For many years I wanted to be an Executive Director of a non-profit. As a person who is very goal oriented, I was always aware of what my next career move should be. And over the past 18 years I’ve managed to advance my career just about every 4 years. So naturally, my internal alarm clock started ticking when I had been in my current position as the Assistant Director of my JCC for over 4 years. After a lot of careful consideration, I’ve come to realize that being the second in charge is the right seat on the bus for me. Here are the reasons why I thing being in the number 2 seat is the best location:
1. 1. You are not the ultimate authority but you still get to celebrate all the agency wins. It’s like being the assistant coach of your child’s little league team. When the team wins you get credit for the win but when the parent of the child who didn’t get to play complains, they go directly to the head coach.
2. 2. Your position can be tailored to your strengths and can change with you as your grow. As the second in command, I can still do the things I love. I have a passion for fundraising and throwing large-scale events. This wasn’t part of my original job description but doing these things gives me job satisfaction and it’s great for the organization.
3. 3. You are the pulse of the day-to-day operations. Everyday is different and you are the one that everyone usually comes to for help and advice. The Executive Director’s time is usually very scarce which makes you the go to person for staff.
4. 4. You don’t always to have to be the face of the agency. As the Executive Director, your job is to shake hands and kiss a lot of babies. When you are at an event the Executive Director is the one that always has to make the speeches. As the Assistant Executive Director, you can be behind the scenes and not have to be in front of everyone.
The money and prestige of being number one comes at a price. For many this is worth it but for me the above reasons out weigh my ego’s need to chant “I’m number 1!” I’m happy being Spock to my Captain Kirk.