Finding my Dream Jobs

by Carolyn

This has happened to me twice.

When I was in my twenties, I really wanted to run a battered women's shelter because I had worked at one and liked the work.

So, I went to school to get a masters in counseling, and, while I was in grad school, I was a grad research assistant. My job there was to assist people who wanted to get a masters degree - help them with the application process and give them information they needed.

One man had had poor undergraduate grades but I knew he was mature enough to do well in grad school, and he had personal characteristics that made me think he would be a good counselor. So, along with giving him information, I became his advocate with the faculty admissions committee.

I tried to be creative about figuring out strategies that would help him to make his case, and he got in.

About a year later (when he was in grad school and making straight A's, I might add), he told me there was a job opening for a battered women's shelter director in the town next to where I live. I didn't know it, but he was involved in a group that supported the shelter.

He must have told the executive director of the agency about me because she didn't even check my references. She hired me during the job interview!

I was completely surprised. I had undertaken the interview just for practice since I wasn't quite finished with my degree. I really did love directing that shelter, although it is a job for a young person!

Another time, after I got my Ph.D., I was an adjunct professor at a small college. I was teaching a class in their Department of Education and I was trying to go above and beyond the call of duty to be a creative and interesting teacher.

My job was to teach people how to use music in the classroom, which makes a lot of people afraid because they think they cannot possibly lead children in music-related activities. I showed them how they could.

I was needing a more full time job than the college was able to offer me, but before I got around to doing any applications, I got a call from the chair of the Dept. of Education at another small college. Apparently her niece had taken my class at the first college, and, when the chair was looking for someone to teach a similar course, the niece suggested me.

For awhile I taught at both schools but then the chair offered me a position that was exactly what I wanted. I have been there for seven years, and I love my work.

To me, the moral is, do the best you can possibly do at any job because you never know when someone who appreciates your work will help you with your next career step. I feel really blessed in my career history.

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