Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My New "Dream" Job

Pinch Me! I'm a Food Editor!! :-) The last few months have been a bit of a blur, but I presented my strategy yesterday to senior management at my publishing company and I'll be commissioning content in some really exciting topics in 2014. I'll be the Acquisitions Editor for the following topics and couldn't be more excited:
  • Food Sustainability
  • Functional Food, Health, and Nutrition
  • Food Microbiology (beer, wine, cheese, bread, yogurt, and fermented foods)
  • Dairy (more cheese and yogurt) 
For the first time in my life, my job is fully aligned with my personal interests and passions outside of work. I feel like I can stop living a double life and embrace what I do with enthusiasm and confidence. I can't wait to publish outstanding content on everything from food waste to kefir to superfoods to organic cheese. Maybe I'll even find a scientist to write a book about kombucha! Or one about sourdough starters. Or one about grain-free baked goods! Or all of the above, because I've got to find a lot of new books to commission this year! 

So, how in the world did this happen? 

Like a lot of you, my career hasn't really followed a logical "path." I think we all have that ideal vision of a ladder or a progression of jobs that seem to build on one another, but it doesn't take long to figure out that's rarely the reality of careers these days. I've been fortunate to work for some great organizations and some caring and thoughtful managers, but I've also had my fair share of challenges... the kinds that have made me want to go all the way back to the beginning and start from scratch, except without the naivety. 

While nothing's ever perfect, things are starting to make sense. The last 13 years have taken me through a maze of knife sales to education management to test prep marketing to computer science book marketing to data management book editing. For the last few years, I just focused on working hard and moving up and to tell you the truth, I've felt stuck. Worse than stuck. Like I was sprinting my heart out on an unforgiving treadmill. I wouldn't let myself get off because I wasn't "there" yet. But I had no idea where "there" was.

Not knowing how else to drive the changes I wanted in my career and eager to learn again, I went back to school. It was a big decision, a huge investment of time and of money and I'm confident that the investment will, in time, return. It already has in a lot of ways. I've made wonderful friends and have built a network of really smart people who I admire and respect. I had fun along the way (especially in Brazil and in my Marketing Social Change class) and my eyes were opened to entirely new ways of thinking. I approach problems differently now and while I'll never consider myself an expert in statistics, economics, or corporate finance, at least I know about these things, why they're important, and where to go when I need to know more. And I can certainly hold my own in a conversation about any of them (I hope!). I get what the triple bottom line is and love that companies around the world are embracing corporate social responsibility as a matter of course. I gained some really valuable perspectives on life and work and when I gave my last presentation at Boston University's School of Management last night (on solving Cuba's economic problems, no small feat), it felt surreal. 

While I was finishing my MBA, I also enrolled and attended the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and became a Certified Holistic Health Coach. Earlier this month, I started working with my first official client. And, now that I'm done with school (well I have a one-week class in Silicon Valley in January left), I'm excited to apply what I've learned at both BU and at IIN more broadly. My new job will certainly benefit from what I've learned and I hope I can broaden my impact on the health and nutrition of more of you as well! 

We're all on journeys. Often more than one at a time. And I hope as we close out one year and look forward to the next, we're all able to reflect on the rewards inherent in the journey and know that with a balance of persistence, patience, and passion, we can all achieve something that makes us feel truly content.