Two Jobs, One Path. Here’s How.

If you have ever had a "calling," you know it is not a mysterious, almost imperceptible nudge. It is a clear communication. A truth in your heart that holds an expectation of a "yes" expression.

I realized such a calling at an early age. Much of my early childhood was spent working in a field or garden, or in fundamentalist churches. By age seven, I realized two things that have never changed: (1) I am the most authentic advocate of my own best path; and (2) I have a calling to live a life that includes service to others.

If one of those core values get out of whack, I feel the stress of being insincere or not walking the journey I’m intended to walk. Regardless of how busy I am, how much IÕm being paid, or how much I enjoy doing other things, something is "missing."

Along the way, from a beginning career in social service — director of a university crisis center, manager of the Chicago Ronald McDonald House, director of the Cudahy/St. Francis Interfaith Program for the Elderly; police chaplain and (later) uniformed police crisis interventionist — I fell in love with writing and then with journalism. It’s become part of who I am, too.

When my oldest child tragically died at the age of 16, I left agency and police work for awhile to rebuild my family’s shattered life. I bought a nightclub in Denver with my parents and managed that. But soon (too soon?), I went back into social service again, as supervisor of a Colorado county child abuse and neglect intake unit.

A year later, after countless interviews with sexual predators and child abusers, I quit. My heart was too heavy with guilt over the children I couldn’t legally remove from abusive parents, and I was losing too much time with my own children. So I went into publishing full-time to make enough money to support my family, and instead volunteered for area nonprofits to stay involved.

Now my children are grown, I’m at the top of my career as a publisher, radio talk show host, and head of a multi-media company. I do love the work I do and the staff I work with every day. IB is a blessing in my life, and it provides meaningful work.

And still, the calling is getting louder and more insistent to use my prior training and my connections (and my passion for the Salvation Army’s work in the community) to make a meaningful contribution there.

When a recent opportunity arose to join the SA in a role that seems perfectly written to my life experiences, I really wrestled with the invitation to apply. I really had to explore in my heart if I could do it at the same time I continued my "other," very full life.

Before accepting the job of heading the Dane County Salvation Army’s Disaster Services Unit, I sat down with Bill Haight and talked to him. I laid it all out for him and asked him if he thought it was possible.

"I have every confidence you can, and will, succeed at both," he replied. "Other people will wonder how any one person could do it, but we know you can. Your job is secure at IB. Of course you can do both."

Bill was a member of the Salvation Army board for about 12 years. He fully understands the commitment I’m making there, in that part-time job. And I fully understand what he continues to expect from me here.

How will I do both? I will continue to reach out to the business community for advice and input on how to make IB products the best they can be. And (now) I will also turn to you for volunteers who want to be involved in the finest response unit in the United States (our SA’s not-so-secret goal).

In return, I will give you the best products IB staff can deliver, with new offerings this year, and I will contribute my best work to both organizations. I’ll be checking e-mail for more often, and delegating more efficiently, but that’s not all bad. It isn’t a work-work blend, but a work-life balance. I’m living the journey I was created to take.

Meanwhile, my grandkids, children, and husband and friends have pledged their continuing love, encouragement, and support.

Thank you for your help, too.

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