Skip to main content

As some of you may recall, I spent a miserable winter unemployed after 16 wonderful productive years at the National Academy of Sciences.  Emotionally devastated by the unexpected lay off and ill preparted to undertake a job hunt having not had to really job hunt in earnest ever in my life, I was a text book case of "What Not To Do When You Are Looking For A Job".

I took the very first job that was offered me -- hey it paid $5,000 more than I had been making.  As it turns out, the job is at a DOD base in Northern Virginia doing purely accounting office grunt work.  I hate the work, the office environment is toxic and I feel like I'm working in a prison.

Not wanting to repeat mistakes made, I need to get myself on the road to a better career path, one that plays to my talents: database design, history/politics, statistics, excellent people and public speaking skills, and a quirky creativity that infuses everything I do.  So here I stand with hat in hand in need of the wisdom of the Kossack crowd. I need your help to guide me back onto a better career path.

Here's what I  bring to the table:

A BA in History from VA Tech -- my senior year I was on the Dean's List.  My uncle (retired professor of religion) thinks I should have become a professor of History, that I'm too smart to waste myself in what I was doing.

Over ten years experience writing complicated Oracle reports that married the data from my old org's accounting system with the large database created to run the Post Doc program my office ran. I was also responsible for documenting that database and office processes.  In addition, I automated a number of office processes, enabling my colleges to stop using typewriters and to do elegant merges of the Oracle data directly into MS Word forms and letters needed for the program. BUT I have no Oracle certifications etc. -- I learned Oracle like the back of my hand nearly entirely on the job and through a very valuable mentor/boss.

I'm also very at home with MS office -- as before I like to fool around with computer programs, really getting to know them and before long I become an expert at them.  

Finally, I "got" this whole internet thing back in the 1990s -- I ran an internet campaign "Friends of Due South" where I set up a simple but elegantly designed website and did the PR work for the campaign including writing press releases and doing radio/tv interviews.  Additionally I was the webmaster for Viewers for Quality Television.

So picking up the bits and pieces of my former experience, I want to move away from the DOD accounting hell I've put myself in, back into the database arena and even better maybe into an arena where I'd be involved in politics, non-profits/not for profits and my social science talents would be valued as well.  

So I need good solid advice on what career paths are out there for me, what courses should I take to get on that career path (not looking to go back to school full time but to focus on rounding out my database/web expertise) and ideas on how to link up with other area progressives to network both socially and to help in my search for a new career path.

Maybe I don't deserve any help, but I'm asking anyway. I do know that cannot go on in the job I'm in. So please take pity and give me your words of wisdom!

Originally posted to akeitz on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 10:13 AM PDT.


What should Annie do?

8%2 votes
65%15 votes
4%1 votes
21%5 votes

| 23 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Here's something I did. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ducktape, cookiesandmilk, Caldonia

    I was working in corporate America.  One day they had one of the HR presentations about those services that you can access if you need some assistance.  They emphasized things like substance abuse, financial crises, etc.  They would confidentially hook you up with the appropriate services.

    I was nearly dozing off, but then one item caught my attention:  you could get career counseling through this service.  I had 3 great (free) sessions with a career counselor that helped to plot my next move.

    My next move happened to be quitting my job and starting my own company, which I will never regret.  But it doesn't have to be that path.

    All I'm saying is you might try to take advantage of that to help work it through.

    Another thing some people aren't aware of is that you can access your college's career office sometimes as well, long after graduation.  They still want alums gainfully employed so those donations keep coming...but they have decent networks, too.

    •  My employer doesn't offer that sadly. (0+ / 0-)
      However I'm going to investigate the Woman's Center in Vienna, VA.  They have career counselors you can hire on an hourly basis.  The sad thing is that my old employer offered "outplacement service" but beyond offering a Myers Brigg test on steroids, some resume writing advice and "don't wear flipflops to job interviews" there was no good solid career counsling or even information on where to get it.

      You're right about college career office -- I should investigate that too -- I think VA Tech's might even have an office in their Falls Church facilities?

      •  start your own political web design (0+ / 0-)

        business.  So many website are horrible and unatractive.  If you started out undercutting other designers and your work was good you could probably do well enough to build up a good client base.
        Do campaign sites, both for candidates and for issues.

        mcjoan is the new Armando

        by TeresaInPa on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 10:34:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely (0+ / 0-)

      At our university the cost is minimal and the service excellent. And networking networking networking -- the way 90% of us find our jobs.


  •  career path (0+ / 0-)

    Now there's an interesting name for 'we put you in a box, now stay there.' Yeah, yeah I know, that's how it works, but why stay with that model? You've tried the box and it sux.
    What's your passion?
    Progressive, eh. Then get involved, meet people, network.
    If you're still talking about courses and Dean's list in Senior year it would seem you're young enough to experiment. Your experience shows a committment and evidence you understand how to get things done. I'd say reach out to as many people as possible and network, network, network.
    Sorry, if that's mostly pap, but it's surprised me over the years how sometimes it's good to be reminded of the simple things.

    "One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal." Bill Moyers

    by Lahdee on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 10:25:39 AM PDT

    •  Yeah it's pap ;-) I need concrete networking leads (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      But you cannot say it enough.  As an introvert who by instict tends to socially isolate myself, I'm lacking those crucial skills to determine where to network and when somebody is really offering to help.  I'm a complete idiot at that <g>.
  •  one thought depending on your need for cash (0+ / 0-)

    consider getting into the non-profit world there are way, way too few computer skilled folks there (though the pay is NOT good...)

    anyway, check out

    and in particular, I know that the domestic violence victim services arena has a DESPERATE need for people like you

    just my two cents

    best of luck to ya!

    To be, rather than to seem.--NC State Motto

    by make a difference on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 10:29:25 AM PDT

    •  I need enough to make the mortgage payments (0+ / 0-)
      My previous job I was underpaid -- I don't mind compromising on salary to get a nice comfy home to grow and thrive in.  But hard core reality -- I need to be making about $45,000/yr. to meet my monthly expenses. I could go lower for a short period because financially I do have quite a bit socked away (Hey I'm frugal!) but I need to be able to make the mortgage and put away enough for retirement.

      But yes, I'd love that sort of work, if I could get into an opportunity that paid enough.

      •  SELL YOUR house (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        you can't have it all. sell your house for the career you love and want. put your money where your mouth is and help humanity, the poor and impoverished.

        •  So california (0+ / 0-)

          welcome to dailykos.

          Living large on the Coast?

          Are you living up to your full potential and maximun worth and giving it all back to charity?

          Or are you just, , explaining to the rest of us how it all works 'just happens' ?

          Notice: This Comment © ROGNM

          by ROGNM on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 11:56:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Me (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            OK, OK,
            I live in Freso, far away from where I want to be, it really sucks here, the place is boring, hot and populated with "other" types than me (i'm trying to be nice). BUT, what keeps me going is my job at a recycling center as a representative. It is my job to convince companies to donate their recyclables to our center. We pay the going rate, plus a slight incentive to them, but is is hard to keep a log term relationship  with doners. But, it is working with a lot of hard work.

        •  Not a great idea unless you sell AND (0+ / 0-)

          buy a cheaper home and invest the equity. The house could be a key asset for akeitz's retirement.

          > 518,000 American children are in foster care. Got any bandwidth?

          by kck on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 12:09:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  in that income bracket (0+ / 0-)

        you would have to be working for a pretty large non-profit, or be the ED (executive director.)that doesn't mean those jobs aren't out there (or that you couldn't land an ED job. sounds to me like you've got the chops for one!)

        check out

        and the journal for philanthrophy

        also, if you're up for moving to RI, the RICADV is hiring a communications director, pays about 45 plus.... check out

        good luck!

        To be, rather than to seem.--NC State Motto

        by make a difference on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 11:05:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm in DC don't forget. Salaries are higher here (0+ / 0-)
          No I don't want to leave Northern VA. It's my home and no I won't sell the house -- I share it with my sister.  There are a ton of Associations and non-profits in the area and the salaries, it's a matter of hooking up with the right job.
  •  Oracle certs (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe it's different in your market, but in my experience, certs are as useful in landing a job as your grades in high school PE. Put those at the very end of things to worry about. You got ten years with Oracle. Run with it.

    Visualize subpoena power

    by George on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 10:35:33 AM PDT

  •  Self Employ Yourself (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    make a difference

    You've got the knowledge, skills & ability.

    Take the opportunity.

    I've been self-employed for over 11 years, and I will never work for one employer again.

    You know programming and accounting, here's what the world needs: A simple check register accounting program ala Quicken without the trappings of the huge marketing corporation of Intuit.

    Write it and send me a beta version that I can vet.

    Next we'll need a simple small business employer-abled payroll program.  Keep it simple.

    After that, you're headed for the stars.

    Notice: This Comment © ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 10:38:04 AM PDT

    •  I'm not a programmer -- I was a power user (0+ / 0-)
      I'm not at the level of a programmer. Almost but not really.  I don't think I'd excel at classic computer programming but I'm good at the database design thing, writing queries and translating a lay person's question into the write "where" clause ;-)

      Once we get into the territory of "foreign language" my brains cells can't handle it.  Does that make any  sense?

  •  a fellow hokie! (0+ / 0-)

    i wish i had some advice to of luck!

    weather forecast

    The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise. - Paine

    by Cedwyn on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 10:38:49 AM PDT

  •  try this book (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cmanaster, BeninSC

    Working Identity  Herminia Ibarra .  Ibarra is a professor at INSEAD and her thesis is that standard career counseling techniques are flawed because they focus trying to figure out the ideal career through introspection before taking any action.  The book advises to readers to conduct experiments to see what you'd be happy doing.

  •  you need to reach out and (0+ / 0-)

    communicate with people who are good in the area that you want to be in.
    Drop a friendly note and ask if you can come in for a brief chat (offer to buy lunch!)
    Let you know that you respect their busy schedule and won't take up their time.  Follow up with a phone call.

    One or two people will be jerks, ignore them and remember that one or two people will meet with you. You'll learn a lot.

    Good luck.

    •  Right and I don't know anyone (0+ / 0-)
      So I'll take a course or two and maybe link up with those folks that way. Like I said, I was in a career island without any networking whatsoever for over ten years. Not good.

      It's a case of I don't know what I don't know. So I ask here, I investigate local things and hopefully find my way eventually.

  •  Send a resume to every (0+ / 0-) you might want to work for, and follow up with a phone call, not the HR person, but the department/person you might want to work for.

    Lots of jobs are never posted, but are "created" for someone who just seems to "click" with the organization.

    Be open to relocating to another state (on your employer's dime, of course).

    The key to them taking your phone call is a powerful, stirring cover letter, that makes them think that you are the answers to all of their needs.

    Remember that unemployment is relatively low in a lot of areas these days.

  •  DOD SELL OUT (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    Jon Meltzer

    You sold out to the barbaric DOD, you had the opportunity to help humanity with your skills, Joe Lieberman would be proud, but I am not. Then you shamelessly post your Resume here.

  •  Meanspirited comment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ROGNM, make a difference

    That's a pretty meanspirited comment directed to a person who was asking for help. Have you ever been out of work with bills to pay? There's no need to be so judgmental.

    I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies..

    by lesliet on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 11:20:41 AM PDT

  •  I agree with Leslie t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    meanspirited is right.

    looked at your comment history and only see two, both on this thread.

    you have a right to your opinion but namecalling is not necessary...

    To be, rather than to seem.--NC State Motto

    by make a difference on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 11:21:59 AM PDT

  •  I was just thinking the same thing... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ROGNM, make a difference

    When a person can't ask for some advice without getting trashed, it's pretty sad.  And a person who can live in Northern Virginia on $45,000 has my respect.  It's expensive here!  So kudos to you for your frugality, at least it gives you some breathing space to consider your options for your next move.  I would definitely look towards the big non-profits, American Diabetes Association, American Cancer Society, etc.  You may or may not have an interest in their particular cause, but they typically need people with IT skills and it's often a less caustic environment than the for-profit places.  Of course they pay a little less, but sometimes that's a reasonable price to pay for a less soul-eating job.  

    Best of luck to you.  I quit my job in April and became a realtor so that I would NEVER have to work for someone else again.  I have been spending way more than I've made so far getting the business up and running, but it's the best move I've ever made. Just take one day at a time and don't beat yourself up if you make a few mistakes along the way.  You really can do this.

    `We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others.'-Will Rogers

    by lcork on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 11:37:35 AM PDT

    •  Yes! That's what I'm thinking! (0+ / 0-)
      I suppose I'm looking then for confirmation that I'm not headed down the wrong path and the directions to that particular path <g>.

      I'm very good with money. I swallowed my pride and live with my parents right out of college in order to build up my cash reserves instead of pissing money away on rent.  Eventually my sister and I decided that we had enough funds to buy a house together (who needs prince charming?), it's a modest house in a nice neighorhood with a great backyard.  Hee I drive a 15 year old car, I don't have a big screen TV or digital cable and I mow my own lawn.

      I just want a simple honest life. I suppose for Californian, that just isn't "pure" enough. Well that's his problem not mine....

      Good luck on the Realtor thing. I sure hope the market downturn doesn't get you.  A dear friend in the business has been really worried about that.

    •  I'm really good at real estate (0+ / 0-)

      and do it intuitively. Find an "I don't wanter"property and make a deal with the owner for financing. You must be able to imagine what you would do with it.

      I recently couldn't get the cash together fast enough to buy an ex school built by the WPA,all art deco looking,in Minnesota near a university. It just screamed hostel at me. It went on ebay with its acreage for about $7600. Yes,that's right. It needed a roof and lots of work inside. A gem really. Too bad I didn't connect the dots and come here asking for people to turn it into a cooperative with me. Shit.

      Anyway the coming real estate move is in cooperatives. Right now I am looking at a building in my neon red town. It is a double wide brick Victorian commercial storefront with second floor windows facing south at the square park. Lovely. Inside a shell so no tear out and your own design. Storefront rented by a couple in their 80's (thrift store with everything) who don't want to buy but rent for $200 a month. Asking price $65000. 1/2 of the building goes back to the alley way (other side a saw grass plot,and this annex has hardwood floors as does the entire building. Near a supermarket, doctors, lawyers,EdwardJones,4 beauty salons,UPS,USPS,hardware,auto supply,auto repair,small motor sales,senior center with senior meals,used bookstore (mine),silk screen t-shirt business,$! Dollar Store,electric  company (coop from New Deal), dulcimer factory,gift shop,pharmacy,restaurants (lousy food),real estate offices for starters. All within a 2 block walking distance so no driving here and there. We are 1 hour from Branson and 35 minutes from Springfield MO on 4 lane divided highway.

      Any people interested from here. We need to get to purple.

  •  If you can, (0+ / 0-)

    quit.  Just like that.  Without another job to go to.  I've done it a couple of times and, particularly the first time, found it very empowering (hate the word, but it's apt).  I established for myself the certainty that I am in control of my career.

    I'm in computers, too, and they pay me well enough that I can afford to be unemployed for extended periods.  I understand how lucky I am.  My last period of unemployment lasted about a year.  My specialty is data visualization, and in that year, probably 90 - 95% of the jobs in that field were in defense or intel work, and I won't do it.  Eventually I found a job in a small biotech.

    Not considering defense and intel work was easy for me; I know I don't want to be part of that terrible system.  Also I'm lucky and can afford it.  Maybe you can't, but look into what your possibilities are; at least consider all of your options.  This is one option that most people don't consider - to be comfortable with unemployment.  We are conditioned to think that you have to have work all the time, but it just ain't so.  Good luck!

    -7.50 -6.56 | Why is it that those who can remember that those who forget history are bound to repeat it are bound to repeat it?

    by cmanaster on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 11:58:28 AM PDT

    •  Yea for the good advice (0+ / 0-)

      The first time is scary,isn't it,then it gets really great.

    •  Very, very tempting... (0+ / 0-)
      But I don't want to lose health insurance.  That's the horrible reality in America -- you get chained to a job for the health insurance.  There'd be more free spirits in America if our insurance wasn't tied to our jobs.

      At worst case I will line up temp jobs before giving notice.  I was already in that process before taking this wrong path. Getting your foot into the door at a place is a great way to try before you buy.  

      I'm not ready to quit the job yet. I will stick it out a bit longer while I take a course or two, pocket the fat paychecks and hopefully pay down the Home Equity Line of Credit whose interest rates have been creeping up too much for my tastes.  My main mortgage is fixed at 5.375 percent and is quite manageable.

      •  Look into (0+ / 0-)

        exactly what it would cost you to insure yourself.  Particularly with CORBA (that's a national thing, right, not a CA thing?), you ought to be able to continue the coverage you've got for some period - I think it's 12 to 18 months but I don't remember for sure.  See what it costs, see whether you can afford it, figure out how confident you are that you'll be able to find another job in that timeframe.  And if the answers add up to OK - go for it!

        -7.50 -6.56 | Why is it that those who can remember that those who forget history are bound to repeat it are bound to repeat it?

        by cmanaster on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 01:55:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well (0+ / 0-)

    I am going to send you an email later. My email is I would rather talk over email about this than on this public forum.

  •  To Thine Ownself Be True... (0+ / 0-)
    Know your story. Be able to tell it in long from, written form and in an elevator speech of no more than 30 seconds. A common mistake is to list achievements rather than telling it in a behavioral format.  More companies are using behavioral interviewing to elicit more information about how candidates react under stress.  The psychological premise is  - past behavior is indicative of future results.

    Know what you want the end of your professional life to be and focus on a narrative.  The narrative should be reflected in the resume as well as meritorious achievements.  Two books I would HIGHLY recommend:

    Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and a book about moving from the information age to the conceptual age, Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind.  Before you start ANY new enterprise, Michael Watkins, The First 90 Days.  

    Every time history repeats itself the price goes up - Anon.

    by Pithy Cherub on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 12:08:07 PM PDT

  •  A friend's son recently quit doing corporate web (0+ / 0-)

    design to go on his own. He did this one as his passion is sustainable agriculture. He knows of Wes Jackson's work in Salinas Kansas in that area and is planning to go to their 30 year celebration in October. Food circles are around the country. They hook up farmers with organic products with people who want to buy them. This has traditionally been done at Saturday morning farmer markets which involves trucking,sitting,talking and selling to people and then packing up and going home. Not much profit generated. The food circle allows you to move your mouse over a local network,find the farmer,email and order,go and buy. It is a work in progress.

    David's web design is just great compared to the others. Now he is working on how to make it pay for him. I want to do it here in Springfield MO as that seems to be the place for the hub. I went to the local farmer market in Marshfield MO on Friday and they are not interested.

    Why? Because they have more customers than they can provide for and most have doubled their acreage from last year. They were all sold out by 5 pm when it goes from 3-7 pm. I think they are not charging enough either. Someone cooks dinners there from the local produce for $6 and they are wonderful. So I buy enough to freeze and eat for the rest of the week. Sure beats the frozen prepared dinners by a few hundred miles.

    Please contact David at the link. I think the two of you could remake the food circle sites all over that are under the spell of the ag departements at the universities and their box thinking is all over the sites they put up.

    And on Thursday Yahoo carried a lead article on organic farming. It has gone through the roof. The tipping point has been passed and we are now importing organic certified produce from foreign countries,mainly South America and Mexico. Importing by god! The writer of the article said this was good as it is the first step in getting the farmers here to jump in the game. Ha! But the money is now there for it as people are tired of produce that doesn't have any taste. According to Fukuyoka in his One Straw Revolution local natural products should be cheaper because no fertilizers,less water,no sprays are used. He would pull his produce from stores that charged higher. And veggies should look wilted and not be sprayed with water to perk them up for shoppers.

    I wish wish wish I have inspired you. Anyway please contact David who I think is yearning for similar minds to work with. And this is big. It involves reorganizing the entire food distribution process in this country. And you will be in on the bottom. And if this isn't political by god I don't know what is.

    And there are also programs paying the farmers to grow what is wanted before the seed goes in the ground,thus guaranteeing the farmer $ for his crops without the terrible risk of former times. I think it is called CSA.

    •  I'm addicted to my local Farmer's Markets (0+ / 0-)
      I was under the impression that the folks here did well but of course finding your customers directly would cut out the rental fees for market stalls.  Around here they are run by the county so the fees charged are modest for the farmers and the clientle like myself willing to pay more for what are clearly a premium products.

      I think the markets are very localized and unique -- in "Blue" areas there's enough of an enlightened clientle to support strong markets but in other areas it's a hard sell.

      Good luck to your son -- sounds like he found a problem in need of a solution in the KC area.

  •  Non-profit networking (0+ / 0-)

    My knowledge of IT is limited, but I know more about non-profits.

    As others have already pointed out, as a general rule, non-profits offer smaller salaries than corporations or government. Many people like the working environment better, but that doesn't mean that every non-profit is a wonderful place to work. Humans work in those places, too, and most of us humans come with flaws.

    While I like the suggestion about Ms. Ibarra's strategy of acting rather than doing a lot of introspection, when it comes to considering which non-profit area you like, I do recommend you go back to introspection for a bit. What is the mission that is closest to your heart--the goal that will keep you inspired even if there are bumps in the road in your new career?

    I'm not suggesting you pick just one non-profit to focus on, by the way. In most fields, you can find several organizations that might suit you.

    On networking:

    As you know, for many large organizations, there are a relatively small number of employees, often at the head office, and a zillion volunteers. This means that local chapters are usually all-volunteer. Help is always needed. Many people with professional expertise want to do something completely different as a volunteer--so you'll find IT experts organizing demonstrations or talking to community  groups, anything but IT. Thus, an IT expert who actually wants to help by doing something in that field will be much appreciated.

    People at the local level connect in many ways with people at the national level. For example, you might find that a fairly small number of people in the country have volunteered to help local chapters with practical things like IT, and those people probably connect with the individuals at the national level who have the day jobs in that area. In short, I think the odds are good that you can get to know the people who end up making the employment decisions.

    Indeed, if the organization you are interested in has its national office in D.C., you might be able to volunteer directly at the national office.

    Thus, I'd suggest a combination of introspection, for you to identify what appeals to you most in terms of your mission to change the world, and some action, like getting involved at the local level to (a) suss out the organization and (b) network with people in it.

    Finally--you might want to see if there are conferences intended specifically for IT people in the non-profit sector. I met someone who was in charge of fund-raising for a national organization. She told me about the latest conference she had attended on non-profit development. Just about everybody was there, from both U.S. and Canadian non-profits. People move around--this director had moved from an environmental group to human rights--but they meet up at conferences, and, of course, do a lot of networking themselves when they are looking for new staff or job-hunting themselves.

    If I lived in northern Virginia, the outfit I'd love to work for is Friends Committee on National Legislation. FCNL describes itself as a "Quaker lobby in the public interest." So, alas, since FCNL is a registered lobby, a government employee might not even be allowed to volunteer there.

    You're lucky to live close to D.C., though! I'm sure you'll come across many opportunities.

    Do you know Americans who live outside the U.S.? Tell them to register to vote! --

    by True North on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 12:35:55 PM PDT

    •  FCNL & IT job (0+ / 0-)

      I threw out that comment about FCNL because it is the organization I wish I could work for.

      I just visited their website and discovered that they are recruiting -- an IT person! (Needless to say, they aren't recruiting for anybody with my skills.)

      Information Technology Specialist

      Do you know Americans who live outside the U.S.? Tell them to register to vote! --

      by True North on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 12:48:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Very, very good advice! (0+ / 0-)
        That job listing is tantilizingly close -- I'm not qualified for it now but it's perhaps the direction I'd want to go. I need to get myself in a position to be able to go for that job category maybe...

        See talking outloud with folks is quite a useful exercise!

        •  Don't sell yourself short (0+ / 0-)

          Sounds like you are pretty close on this. Probably nothing there you couldn't manage by reading up on things. If anything, maybe too 'entry level.'

          Visualize subpoena power

          by George on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 01:40:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Being close (0+ / 0-)

          Annie, if the job listed is close to your interests, and close to your qualifications, I'd suggest you follow up and find out more.

          That will give you a little more info about IT jobs in D.C. in the non-profit sector, even if you decide it isn't right for you, at least not now.

          Absolute worst case, if you do apply and you're rejected--well, these folks are Quakers, so it will be the kindest and gentlest rejection anybody ever got.

          (Note that they already have one ex-DOD type on staff--Col. Dan Smith, USA (Ret.), comments on military issues for FCNL. He has a blog: The Quakers' Colonel)

          Do you know Americans who live outside the U.S.? Tell them to register to vote! --

          by True North on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 06:25:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site