To find your heart’s work, you must listen within, ignore the critics and be brave enough to leap.
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In my early 20s, I drove over two hours in the middle of a frigid Michigan winter to see Kurt Vonnegut speak. I was excited to see one of my literary heroes, and I thought it wouldn’t hurt for an aspiring writer to get some career inspiration. The name of his talk was “How to Get a Job Like Mine.” Once he got on stage, he cheekily admitted that the title of his speech was a ploy to get people to come to his event, which made me love him even more.
Thousands of people have entered the cannabis industry since I started a decade ago, and the top question I get is how to get a job like mine. I like to joke that you need to work in corporate, get fed up, take time off, switch to nonprofits and then get stage III colon cancer in your late 30s, but it’s more nuanced. It’s about finding what feeds your soul, stimulates your mind and finding work that, no matter what, you move heaven and earth to do, even if that means temporary financial hardship and sacrifice. It’s a deep resonance that not many people find.
Finding Your Heart’s Work
I never considered a career in cannabis. It was definitely not my plan to enter the cannabis space when I moved to San Francisco. Career fulfillment meant having a more direct and impactful job aligned with my ethos and strengths, but I wasn’t sure where to start. This is a common theme for many people. One of the gifts I received from facing my mortality was a new lens through which to see the world, and I realized when I finished chemo that settling for work that didn’t feed my soul was probably a big part of what got me sick. I needed to make a significant change.
My cannabis career began when California only had a medical program, and part of our training was learning how to calmly navigate a federal government raid. I went from being a middle manager at a nonprofit in San Francisco to working a job I loved but was reluctant to tell friends and family about. Landing my job was a complete fluke. I likened it to working at a bookstore or a coffee shop — things I always wanted to do but were never practical. I never thought I would spend a decade in the cannabis industry.
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