Seven months ago I made the very tough decision to walk away from a position that I accepted only a year previous. I resigned without having a new position lined up, which was scary, but intentional. I knew that I needed to spend time with my kids. I was buried in mom guilt from working nights and weekends for a year. I knew that I needed to gain a new perspective. That my mind was too cloudy, too jumbled, too confused, to make any life-changing decisions–to figure out what was right for me. So I spent the summer soaking up sun and baby laughs and warm hugs. But I also spent the summer doing a lot of self reflection, figuring out who I was, what I valued and what I needed. And I enjoyed it. And I enjoyed writing about it.
In August, when my daughter began getting ready to enter kindergarten, I decided it was time to find an opportunity that fit my wants and needs. I knew that I didn’t want to stray from my digital marketing background, but I knew that the company, their culture and their values were more important than the title, the salary and the benefits. I was pretty adamant about not returning to a marketing agency, where I had spent my previous eleven years. I thought that client-based services required me to be connected 100% of the time, to be handcuffed to my computer for ten to fourteen hours a day and to sacrifice the precious moments that I shared with my kids all summer.
So I explored different options, mostly on the client side. I tried to get excited about each position. To pump myself up for every interview. To convince myself that THIS was the one. That despite x, y and z, this was going to be the perfect. And each time it wasn’t. And each time I felt a little more defeated. A little less confident. A little more like an outsider. I had never really dealt with searching for the perfect job in the past. I had landed a pretty amazing opportunity when I was 22 and stayed there for ten years. Interviewing is tough. It’s discouraging and it’s draining. And then things took a drastic turn…upward.
I had a conversation with a former coworker about an open position at a small marketing agency in town. I was hesitant at first because it was an agency, but I spent a lot of time on their site. And they talked about family. FAMILY? That’s not a word that agencies typically mention. They also talked about providing quality work and being accountable, two values that I had discovered were crucial for me to succeed at a company. Twenty minutes into my conversation with my former (and now current) coworker my mind was blown. Seriously blown. I had never heard of an agency like this. Their agency model was unique and ground-breaking. I was immediately intrigued, excited and overwhelmed. I think we talked for an hour an half that night as I fired off questions and she answered them with a sense of enthusiasm that couldn’t be faked by even the best of actresses.
Each step of the interview process only increased my excitement. I didn’t feel drained after each interview, I felt energized and anxious to learn more, but I also felt a strange sense of ease and comfort that I hadn’t felt interviewing at other places. I guess in that way finding the perfect job is a little bit like finding the perfect mate. You want to find the right combination of excitement and comfort. To be able to be yourself, but also have the opportunity to become a better person–to be pushed to be a better person. And luckily in this instance, the feeling was mutual. Only a few short hours after my last interview I was informed that a job offer was in the works. I almost cried. I didn’t play coy and hard-to-get. I was open about my excitement. I was basically going to take this job no matter what.* I had been in the business long enough (and in my search long enough) to know that no amount of money or perks or fancy titles can substitue the feeling of finding the perfect opportunity.
So here I sit five days into this new job. And I can say without hesitation that my mind continues to be blown a little more each day. I know I am still in the honeymoon phase. I know that there will be hard days and long nights, but I also know that I made the right decision. I can see now that everything truly fell into place. That I stayed at my previous job long enough to meet my current boss. That we had become Facebook friends, so that she could read my blog. Know that I had a writing capability that I hadn’t showcased in my career. That I had interviewed at other places so that I would be 100% sure when this job rolled around. That I had taken seven months off so that I could start again completely energized. I also know that despite my best efforts I am not an eternal optimist and I am not easily excited, so to be experiencing this feeling, to be having my mind blown, is big. It’s really big.
*This sounds a little like I am being paid in beer and cheese puffs. I am not.