career, career advice, career change, change, chronic pain, communications, communications specialist, communications strategy, job hunt, Mac's List, marketing, migraines, Multnomah University, new job, Oregon, Portland, public relations professional, social media, social media job, suffering, taking risks
Yes, you did just read that headline correctly. Allow me to explain…
As I previously mentioned, I recently came home after spending some time out of state receiving some specialized care for my migraines. The treatment was incredibly successful. So much so, that when I had my last appointment with my doctor the day before my family and I flew home I asked her how long she thought I should give the new treatment plan time to settle in before I look for work; surprisingly, her response, “No time at all. You’re ready to work now!” I’ll be honest and say I was stunned. I was thinking three to four months. After being ill for so long, I was afraid to make the leap back in. I was afraid of disappointment, of finding a job, but then not being able to take it because of migraine pain.
We returned home to Oregon on a Friday evening. The following Tuesday afternoon, I saw the Mac’s List newsletter in my email inbox. For the last several years that I’ve been ill, I’ve immediately deleted this reliable Tuesday email because I didn’t want to be tortured by seeing an amazing job I wasn’t well enough to apply for; however, this evening was different. I had my doctor’s words ringing in my head as I clicked open the email. I scanned through the positions and there it was-Communications Specialist for Multnomah University. As I read through the job posting I was stunned. Each and every qualification, I met perfectly. I’d never seen anything like it. I was so surprised that I showed it to my parents, saying, “Look at this job posting. Can you believe it?” They too were surprised and my dad said, “This is you, exactly. You have to apply.”
I was overwhelmed. Just weeks earlier I’d been laying in a hospital bed in excruciating pain. Now here I was, home in Oregon, reading this job posting and the cycle of my migraines was broken. So, I did what I always do when it comes to an important decision, I slept on it and I sought out advice.
When I woke the next morning, I had incredible peace about the whole idea. I called my friend Morris (my childhood pastor, former freelance client and dear family friend) and discussed the idea with him. After verbally processing the idea inside and out for almost an hour, he too encouraged me to apply.
So I did.
That Wednesday I made my to-do list for the application. I needed three references, the application, cover letter, résumé and optional letters of recommendation (so I decided on four.) Within 24 hours I heard back from all eight people I emailed requesting a letter of recommendation or a reference. Twenty-four hours. That has literally never happened. It often takes several days or even a week to connect with people and to receive a letter of recommendation back.
The following Monday morning, I drove over to Multnomah and turned in my application in-person to the VP of Administration. While I was waiting in the lobby to meet with her, my friend Garry (former dean of MU) walked in right as the hiring manager came out of her office to receive my application. He personally introduced me to her and she offered to meet briefly with me to discuss the position. After looking through my materials and hearing my elevator pitch, she offered me an interview, right then an there. I accepted and as I walked out to my car, I couldn’t help but think, “Wow. That was weirdly easy.”
Three weeks later, the new Marketing Director, who’d just been hired and relocated from Colorado, called to introduce himself and reassure me that I was still being considered and to expect a phone interview later that week. That Thursday morning I had my phone interview, a committee interview on Friday and another interview the following Monday with the Marketing Director and the VP of Administration. Last Friday I was offered the position…
…and I accepted.
Literally EVERY detail fell into perfect place in order for me to have this opportunity and for me to accept. Since I’ve been home from the migraine treatment center, the frequency of my migraines have drastically diminished. I went from two a week, to one a week and now I’m down to one every ten days or so.
Y’all, two months ago I was laying in a hospital! I can’t even believe how quickly and how perfectly this all came together. I could have never imagined that I’d be going back to work so soon, but with my migraines improving so rapidly and the flexibility this position provides, it is actually perfect. I had to jump back in at some point, so why not now?
Additionally, MU is a school that aligns deeply with my personal values. It is a small, private Christian school in NE Portland, with a large, successful and nationally respected biblical seminary.
Before I was ill, my main focus was to work hard to obtain the “perfect” résumé and the “perfect” portfolio. I was hungry for professional success, but ultimately this was rooted in an obsession. It was rooted in pride. After being ill for so long, I knew that I’d want to use my professional talents toward a cause I truly believed in, but I could never have dreampt of something so wonderful. As a PR professional, you are given a mic and a stage to speak, but what will YOU say? At the end of the day, everyone on some scale needs PR. There are loads of options in this profession. After this season of illness, I feel very passionate about working for an organization whose cause I truly believe in. MU hits that out of the park.
The marketing department at MU is being built from the ground up; ultimately, I will be on a team of five. I am the new Communications Specialist on the team and will oversee all public relations and social media for the university. One of the exciting aspects of this position is that my team will lead the effort of researching, building strategy and implementing a whole new communications plan for the university.
When I told my neighbor about my new job, she said that I, “made getting a job look easy.” The truth is, I feel like I was gifted this position. I could never have orchestrated all the little pieces to fall so wonderfully into place.
I start my new job today and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Thank you to all my wonderful readers for all your encouragement and support over these difficult years.
So long to sickness, pain and suffering.
I’m back baby!