11: Advent

My life is so very different today from just one year ago; last December, I was furiously counting pennies for a small non-profit, hoping with all my might we’d meet our fundraising goal to be able to squeak by on our end-of the-year bills. It was my seventh year working in the non-profit sector and I was beyond tired of asking friends, family and anyone who would listen to come to events! give money! care about what I care about!

Let’s be honest — most people have a cause. Most people also find it completely obnoxious when you assume your cause should be their cause. I came fairly close to exhausting a friendship or four asking for favors, coaxing volunteers hours and begging for last minute donations.

Prior to January 2009, I’d had all of 3 professional jobs: journalist, international health worker, non-profit executive. In 2010, I’ve been laid off twice and bounced from the world of non-profit to academia to full force ahead for-profit. Among other things, I’ve become quick to keep a box under my desk and not get too attached to email addresses or business cards. I miss working with the refugee population, I miss being on a university campus and the mentorship my dean/boss provided, and I miss the camaraderie of both non-profit and academic work.

But oh, sweet baby Jesus, there is so very much I don’t miss — including fundraising for my paycheck. I cannot believe how much favor God has given me; in the worst economy since the Great Depression, I’ve had three jobs in one year. This job is challenge in entirely new ways, including learning once again how to play nice with adults.  (I’d spent most of my working hours alone for the previous two years.)  Plus, while the first few months I floundered worrying that I’d sold out (a man at church had the balls to say, “Well, everyone has a price, don’t they?), the truth is — I’m still in health care and it isn’t a stretch to say this job also meets a great community need.

I was having lunch this weekend with a girlfriend discussing how important it is to bloom where you are planted. I have a great opportunity to interact with new people. Rather than trying to fit in to a corporate (and physically altered) environment, I’m suddenly okay in my own skin in this little office. I remember reaching this same point of self-acceptance in high school and how freeing it felt to realize I wasn’t anything less because I was a touch odd.

So, my blessing for today is being employed and not letting any work environment change my fundamentally tree-hugging, smiling, hand-me-down wearing, casserole baking, bike-riding, all-loving self.