It’s been a while since I have posted, and I apologize for that. March and April have been months filled with illness (fortunately am feeling better, thank G-d), holidays, and general busy-ness. But it’s always been in my mind to get back to the blog.
Today I’d like to discuss the challenge of looking for a new position while being employed full time. This might not necessarily be a “non-profit only” discussion, but I have found that specifically in Israel, networking is a big part of the job search, especially in the non-profit sector. And when you contact people and ask to meet with them, you need to meet when it’s convenient for THEM. So if you work full time in an office-based position, what do you do? ….
I guess this is leading up to my announcement that, as of about 10 days ago, I have left my previous employer of 4.5 years, in order to focus on my job search. (Check out my profile on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/chavaleh1127) and see the skills that I can bring to your organization! 🙂 Also, connect with me! As a contact I made described me, I am a “super-networker”. It sounded really cool with her Israeli accent 😉 )
I’d like to discuss what led me to this decision, and hear your feedback. I love the organization for which I worked, and the work that we did. In the 4.5 years that I worked there, I learned a lot and was given more and more responsibilities, which I enjoyed. However, at a certain point I realized that I wanted to advance my career (and felt that I had the skills to do so), but unfortunately there is no structure for advancement/promotion this organization, which left me with no choice but to pursue other opportunities.
I started seriously looking for a new job last October, after the chagim (holidays) and after successfully planning and executing my organization’s annual dinner, which is our largest annual fundraiser (which was very time consuming!!). I decided to work with a career counselor, as this would be my first time looking for a new job in Israel (I worked for the same organization in NY prior to coming to Israel, and was recommended for my position by someone in the NY office). I felt that it was important for me to work with a career counselor, because I wanted guidance through this process, especially since it is my first time searching for a job in Israel, and I do not want to make a “rookie” mistake that could have been prevented by getting advice from a professional who knows the industry. (By the way, if anyone in Israel is looking for a career counselor, I recommend mine to the heavens … let me know if you want her contact information! 🙂 )
Once I established with my career counselor that I wanted to stay in the non-profit field (which I had to think about, as I was pretty “burned out” after this all-consuming fundraising event!), she impressed upon me the importance of networking to find a new job, especially in Israel. So I began to use LinkedIn as a networking tool (I just reached over 500 contacts!!), and many people were very willing to meet and offer advice, etc. Then I started noticing a problem … it was very hard for me to make appointments with these important people who had kindly offered their time to meet with me, because I was essentially “locked” into the office from 8 am – 5 pm (approximately) 5 days a week. I was the only full-time worker in the office, so if my (former) colleague who worked part-time was not there, and I needed to leave, then the office was “closed”, which obviously was a problem.
In short, after half a year of seriously looking for a job while being employed, I decided (together with the support and blessing of my husband) that I needed to give myself the time and space to devote a proper amount of time to my job search. So I gave a month’s notice, and as of about 10 days ago I am a “free woman” 🙂 Of course I am too “Type A” to relax, so I have been filling the time with networking meetings, calls, and e-mails, job interviews, etc … and now also balancing time with family and friends, and time for myself. It seems that the job market has opened up a bit after Pesach (Passover), which is encouraging.
What I find interesting is that, of the many people I told about my decision to leave my job (and why), the vast majority have responded positively and told me that I made the right decision. Only a few people have said that perhaps it was not a good idea. But I feel confident in my decision, and I feel that it will lead me to a new, challenging opportunity.
I’d be interested to hear other people’s experiences about trying to find a new position while working full-time. And, if you want, tell me what you think about my decision … I can take it 😉