Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Door Closes and No Window Opens (but at least I finally have the time to get that window really clean)

For the first time in I don't know how long, I'm unemployed. Well, technically, I'm employed until April 30 but because the campaign I was part of is essentially finished, my employer is (very generously and, frankly, wisely) allowing those of us whose contracts will not be renewed to vamoose/get out/stay home while they pay us out.

Yes, that's right, I'm getting paid to stay home. Commence envious gasping now.

Of course, I have no idea what I'm going to do next, absolutely no idea. I do know, however, what I won't be doing any time soon and that's fundraising. After 10 years, I'm done. Like dinner. Just thinking about it makes my jaw clench and my brow furrow. I can't bear the thought of asking anyone for money for any cause and, more to the point, I don't think I'm any good at doing it any more. Once upon a time, in the right circumstance, for the right organization and with the right boss/mentor, I was good at it. I hit my targets, I made donors happy, I was fulfilled and enjoyed myself so much it almost seemed criminal to accept a paycheque. I didn't even mind the donor who insisted I pick up his cheque in person every year, the better to stare pointedly at my chest as he handed it to me over his desk (I retaliated by staring pointedly at his toupee for the entire exchange), it was all fun and games at the time.

But no more. It's over. I'm too self-conscious about it now, too aware of the ridiculousness of a job that requires you to beg, professionally. Oh, I know, it's not begging, it's not sales, it's fundraising!, but when you're facing a seemingly insurmountable financial goal with prospects who have no intention of voluntarily ante-ing up and you no longer believe in your ability to charm donors, it's pretty much begging. And I never meant to be a fundraiser in the first place, I just sort of fell into it by accident, so it's not like I'm walking away from The Perfect Career. I've been kidding myself about this line of work for years now.

So what to do next? Not a freaking clue. And yet, I'm strangely unmoved by this. I was more panicked about what I'd do post-campaign when I was still in campaign. Now that it's all over, and it's all official that my contract is over, I just feel free. I haven't clenched my jaw to the point of cracking molars in three weeks. I can't remember the last time I had a headache. The cooking rut I'd had us holed up in since Christmas has ended. I can think of all the stuff I want to do around the house without getting all verklempt and, more importantly, I've started getting that stuff done. With pleasure. I really excel at this staying home stuff, you know?

Of course, all good things come to an end and I will have to find work at some point -- if all goes to plan, not just yet, but soonish -- which begs the question of what sort of work I want to find. At this point I can't imagine what I want to do or who I want to be when I grow up, but I'm quite convinced that the further I get away from the fundraising character I've been playing, albeit badly, since 1999, the closer I'll be to figuring out what I'm supposed to do next.


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