Nights like tonight

As usual, I’m spending the evening catching up on some work.

As I skim through various documents, pulling out nuggets here and there to write a few communications pieces, I’m hit with a general feeling of unease. In fact, it’s a feeling that’s been brewing for awhile.

Generally speaking, I love my nonprofit job. I love the people and I generally believe in the work. I say “generally” because I’m beginning to realize that changing the world isn’t so pretty from the inside. Everyone thinks nonprofits are only out to do good, to help people and save the world. Which is true in theory. Except, on the way to saving the world, there are still politics. Disagreements. Failure. And more politics.

Like it or not, a nonprofit truly is a business, and all businesses make good and bad decisions on the way to fulfilling a mission.

After over five years in the field, I think it’s really beginning to wear on me. Recent staffing changes have left me heartbroken and confused. Playing politics has frustrated me and made me even more glass half empty than usual.

There are glimmers. Work that I believe in and can get behind. But even then, the theory of helping the greater good eludes me as I get stuck in the day to day muck of writing a brochure, taking a photo, or creating a newsletter. In the muck, I lose sight of the ultimate goal. With loss of sight comes the loss of faith that we can make a difference.

It’s nights like tonight, when I struggle to stay motivated to complete a simple task, that I consider calling DD and telling him to pack his bags and start over somewhere new. DC or Chicago or just somewhere that’s not here. Maybe if I got a new job in a new place, things would be different. I’d be more passionate, more engaged.

It’s nights like tonight when I think about asking my boss (who’s all about professional development, even if it means leaving the organization) to help me find something else somewhere else.

But then I remember that no matter where I work there will be games and politics. There will be things I don’t want to do or don’t agree with. And there will always be barriers to saving the world.

The trick is figuring out how to rise above it every day. Finding a way to ignore the heartbreaks of the past, connect to the work in the present, and look for the glimmers.

I like the idea of changing the world, I just need to regain some faith.


While I may not have faith about MY world, LiLu and her cohorts changed a fellow blogger’s world. Brandy has been one of my favorite bloggers for the two years I’ve been around these parts, and when I heard that her boyfriend was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, I didn’t know what to do. But others did. If you want to be inspired, click on over.



Filed under career, DD (aka My Man), Detroit, glass half empty, rambling nature

8 responses to “Nights like tonight

  1. I hope you get re-inspired.

  2. Thank you for the linky, my darling. And just give it some time… I think inspiration comes in waves.


  3. I felt like this when I was running my non-profit. Politics and drama ended up causing our demise. But it was for the best, I hadn’t felt inspired to work for about a year. I hope your inspiration comes back. Though I also think it’s worthwhile to find a job that is inspirational every day – I’m working on that myself.

  4. The trick is to bide your time in entry-level and middle management until you actually have the power and authority to make the decisions.

    Your time in entry-level is over. Take a chance, SG. You shouldn’t be sitting around making fucking brochures or taking pictures. You’re better than that…and can make a bigger difference than you currently are.

    Just start looking. Or get fired. I heard from a little birdie that getting fired can really bump you up your career ladder pretty quickly…

  5. Non-profit or for-profit, as you said, there will always be things you don’t like about your job. If you still believe in the mission of your organization and you feel you’re working towards that goal, then sometimes it’s worth putting up with the political nonsense now. Hang in there, hopefully it’ll swing back up soon.

  6. ria

    like the other comments said, no matter where you go there will be politics. it can be so frustrating. i’m sure your inspiration will come soon.

  7. Working in any field for a long time makes you feel a little worn down. We all have those moments. Hang in there and it will get better.

  8. My boss is being really helpful as far as career development – even though I recently told her that the direction I wanted to go is NOT the path she had planned for me in her department. But it was really a relief to tell her, because she’s started sending more projects my way that will challenge me and help me get more experience in the field that I want.

    In the meantime, I’m lucky enough to stay working for a great company. If your boss is also really supportive, it might help to get your feelings out in the open. Just my thought 🙂

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