Do What You Love: Career Development at Soapbox Feminist Winter Term – Day 3

How many of us can say we work at our dream job?  Who actually does what they love?  Last time in my feminist escapades in NYC at Soapbox Feminist Winter Term, I told you about our “Media Day.”  For our third day, “Professional Development Day,” we discussed our future careers.

In the morning, we met with panelists Suzanne Grossman, a writer, musician, activist, co-founder of Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, and teacher of  Love Your Job Search (LYJ); Kara Elverson, who works in filmmaking and was a former Ms. Foundation resume reader; and Sociology instructor Pablo Benson.  They shared their career paths and how to fuse career development with your passion for activism.  They also gave practical tips on formatting your resume and the importance of networking and building relationships.

In the afternoon, all us Feminist Winter Termers participated in half-day internships.  Two others and I had the privilege of interning at the prestigious Ms. Foundation (!!!).  We met some amazing staffers who shared with us their invaluable work funding and advocating for women’s rights.  But the best part??  They actually took the time to tailor tasks to each of our interests!  When they said to me, “Oh, you’re the feminist blogger,” I almost died!  I mean yes, of course I know I’m a feminist blogger…but it’s so much more kick-ass hearing the words fall from someone else’s lips.  They wanted to hear my thoughts on how their website and social media looked and which feminist blogs I personally follow.  Now, I don’t know if they took one or any of my suggestions.  And I don’t care because I was touched that they even asked me my opinion.  I was glowing the rest of the day…

…And then it got even better.  That night, we went to Affaire, a bar in the Lower East Side for the event “Feminist Takeover” hosted by Feministing.com and Paradigm Shift, a feminist community group and event series in NYC.  I met tons of bad-ass feminists like Steph Herold (who’s incredibly gracious and humble) and Shelby Knox (who’s jubilant and gives the best hugs).  I have to admit that I kinda felt like a groupie…it’s surreal reading and admiring someone’s work and then meet them in person.  The energy in the bar was electric; I was invigorated being surrounded by so many accomplished activists.

Besides the amazing internship and meeting phenomenal feminists, one of the most interesting components of the day for me was listening to Suzanne Grossman advise us to get clear about our own money story.  She said you need to assess what’s important to you as sometimes you must choose between money and a comfortable lifestyle or working in a non-profit with a measly salary but is a job you absolutely love.  As I’m thinking about my own career shift to a writer, which marks my third career path transition, these thoughts plague me.  Can I start at the bottom again?  When do I stop paying my dues?  Can I sacrifice my salary, downsizing from a spacious 1-bedroom to a tiny, cramped studio?  Can I live on a diet of ramen noodles?  Do I even want to?  Am I too old for this?!  I know that I can’t continue working somewhere or doing something in which I’m not passionate.  I’ve done that bullshit for too long.  I need to work in an atmosphere that not only embraces but also breathes activism.

So for all of you slaving and toiling away at a job you loathe, dreaming of the day when you can tell your boss to fuck off (believe me, I’ve been there more times than I can count!) and finally do your dream job, living the life you were meant to live…remember your worth.  Life is too short to settle, wasting your time on something that doesn’t matter to you.  Grab life by the balls and do what you love.

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