Career Advice Filter: what am I?
July 18, 2015 12:35 AM   Subscribe

I've given out the odd bit of career advice here, but now I find myself in my own bored, unhappy rut. Jobhunting throws up hundreds of results because I am a jack-of-all-trades, but all I can muster for all the options is total apathy. Help!

I am in my mid 30s and live in the UK. In my last two jobs (spanning a decade collectively) I've been a jack-of-all-trades in both, working for small teams both times and doing the following:

- Document Production/Graphic Design (self-taught, I'm not qualified in any way but quite competent if not startlingly original in the design sense)
- Copywriting (I'm pretty good at this but I don't love it)
- Proofreading and Copyediting (very good at it but it bores me to tears to do it for very long)
- Communications Management
- Social Media Management

This lot goes alongside strong interests and experience (not within my day job) in music and volunteering.

So what you might say is, go and look at doing a communications role for a non-profit. But when I look at those job ads, I just see more corporate speak and a role where I won't feel like I'm really connected to what's going on.

I'm sitting here at my desk, with work to do, but so completely uninspired by any of it. When I'm in a big project I really get stuck in, I'm incredibly productive with a ton of initiative. But right now I just feel like... why am I bothering with this. Why am I stuck in an office on a sunny day doing nothing that really matters. I've got some skills... surely there's a better use for them that actually contributes something back to humanity?

Help... what do I want to do? How can I find a job that inspires me? Any and all advice welcome.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Research nonprofits that you are actually interested in, then either keep your eyes on their employment page and wait for openings or send over your info unsolicited. If ones you are looking at have a lot of corporate speak they are going to be pretty big, it sounds like you would enjoy smaller ones that are doing more work on the ground. If you're interested in music, maybe a nonprofit doing music education for at risk kids? How about a local performance space that needs help with their social media? If you like the hustle you could probably cobble together communications work for two or three orgs into full time equivalent pay.
posted by modofo at 5:48 AM on July 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also, don't discount the large orgs out of hand. Lots of time the people doing the work don't write the job descriptions. I have an extremely similar skill set to you and work in a great position at an art production workshop within a huge state university. It is the best of both worlds in that my day to day is in a small, cutting edge art studio, but I have the benefits, stability and union representation of a state employee. I found the opening through a local arts council that I'm connected with advertising the position on facebook.
posted by modofo at 6:13 AM on July 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

I agree, you could aim towards a more public-facing role mixing communications and community outreach, which might involve more out-of-office work/moving around, and direct contact with the people the organization serves (i.e., its purpose, and yours, for your eight hours). I think you could probably tweak your resume, highlighting your volunteer work, to support that goal.
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:15 AM on July 18, 2015

Yes, big charities in the UK are like big organisations anywhere, and the marketing and comms speak reflects that. But you are doing good there even if you are a way away from the beneficiaries. It might be enough of a change for you. And there will be opportunities to get hands on, but it might not be your day to day role.

Smaller charities you are much close to the cause, but you will have to be a jack of all trades. That is, you might be recruited to do comms, but you will have to do everything else too, sometimes at the expense of the comms that also needs doing.

What about volunteer management? Especially if you've had leadership responibilities in your own volunteering. Marketing and comms is a big part of those roles (promoting new roles, keeping existing volunteers on track, communicating impact). You are much more in contact with beneficaries here. There are a few charities that have specific volunteering comms roles as well in their volunteering teams.

Or community fundraising, especially if you've got event planning experience (organised gigs with your music?)

Depending what your volunteering is, when your writing you're application, talk about it in the same way you talk about your paid work, if there isn't a separate section on the application form for it. I regular recruit people into volunteer management roles, and we value experience gained from volunteering.

I work for charities in the UK, I'm happy to chat more on mefi mail if you want.
posted by Helga-woo at 12:00 AM on July 19, 2015

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