Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Five years

When I started my current job, I told myself “5 years. I give this job at least 5 years.” I said that partly because I know that I’m a restless soul and up until now, my history has been about 3 years in each job. A wise mentor once told me that it takes at least 3 years to change a culture, and I think in all of those past jobs I kind of gave up at the 3 year mark when there was very little evidence of change. (It takes A LOT to change a government department – trust me.) Even though I learned a lot in almost all of those jobs, and had some great experiences, I need to be in an environment that values creativity and positive change, and mostly I wasn’t.

I also said it partly because I knew that in 5 years Marcel would have graduated from university and would be back in the workforce. I’ve always dreamed of breaking away from the 9-5 life and doing more freelance/consulting work (you can find out more about that at my website), and once our family was a little less reliant on my income, I felt I’d have a little more freedom to explore those other things.

Well, today is my 5th anniversary. I still love my job. And I am finally in an environment that values creativity and positive change (and philanthropy and global awareness and justice and a whole bunch of other things I value). And I can say, in all humility, that I have definitely impacted this organization in a positive way. Years from now, people will look back in the history of the organization and say “that changed during the time Heather was here.” Interestingly enough, change started happening in a fairly big way around the 3 year mark, which was definitely the motivation I needed to stick around.

It’s really been an incredible 5 years. Since I started here, I’ve learned a tonne about leadership, I’ve gone on some incredible adventures, I’ve managed some exciting creative projects, I've met amazing people, I’ve gotten to do lots of writing and photography and visioning and creating (and get paid for it!), I’ve hosted some big media events, and most of all, I’ve learned SO MUCH about my own passions and values and personal calling. Sometimes, it’s been really challenging (especially the part that involves leading a diverse team spread across the country), but mostly it’s been an amazing ride.

But… (you KNEW there was going to be a “but” didn’t you?) I’m starting to feel like I’m done. I’m starting to feel that restless feeling that I always get when it’s time to move on from something (even when that something is really good and is worth sticking around for). I’m starting to dream of other things. I’ve got a big dream project that I really want to sink my teeth into, but I need time to do it and there’s no way I can get there while holding down a full time career and trying to be a good mom and wife.

There’s still lots I can do here (and if the board approves a plan I’m submitting, I’ll be able to unfold a whole lot of new ideas and growth opportunities), so I’m pretty sure I can be happy here for awhile, but I’m just not sure if I’ll be fully satisfied if I have to wait too long to try out some of these other big dreams that seem to have camped out in my imagination. Patience is not one of my greatest strengths.

What about you? What are you dreaming about? How do you handle the waiting when the timing isn’t quite right for the unfolding of the dreams?


Anvilcloud said...

You are amazing. The only quibble I have is why you felt the need to metricate ton. You see, something there is that doesn't love a tonne. :)

Olivia said...

It's so interesting and wonderful that you love your job so much Heather. It is a blessing to love what we do, I think. Even to enjoy it somewhat.

As I read your post, I can really feel your enjoyment (despite your desire to also move on at some possibly near point)...I can apply it to my own life, and although I can tolerate some of what I do, I strongly dislike (dread, even) much of the way I have it set up now. I can really see that I need to make some changes, because I would like to feel as you do.

I am dreaming about enjoying my work and of finding what you have---a place to contribute and grow.

Blessings and continued growth and all of your dreams,


KathrynAntyr said...

How delightful to meet you and all through a connection made in the Twitterverse. Your post here mirrors so much of what I am experiencing. It is like I see my own reflection in your post. I will be in my current full time position now 5 years in October. I think it is interesting that you said it takes 3 years to change a culture. That is exactly the point when I was making an impact through my creativity contributions. But --- like you I'm ready to move forward with a new vision and dream. You've received a taste of it at http://www.truenortharts.com. My vision is unfolding and there is so much exciting work ahead of me.

I'm so happy we've met. I think it will be fun to share our creative journeys together.

Please stay in touch.
Kathryn, Collage Diva

vicki said...

Heather how exciting!!

I'm dreaming about a house on my Grandpa's farm and running a photography studio out of my home and on the land. Until that happens I am getting myself prepared. Learning about photography, lights, studio lights and controlling the light. The house, I'm making house plans, saving pictures of houses I like features I like and how I want the house to face the road etc. And most of all, but not often enough, I pray and try to get in as much teaching on the Word of God as possible. Even if the scripture doesn't apply directly to my situation, there is a power there that can not be explained. Peace Peace Peace

mmichele said...

Happy Fifth!

Karmyn R said...

I think everyone has those big dreams - but many just let them go because of that whole "fear" factor. I just know you will end up accomplishing whatever it is - maybe not tomorrow, but in the close future!

Yeah - and I still dream about getting my book (and all my other ideas) published. I just need to get off my butt (or get on my butt) and finish editing.

Pamela said...

I was encouraged to read what you said about three years to change something. I went six - and I was ready to strangle.

Not that I have any plans.
But it appears that there were plans regardless. I've never been so busy.

(Babies are all asleep and I'm feeling like an old tired grandmother. whew. ha ha)