I admit I have followed everything I could get my hands on to keep up with the Conan/Jay Leno/NBC scheduling disaster. I can totally relate to Conan and what he must be feeling now. The last night of his show he thanked NBC for allowing him the honor of hosting The Tonight Show and, in so many words, admitted he was so disappointed that his hosting time had come to end in such a short period of time. Seven months is a very short time for any new leader to join an organization with the hopes of taking that organization in a new direction, spruce it up, make it more current to its clients (or audience in Conan’s position), and just get settled, in general. One thing he said in his show really touched me personally; Conan looked his audience in the eye and said “Be kind, amazing things will happen”.
We’ve all had disappointments in our personal lives, professional lives, and in our spiritual lives. Right now, I am coping with a huge disappointment I suffered when I left my last job in late November 2009.
In August 2007 I came onboard to an existing nonprofit in Oklahoma City as its Executive Director/CEO; specifically I was hired to be a change agent for the organization after a period of difficulty. I was a believer in the organization and I was excited to become a part of such a treasured and respected nonprofit.
Have you ever heard the expression “if I had only known then what I know now…”? Boy that’s an understatement for the situation I found myself in shortly after taking the job. I was a little confused at first at the things that were happening around me with the staff, the board, and the membership in general. People were very unhappy with the “status quo”; I tried to do what I could to make things better for everyone once I had a grip on what was transpiring at all levels. Even after making some positive changes, things still were very unsettled.
For more than two years I gave the organization 110% of myself, my time, and my enthusiasm. Just like Conan, things were not turning around. If anything, things were becoming more and more difficult everyday. I could not get ahead, I could not bring everyone together – I was totally befuddled but I refused to consider quitting because I had faith it would all work out in time.
Finally, I realized that I was not the person to lead the organization into the future, and that my vision for the future was not feasible right now. Just like Conan, I did not have the right “audience”. I had good intentions, excitement, solid ideas, and was motivated; however, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Do you ever feel like you have peddled hundreds of miles only to realize you haven’t moved an inch? Do you feel unsettled at work and spend most of your day frustrated? Are you drowning in quick sand with no ladder anywhere in sight? Are you proposing great ideas only to find them shot down before anyone will give them a chance? Overall, do you feel like you are putting your size 8 foot into a size 6 shoe and it just won’t fit in no matter how hard you try?!!
If your answers are yes, then I believe that God is telling you it is time to move on. Unfortunately, we are not guaranteed to be successful at everything we do in life, and at times it is best to walk away and “regroup” for your next adventure. If we can’t learn from our mistakes, we are not allowing ourselves to grow personally, professionally, and spiritually. Our mistakes are our best lessons to learn!!!
Once I made the decision to leave the organization and my decision was made public, I felt the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders. I realized that I had waited too long to admit that the job was just not for me because I did not want to be considered a failure or a quitter after working so hard for over two years with no results.
Quitting my job was the best thing for me and I’m still learning from the experience, as I probably will for years to come. I admire the organization and wish only the best for it and those it serves in the future. I hope the next person in my job is very successful and is able to bring excitement back to it.
Remember – be kind, and expect amazing things to come. I can hardly wait to discover what my next job will be!