It is a universal truth that regardless of how long ago your relationship is, people will never cease to mention your ex. Honestly, I moved to Dallas after graduation and I still think that someday I’ll be walking down the street and someone will mention his double syllable first and last name. Although there is much my college ex-boyfriend one hundred percent does not deserve thanks for (actually, a lot I think I deserve an apology for), there is one thing I have to thank him for.
When I was nineteen, I was unceremoniously dumped by my college boyfriend. Because I was nineteen years old and in college, it felt like my world was about to come crashing down on me and that things were definitely over. I managed to forget that I had lived a cool eighteen years of my life without this guy, and was completely distraught. Not even normal young lady distraught, but stereotypical romantic comedy distraught where I cried and complained as various friends cycled in and out of my apartment to witness the train wreck nobody saw coming.
At the time, I was working at my very first non-profit organization. Instead of finding research or doing an internship like other students, I had decided to work at a healthcare non-profit (trust me, you’ll all hear this full story someday). The dissolution of the relationship with the boy I believed I was going to marry came at a pretty inopportune time, besides it being right before final exams, it was also close to when my organization did annual reviews.
Admittedly, at that time there was a lot that seemed up in the air. I was uncertain about a lot of things and I was kind of a mess–being dumped does that to you. But there was one thing I knew that I had to do after that whole experience. I knew that I had to something for myself, and that I needed to take a risk to do something unexpected. Something bold, daring and spontaneous.
“Is there anything we can do to make your job better?” My supervisor asked, as I sat in the leather chair. It seemed like a loaded question, and I fully knew that it was. But even then, I knew there was only one answer I wanted to give.
“I want to do some work for Development,” I said, as I saw the confused look on my supervisor’s face. Her face screamed, “Why?,” but she was silent as she waited for me to continue.
“I know they do incredibly important work, and I’m curious about what they do.” I want to do some work for Development.” It wasn’t a lie. I knew they did important work and I was fully curious about what it was that they did. The development department seemed so mysterious and enigmatic that I genuinely wanted a glimpse into what they did.
“Okay,” she said, as I acknowledged her confusion at my request, “if you really want to, I’ll talk to our Development Director and ask him if there’s anything you can do to help.”
The next day, the Development Director made me a username to log into our CRM software and I was given my first assignment. I was to fix little mistakes in the donor databases. Although it was possibly the simplest and smallest task in donor development, I was overjoyed.
And from there, as you guys all know, my career in non-profit development and marketing grew and grew, to the position that I have today. I’ve worked for three non-profits total and have gained more and more experience (and responsibilities) with each role that I have had.
Each and every time I look back on my career, I always remember that question being the initial moment that started my career in Development. I didn’t know it at the time but that question would truly change my life and be the beginning of my career.
It’s strange to think about how meaningful a question can be, and how small a moment can be. But the crazy thing is, whether we realize it or not, everything happens for a reason and a simple request can be the one that completely changes your life.