I showed up to the first Mission Collaborative event expecting to hear about a few jobs I hadn’t before considered, but I thought I had the whole “job search” thing down.
Nope. It turns out the hustle significantly changed even in the last two years since I marched out of my college career center ready to land my dream job (or at least dream-adjacent). Mission Collaborative made it fun. See my cliffnotes version below!
Asking New Questions
We started out with a game—about forty of us lined up across the room and Grant, Avi, and Erica would offer a statement on career motivation or purpose, like “I am more skills-driven than mission-driven.” We would all then stagger ourselves on a spectrum (from strongly agree to strongly disagree) and offer reasons why we chose to align ourselves with a particular position. Questions like these previously lingered unformed in the back of my mind, but this activity brought them to the forefront and made me actively take a stance; more than a few times I heard opinions I hadn’t previously considered. Assessing jobs I look at through this prioritization lens has actually improved my cover letters and narrowed my search to opportunities I know would suit me.
One of Mission Collaborative top priorities is to help folks transition to a new career. On a giant sticky note, I wrote a sentence stating what new career field I wanted to enter and what my best skill set included. People then came by and wrote down career options in that field that might suit me, what activities I could do to make myself competitive, and resources I could look into to learn more. With so many different backgrounds represented, I received a whole host of ideas that sent me off in exciting directions I hadn’t considered—government hearings to attend, data visualizations to learn, and professional groups that might grow my network. That giant post is still useful to me now, weeks later.
Building a Community
One of my favorite activities we did towards the end of the workshop was breaking into small groups and brainstorming an action plan moving forward for each person in our group. Each new idea from one person inspired another from someone else, and hearing the backstory behind these suggestions made them feel more tangible and achievable. Applying our collective experience for one person dispelled previously unperceived boundaries between career sectors—I left feeling like a transition was completely in the realm of possibility. More than anything, it was invigorating to be with passionate, motivated people experiencing the same thing I was, interested in sharing their knowledge and resources.
For me, looking for job opportunities and thinking about how I would successfully manage a career transition felt lonely, and this event inspired real connections with people and action steps I could incorporate into my life that would inform my search and make it way more exciting.