As the executive editor of an incredible, pro-social startup, I was working long hours at breakneck pace. I loved everything about my job—the company's mission, the talented team, the Los Angeles weather. Even the 16-hour days had a certain charm. All was wonderful until the morning the founder gathered the staff together to tell us the bad news: We were out of runway. Completely.
After an early career navigating the journalism industry in Chicago, where my rise to the editor-in-chief spot at an innovative women's culture magazine coincided with the demise of print journalism, I was fed up with having the ground shift suddenly beneath me. This time, I told myself I was done with startups and done with putting so much of myself into my work. I went on interviews for underwhelming positions at vanilla companies and thought about all the things I'd do with the mountains of free time ahead. As visions of regular, uninterrupted paychecks and easy workloads danced in my head, something annoyingly inconvenient occurred to me: I couldn't do it. I couldn't work for a company that didn't give me something to believe in. Come high risk or high water, I needed to find a new job to love. So I booked one more trip to San Francisco.
I reached out to companies with missions, cultures, and models that intrigued me. Some were hiring, some weren't. Some were well-financed, some were floundering. All were awesome. Tucked into this week of back-to-back interviews was a company I'd had my eye on for a while: TaskRabbit. I couldn't stop thinking about what would happen if TaskRabbit scaled — it could change everything about the way people work. And I could be a part of it. There was only one problem: They weren't hiring for any editorial or content positions. As I sat in a conference room in their SOMA office, they began sending people in to talk to me. Over the course of an afternoon, I had inspiring conversations with just about every team member, and I was smitten. A couple days later I got an offer. Only it wasn't a job: It was a three-month contract as a content strategy consultant.
I had full-time offers in hand from "safe" companies and a rapidly depleting bank balance—a three month gig wasn’t going to cut it. My amazing, supportive husband was game for whatever my gut said. My gut said "go." And wow, did it pay off. Now, as TaskRabbit’s Head of Content, I spend every day working with a dynamite team on a mission that matters. Looking back on the experience and my oddball career path reminds me that leaning in is the only thing that’s ever worked for me. The world moves fast, and the ground beneath our feet will always shift. Leaning in is what keeps us from falling down.