Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Got a Job (or How Going to Dad 2.0 Changed My Life)

I got a job.

Rather, I should say, I got a new job, as I already had several jobs both paid and unpaid. The most important and lowest paying one, Father, is easily also the most grueling and most worthwhile. But earlier this year, I decided to look for an additional new challenge.

Something that I could get excited about doing every day and be proud to share with people I meet.

Something that would get me back to being a professional people-person. And not just people in diapers.

Though overdue, I procrastinated the search knowing that it would likely be a major challenge I “didn’t have time for”. Or that’s what I kept telling myself. But then a magical thing happened. I found inspiration in possibly both the most, and also the least, obvious place for me: Houston, Texas.
One only eats things like this in Texas. 
Since I live in Los Angeles, what in Houston could make a loyal West Coaster decide to change his life? Beside good Bar-B-Que, of course. The Dad 2.0 conference. When I attended the second annual conference early this year, I wasn’t sure exactly why I went. Beyond the opportunity to meet and spend time with an amazing group of writers from around the globe, I knew there had to be another reason. Turns out, it was finding a new life path.

At that conference, I spoke to several great Dudes who each inspired me in their own ways. They are all tremendous writers and even better people. So I wanted to thank a few of them for their incredible support, encouragement and friendship of this Dude.

·         Jim Lin: Though I don’t remember the exact dialogue, I’ll never forget Jim’s “Three-Headed Dad” speech where he literally proved just how many hats Fathers really do wear.  Sure, we are parents to our children, and as I mentioned above, that is easily the most important hat we wear, but it’s the other hats we wear that shape us as parents, spouses, employees, consumers and more. Jim’s inspiration extended beyond the conference as I sought to blaze a new trail toward the future.

·         Alan Kercinik: I’d never heard of Alan’s blog before his address at the conference and was quickly blown away by some of the observations this advertising guru presented to a motley crew of Dads. Approachable and open-minded to helping some Dude he’d similarly never heard of before, Alan’s encouragement led me down the path to where I am today.

·         Ron Mattocks: Ron’s practical advice as a Social Media professional gave me the courage to look for new options and really try to find my way toward something great. Ron gave me great inside information that I was able to utilize in my search process. 

·         C.C. Chapman: C.C. gave an inspiring keynote at the inaugural Dad 2.0 in Austin last year and we became Facebook friends sometime after that. When I introduced myself in person this year in Houston, there were two things I wanted to talk to him about: a book and a tattoo.  Just before the conference, I’d noticed a picture on C.C.’s Facebook feed of a tattoo he’d recently gotten that said “Not All Who Wander Are Lost”. That quote was familiar to me from my days following the Grateful Dead, as I remember it emblazoned on t-shirts at Dead shows in the early 1990s. I discovered that it’s a J.R.R. Tolkien quote from Lord of the Rings, and is something I’ve thought a lot about during the last few months of my quest. 

      The quote was apropos when considered alongside C.C.’s book that had been recently published before the conference, Amazing Things Will Happen. I asked a little about the book and C.C. generously offered to send me a copy, which he promptly did and for which I am extremely thankful because I am happy to report that, just a few months later, amazing things have happened to me. Not only did I find an amazing new career, but I found one with a company that respects families and encourages its employees to be active parents via extremely flexible work schedules. For this, I am grateful. 

You  might be wondering why I am telling you about this stuff that really doesn’t fit into the greater parenting theme of this blog. The reality is, without this blog, I never would have gotten the job. When I started writing this blog 2+ years ago, the shoot-for-the-moon goal I had in mind was to parlay it into writing for television. A friend encouraged me to start a blog as a way to keep practicing my craft while building a portfolio. So I did, and subsequently discovered this incredibly supportive community which I’ve developed through Social Media. My blog’s Social pages are not the biggest, nor will they ever be, but they are strong enough that they have led to amazing friendships and opportunities, like attending the Dad 2.0 Conferences. And they led to a Management position for an established Social Media company that works with some of the largest corporations in the world, who I am already working with after just a few weeks.

To quote the great poet Robert Hunter “Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.”

It’s true, C.C., amazing things can happen.

I’m living proof.  

I highly recommend that you grab a copy of C.C.'s book. 

And if you don't already know the Dudes mentioned above, click the links on their names and check out their great blogs. Trust me.