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Old 03-09-2011, 10:39 AM   #1
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Transitions, changes...

Whenever I've had a challenging situation this community has been so helpful in providing sage advice so I'm turning to you again!

After over a decade of working to help build the organization I'm working with I'm seeing the end of the line. There have been recent decisions and changes that I'm not pleased with and think it is time to figure out an exit plan.

I have a strong skill set in nonprofit management - strategy, fundraising, planning, hiring/personnel management are my particular strengths.

I'm looking at a few options, finding a new full time gig, building a consulting business, or delving into a new area (most likely higher education administration, private sector community or philanthropy type gigs or something like that).

Some of the issues I'm trying to sort out include:

*commute - most of the nonprofits are at least one hour or more commute depending on traffic (it's southern CA people!) - current commute is zero since I work from home
*health coverage - currently have excellent coverage for my family so concerned about what I would get elsewhere or paying out of pocket if I do consulting
*life/work balance - I love being available for my kids in current situation, but a full time local gig would require a lot of reshuffling of my and my kids schedules.

I know a consulting gig would take a couple years to build up to level I'd want it to be, I may be able to work part time at current gig or elsewhere.

My skill set is highly desirable with nonprofits and they often need consulting help or someone to get them thru transitions or interim periods.
I'm also about a year away from finishing an mba program, which I could finish faster if I work less...which would help my position as well...

I'm still in the early phase of feeling frustrated and afraid of the changes ahead so perhaps that is clouding my thinking...any thoughts are appreciated...
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:53 PM   #2
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I also work at a non-profit doing what you describe. I've been here 27 years and hope to retire in about 3 more years. I loved my job up to about 4 years ago, and then things just started happening that have made it miserable. The type of client families have changed, funding cuts, and more.

I see in our area (TX) that there seem to always be nonprofit jobs available, especially in fundraising. Fundraising and development seem to be the hot areas here. The university hired tons of people the last few years in those fields. I don't think I can add much, but hope you find something you enjoy!
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Old 03-09-2011, 04:50 PM   #3
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When I am in a confused state with too many options, two things help me. First, sit down and flesh out the major pros, cons, and other issues for each option. The act of putting it all on paper helps you dig up facets of each that may not be readily apparent at first glance. The second thing that helps me is to simply give the different ideas time to percolate through your mind now that the big decision (get out) is made.
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Old 03-09-2011, 05:00 PM   #4
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An observation on consulting: It's what I do now, and it has been a good fit. But I'm lucky in that I have one client and they call me to do work for them. I don't have to do any marketing/business development/looking for clients. I know other independent consultants who spend a lot of their time looking for the next gig. It's not easy for them, it's sometimes not dignified, and I don't think I'd enjoy consulting work under those conditions.

FWIW . . .
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Old 03-09-2011, 05:05 PM   #5
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I did computer consulting for about six years until I started developing and selling a product. It certainly can be touch and go at the beginning.

Three things about it:

1. If you immediately start doing some consulting with your current employer or related clients, it will be a good way to get started.

2. If you have a spouse with a stable income, it can help level out the ups and downs.

3. In the future, your income will have an upper limit of your available time times your billing rate (unless you hire employees).

It can certainly be worth the risk. Working from home is wonderful. The sense of freedom is almost like being retired.
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Old 03-09-2011, 05:40 PM   #6
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Take your time.... better to make sure you are making the right move than go through a succession of job hopping. That can be stressful.


Since you did not comment on it... I assume you still have a few years until you intend to retire.
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Old 03-09-2011, 06:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bright eyed View Post
Some of the issues I'm trying to sort out include:

*commute - most of the nonprofits are at least one hour or more commute depending on traffic (it's southern CA people!) - current commute is zero since I work from home
*health coverage - currently have excellent coverage for my family so concerned about what I would get elsewhere or paying out of pocket if I do consulting
*life/work balance - I love being available for my kids in current situation, but a full time local gig would require a lot of reshuffling of my and my kids schedules.
Just identifying these issues is a big step. I would add job stability since you have a family depending on you and plan to ER, so your flexibility is limited in this regard.

For me, each of these would be a deal-breaker. I would have to have health coverage for my family, were I in your position. I would also have to have a reasonable commute and life/work balance, to be there for the kids while they are young. And I would have to perceive some degree of job stability there, too. If you feel this way, that these four issues are deal-breakers, then as hard as it may be you can cross off a number of options based on them.

No matter how much you may wish it, a job without adequate health coverage, for example, cannot be expected to give you what you need; sure, you can get private coverage but with recent inflation of health insurance premiums I would not consider it unless you can get a group plan somehow.

Don't compromise. You know what you need, you have it now, and you have time to work on an exit plan that meets those needs completely as well.

OK, that is the best I can come up with .... carry on....
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:17 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone! I'm trying to wrap my head around it - I think change is hard when you're standing at the cliff and that's how I feel right now.

I picked up a couple books about consulting that were recommended by people who do work similar to what I would be doing and will start with that. I also spoke with a couple friends who pay private healthcare since they own their own small business and yowzers! $500-700 per family...and they all pay high copays.

Al - I appreciate your comments about flexibility and freedom - I think I need to weigh those against what W2R said about choices and priorities...I do think I will start writing everything down.

The challenge with the full time gig is that the ones that would pay close to what I have now would require the commute and the closer gigs would prob pay about 30-40% less!

My SO does have a stable gig so that does help too...just I've always been such a self reliant type I'd hate to even ask him for anything...but he's been so supportive through all this crapola.

Good thing is I enjoy doing presentations and workshops and that can be a good way to network so I am going to find some small opportunities to help folks out I know and do any trainings, workshops to start getting myself out there...

As for ER (i'm 34) - not sure ER was ever in "my" plans - any "R" would be progress for my family since my dad's R plan is "when I die" and my mom's always "just one more year" type... But since I knew my current gig was good in many ways I did squirrel away heavily and with the influence of smarty pants like y'all here I can get thru a rough patch I think!

I'm just trying to bolster my self confidence and remind myself I can do this...it's just so much harder at this age with kids - when it was just me I would have walked a long time ago and "figured it out..." bah!
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bright eyed View Post

I'm just trying to bolster my self confidence and remind myself I can do this...it's just so much harder at this age with kids - when it was just me I would have walked a long time ago and "figured it out..." bah!
You may have discussed this elsewhere- but are you the sole provider for your children?

Ha
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:16 AM   #10
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You may have discussed this elsewhere- but are you the sole provider for your children?

Ha
Hi Ha (hee hee)

Nope, my SO and I divide up costs pretty much equally...it's too darn expensive to raise kids in southern california...I've been looking at expenses and of course there is room to trim, but hoping we won't have to do much of that and keep the kids in their activities etc to best of our ability...I'm just going to switch to beans and rice...which fortunately I really like...

The health insurance issue, while daunting seems like something we can deal with. But all the stuff combined is a little concerning. We've also recently had to figure out how to support SO's mother since SO's dad died she's lost nearly $1k in income from his social security and pension being cut so money is flowing up her way too...
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