So where were we?
I tried going through the normal channels that one would use when trying to get a job somewhere.
And I didn't get far.
About that time, the idea of doing a blog for them popped into my mind. Being such a fan of the museum, a blog writer and blog reader, I knew I would love to read a blog about them. They did have a Facebook page but it was not updated very often.
I flew my idea past a few people over there.
It didn't go far.
Finally, I took a chance and created a dummy blog and figured out what their president/ceo's email address was and contacted him directly telling him I was interested in doing this for them. He emailed me back in 20 minutes with a invitation to come in and meet him.
I fixed up my dummy blog a little more, came up with an outline of what I thought I could do for them and set out to meet him. I brought a resume and wore a suit. I acted like it was a job interview. I met him and told him why they should have a blog, that I would love to do a blog for them and that I would do it for free as a volunteer. However,I also told him that my goal was to get a job there eventually. That I viewed this blog as an opportunity for us to get to know each other better. I pointed out that I was a good manager and that he probably needed a project manager for.... Something.... I wasn't pushy but I was proactive.
He had me back to give a presentation to a larger audiance. I created a nice presentation and again, went to the meeting like I was interviewing for a job.Once I got the ok for the blog, I worked at it like it was a job.
During this time I met a lot of people, and best of all, someone showed me all around the village so that I had things to write about. Like my own personal guided tour! In that time I kept in contact with the CEO, looked for blog material, talked with him about the direction of the blog/Facebook and kept reminding him that although I have no museum experience, that I'm a good manager. I was honest about my skills, what I would like to do, what I would not like to do and frankly, what I can't do.
My husband, supported this decision to work for them for free. Some others in my life were a little skeptical that this was a "career path" at all.
I officially started the blog on May 1st. 6 weeks later, my now boss, the CEO, offered me a job as a "Special Project Manager" working for him. Special actually means that my job could/would entail a lot of different projects but that he couldn't tell me exactly what I would be working on 6 months from now. This is fine with me and is EXACTLY the kind of job that I like and thrive in. To be able to work in a museum I love, learning about many of it's different parts, and utilizing my strengths is a dream job for me. I have more goals that I would like to achieve in the future but this is where I am at right now and I'm having a great time.
So how do you get your dream job?
1) Decide you want to work somewhere you are passionate about. This was easy for me. It may not be so easy for you. But what do you love? You may be a computer programmer but what else do you love? Comic books? Cooking? Crafts? Nascar?-I bet all of those places need a programmer some time. I don't know what it IS for you, but I bet you can think of things that you have skill sets for that you could utliize in a new way.
My friend Deanna works for a human services organization as the Intake Coordinator and Assistant to the Vice President. She could do the "tasks" of her job at any number of places, but her job satisfaction comes from the subject matter of her tasks. My friend Stephanie is an awesome writer-She could write novels or she could write textbooks-She writes novels because that is what she loves. My friend Mari started a business, coaching businesses. She could have started a business teaching people Microsoft word, but her passion lies in elsewhere. I really think people's job dissatisfaction comes more from the subject matter of their jobs, than the actual tasks that surround said job.
2) Volunteer. This was key in the whole equation. First of all, it's a place I'm passionate about so it wasn't hard for me to offer to spend some time out there as a volunteer. I wouldn't suggest you volunteer at a place you don't feel passionate about just to get a job because what would be the point of that? I mean you're looking for your dream job here people.
NO ONE is going to turn away free labor-Not in this economy. Besides, if you don't like it it there you learn that BEFORE you go hog wild and quit your day job-You can walk away knowing you tried it out and it wasn't for you. If you don't have experience in the field you want to work in, volunteering is a pretty good way to get some. And finally on the thought of volunteering, if you offer free labor you may get to be a little choosy about what you would like to do. There is nothing wrong with working your way up from emptying the wastepaper baskets, but you may be able to avoid some of that if you do the work for free.
3) Think about how you are different. Think about what you can offer them that they don't already have. Be a little creative. I'll tell you, the first line on my real-life resume is that the last project I managed was a $15 million dollar infrastructure redesign/implementation. That did not get me a job. What got me a job was that I was already writing a little blog of my own that sparked my imagination to create one for them. Sure, my project management experience made me credible as a manager of sorts once I knew some people but that resume line did NOTHING to get me in the door before they knew me. I had sent them THAT resume on MORE than one occasion. It was ignored. In this instance my blogging was worth way more than my prior work experience to get myself in the door.
4) Work for something besides money. This is a lesson I am learning as I go. I'll be completely honest here, up until now, I have usually worked just for money. Money is important and I'm not going to tell you it isn't. I've been lucky and have always liked my jobs well enough. But I choose the jobs based on their ability to pay me well and keep on paying me well and hopefully pay me even more in the future, not from a greater sense of purpose or love of subject or anything like that. That is not wrong. This job pays me less than my last job. But the ability to work somewhere I really love has given me a sense of peace about work that I've never had before. It's just different. I used to envy my husband because his job as a teacher paid him in more than just cash. I wanted that. Now I have that too. Don't get me wrong, I still think you can make a good living doing something you love but consider your happiness as well as the salary when you look for that dream job. I recently spoke with a high earner whose job is a nightmare. She told me in no uncertain terms that you can't put a price on happiness. And yes, there are times that one just needs a job-There is nothing wrong with that, you don't need to be all self actualized when you need to pay the bills. But it is a nice, lucky situation when you can be.
I've only been at this for 6 months now and I have a lot to learn about this museum and museums in general. It's been fun getting back into the world of work and I feel very lucky to have this experience and work in this place.
Check out my museum blog here.
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The museum is closed for the season (with the exception of special events that are planned) Today on lunch, I needed to deliver a book to someone so I put on my coat, heated up some chai tea, and had the village to myself as I walked all over!