to media? No -- you went to the local hospital and told them that, if they'd pay for your ICCE certification, you'd love to teach childbirth classes... because THAT'S where you passion was. And then, later, in '96, after a year designing software, what did you do? You left the high tech industry for a while and went back to teaching childbirth classes... because somehow this passion always finds you and leads you.

And here you are again. Sure, you had an interview with Microsoft earlier this week, and you immediately knew it wasn't a fit. And you have an interview with an online learning database company coming up. But THIS interview today is somehow different. It speaks to a different passion, one that's somehow deeply personal and to which you always seem to return. Remember that!

So stop telling yourself that you'll never get this position because of what you lack (direct fundraising experience, 10 years as an ED of a non-profit, long-term experience working with disadvantaged populations), and instead have confidence in what you could bring to the position -- a combination of business, program management and childbirth education experience, leadership and team-building experience, and passion.

And the key element is your passion.

Now go get dressed (we suggest the flowy skirt, not the black suit), put on a little (just a little!) make-up, and remember what -- more than years in school or number of titles/projects in one's portfolio -- makes anyone good in any job.

It starts with a P, and you have it, my friend.

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Anonymous said...

Well said! I'm sure the interview will be a success and I hope the job is a good fit.

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping that this job will be the good fit and that you will get it.

Heather Mundell said...

Carol, this sounds just amazing! My fingers are crossed for you!

Rositta said...

An amazing post, it is so good to know oneself so well. I know the interview will go well and if you don't get the job, well you know another opportunity will be right around the corner. Good luck....ciao:)

anno said...

Great coaching... and an amazing opportunity. I hope you get this one!

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