So, I mentioned that I got a new job recently. I was hired in September, as an Adult Career Coach, by a private company, contracted to manage a federally-funded workforce initiative. In that capacity, my job, in a nutshell, was to assist unemployed people find work, or get them the training they might need in order to find work. There is an eligibility component to the program, which mainly involves income (or lack thereof), so we work with a population new to me, as most of my previous resume and career coaching clients were not considered "low income" by state standards.
Our clients often have other issues, too. For example, my first client was a felon -- a felon who broke my heart, quite honestly, and made me fall all over myself trying to help him. I was a bit concerned, I'll admit, as the business community in general doesn't exactly embrace convicted drug dealers, but I was able to help him find a job and I wound up feeling crazy-good about the whole thing.
For the first time in a long time, I felt I might just be where I'm supposed to be with regard to work... that I might finally get to do work that feels worthwhile -- work that really matters.
Things weren't/aren't perfect, though. My company was thrown into the contract, with little-to-no prep time. We've been cleaning up an enormous mess left by the previous contractors, too, and all of us -- all new to the company -- need training. The expectations are huge. The obstacles are many. Additionally, I was hired to work in an office 30 miles from home and after traveling less than 2 miles (or, you know, 20 steps) to work for the past 8 years, 60 miles a day was a rather rude awakening to the cost of gas and the wear a lot of travel can put on one's car.
Then a position came open here in town...
For a Youth Development Coach...
The position works with kids, 16 to 21, in school and out (drop-outs included), and helps them finish their diplomas, develop leadership and practical skills, and get into post-secondary education and/or find work.
And these kids?
These kids need help. They all have to fall into that income eligible category (which means they're in families that are really struggling) and they have to have another 'barrier' to education/employment (which could mean they're 'skills deficient', pregnant or parenting, disabled, in foster care, etc.).
Is an important one.
And I wanted it.
Nothing is ever easy, though. I had to apply... and interview... and wait... just like the other candidates.
But unlike the other candidates, I got the job! Squeeeee!
So I've spent the last couple of weeks just getting my bearings and trying to figure out what I need to do. There are issues, of course, as it's a federally-funded program, running out of a state building, in coordination with a state agency, managed by a private company.
Can you even picture it? Lordy.
But today, after a grueling 2+ hour conference call, during which objectives and goals were laid out (holy hell, there's a lot to do!), I spent the afternoon brainstorming a name for the youth program (which encompasses 3 offices/counselors in a 10-county region). With some help from my favorite co-worker (as you know, titles are not my forte), I settled on:
Project: Next Step
We're going to build an entire marketing campaign around it... and I think it'll be good.
Interestingly, this job and, indeed, this whole time in my life, feels like my Project: Next Step.
I feel like I'm finally pointed toward something I've been looking for, for a while, even though I'm not quite certain what it is. And I have this very strong feeling that on my way toward that something, I might just stumble across a few other things I need, even though I don't know what they are just yet either.
Time will tell, I guess. My primary objective, right at this moment, is to be open -- open-minded and open-hearted -- to whatever might come my way... to whatever my next step is going to be...
Wish me luck.
And you know I'll keep you posted...