Let me tell you a story about a person who is just embarking on her fifth career. You guessed it! This story’s about me.
I have spent the last nine years as a full-time college professor in the field of Human Resources. Prior to that, I was an HR generalist and manager in the post-secondary sector. Safe to say, I love educating people. I love to watch the “a-ha” breakthroughs in my students and bear witness to those moments when thinking changes.
When I would introduce myself to my new students each year and talk about my career path, I always said that I am “living the dream”. I loved my job as an academic and hadn’t even been considering a career change, up until just about a year ago.
The Change I Didn’t Know I Was Looking For
That’s when the current pandemic turned the whole world upside down overnight, or at least that’s the way I felt. This was a time of great personal reflection for me and my family, as I’m sure it was for many of you. As an educator in a business school, watching how fast some fringe trends – like “work from anywhere” – became mainstream was fascinating.
I don’t believe we’re going to be putting that particular genie back into the lamp, and it’s going to involve a significant change in the norms of business, management practices, use of office space, and more. I was intrigued and – honestly – itching to be more on the frontline to help organizations embrace these new realities well.
About the same time, I saw a LinkedIn post from Jim Moss about a position, and it said “And you’ll get to work every day with Dave Whiteside, which is pretty cool” (or something to that effect), and I thought, who is this Dave Whiteside? The job sounded amazing, the organization sounded even better, and as I checked out (creeped?) my new teammates on social media, I found that this job seemed tailor-made for me.
I connected with Dave on LinkedIn (a shout out to those of you who are willing to talk to complete strangers!) and I liked what I heard.
The first “interview” turned out to be more of a conversation with a team of amazing people who I learned are passionate about the same things I am. It just clicked. After each conversation, I got more excited about the opportunity to contribute to YMCA WorkWell’s mission to improve the state of workplace well-being in our communities.
I am a purpose-driven person; I need to feel like what I do every day makes the world a better place. YMCA WorkWell’s mission, vision, and values speak to me on a deep personal level, and according to a recent article in Forbes, employees whose values align with those of their organization experience greater job satisfaction.
I also loved the integration of YMCA WorkWell within the structure of the YMCA of Three Rivers (a recent unification of three regional YMCAs, each of which have had a long history of supporting individuals and communities in their well-being journeys).
And being part of a charitable organization means there’s a focus on giving back to the community rather than making huge profits, which would allow me to lean in even further to my values.
The Right Move?
We all know that who we get to work with makes a difference – a big one! In fact, a report from Future Workplace/Virgin outlines that having someone that you would consider a friend at work is one of the biggest predictors of engagement, productivity and well-being.
No pressure, new colleagues – we just have to be friends for life! Seriously, though, I have felt privileged each day to get to know these remarkable people better. I expected YMCA WorkWell to have a great organizational culture – after all, we better walk the talk! But I have been blown away by the emphasis on trust, feedback, communication, community, and recognition in my new workplace.
For perhaps the first time ever I am truly able to bring my whole self to work and it is incredibly freeing.
Making the decision to leave a job I loved wasn’t easy. I have had the privilege of teaching amazing students and working with great colleagues, here and abroad, who are passionate about creating high-quality educational opportunities for future business leaders.
At YMCA WorkWell, I feel like my competencies and experience will help the organization to deliver on its mission while providing me an opportunity to grow in new ways and do things I haven’t done before.
Since growth is one of my key values andI need to be learning and challenged in which ever role I take on. So, how’s it going so far? I’m a month in and my new colleagues have been so supportive as I’m still making the transition.
I get to do the things that I love most every day: Use data and science to develop and deliver curriculum that helps to make our workplaces healthy spaces for employees. I get to help organizations tackle some of the toughest challenges that exist. I get to use insights to develop action plans that truly impact employee well-being.
So why should you choose YMCA WorkWell? I’d argue that it’s for all the same reasons I did. You care about your employees’ well-being.
You want to partner with a team of amazing human beings who really know their stuff, and live and breathe healthy organizational culture.
You want your organization to be the best it can be. And you’re ready for a change. I’m all in, are you