NEW MOVES: How My Side Hustle Changed The Course Of My Career
One of the strongest memories of my years of playing the violin is when my teacher defined the "sweet spot." It was that place and moment when your bow rested right in between the fingerboard and bridge, when you applied the right amount of pressure, and when you drew the bow smoothly and evenly, getting the richest sound. It took me some time to learn how to find the sweet spot but eventually I got it, and I was able to make some beautiful music - a metaphor I've applied to other areas in life. As I get older, I've come to believe that what's meant for us is truly for us. Through some of my most difficult disappointments, I've only gotten through by clutching onto the belief that the right opportunities would come along and I'd find my sweet spot.
I've also come to strongly believe that the things we call coincidences aren't coincidences at all. It's my hypothesis that if we're paying attention, we'll see that synchronicities are all around us - dots get connected, links get made, and things that didn't make sense suddenly become crystal clear when the other piece of the puzzle drops into place minutes, months, or years later.
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about sweet spots, opportunity, and synchronicity - especially as it relates to work and where I see my career going. A few years ago at one job, I was (allegedly) called a racist by higher-ups because someone found this very blog and thought it was problematic for me to discuss issues related to being a Black woman in Canada. I eventually started job hunting, hoping to land a position in writing or communications or media or something that felt more in tune with my passions and interests (there's a post in me about the issues of being a Black woman and an empath in healthcare/social work management, but that's for another day). I had no luck landing that kind of dream job, but did get offered a similar management position at another agency in the same healthcare/social work field. Something told me not to settle for the job I knew I could do and keep waiting for the one I wanted to do, but I wanted a change by any means necessary, so I took it. A month in, I realized this may not be the job for me. 2.5 months in, I started job hunting again. This time I told myself I wouldn't settle - if I wanted my career to go in a new direction I had to steer the ship - so I only applied for the jobs that I truly wanted to do.
Now, I have none of the degrees or formal education required for the jobs I applied for, but went for them off da strenf of the career I've created for myself using this blog as my launching pad. I'm not at the point of being ready to go full-time freelance or full-time entrepreneur, but I know I have skills and gifts and passions that need to be utilized. So I jazzed up my resumes and cover letters with help from friends, crossed my fingers, toes, and hair strands with each application, and waited for the calls to roll in.
For a while, I heard nothing but crickets. Then, an email to schedule an interview appeared. Next, a call for a phone interview, and after that, a call for an in-person chat. Slowly but surely, people were calling me - ME! - to come in for interviews for jobs I had really only dreamed of having. Even better than the interview calls were the offers that came. Long story short: I took one of those offers. I negotiated for what I felt I was worth, and got it. I handed in my resignation just before I left for Yale (OMG I HAVE TO TELL Y'ALL ABOUT YALE), and overheard two executives discussing my impending departure, saying (and I quote): "I guess she's just not the shining star we thought she was. It seems like she can't cut it if she's leaving." That further solidified that I made the right decision to go.
Let's just say that the exit interview I requested with those two executives was a defining moment in my career journey.
But back to the new gig!
It's just been a week and a bit in, but I'm honestly so proud of myself that I was able to secure a great job with an incredible organization solely off of the work I've done in my side hustle. Sometimes your side hustle stays protected as your side hustle, and other times it leads you in brand new directions. My blogging, writing, social media work, media experience and more are what landed me this job, and those are the things I almost canceled out of my life when someone decided they wanted to undermine my career by using it all against me. But guess what, bih? I have a new career now, and I firmly believe that my future is the brightest it's been in a LONG time. I'm excited to see where this new journey takes me, and I feel a renewed shot of electric creativity flowing through my veins. I'm ready to grow and learn and be better at everything I love to do, so that's the mission.
Make room for your gifts, and your gifts will create space for you. A sweet spot, if you will.