The Sum of Many Parts

2014 was an interesting year for me. It was a year for charting a new path, one with many lanes and detours, perhaps an exit or two when friends came to town or when I just needed a break. But in looking back, I am pretty happy with my ability to stay on the road. I do believe that the journey is the destination, but it is also good to have milestones along the way. Figuring out how I was going to make a living was definitely an important one to look to.

I planted seeds along many different paths:

  • Applying for jobs with the traditional approach of submitting applications and interviewing for a wide variety of positions
  • Attending countless job search classes and seminars
  • Attending a wide variety of events with a goal of increasing my network as well as learning new things, such as using a platform business model and Strategyzer’s Business Model Canvas. (This is one of my favourite things I learned this year. So as an aside, here is an excellent video series explaining this concept, and here it is in action using KIVA.org as an example.)
  • Ramping up my volunteer activities, including being a board member of 25One Community and helping to start a new organization — a music business learning/consultation/career development hub for artists and music entrepreneurs
  • Letting people know I was searching for a new career

These were all incredibly useful and I continue to apply things that I have learned along the way. And really, doing all of these things helped keep me sane and got me out of the house even when I really really really didn’t want to face the world.

But an interesting thing happened. As time went on, as more and more people starting seeing my work, I was being thought of and recommended for contract work — bookkeeping for the Friends of Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre, strategic planning with the developing Ottawa chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, and assisting a local consultant of the International Fundraising Consultancy with research and writing for a wide variety of clients to name a few.

These days, I’m still doing this kind of contract work, but I’ve taken on two steady part-time contracts that I am really head-over-heels excited about. First, I am working with Kelp Music and MEGAPHONO, both of which are focused on working with independent artists and the people involved also have a passion for strengthening the local music industry. And second, I will being working with Propeller Dance, an organization that specializes in integrated dance. Their company includes dancers with a diverse range of disabilities, and they teach classes for people with and without disability.

I will still also stay active with my board work with 25One Community, a social purpose real estate venture that provides a co-working and collaborative space for progressive and social justice organizations. And as I mentioned above, I’m also chairing a committee that is working on developing a new organization that will support career development for people looking to work in the music industry — from artists and managers to publicists and booking agents and everyone in between.

All of this has come together thanks to an extensive network of contacts and friends. I love how this has developed organically, in ways that I consider somewhat untraditional in terms of typical job search activities. And for me, it has made it more meaningful, and has given me a rewarding sense of accomplishment and ownership over my own path. All of these pieces have come together to create a solid foundation for moving forward. There is still more building to do, more seeds to plant and cultivate, but I am thankful for this journey and everything I have learned in the last year. Here’s to a fantastic forward-moving 2015!

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