Tag Archives: Work

Finding Your True Calling

How many of you have struggled, like I do, to know what it is you “really” want to do? Do you spend days/months/years trying to figure out what your true calling is? Isn’t it possible that maybe there isn’t just one perfect job for everyone, but rather a job or path that allows you to learn, explore, and push yourself harder to achieve.

I spend so much time worrying about whether I am making the right choices, whether I am on the right path, whether or not THIS job will get me where I want to go, that I often forget to take a break and take a look around me. To realize that even if this is not the “perfect” job or the “dream” job – that as long as I am continuing to grow, evolve, and create, it’s pretty damn good for now.

I have long dreamed about working with animals. To me there was no possible way for me to be satisfied in work unless I was working with/helping/talking about animals. So I pushed (and maybe shoved a little) to find my way to this conservation organization where pandas and tigers are our flagship species. And yet, my day-to-day work has nothing to do with animals at all. It’s a bit ironic, but I have to know in my heart that even though I am not out in the field counting Jaguars, I am preventing the destruction of the habitats of those creatures I’ve so longed to protect. Sometimes you just have to take a look around and realize the impact you have, even if it doesn’t feel like “the dream” straight away.

dream-job

I have a very wise friend who once laid out her view of the different types of jobs one can have; the job you are passionate about, the job that enables you to do the things you want to do on the side, and the job that disables you from living your life while working for “the man”. And in a lot of ways, I think she is right. It’s a matter of knowing where you are in your career and what you want for the road ahead before you can realize the benefits of the job you are currently in (or, in some cases the drawbacks.)

What is your dream job? And how many of you are actually in it?

I waste so much time

This is a common affliction among most people I know. Wasting time. It doesn’t matter whether you are at home, at the office, out with friends, preparing for client meetings…wherever you are the possibilities to waste time are overwhelming.

Rather than getting to the point in what should have been a very productive morning this morning, I read an article on LinkedIn titled “How to Develop Strong Time Management Habits, Even if You’ve Failed in the Past” which is basically just another method of wasting time by reading about how to be more productive, (instead of actually being productive!)

New sites keep popping up left and right with the intention of distracting you from the things you are meant to be doing. Don’t even get me started on how much time I waste on Facebook, Pinterest, and even g-chat (I won’t even add WordPress here because I consider time spent writing to be time well spent!). Even iwastesomuchtime.com is a much enjoyed method of time-waste-management, to ensure that even if you aren’t getting the work done you need to, you are at least not bored.

So I start this Monday morning off the way I start most mornings. A quick check of facebook and gmail, maybe a couple of short conversations with people about how the weekend was, a quick scan of wordpress, sometimes news sites are sprinkled throughout, and then, finally, I feel prepared to start the day.

How are your time-wasting/management abilities? Do you get straight to the point, or take your time combing through the distractions before you can get to work?

Paraguay Calling: Part I

Paraguay has called, once again. For those who don’t know my back story intimately, (as I won’t be so presumptuous to assume you do!) I spent 6 months volunteering for the WWF in Paraguay in 2010. It was a challenging time for me, filled with both the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. I struggled to adjust to a new way of life in a third world country, particularly to the extreme poverty I wasn’t used to seeing and the children, cats, and dogs roaming the streets aimlessly in search of food or a kind soul. But I also made incredible friendships that will last a lifetime, greatly improved my Spanish, and learned that I could in fact survive in a new city on my own, (with a little help to guide the way, of course!)

My first trip back to Asuncion was about 10 months after I moved away, last October, 2011. I had been working on a proposal with my colleagues in our Paraguay office and we had just received approval to write the long proposal, (think 20  or so pages versus 5,) so I flew down for two weeks to work more closely with the team to develop our project plan.

I was nervous to go back at first. I wasn’t sure how I would feel now that I had been home for a few months and then moved to Germany. Would I still get along with my friends well? Would my Spanish be at least as good as when I left? Would I still understand the intricacies of our work as well as when I had lived there? Would my heart sink every time I saw a homeless dog crossing the street?

I arrived after 22 hours of travel a bit exhausted and somewhat flustered at my inability to move my tongue as fluidly as I would have liked, (I blame the months of German lessons for that one!) but after resting up for the day (and soaking in some sun at my hotel) I was prepared to take on the language, and my former home (albeit a temporary one.)

As for all of my other fears, they were nothing to worry about. What I learned more than anything was that you can always go home again. I fit right back in with my friends (with a strange Gringa/German accent, but still), the office welcomed me with open arms, and my memory of our project work and goals had nowhere near disappeared in my time away. I felt peaceful being there, without the same conflicts that had plagued me during my volunteership. I was in a new place, both physically and mentally, and could handle what was thrown at me.

Paraguay was a place I belonged, it had become a part of me.

…to be continued…

What It’s Like to Work in Non Profit

So for those of you who have been following closely, (or for my loyal readers who also happen to be family or friends,) you’ve watched me journey from a corporate life in NYC, selling my soul at an Interactive Ad Agency Monster to packing up my bags and traveling south of the equator to volunteer for nature conservation.

Truth.

The last year and a half has been quite a ride for me, (and my “shoulders to cry on”), but more than anything it’s given me a completely different view on what work-life is like outside of Corporate America. Now I can’t say for certain if my experiences are specific to working at a Non Profit, or if it has to do with living in Paraguay or Germany, but I have to say despite the stressful days, I’ve never felt like I had so much time before.

I laugh at the former me who spent endless hours in the office working out the fine details of a budget that I just couldn’t seem to get right – that is until the other night I slaved away until 9 PM (9PM!!) working on a budget that I just couldn’t seem to get right. But what was the difference between those two experiences? This time I didn’t feel angry about it! I didn’t mind working one late night to fix a budget for a project I am personally invested in. Especially when I take into consideration the other perks of my job; the (mostly) 8 hour days, the hour-long lunch breaks, the 30 vacation days, the compensation for overtime, the paid-for language classes, and the list goes on. I get to save the world and have a balanced life. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say I hit the jackpot!

The down side, (if there is one,) to all of this working for your passion, is you give up your should-be 6 figure salary, (well, maybe if I had stayed at it a bit longer,) and you find yourself working on (or in my case waiting for) the same thing that should have been done half a year ago! With all the urgency there is to save the world, stop deforestation, and cut back on CO2 emmissions – when working in a Non Profit and generating funding from government entities, you have to learn to pace yourself. Slowly. Because no one else is in a hurry.

As I said, I have all the time in the world now. Time to read, time to meet friends for drinks, time to travel, time to exercise. Who knew all this time existed outside the doors of a Manhattan agency? Now, of course, (without sounding like too much of a complainer,) I just have to find a way to fill it all!

Have any of you had similar experiences? Switching between corporate life and non profit life? Or maybe you’ve stayed within a company and moved abroad? Would love to hear about it!