I heard these words over and over growing up. In fact, my dad had it written on a Post-it note on our treadmill and on his bike. He even wore a bracelet with these words on it. So, I guess you could say it’s something that’s become a part of who I am. While this phrase may seem cliché, it’s helped me land my dream job working for and with the best people. Here’s my story:
I graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2011 with a BA in Communications and Public Relations certificate. When I took a job for an unpaid internship my senior year of college, I was convinced it was my dream job. They knew I was graduating and told me they could only pay me part-time. I decided it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down, so I worked there half the time and a frozen yogurt shop the other half to help pay off my student loans. Eventually, they gave me a chance as a full-time contractor (read: not an employee). I spent seven years working for this agency and had the opportunity to do some really fun things. However, I didn’t understand boundaries for myself and avoided conflict at all costs (hello enneagram 9s out there 👋). So, I said YES to way too much and became burned out after about five years. Eventually, I had the courage to quit in November 2017. Spoiler alert: I didn’t have a job lined up and was buried in tons of student loan debt and tax debt. Yes, it was a scary time, but it was honestly the best feeling.
Fast forward to June 2018: I had been searching for a full-time job for five months and was juggling about four part-time jobs to help support my family. I had been following Allie on Instagram for a while, and she posted to her IG stories that she loved connecting people looking for jobs with her clients who were looking to hire. I quickly submitted my resume and explained that I was looking for full-time work but was specifically interested in working for The Wonder Jam. I didn’t hear back right away, but that was normal, considering I had applied to over 60 jobs by this point and had only heard back from a handful. We eventually connected later that summer. I chatted with Adam and Allie separately on the phone and they had me take some personality tests. I was super excited when they told me that they loved my StrengthsFinder results, as some of my strengths matched some of the weaknesses on their team. I had clearly laid out everything I was looking for, set boundaries and made it very clear what my goals were.
Then, an amazing thing happened: they respected all of my boundaries and goals. They listened to me and made me feel very empowered in my experience and work ethic. However, they weren’t in a position to offer me a full-time job. They could only offer me a trial that might eventually lead to a part-time job. I couldn’t imagine finding a better fit for myself, so I decided to keep working my part-time jobs and do a one-month trial run with them in September of 2018. A couple of weeks into the trial, they told me they wanted me around more (and I eagerly wanted to be around more!), so they put together a plan of attack for them to take over my other part-time jobs over the next year. One by one, I was able to quit my other jobs and take on more work at The Wonder Jam.
I just celebrated a year of being a part of The Wonder Jam, and it’s something I’m so proud of. Adam and Allie sent me the email I sent them asking for the job with all of my goals, and I’m smiling ear to ear thinking about the fact that I met each and every one of them. It’s important to note that I didn’t do this alone. Adam and Allie constantly communicated with me where things stood as far as financials of the business and what that meant for me. We were constantly changing the plan of me being around full-time and adjusting the timeline, but because I’d found something that was such a good fit for what I wanted out of my career, I was willing to do just about anything. It didn’t happen overnight, and it wasn’t always easy juggling a ton of jobs, but it was SO WORTH IT.
When I left my last job at the end of 2017, I didn’t think the following was possible:
- Work full-time remotely (mostly at home with Iggy)
- Work for a small business that helps other small businesses
- Work for a company that respects boundaries
- Work for a team that is creative beyond my imagination and encourages one another
- Work for bosses who encourage us to do our jobs without asking for permission
BUT HERE I AM.
If you’re searching for your dream job, here are a couple of tips I’d like to share with you:
- Make a list of things you want, along with any deal-breakers, and stick to it! The right job will come along.
- Things I wanted:
- Flexibility in my schedule (preferably remote)
- Work for a small business // small team of people
- Work in a creative environment
- Bosses that acted as mentors
- Constant communication, honesty and transparency from leadership and my team
- I did not want to work nights or weekends on the regular (in my previous job I worked a ton of events)
- I did not want to work in a corporate setting or for a large company
- I did not want to be a contractor. It was important to me to be a W2 employee so that my taxes would be taken out
- If you find your dream job or company, but they aren’t hiring for a position you’re interested in, reach out anyways. Grab coffee or lunch (and pay for it) with someone in a leadership role at the company. Networking is huge and building a relationship with someone is more impactful than just submitting your resume.
- Don’t be afraid to change careers completely. Luckily, I was able to find something specific to my past experience, but there were moments where I thought about going back to school or taking online courses for design or photography.
- Be patient and put in the hard work! My transition into my full-time job with The Wonder Jam did not happen overnight, and honestly, I’m glad that it didn’t. This last year has given me time to slowly build up relationships with our clients and also leave my past part-time jobs at the right time so that I didn’t burn any bridges. You can read this email that describes what I was working on and how I asked for the job.
- Once you find your dream job, set clear expectations and boundaries from the beginning. This will help prevent burn-out and keep all parties happy! Even though I had managed social media accounts in the past, I made it clear that I didn’t want to be glued to my phone in that way anymore. Currently my “social media role” is more of content creation and scheduling rather than engagement. This is a great fit for me and our clients.
Thank you to Adam and Allie for giving me a chance. Thank you, Ian, for trusting me over the last year that I would have a full-time job. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for always telling me to NEVER GIVE UP.