Thursday, July 14, 2011

Proverbial Piano

I recently started a great job that I love.  It’s with a non-profit that promotes buying locally.  I’ve been there all of a month, and when I interviewed for the job, I told them about how I was tired of starting over again and again and that I was looking for something stable where I could build myself a career.

I waited two weeks for the answer, and when I got the call saying they wanted me to start the next day, I was elated, jumping up and down generally bouncy kind of happy.  In order to get the job you had to be eligible for a government subsidy, which I happily fought through the red tape to get, filling out all of the paperwork, waiting for almost 4 hours to speak with someone, assuring the nice lady that yes this was a permanent job, and that yes I understood that by signing up for this program that I would not be eligible for another subsidy for a couple of years, yadda yadda.  I went through it all happily because I had finally found my career, my place.

So I made my plan for the first year, I work in marketing by the way, planning out my short, medium, and long term strategies and goals, and then I got to it.  Working my butt off, doing events on weekends, researching during my spare time at home, banking all of my overtime for use someday in the future.

Then, today, I’m meeting with the coordinator (and only other co-worker) about the board of directors meeting last night, where she presented my report on where I’m at and where we are going, it comes out that it is urgent that we increase revenues.  At first I was all ok, a non profit that needs more money coming in, no surprise there.  Then I realized that there was a lot more urgency in her tone than usual.  I asked her, how much of an increase are we talking, double, triple, quadruple, kind of laughing.  Then she said triple and I stopped smiling.  I was expecting something like a 50% increase at most.  Then I asked, what kind of a time frame we are talking, within 6 months she said.

Wow, talk about having a proverbial piano dropped on you.  I realized that we were talking survival mode more than growth.  I had been hired as a last ditch effort, not as an addition to the team to help it grow.  I told her that since the government subsidy was for a year I had assumed that I had a year to work, especially since half of the things I’m doing don’t have immediate results.  I explained to her that in marketing I can’t just focus on the short term, and delay all of the long term.  She told me that the money just wasn’t there long term. All she could say is that she had mentioned that our jobs were on the line, and that they couldn’t exactly hire someone by saying how bad the situation was.

You accept a certain amount of uncertainty when you decide to work in the non-profit sector, especially when the organization is new, but is it too much to expect that unless otherwise indicated, your job will last more than 6 months.

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