If you build it, they will come around and let you stay in it

It’s been a while blog. How’ve you been? I know I’ve been a bit too busy to pay attention to you as of late, but I hope you don’t feel ignored. Neglected, sure. I deserve that. But I have remained un-ignorant to your presence.

As for you readers, I apologize for that bit of personal conversation you had to walk in on. I tend to abandon projects from time to time, and it takes a certain amount of coddling to start them up again. So I make my triumphant return with a realization I had probably a bit too late in my life.

Find people who will let you do what you want to do.

This is advice I followed in my personal life. I have surrounded myself with wonderful people who allow me to be as idealistic as I want to be while keeping me grounded. My girlfriend emboldens the starving artist in me, but in the same breath encourages me to find a job that will pay me for my worth. My friends and family help me go on my little adventures to Oregon or Michigan, but they constantly keep tabs on how I am doing and keep the door open when I need to return home. My support system keeps me happy, which is a mood I highly treasure and, in the past, have had trouble attaining solo. I found, and kept, people who let me do me.

Yet I did not apply this advice to my professional life.

As is quite, quite evident by my, at times, whiny posts, I’ve been having some trouble with my job search. The issue is twofold. The first half of the fold is figuring out what I am comfortable doing. Not what I want to do, mind you, as I have a plethora of desires and dreams. But I can’t write and sell books, create my own web content company, or buy my own coffee shop without taking a few (okay, many) smaller steps first, and finding these first steps is going very Indiana Jones. In the hebrew alphabet, the Lord’s name starts with an “I.”

The second half of the fold is finding someone, or someplace, to let me take those first steps. That experience is more like a dog wearing an invisible fence collar. At first I ran after that juicy looking squirrel full speed, only to receive a sudden jolt of unexpected reality. A few shocks later and I step a little more cautiously now.

So where does it all leave me now? My old job. Yup. I am right back to a position and an industry I was so desperately trying to escape. Yet I took a step today that three-months-ago me would have found very unexpected and a little disconcerting: I lobbied to be a full time worker again. I assure you, though, it is not because I have given up on my aspirations, nor am I suddenly interested in becoming a golf professional. (I probably should’ve mentioned I work at golf course…)

It’s because my employers are allowing me to do what I want to do. At the moment, I am writing their promotional emails and managing their Facebook. In the future, I’m aspiring to taking on more administrative type of roles. Beyond that, I would like to run their website and web marketing efforts.

They were reluctant to my previous attempts to take on these roles. For one, they don’t currently have a single designated person doing these tasks. For another, they weren’t convinced I was the guy to do them.

Yet since I’ve been back, my general manager has been much more receptive to the idea. I was pondering why she had such a change in heart. My first guess was that my three months in Michigan creating amateur looking websites while simultaneously getting rejected from multiple jobs somehow qualified as “more experience.” But then I remembered that my boss didn’t know about my websites, nor did she know much about my Michigan experience beyond “it was fricken cold” and “the football tailgates were fun.”

Then it dawned on me: they missed me. They were glad to see me when I got back. They expressed their hope that I would stick around. They immediately gave me multiple shifts and I reprised my role as global personal confidant and problem solver. Now, I have an upgraded title and pay grade in my future as long as I don’t cock it up. What’s fun is that I did not gain this position with experience or skill. Not directly at least. I gained this advantage through trust.

My late grandpa’s favorite piece of advice was “prove yourself to be valuable, and you’ll always have a job.” Without any aspirations to remain in the golf industry, I still followed this advice. I learned everything I needed to. I did everything asked of me. I nourished relationships with all my coworkers and I kicked ass at what I did. It turns out now that I inadvertently took part in a three year long interview that I seemed to have nailed.

Now my primary task is to convince the company that they need a full time web marketer by proving myself to be valuable in yet another way. And as I’m finding out, it is much easier to convince a corporation that they need a web marketer than to convince them I would be a good one.

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