I'm currently participating in a career development program by Temple University’s Alumni Association and Mission Collaborative that will help me sort out where I want to go next with my career and how exactly I plan on getting there. As part of most developmental processes, reflecting on what changes I’m actually looking to make is a vital part of the program. This Fellowship recommends writing a letter of intent, which is what I am going to attempt to do here. With that said, I want to share with you, publicly, my thoughts and musings as a way of keeping me accountable.
Why I’m Looking for a Career-Shift.
First, let me make myself abundantly clear: I have no intention of walking away from the events industry. I am truly sure that I was meant to create events and experiences and it is something that I am still extremely passionate about. However, for some time now, I’ve been wanting to pivot within the events industry. I’ve previously dabbled in weddings and social gatherings, and more recently I found myself planning networking and educational opportunities almost exclusively. Sure, I’ve done some holiday décor and business-to-business showcases, but a lot of my last job was educationally-based. As much as I value education and love providing those opportunities for people, that really isn’t where I saw my events career headed. So it’s time to make a change. A shift.
I want to experience creating large-scale, higher-budget productions that have many moving pieces, are incredibly dynamic, and are extremely focused on controlling a specific experience for the guests. I want to be able to innovate and create unique décor and design concepts that challenge what event professionals thought they could do. I want to create experiences that people are completely blown away by and are conversation topics that help them connect with others and share as memories for years to come. I want to explore new ways to connect people in-person and virtually as well as experience brands, ideas, and the Arts. I want to build in a space that is boundless and accepting of creative thought.
The Risks of Inaction
The biggest risk of inaction for me is complacency. I don’t like to plan cookie-cutter events. I don’t want to fall into the trap of creating the same simple event over and over- something everyone has already seen and experienced. If I don’t make a career change, I do know I would be okay, but I wouldn’t be truly happy. Without a career shift, I would get stuck planning educational programs that people would still attend and just be fine with. But fine isn’t enough. Without a shift, I would book the venue and the speakers. I would keep track of attendees and print their programs and name tags. I would make sure the event ran on time. I would collect and read the attendee surveys. And then I would do it all again- just with a different topic and new speakers. But I don’t want that. I don’t want to feel complacent in an industry that has so much potential.
And that brings me to the second risk of inaction, a lack of creative outlet. Something I’ve been told by others, which I also feel to be accurate, is that I thrive most when I have a creative outlet to balance the logistics. I am at my peak when my projects balance those two sides of my brain. So the risk of inaction is working for companies that are content with good events. But I want to create something that exceeds every sense of the word good. I want to work for a company that inspires innovation, thrives on creative ideas, and isn’t afraid to take risks and try something new. I want to work on events and with clients that want to break barriers and challenge the types of events we’ve already seen. The risk of inaction is not working for a company that pushes me to exercise my need for creativity in my career. Without creativity, where is the joy?
My Goals for this Journey
For the next several weeks of this program, I am challenging myself to dig deep and truly understand what it is I’m looking for in my career. I want to have a concrete list of strengths, weaknesses, and a plan for how to rise elegantly from unemployment. I want to have a clearer picture of how I am going to make this career shift and a plan on how to develop the additional skills I may need to make this jump. I am also challenging myself to use this time to help develop my networking skills. As an introvert, networking has always been the hardest part of the job for me. Through this Fellowship, I want to make some new and meaningful connections with other participants and learn solid ways of creating relationships in a field I’m looking to transition into. At the end of the day, this planner wants to have some semblance of a plan to get her life back on track after the world was turned upside down.
Thank you for sticking with me until the end of my monologue. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what to expect from the Temple University Alumni Career Design Fellowship yet, but I am going to attempt to get everything out of it that I can. My goals for the program may be lofty, but by publishing this here, I am hoping it will help me push myself to complete as many of them as possible.