Dream jobs. Do they exist? When I was little I think I wanted to be a veterinarian. After college I briefly considered medical school. A journey through the 2008 financial crisis and unemployment spin cycle led me to think that becoming a lawyer seemed a smart choice. A safe choice. Was it the dream job? Not really. But at the very least, it was a respectable choice.
Once I made it through law school, I harbored no ambitions of making partner at a fancy firm. Rather, I wanted to learn. Build a strong foundation. Better understand legal transactions and then “bounce out” onto the business side of things. In 2017, I took less of a bounce — which sounds so playful, so fun — and more of a running leap by launching my own legal practice.
Entrepreneurship via solo legal practice provided amazing opportunities to build community, and the most important one appeared as a chance to partner with a friend to teach a workshop on the legal basics of starting a business. Helping people understand and achieve their entrepreneurial goals felt fun and energizing. An imaginary lightbulb began to dimly glow above my brain.
And with that dim glow, I started to pay attention. I started to reflect on what I really enjoyed in all the previous jobs I had. No single task or project stood out as a favorite. Neither writing press releases nor negotiating contracts made my heart sing. Instead, with hindsight, it became clear that the moments I loved the most took place in between all the official work. For me, work was work, but fun hid tucked away in the in-between moments.
Drafting agreements didn’t spark joy, but partnering with a client to help them understand complicated verbiage did. Pitching reporters never filled me with glee, but the opportunity to connect with colleagues during breaks or over lunch energized me. Armed with a sense of investigative curiosity, I began to pay attention to the energy of my days and the interactions they contained.
I noticed that scheduling business development and networking meetings in the afternoon easily combated the dreaded 3 p.m. slump. Partnering with a friend to devise a job search strategy was a blast. Reading about professional development and learning about the field of coaching left me wanting more. So, I followed the energy. I began connecting with professional coaches, career coaches and leadership coaches. I researched coach training programs. After six months of researching, I was sold. It was time to take another leap.
I applied to Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership and gladly took my place in the Leadership Coach Training program in January 2019. For the first time, I was learning about work that didn’t feel like work. The reading was fascinating. The work was both challenging and energizing. The company was better than I could have hoped for. And as I leaned into the flow of coaching, I discovered the broader fields of organizational development, learning and development, and organizational psychology. And with those discoveries came more energy, more light.
I now spend my professional time partnering with individuals and organizations to help them integrate their values and actions. Together, we craft strategies to spark internal engagement and improve synergy between individuals, teams and the company. We focus on culture, effective communication and leadership. By paying attention to the sparks of light and curiosity within myself, I’ve found the job that I’ve always been meant to do but that until recently, I never knew existed.
Ami Watkin is the Co-Founder of Integrated Hustle, a Certified Leadership Coach, corporate attorney and entrepreneur who supports women through career change and growth.