what kind of job is this?
April 9, 2013 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Hi Everybody, I'm new here. I'm trying to identify my next steps in life and am looking high and low for options, ideas and answers. I'm still working, but have also taken on more than a couple volunteer roles to try out a different industries. I found MetaFilter a few months ago and tho I haven't posted much, I've been reading and I thought it would be a good idea to put it to you. I want to apologize in advance for any newbie mistakes. And say thanks in advance for taking a minute to read this. Here goes.

Its hard to find what you want when you don't know what to call it. So, here's a brief description of what I'm looking for, maybe one of you will recognize it.

- something uber social. I'm great with people and I love being social. Not 'lets get a coffee' social, but let me interact with 100+ people a day kind of social. In person. Not behind a desk or on the phone. But, out and about. I have no problem in new or different social/ cultural/ status circles and can easily and happily navigate that water. I am particularly good at initiating relationships, establishing rapport, identifying key issues, assigning specialists or pairing individuals of complementary strengths.

- my brain sees big picture. I can do details, but keeping the full-project in mind, staying on task and operating within that structure is where I excel.

- I have an excellent mind for strategy. I can see obstacles or potential problems miles before other people. A super handy asset to my co-workers as we're always prepared and/ or a step ahead.

- I am competent with operations and have decent administrative skills.

- I am at my best when I'm working with a reliable team of people who all love their job. I'm thinking either a small company or a tight, autonomous group within a large corp.

- new and different keeps me sharp, so projects that last 3-8 mts would be ideal. I want to make something and then totally shift gears and move onto something else.

- I want to have a positive social impact. This is non-negotiable. There has to be purpose and meaning beyond making money (although making lots of money is also important).

- I thrive in environments that are ever-changing and where I am regularly tasked to learn something new.

Okay, so, what do you think? What job is that? In what kind of work would those skills be valued? I've been looking at sales jobs, recruiting, etc, but they're not quite it. Any suggestions?

Again, thank you for reading. Hope you have a good day.
posted by round_four to Work & Money (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You might enjoy being a teacher.
posted by Lynsey at 10:03 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sounds like a project manager in a consulting firm. You work with clients, project teams, and subcontractors, keeping the project on budget and on schedule. You help win new work and keep the clients happy, which requires good social skills. Projects come and go, which means plenty of change, with new projects requiring new information/skills. Small firms are better for learning something new frequently, I should think.

However consulting firms are money-making enterprises, even if they do work that might have a beneficial impact on the world. Some are employee-owned, some privately-held, some publicly traded, and you would be working at a job whose primary mission is to make money for (mostly) other people.
posted by suelac at 10:04 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you want to have a positive social impact, you belong in nonprofits. I've worked in fundraising for about five years and it seems to fit a lot of your criteria. You're always meeting new people and trying to sell them on your organization's mission so that they will donate - i.e. individual donors, foundation officers, corporate officers, etc. Strategy is critical as you need to plan out - especially for large gifts - how you will get from meeting someone to making the ask. There are always new initiatives and projects and donors to interact with.

The only one that could be a problem is not enjoying working with details as much. Working in fundraising requires paying attention to a lot of detail and memorizing quite a bit - i.e. you need to know who that person you run into at a party is, how many kids they have, where their kids go to school, what other organizations they've involved with, etc. It's definitely doable if you're not big on details, but it probably wouldn't be terribly fun for you.
posted by anotheraccount at 10:05 AM on April 9, 2013

Production coordinator, producer, media buyer, event planner.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:07 AM on April 9, 2013

Seconding event planner for nonprofits--they are always throwing parties, galas, fundraisers, etc.
posted by crookedneighbor at 10:08 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I want to have a positive social impact. This is non-negotiable. There has to be purpose and meaning beyond making money (although making lots of money is also important).

That's a hard one, since they don't often go hand-in-hand. But I gotta agree with anotheraccount, fundraising professionals often do make very good money and they certainly can make a difference.

Check out the Association of Fundraising Professionals -- there's a lot of info there.
posted by Lescha at 10:45 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

You would be a great political/nonprofit campaigner/organizer or fundraiser, and both jobs meet all your requirements. Someone above mentioned lobbying, and I think that's something to look into as well, although if you do it for a nonprofit, you'll spend a lot of time doing policy analysis as well, which is pretty introverted work.

Actually, the more I think about it, the more it sounds to me like you fit the description of the most talented organizers/campaigners I know. Feel free to send me a memail if you're interested in learning more.

Somebody will come along to say that this is the path to poverty, but it doesn't have to be. It's a pretty solidly middle-class profession if you pick the right employers.
posted by lunasol at 11:03 AM on April 9, 2013

I agree with lunasol - the second I read this I thought "political campaign." You like to have quick conversations/meetings with lots of people, you have to stay cognizant of the big picture (winning the campaign), you want it to be meaningful (obviously work for someone you support), and you want it to last a short period of time before it's time for something completely new. You would be great in organizing, media/communications, and even a campaign manager.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 12:54 PM on April 9, 2013

I'll agree with working on political campaigns, but also suggest community organizing. I've worked in faith-based and labor-backed community campaigns for the last decade or so and I'd say that your description of yourself overlaps with my self perception.

Look into political organizing, community organizing, or labor organizing. I think you'll be able to find happiness there.
posted by elmer benson at 1:48 PM on April 9, 2013

Corporate training. This, along with suggestions like management and strategy consulting, can be easily applied to the non-profit sector if you're concerned with the "social impact" aspect of your work.
posted by deanc at 5:07 PM on April 9, 2013

Yep, fundraising. Check out a few different areas - you could be an event planner for more, lower-level social contact, or a major gifts person for longer-term strategies and deeper relationships. Larger organizations such as higher ed, hospitals, maybe United Way will be able to pay you well (though I have always been in the nonprofit sector so I'm not sure what "lots of money" looks like!).
posted by TrixieRamble at 7:41 PM on April 9, 2013

Concierge the link is kind of old. Newer link
posted by JujuB at 12:12 AM on April 10, 2013

Response by poster: This is amazing, THANK YOU!

It would never have occurred to me to look at lobbying or campaign organizing. Sounds like fun, actually. And, the fundraising and project management work also caught my attention. Looks like I've got some work to do.

Thank you. Thanks for the shot of motivation and suggested avenues.
posted by round_four at 2:08 PM on April 10, 2013

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