I started a full-time job on April 4th. I saw a friend last week who had read my vague post about it on FaceBook. “Why didn’t you didn’t tell me about your new job?” I tried to articulate why I hadn’t told her or made more of a big announcement about it and I know I must have made it seem like I didn’t like the job which couldn’t be the furthest thing from the truth. So I spent the weekend putting into (better) words an announcement about my new job.
I am Director of Development for Bergen Family Center in Englewood, New Jersey (although the CEO said it was okay if I put “Chief Development Officer” on my business card). I was first introduced to Bergen Family Center when I started my non-profit career with Bergen County’s United Way, so almost 20 years ago. It was always one of the go-to agencies when we needed help illustrating to our corporate supporters what we did. I often brought groups through for tours of the facility on Armory Street in Englewood that housed adult daycare and childcare programs. United Way provided support to those programs as well as HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Pre-school Youngsters), which I always regarded as such a fabulous initiative. The clients of these programs and the staff never failed to tug at the heartstrings of would be donors.
About a year ago, another consultant put me in back in touch with BFC’s CEO, Mitch Schonfeld. At the time, I told Mitch I wasn’t ready to go back to work full-time and since his agency was still in the midst of a strategic planning process, he wasn’t sure he was ready to fill the position either. I also doubted BFC could afford me, and to be completely honest, I wasn’t sure it would be a good “career move” and might be perceived by others as a step down from where my career had been.
I started exploring options last fall, although I just couldn’t connect with anything that felt right. I interviewed for positions that were a good match for my expereince and salary-range, but nothing excited me. Some soul searching concluded that this time around my quality of life was most important. I wanted a sane boss, a realistic commute, and the flexibility I now needed as a single parent of a teenager. And I wanted to continue to pursue my new coaching interest – and I wanted to fundraise for a mission I could be passionate about! A tall order, perhaps. I called Mitch in January and was happy to hear the position was still open and he was targeting a spring hiring date.
So here I am; realizing this is the first job that I’ve taken since my first job right out of college that wasn’t really a strategic career move. Maybe that’s where I was struggling with the announcement. It is a win-win, however. I have the quality of life I need and the ability to pay my mortgage. BFC is getting a seasoned, professional fundraiser with New York City experience. And I’m starting to understand that by having a very different motivation coming into the position, I’m more focused on what’s best for the organization right now, not my personal career goals moving forward. That’s very liberating.
I think we’re going to work really well together. And that’s most important. Sometimes moving in the right direction doesn’t mean a promotion or more money. There is a moment when enough is indeed enough and exactly what you need to be very happy (although yeah, still wanted to be “Chief Development Officer”).
Bergen Family Center, founded in 1898, is Bergen County’s oldest family service agency. We offer services to children (daycare and after school care), adolescents (school-based prevention and leadership programs) and older adults (adult daycare and care management for home-bound elderly) as well as counseling and other community programs including the Family Success Center (mentors helping families learn new skills & acquire tools to make positive change) and Ryan White HIV/AIDS Services. To learn more about us or to make my job easier by making a donation, please visit our website at www.bergenfamilycenter.org. And please reach out to me if you’d like to take a tour. My office number is 201-568-0817.
Oh, and I should mention, Mitch runs…
Mackay Park, Englewood, New Jersey, April 2016