About a year ago I resigned my post as Executive Director of a nonprofit. Since then, I have looked for my “what’s next.” In 2020, I did some ghostwriting and other part-time projects. I organized a last-second write-in campaign for state office. I started co-writing another book.
But I also stopped doing a lot. I stopped writing a column in my hometown newspaper. I stopped writing for an online curriculum company. I helped change the makeup of the board of directors of the nonprofit I founded in 2014 and turned the reigns completely over to a new leader. I’ve always done a lot of things on the side, and I pretty much stopped doing them all.
Meanwhile, I started looking for a new full-time job. Doing that in a pandemic is not without its challenges. I made it through some hoops with some organizations before being passed over. I tried for some stuff that I knew was out of my league.
Finally, I’ve found what’s next and I could not be more satisfied.
I have accepted the role of Chief Operating Officer with United Against Human Trafficking in Houston, Texas. This is an outstanding organization. In the areas of awareness, education, and outreach they are doing excellent anti-trafficking work in the city of Houston, including leading a coalition of organizations and government entities in a coalition to combat human trafficking in the region.
My role will be internally focused, doing the work a COO does. This is a new flavor for me in some ways, as it won’t be a public facing role. As I’ve gotten older I’ve needed the spotlight less and enjoyed the impact fostered by collaboration and helping things grow.
I did not make a big deal out of my job search because the whole world was enduring the effects of a pandemic. Lots of people were without work. Suffering much greater than my own existed in the world. Still, it was a slog. I battled with feelings of worthlessness and succumbed to the temptation to feel a little sorry for myself more than once. But I also had incredible support from my wife and kids, my friends, and sensed that if I just kept chipping away at it, I would land something meaningful.
I’m happy that has happened.
I am getting oriented to my new office and colleagues this week before starting full time after Spring Break. I will continue to write on areas of justice and generosity and the intersection of faith, culture, and politics. Other than that, my side hustles have been reduced to zero and I’m looking forward to investing in a great organization to help see its vision come to pass — that all live free.