You know how you read those ‘how I got my dream career’ blog posts that go something along the lines of…
- Overcame a fear
- Put myself out there
- Unforeseen opportunity arose as a result
- Dream job
I’ve read a lot of those articles and always thought they were a load of crap. But then it happened to me.
What exactly happened to me? Well. It started both recently and years ago. Years ago, I worked as a journalist for a very respectable publication. Then I moved abroad; no journalism jobs for me. I got a job in digital marketing instead, but I didn’t like it, so I quit and went freelance. Hubristically, I also quit LinkedIn because I naively thought that it was for people who wanted jobs only and I didn’t want a 'job'.
Part of me thought ‘I’d like to be a journalist again’, but another part of me was scared that I was no longer good enough, that I’d made my bed with the dark side (marketing) and had to lie in it.
Part A: Overcoming a Fear
More recently though, I read a lot of blogs about people who put themselves out there, so I thought, fuck it, I should. I sent an article to Junkee (this article), and got accepted, and then I pitched some more articles and they got accepted. My confidence increased and I pitched to a few more publications and got accepted by them too.
Part B: Putting myself out there
I restarted my LinkedIn because I realised it was probably a bit foolish to be cutting myself out of a major jobs market. I reconnected with loads of people, particularly old colleagues who had left the companies we’d worked at together and gone on to work for other, cooler companies.
I messaged a few of them and mentioned that I was looking for freelance work. I emailed some other contacts and made sure they knew I was available. I shared my articles liberally on all my social media platforms.
Part C: Unforeseen opportunity arises
So, here’s where it gets interesting. You never really know the power of your connections and what dots of your potted and weird resume might connect in unexpected ways.
- Dot 1: I freelanced in an office job for the first time in years last year, so I wrote an article about how to ace office jobs (this article).
- Dot 2: I posted the article on LinkedIn.
- Dot 3: I got an email from a friend I met over two years ago at a travel blogging conference in Dublin, saying a startup she’d been working at was looking for writer/editors and that my article made her realise I’d be good for it.
Yesterday, I signed a three-month contract to work with an awesome, real life San Francisco startup, the very one my friend put me in touch with. I’m working as a freelancer on a retainer and they will now be my main client, allowing me to still pursue travel, journalism and other projects.
And I found that loads of jobs I’ve had have built me a really solid foundation for what the founders need, without my even noticing.
But if I hadn’t gone and put myself out there, just like all those blogs said to do, this opportunity would never have come up. So, what the hell, I’m adding this post to the ‘here’s how I got an awesome job’ pile, and I hope to read yours one day.