Big News {The Time We Moved Back to Nashville}

I realized that I have started many blog posts over the years with “big news” or “good news” or “exciting news” so I’m going to start adding subtitles. Hence, today’s Big News: The Time We Moved Back To Nashville.

The most recent (and final) big event is that I have happily accepted an exciting job offer. In just a few short weeks, I will start in my new role as Director of Development for the Make A Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee. This is a bittersweet announcement, as some of you know, due to the fact that I absolutely love my job and my coworkers at Ohio State. Going to work every day with a team that works so hard but yet is so fun to be around has opened my eyes to what “work” can really be. As sad as I am to say goodbye, I really hope I can take what I’ve learned here and help make the MAW Foundation a fun and meaningful place to work for myself and my colleagues.

make-wish

I say this is the most recent bit of news, because in case you haven’t been paying attention, here’s how the summer has gone down.

  1. My hubs got an awesome job, after graduating with his Masters from Ohio State, working as a Transportation Planner with the Tennessee Department of Transportation. This is basically exactly the type of work he had hoped for. FOR THE WIN.
  2. Not long after, we bought a house. It needs love. It’s torn to pieces at the moment. It’s stressful. But we are doing it – we have an ADDRESS.
  3. Now, after several months of living apart from my husband, I got a job! A job I am excited about!!

All of this about 2 1/2 years after A DIFFERENT “BIG NEWS” POST about the OTHER biggest change in our lives. But seriously – WHERE DOES ALL THE TIME GO?!

It is truly yet another reminder of how God has His hands in everything. I worry, I doubt, just like the rest of us, but as soon as I take a step back and say, “I don’t need to be in control of this – God’s got this,” everything seems to come together a little more easily and with a lot more grace.

My Top Five Pieces of Career Advice For Your Twenties

When entering college, I received the following advice:

Use your Freshman year to join every possible organization you might be interested in. Then commit to only a few for the rest of college. That way, you can hold leadership positions by junior/senior year and have something for your resume.

Awesome, awesome, awesome advice, which served me very well. And now as I’m in my 29th year, nearing 30, I’m starting to reflect on the professional advice and lessons I’ve learned so far. And I’m realizing this:

Your twenties are the “freshman year” of your career. Do what you need to do to figure out which direction you want to go in. 

I say this because I’ve just accepted a job offer – what will be my 5th job since graduating college. I know it sounds like a lot of jobs in 5 1/2 years, but it makes total sense when you look at my resume. Promise. My whole career has been in Higher Education Development (aka fundraising for universities), but I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated, so the first job I landed in was a little luck, and a little fate. Now, I love the field. To sum it up quickly for you:

Institution number one:

  • 1 year and 5 months as an Administrative Assistant
  • 1 year and 9 months as a Program Coordinator
  • 1 year and 9 months as an Associate Director

Institution number two:

  • 1 year and 7 months as an Associate Director
  • About to embark on a new position as an actual DIRECTOR, which means I will be a boss for the first time as I work to build a program from the ground up. Very excited about this opportunity!!

As you can see, a slow but steady climb, NOT jumping institutions, but working my way up at one place, allowing me to learn a lot about my field. And along the way, I have also learned a lot about professionalism, bosses, strategy, and how to get ahead. Slow and steady, my friends! Slow. And. Steady.

So while I have very little authority to dole out a ton of advice, I’m just going to hit a few highlights that have served me well…

  1. Make your boss look good. I hated this advice the first time I heard it. I was way above that. But I learned how very true it is. I have been able to advance at a high rate, because my bosses have been my mentors, and when opportunities came along, they not only encouraged me but where often the ones to tell me an opening was around the corner. You work to make them look good. They work to make their bosses look good. It means you are doing your job well. I promise, this will serve you well in the end.
  2. Negotiate for a better salary every time you get a job offer. Especially us women. I’m not really a feminist, but it’s proven that there is a gender gap in wages (male engineers at Google make 20% more!). If you ask for even just a little bit more each time you start a new position, it only gives you more leverage for the next one. Asking for more money can be uncomfortable for some people, so be prepared to say why you are asking for more: you have a masters, you have to move, you are losing other perks by changing jobs, you have more experience than they asked for. Whatever it is, just be ready to tell them why you deserve it! They are prepared to offer more if they have to – I promise. And these days, it’s almost impossible to get a raise, so it’s best to negotiate during a job offer.
  3. Get a Masters Degree – but only if you want to. Don’t do it just because you feel like you should. I don’t know if you know this, but grad school is a lot of freaking work. Not only do you have to want a masters, but you have to be really really excited about whatever you choose to study. Or you will definitely fail.
  4. Don’t let them see you smile until Thanksgiving. Okay, I’ve really only heard this one for teachers, but it kind of applies to us non-educators, as well. I’m about to become a boss, so I’m thinking A LOT about how to go about it, and how to get started on the right foot. I’ve had bosses across the spectrum, but the biggest issue I’ve had with a few of them is coming in with one attitude, and then doing a 180 after a few weeks or months on the job. Better to come into your job being super professional, not overly jokey or silly or anything until you’ve really settled in. Take your time getting to know your fellow employees, just as you would getting to know ANYone you meet in your life.
  5. Avoid engaging in office drama and gossip. Obviously. And I admit, this is tough for me sometimes. But you might work for them someday. Or they might work for you. Plus it’s just mean, and as someone who has been on both sides of it, I highly recommend staying away.

Okay so that’s all I’ve got for now. I’ve you’ve read this far, congrats! You deserve a prize. Go get an extra coffee.

 

{Re}Defining Yourself

I know I promised you a finished project today, but sorry…it’s not quite done!

Instead I want to tell you about a breakfast I went to recently with Jon Acuff and a fun bunch of people from the Nashville Area. If you don’t know about the book Quitter by Jon Acuff, you must check it out. The long story short of it is: how do you work your passion into your life? If there is something you love to do, but meanwhile you are trekking through a day job or other committments, how do you begin the journey of making your passion a more prominent part of your life? How do you close that gap between your day job and your dream job?

We met for breakfast early one rainy Friday morning, and while there were many great take aways, one thought has popped into my head over and over since that morning. As we went around and discussed our dreams and journeys, Jon made this statement (more or less): How do you define yourself? For example, I might say “I’m a fundraiser,” because that’s the job I do. And while I really love my job, I don’t consider it a passion the same way I consider baking and sewing and photography and general creativity as my passions – the activities that truly bring me the most joy.

So do I really define myself as a fundraiser? Dare I say I’m a baker, when really I only get to bake on occassion these days? Or a seamstress, even though I’ve only made one dress to date? Or a photographer, even though I’ve only had a handful of sessions?

What is the answer when people ask, “So, Megster, what do you do?”

New Job Day!

Today is New Job Day. Woo! I will officially park somewhere new, sit somewhere new, see new people, and learn new things. I am so incredibly thrilled to be moving forward! My new job will allow me to see many sides of the development world and to interact with the university’s uppercrust. Cheers to offices in the main administration building!! Sorry for all the exclamation points in this post but I am SO EXCITED!!!!

And for your viewing pleasure, here is baby Freshman Meghan just five years ago…and standing in front of the building I will now be working in! Who knew? And please no comments on the fashion choices. I am aware.

move in day 007

move in day 002

Now YOU get excited to start seeing some pictures from New York tomorrow!

Jobs I would love to have.

The most dreaded question that you could possibly ask me is: If you could do anything you wanted, what would it be?  My honest answer is…I don’t know!!!  The things I love the most do not translate into careers.  But, I thought it might be good for me to list some careers I really would love to have, even if I do not have the skills at all.  So here we go…

Restaurant owner/manager
Writer (as in, able to work from anywhere)
Professional photographer
Socialite (seriously. awesome.)
Philanthropist (is this a career? Sure.)
Logainne Schwartzandgrubeniere in “25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee”
Owner/manager of a small non-profit
Magazine editor
Landscape designer
Wedding planner
Pastry chef
Food taster…or wine taster…

My disclaimer is that for the most part, these are glamorous jobs in my mind. Careers we see in movies or locally that seem greener from my side of the fence. I am fully aware that any career is likely to get old after a while, but in my perfect world, they are just what I think they are.