Friend of the Blog--Tiffany Hatfield shares her story of deciding on a career path. As our careers evolve over time and we choose one opportunity over another or decide to remain with one company instead of making a move, we are creating a path. Some create it consciously and for others one day comes after another and things happen to us. Like Tiffany, I prefer to blaze my own career trail. That isn't necessarily the right approach for everyone. Thank you Tiffany for letting us look inside your decision points in creating your career path
By Tiffany Hatfield, linkedin.com/tiffanyhatfield1
This year I began to reconsider the focus of my work. This article lays out that process.
Fresh out of grad school, I began work as a nonprofit division manager. In twelve years I doubled the budget, tripled the program base, managed two strategic plan processes and completed a nine-year project to achieve national accreditation for the site.
But the organization I worked for had no position that I could be promoted to. And after twelve years, I needed a change.
So I left the organization and started consulting, specializing in grant research, strategy and proposal writing, all of which were part of my previous job, this time for cultural and human service organizations.
The business goal? To find two or three part-time contracts that would fill the work week. Did that happen? Heck no.
I ended up spending thirteen years riding the waves of cyclical grant deadlines, and learning how to look at my budget in 4-month increments.
Many months, days, nights and weekends in 2013 were spent serving the largest client load I’d ever had (!), but the downside was that I started to feel the pangs of burnout.
Something had to change, but what? Continue in grant writing alone, or expand to other forms of writing? Leave self-employment? If so, doing what?
I had to find answers, and fast. I discovered the incredible gift of informational meetings, and the time and advice from people whose work I respected (some I’d never even met before!).
So I set up the annual calendar of work with my clients and began a dogged pursuit to the answers to my questions. My resources became (and still are) Passport to Employment (golove.org/passport), Work One (workoneindy.org), Accountability Group at WorkOne, and lots and lots and lots of networking. Lots of it. Lots.
From one colleague’s recommendation, I added blogging and article writing to my work. You’d think that I would naturally have done that already, but all my writing energies went to the client, and those grants rarely had my name on them. It is exciting now to contribute to Inside Edge, a daily Indiana business news e-blast, about how to seek grants (the Perspectives column), and also to serve as a contributor here, on LinkedIn, and hopefully more by the end of this year.
So, going forward from here, I’ll continue consulting until I am eventually employed with one organization. And I’ll keep writing regardless of where I’m working. Thank you for reading!