How did I get here?
Congratulations! It’s a non-profit!
If you’re like me, that might not have been the original plan. I was going to do sexy things. Write novels. Direct films. Sit on mountain tops and write poems about the colour of dew and how it feels to be 20.5 forever. I’d live in a trendy warehouse loft with a cat and a typewriter and a trampoline.
But I am almost thirty. My hair is greying. I have four kids. The last thing I wrote passionately was a grocery list. I’m allergic to cats, my typewriter is packed away under a box of poems I wrote two decades ago about boys I hated. And I work for a non-profit.
Non – meaning no.
Profit – meaning money, time, remaining sanity, trampoline.
And I wouldn’t trade it for all the sexy things in the world. But how did my precious liberal arts trained mind get here, and why, and how will I survive the myriad of stresses, problems, and lack of trampolines?
I can’t be sure what brought you here, but let me tell you a bit about what brings me here. Every morning.
Let’s rewind a decade. A fresh film school dropout, I came back home to do a Medieval English degree, because everyone knows this is more sought after than a film school dropout (duh, mom!) As I neared the end of my BA, I had the opportunity to do an internship. The program was career encouraging, a sort of “these are the things you can tell your parents you can do with an English degree” kind of thing. The choices were things like work in book stores, for publishing companies and in library. Oh, and at this thing called a literacy not for profit.
The other choices were very sexy and popular. Every English major wants to work in publishing or bookselling or to be a hot librarian. But working for a small non-profit that just had all its funding cut, that focused on a social issue most would like to ignore, was not so sexy.
I faced facts. I’m not sexy. I’m not popular. Maybe this was the place for me!
I was right. Turns out years of George Carlin fed cynicism, farmer optimism, and the heart of a gift-giving seven year old made the non-profit world perfect for me. Beyond being a girl with big, hairy ideas, I also have this big old stinky heart that needs to help others. If I had been the Karate Kid, not only would I have crane kicked that Cobra Kai punk, but I would have had a serious heart to heart with him, handed him a pamphlet on peer pressure, and encouraged him to take a painting class because that’s what he always wanted to do but his mom was just waaaay too overbearing.
So here I am. A curmudgeonly do-gooder who finally found some direction.
And here you are. How’d you get here?
If you are anything like me, you maybe didn’t choose this path completely on purpose. You might, like me, have a liberal arts education and weren’t sure what to do with yourself and your student loans. Like me, you might also have a lovely mix of philanthropy and misanthropy. You might also have what is called by others a droll sense of humour, and appreciate the way I approach things around here.
Or you might just think that I’m an asshole. That’s ok too. Perhaps at the very least I can make you smile, even laugh, and make you think about your job a little differently.
So welcome. However you have come. Whatever brings you here.