Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Step in the Right Direction?

I’m applying for a job.

Oh, don’t get your panties in a knot. I probably won’t even get called.

It feels important to do.

It feels important because it’s in a field I love- Socially Responsible Investing- and it is about things bigger than myself.

And I miss work. I miss making a difference in the world, in a real, tangible way. I miss the fun of being on a team and creating something spectacular. To make a big splash and feel like, if but only for a moment, you got to move the rock of unfairness off the shoulders of the people.

I know I do that on the foundation boards I sit on but it’s different to be active, daily, working to achieve a goal.

A friend emailed me the job description. Said he thought I’d be a good candidate.

I said, oh, no. I’m not qualified.

I thought about it. I thought about all the things I’ve done and suddenly, it struck me. Yes, I am qualified.

Wow. That means I’m old.

I’ve canvassed door to door for an environmental group on Cape Cod- okay, I didn’t last long because I couldn’t stand asking poor people for money. Being active, I would say, is plenty. Don’t worry about donating. I was standing there telling them the local air force base was poisoning their kids. How could I give them only one-way to redemption, cash preferred over check?

I’ve worked in a fish market. I learned how to manage from my boss there. He was never afraid to do anything that needed to be done. He cut fish, cooked chowders, and washed dishes. He also balanced the books, created budgets and kept inventory under control. He treated me like a great employee. Stood up for me when a customer complained loudly that I would not cut open a live lobster for them.

If you won’t do it, why should she?

I’ve had so many different writing jobs- technical writing- I learned to lose my ego when handing out a document to be reviewed. It’s about being effective, not whether someone likes my use of adjectives or not. I developed the ability to take criticism and turn it into something better.

I’ve sat on these boards and learned about social justice. About organizational budgets and what can and cannot make a difference. How to include a staff in a discussion in a way that is thoughtful, respectful and positive. What it means to be responsible for the lives of people who work for you- to see how change creates fear and anxiety. How to harness both to create excitement. When it’s important to stop by and say hello, great work and when you need to ask what can I do to help? Because I can have the big ideas but it is those who do the daily work who make them happen. I have learned how to be humble. I talk the talk- they walk the walk.

At my last job, I created excitement about the work where it had been long lost. I loved taking on the big, bad corporate criminals. I savored making people think. I learned computer programs, database applications- whatever it took to do the job.

Mostly? Every day was a challenge. I loved that. It was about being a part of something bigger than myself.

A friend said she thought I was being manic- depressive. One day, sad and feeling incompetent, the next, ready to run an organization. It’s true. I was sad the other day. I felt lost and alone without my mother. I wanted her around to give me guidance. And today? I know I could run the organization I’m applying to. I believe I could bring exciting leadership. It is something I believe deeply in- making the world a better place through investments.

Okay, stop snoring.

If I were asked the other day? The day I was missing my mother? I would have had the same response. Yeah. Maybe. Maybe I can. I don’t feel like I’m spinning out of control. Just willing to try. Take a shot. Taking a peek into one of the many doors that are open to me right now.

I’m applying for a job.

Probably won’t even get called. But you know what? It feels like a step in the right direction.


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