Because I Want to Make a Difference

I was exhausted.

I had spent months looking at job postings and nothing seemed to fit my criteria for the type of role with the kind of company that I wanted. Many people also looking, whether actively or passively, can relate I’m sure.

For me, it had nothing to do with the caliber of the organizations or the number of opportunities available. There were plenty. There still are. What was most important to me was the fit and trying to find an opportunity where I didn’t feel I had to settle.

Yes, money was a factor and I had a minimum threshold, but the salary wasn’t first on my list. Corporate culture was very important, but many employers did not come across as being consistent with what they claimed. The role itself wasn’t even primary. I was looking for the whole package…a meaningful role with company I enjoyed that paid a reasonable wage.

Any one of those things, even two of those criteria, are easy enough to find. For whatever reason, adding a third filter left me with few choices.

I was about to give up when I got the call. I actually got calls from two great retailers within the same week! It was a dream scenario where I had to choose between opportunities that were great for different reasons.

In the end, one worked out and the other didn’t. Things happen for a reason and I’m thankful, in that way, the decision was steered for me.

During the final stages of the interview process, my would-be boss asked how I would try to attract good talent to join the team. I answered, “I wouldn’t.”

Then I explained myself. For me, talent means nothing if it’s not a good fit for both the candidate and the company. And no matter how good a company might be, if you don’t make a meaningful contribution and feel good about it, the job slowly sucks your soul.

“Instead,” I said. “I would tell them about the organization the way I see it, including the aspects that aren’t that appealing.” I would say things like, “the infrastructure needs some work and there can be a tendency to work in silos. That said, the majority of employees are good people and the leadership has vision and style that bring out my best.”

“I would proceed to answer any questions and call attention to both the good and the bad. It’s important for someone to know exactly what he or she is getting into.”

So then he says, “What if I told you that…our infrastructure needs updating and we have processes that need rework…

…Would you still be interested?”

I told him that it would depend on whether or not I felt I could help make things better. To be part of rebuilding something and know that I’m playing an important role.

Fast forward a few months. The job is indeed challenging. Priorities seem to constantly change (or there are just too many at any given time). And cross-functional collaboration has room for improvement. But I’m feeling more fulfilled at work than I have in a long while. Why? Because I feel like I’m making a positive difference and everyone I work with brings out my best. Some days are better than others. Sure. During unusually tough days, I remind myself how nothing good ever comes easy and that our BHAGs are worth fighting for. More importantly, I enjoy facing everyday challenges alongside the team that is now family. Together, we fight the good fight and we work hard for the right reasons. I couldn’t ask for better.

It’s time for us to scale the team here, and so I ask you…”Would you still be interested?”

Photo Credit: Evan Clark

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