The Challenge of Looking for a New Position While Being Employed Full Time

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 😉 
 
Chava Ashkenazi
Jerusalem, Israel 
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10 Responses to The Challenge of Looking for a New Position While Being Employed Full Time

  1. Marna Becker says:

    Hi Chava,

    Kol HaKavod that you knew what was best for YOU and knew what resources were available to you. It’s hard to leave a job and a team you have been with for awhile, but it’s also good to find the place that is the best fit for you. I hope you find a new position very soon, as any team would be lucky to have you!

  2. chavaleh1127 says:

    Hi Marna,
    Thanks for your support!! 🙂

  3. Joel Kangisser says:

    Hi Chava! I say Kol HaKavod as well! Hope you and Daniel are well, and that you find something soon!

  4. Looking for a job while still employed is really hard. Now that you’re free, you might like to check out the book I just wrote, about getting a fundraising job.
    http://www.wildwomanfundraising.com/store/fundraising-career-empowerment-guide/
    It’s difficult to find a good fundraising job. Some people say you should get the CFRE certification. Others say that you should try to go to as many networking meetings as you can. There are lots of different ways to get a fundraising job. Would love to hear what you think!

    Mazarine

  5. chavaleh1127 says:

    Hi Mazarine,
    It’s funny that you use the word “free”, because it is so true! 🙂
    I’ll check out your book; thanks for the tip!
    I think that CFRE certification is a great idea, although I don’t think it is known in Israel, where I live. However, their program looks great!
    I am definitely going to lots of networking meetings/events. I actually really enjoy it!
    I’ll certainly keep you and all my blog readers posted on my job search 🙂

    Best,
    Chava

  6. chavaleh1127 says:

    Wow, your book looks GREAT! I am ordering a copy right now! I will be in the States in less than a month, so I can send it to my family in order to pay domestic shipping 🙂

  7. Gidon says:

    Chava, we met at the last frforum. Good luck in your search, if you haven’t found something yet!
    This blog is pretty darn good!

    my question – why do you not mention your career counselor by name? I guess I am asking that from the frame of reference of social media marketing – why wouldn’t they want good google love for their name?

  8. chavaleh1127 says:

    Hi Gidon,
    Of course I remember meeting you! 🙂 Thanks for the good wishes and the feedback. B”H I have a couple offers, of which I am debating the pros/cons, etc.

    I decided to make a policy for my blog not to mention any organization by name, nor any employee at an organization (as the purpose of this blog is supposed to be for constructive discussion, not “ranting”). But you make a good point, most likely my career counselor would like to be mentioned by name. I’ll double-check with her and, with her permission, reveal the person who is the “secret to my success” (although, as she always points out, she may give me guidance, but I am the one who “does the work” 🙂 )

  9. chavaleh1127 says:

    By popular demand, I am revealing the secret to my success, my career counselor SIGAL ABBATOVI! Check out her site at http://sigalconsulting.co.il/en/. If you are looking to make a career move or change, and would like professional guidance through the process, I highly recommend that you contact Sigal to see how she can help YOU! You won’t be sorry! 🙂

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