31 Oct Diary Of A Fundraising Job Seeker: A Guide for the Brave and the Baffled
There’s nothing like looking for a job to take you out of your comfort zone and test your emotional bearings. Some days, it may be tough to remember that your talent and experience didn’t disappear the moment you decided to leave your old position and seek a new one.
Take heart that your EQ and IQ are intact as you read this tongue-in-cheek journal of one person’s job search.
I used to think I was ALL THAT. I used to feel wanted. Executive recruiters would call me two to three times a day. They emailed, they sent texts, they left voice mails. I emailed some back, but mostly not. I was too busy. Then one day they stopped. That was the day I needed them. I had left my job to find happiness at another place. Suddenly all of my exceptional qualities became wisps of smoke curling toward oblivion. Huh? I looked in the mirror.
I was still me.
I thought I knew how to do my job. I had raised millions of dollars. But the recruiter told me that I didn’t have enough experience in the particular niche of the specific area for the specific demographic at this specific time. I was stumped. How did I manage to support myself through college by selling shoes, cosmetics, nutritional supplements, and pets?
What niche was that?
I wrote a killer letter today about my qualifications. It got me a call from a high-end recruiter. He asked me about scale. Uh oh. I had raised too much money with too few staff. Why hadn’t I raised less money with more staff?
What’s wrong with me?
I went to an interview today. When I walked in, the search committee was arguing about branding. I listened while they flexed their personalities with forced laughter. They asked me my opinion.
Is there a manual for this kind of set-up?
I told a hiring manager that I needed more time to make a decision about going to the next step in the hiring process. I thought I was being reasonable but guess not. This wasn’t received well.
Why do donors get years to make decisions and fundraisers get a few dates before they’re asked to become engaged—-so to speak?
I spent an hour and a half on a conference call listening to all of the responsibilities the “lucky person in this role” would carry out. The job crossed seven functional divisions, had nine direct reports, and a part-time assistant. I asked how long the position had been open.
I took the morning off from writing, reaching out, having coffee or breakfast and following up with people who could help me. By 11:30, I was panicked. I wasn’t giving it my all. I was sure to fail.
Or at least miss something.
I got a job. Someone who knew someone who needed someone like me took me in. I’ve been here two months. I am now an expert in this new niche. The calls are coming in daily from recruiters. I am being hailed as a change agent. I have been told I’m the kind of person who questions existing systems. Who knew?
I look in the mirror. I’m still me.