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Seek and You Shall Find

People often ask me about my career. The details are not as important as my attitude towards work. I believed I could shape my career to what I wanted and what my family needed. The “rules” were meant to be bent…

Background — started out as a French and German teacher, earned an MLS (yes, I’m a librarian), moved to Rochester, worked 17 years at Kodak. I’ve had jobs in government, non profits, small business and I’ve started 2 companies.

I never had a job that someone had before me. I am good at making order out of chaos.

I was a single parent and raised my children alone from when they two and four, so money and time were equally important to me. This meant that I needed to find part time work that paid well.

I was one of the few part time managers at Kodak in the early 1980’s. My approach was to find something I wanted to do, find a place in the organization to do it, convince the person to hire me and THEN talk about doing the job on a part time schedule. No boss ever said no because I made it a “no brainer” for them. I said, “I will do the job… you can pay me less.”  In return I got the flexibility that was so important to me.

The last time I took a ‘regular’ job — as part of the hiring negotiations — I told my employer I would work there for one year and then I’d leave. I ended up staying almost two, but I had planned my exit and it worked out great for me.

In case you’re wondering,  my gig today is part time college professor (grad school), speaker, consultant and oh yeah, a blogger.

Are you getting what you want? Do not be afraid. Go for it.


4 Responses
  • Mike Perrotta
    July 3, 2012

    Well said Deborah. The important part is that you thought about what was important to you at each time and you went for it. So many, myself included, went whole hog on the career and job, without taking a good look at what was important. It was the tortoise and the hare routine; race to the top, to find that a career is much longer than that part of the race. I cannot possibly imagine the pressure of being a single mother and employed at the same time. Hats off to you!

  • Deborah
    July 5, 2012

    thanks so much for the support. I means a lot. “we are all of us in the gutter, but some of us are looking up at the stars…” chrissy hines, the pretenders

  • Carl Hoffman
    July 16, 2012

    It took me awhile to write this but it looks like you made decisions that got you what you needed and wanted. Not me. I was in a dead end high paying job because I refused and intellectually could not play the politics required to move forward. I spent the money like a drunk sailor and was not happy. After many years, when I was at the end of my rope I bailed out. Even my father called me Willy Lowman from “Death of a Salesman.” I did not have the same outcome as Willy. I changed the pattern before it was too late. Now, I am in a lower paying but satisfying position and I have everything I need. You appear to be a risk taker and that I admire in you. I did not know you were a single mom. I always thought you had a distinguished husband that helped you raise successful children. Thanks for everything you write you are helping me evaluate myself from many different angles.

  • Deborah
    July 16, 2012

    Hi Carl, I think someone wise once said, the unexamined life is not worth living… someone like Aristotle I think… you have examined your life and are a living, breathing, exciting example of how to reclaim your life from whatever it is that infects us and prevents us from being happy. Congratulations! So exciting. I admire you for being brave enough to change. Most of us are too afraid or consider it too late or whatever! Keep going! We need your energy and passion.

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