I sat at our living room table the night before I was returning to work, feeling fearful and sad. I’d had eight weeks of leave with my son, and was now using the rest of my sick leave to return to work part time over the course of the summer. My boss was understanding – he had two children himself – but if I wanted to get the corporate sponsorships we needed to start off the school year right at the small undergraduate program I managed, I needed to get back to work.
I didn’t dislike my job, but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing forever. Corporate fundraising basically boils down to selling. I sold student consulting projects to corporate sponsors. The corporations benefited because they received access to talented students and dirt cheap consulting. The students benefited because the learning experience they gained working with corporations was unlike anything else they did in their college career. Believing in what you sell is a key to success, and I did. I felt like I was making a difference for both parties involved.