Identifying Your Career Motivations: Roxanne Myslewski’s Job Search Success Story

For Roxanne Myslewski, the trick to finding a great job was examining her own career motivations. She asked herself what mattered most: was it a collaborative culture, a larger mission, or learning new solutions? When Roxane identified her priorities for a new job, the pieces started to fall into place.

What do you do for a career? Who do you work for?

I’m a fundraiser for the American Red Cross. I build and steward relationships, connect giving interests and priorities, and design campaigns and strategic plans in service to a life-saving mission. I work to ensure we meet our goals by creating and leveraging the power of relationships to sustain and grow programming in blood services, disaster response, service to the armed forces, and beyond.

How long did it take you to find this job?

I was lucky to be recruited for this position. While I was employed at my previous organization, I was looking to transfer my experience to a new organization with more career growth potential for about six months before a Red Cross recruiter contacted me in May 2019.

How did you find your job? What resources did you use? What tool or tactic helped the most?

A recruiter found me via LinkedIn – so the best advice I can offer here is update your networking tools. Make sure you’re all up to date and you have that little box ticked so recruiters can find you. But I was browsing job boards like Mac’s List and interviewing for several months before I was contacted. In terms of tactics, people say this all the time—so much so that it makes me cringe to repeat it. But, here goes: activate your network! What has proven unfailingly true over the years as I’ve grown my career here in Oregon is that people want to help each other succeed. Ask people you admire for advice. Buy them lunch. Be generous, appreciate their time, and ask specific questions to help you advance toward your goals. The more you’ve done your homework, the better your network can help you move forward. And word of your interests and competency will travel.

What was the most difficult part of your job search? How did you overcome this challenge?

Without question, the most difficult part of job-searching is the vulnerability we feel. But over time I’ve learned the hard way to be kind to my instincts and to trust my gut. We’ve all experienced that feeling of “something here doesn’t feel right.” Often, we suppress this. Better the devil we know, right? Change is scary, time-consuming, and can feel exposing. But eventually, that feeling continues to build, resentment can grow, the work can suffer, and you’re still stagnant. Sometimes we can boil over, or anxiety and depression can set in. Trusting our guts is a practice. When these scary feelings arise, we need to listen generously, get curious, and ask questions to help ourselves get specific. Is now a good time to look elsewhere? What are my goals? Am I prepared for a job or career change? Am I dealing with the “Should” or “Enough” language that can hold me back? (I’m not smart enough for that job – or – I should really be farther along by now.) Often, the most difficult part of any job search, aside from the time it takes, is the vulnerability we feel.

What is the single best piece of advice you would offer other job-seekers?

You already know the usual: an attractive, error-free resume and practiced, confident interviewing skills. But just as important is knowing what motivates you. We job-seekers are not looking for the next rung on the ladder, but rather the opportunity to grow, learn, engage, and find fulfillment. How can we determine if the job(s) we’re looking at will be the right fit if we’re not clear on what motivates us to come into work every day? Is it service? Money? Security? Creative collaboration? Innovation? Before we start looking for a new job, we must start by probing our motivations. This helps guide the entire process. 

Why do you love your job?

I’m lucky because I have my motivation trifecta: a strong, intelligent team, career growth opportunities, and I can see a direct through-line from my work to people in need receiving help.