Here at TNM, we provide a core group of contributing editors with a platform to inspire people with words, tips, and their real world advice. This month we are featuring some of our amazing contributing editors in the Tell Us Your Story: Contributing Editor Series here on our blog. These editors are the people who create new content for us to share with you on a weekly basis, and now it is your chance to hear their stories.
Our third feature is Shaunna Murphy who works full-time as the Foundation Associate for the Provident Bank Foundation and gets to follow her main passion of helping people.
Shaunna Murphy is a young professional who truly identifies with the term “career journey”.
Since graduation, Shaunna has experienced numerous ups, downs, happiness, and disappointment. The value of the career journey, though, is that it usually finds its way uphill, and Shaunna would say this definitely happened for her.
Inspired by her mother, Shaunna always thought she wanted to be a teacher, butwasn't quite sure, so she went into college undeclared. When she loved her psychology classes, and realized how much psychology related to helping people, she thought she had found the perfect sector for her. However, in a frank conversation with her advisor, she was told that psychology was probably not the path for her due to her performance in a couple classes. She was disappointed that someone who she thought was supposed to support her through every decision, was instead telling her that she should make new decisions.
Shaunna remained undeclared, and made a decision that, at the time, she did not know would be a life changing one. Shaunna volunteered in Louisiana helping with natural disaster relief. After that week volunteering, Shaunna knew what she needed to do. She wanted to make volunteering and working for a non profit into a meaningful career. Shaunna came back from this trip, declared communications as a major, and made it her mission to get as much relevant internship experience as possible. She used her classroom work to excel in her internship experiences, and loved every moment of it. Shaunna recommends that everyone take as many opportunities as possible, something she wished she had done in college. She was nervous to join clubs and get involved, but trying new things and taking yourself out of the comfort zone can make a huge difference. “Learn to be comfortable out of the box”, she says.
After college, it was difficult to find a job in the non profit sector, so Shaunna began working for a PR firm, where she wasn't completely happy. Shaunna knew what her ultimate goal was, but she didn't know how to get there so she began to pursue grad school. Rutgers University-Newark with a masters in Public Administration with a concentration in non-profit management. Shaunna notes that “every decision I made on my career path was life changing. Each choice helped me in the right direction and worked toward my main goal: I want to make a difference in the world.”
After grad school, Shaunna started a part time job event planning for United Way, the non-profit in which she had traveled with originally, and also had her first internship with. After a while, Shaunna wanted a bit more, regarding both fulfillment and salary, so she looked for something else. For a year, Shaunna worked for another non-profit recruiting volunteers, where she had to deal with difficult leadership and an uncomfortable work environment. The experience she was getting was great at the time, but again Shaunna began to look for something a big change both in the actual work, as well as the company culture. Now, Shaunna just celebrated 4 years as the foundation associate for the provident bank foundation. Instead of working in non-profits, she works on providing grant funding to the non-profits so that they can continue to do the work needed in the community. On a scale of 1-10, Shaunna notes that she is at a full 8 when it comes to her current job satisfaction.
On Joining The Niche Movement
Shaunna is proud to support both Kevin and The Niche Movement. The most important part of the community to her is that TNM is a more organic, creative place to find honest advise and networking. She loves the collaborative aspect of TNM, noting that while her story may not appeal to one person, they might know someone it would appeal to, or they might be able to even find a small bit of inspiration from her experiences. The connections and networking process are unlike any other to Shaunna. She thinks that the discussion of career happiness is necessary because people finally want to live their life. People are now creatively working to find ways to turn their passions into a career. People are putting in the work to be able to put themselves, their happiness, and their mental health first. And they deserve it.
Shaunna’s Bonus Life Tip
Find a mentor. It doesn't matter what your age is, or where you are in your career. There is so much to learn every single day and so if we try to be a sponge, we can learn and grow so much in the world. Take advantage of the advise others have for you, and learn from their experiences whenever you can.
The career journey can be tiresome, seem endless, and even be somewhat discouraging. But, as we learned from Shaunna, it really is a legitimate and beneficial process. From switching career directions, to switching between jobs, Shaunna was ultimately able to find a place that makes her completely happy. As she celebrated her four year anniversary, she knows that all the ups and downs were worth it. Here are the main things you should take away from Shaunna’s story.
1. Find your passion. There are so many different options in the world, different ways to get involved, and different interests you might not even know exist. Try new things and find something that speaks to you.
2. Consider every career option. These days, opportunities are endless. You can take any passion, interest, or activity and turn it into a career if you try hard enough. Find something you love, put your heart into it, and figure out a way to make a living out of it.
3. Make connections. No matter who you are, there is always something left to learn. Wether you are looking to find new opportunities or just get a fresh perspective. Networking and relationship building should never end.