A lot of people think they have to settle with their job, but I’ve always believed that you should never settle for something that leaves you feeling dissatisfied.
Sometimes that is easier said than done, but if you’re not happy, it’s probably time to make a change. Maybe you need to change your career entirely, but changes don’t always need to be big. Maybe you need to stay in the same career, but change your employer so that you’re in a less toxic situation. Or maybe you just need transfer to a new role with the same employer. And in all of these situations, sometimes the transitions are bigger than others.
I’ve been a grants professional for more than 20 years and I consider myself to be on Career 2.5, so I’ve made several changes and been through a lot of different types of transitions.
My first career was a brief stint working in Hollywood. Even though it had been my dream as a kid, I discovered I didn’t like the elitism and entitlement in the industry.
My second career was in the theater. I am not an artist, but I like the collaboration that takes place to put on a show, so I moved to New York City for graduate school in arts administration. While I was working in theater administration, I wore many different hats and learned to write grants to help fund small theater productions.
After 13 years, I was tired of living hand-to-mouth, going to the laundromat, and so many other things about the New York City lifestyle. While visiting my parents in Phoenix, I started thinking I could really enjoy living there. I became obsessed with the thought but couldn’t bring myself to hit the “GO” button. I had already been through so many transitions! Then I got laid off during the 2011 recession, and someone told me that it was the sign that I needed to finally move to Phoenix.
This led to what I call my Career 2.5 – grant writing. I knew there were fewer jobs in the arts in Arizona, but I had already written grants in the NYC arts community, so now I transitioned to being a grant writer in other contexts. I first got a job as a grant writer at a hospital, then began to work as a consultant for a variety of nonprofits that provide different services.
A lot of people think transitions are scary, and they can be. But the changes that you make don’t have to be as big as mine were. You don’t necessarily have to move across the country or change careers. You might just want to transition to a new role or new employer. But to find the right thing for your life, you have to have a little bit of trust. If your choice ends up not being the right fit (like my first two careers), then you are always free to make another change.