IF . . .
IF I hadn’t volunteered for the internship. IF the possibility for a job there hadn’t evaporated with the unexpected events that caused a hiring freeze. IF I hadn’t gone to that association meeting in place of my internship supervisor, this all wouldn’t be happening.
IF I hadn’t ‘missed out’ on sitting with what appeared to be the ‘lively’ table–teeming with networking potential–and instead got ‘stuck’ sitting at the near-empty table, I wouldn’t have found myself sitting with the current and past presidents of the association. If I hadn’t had their full attention when I spoke and paid full attention to what they said, I would have missed hearing about this job lead. The former president said, “I’m busy with an event in the upcoming two weeks, but I’ll call you afterwards.” I sent her a confident letter a week-and-a-half later, “Remember me? Let’s talk.”
We did–over the phone. I explained I’m new to grant writing, but have a wealth of writing, research and documentation experience. I have all the skills necessary to excel, and I’d love the opportunity to show her what I can do.
Score. First interview.
Score. Second interview.
* * *
CRAZY CHARLIE . . .
Crazy Charlie, as he is affectionately known in our neighborhood, is a generous soul but, let’s say, eccentric. He’s often stolen away in his garage from where the rumble of a tumbling machine mixes with the sound of broken-up tiles, glass, toilet bowls, and sinks chest-butting each other for hours on end. He’ll emerge periodically–usually in what looks like underwear but he swears are shorts–and share his gems with me . . . the tumbled glass and tile, that is. They are kinda cool, though I don’t know what to do with them. I accept his gift graciously.
I also accept an invite to dinner. My partner is away on business and Charlie injects an extra piece of info . . . it’s his birthday.
“Well, okay,” I find myself saying. I know I’m nuts for accepting, but something inside tells me I should. Not five minutes into dinner conversation and he asks what I’m doing for work. “Volunteering,” I tell him, “. . . focusing on grant writing.”
“Really? I just had dinner with [so-and-so] . . . you know . . . he’s the son of [so-and-so, a well-known entertainer from back in the day]. He does grant writing.”
I think I may have actually dropped my fork at this point, “No kidding. Can you get me a chance to talk with him–just to get the inside scoop?”
“Sure,” Charlie says. “You know your boyfriend knows him, too. We can all have dinner together sometime.”
[ASIDE: When my partner got back from his business trip, I smacked him on the arm, “You didn’t tell me you know . . . “]
A WEEK LATER . . .
A week later, I was having lunch with the grant-writing son of a famous guy. As I met him at his airplane hanger, a picture of his Dad on the wall, I thought, What a funny, funny world we live in. The chance moments that lead us from one thing to the next. The little voice inside you that says, Hmmm . . . coincidence? I’m inclined to think not.
Now, I didn’t get a job lead from famous guy’s son, but he DID know of the place where I was interviewing. He’d been to some of the meetings of the very same association and had things to share about that experience. He gave me all the assurances I needed about the serendipitous path I was on. He even happened to live in the exact town where my job would be located, alleviating my concerns about the safety of the area I’d work. Every concern was put to rest in the time it took to have lunch, and I made a valuable connection. I got enough sagely advice about writing and grant writing in particular to last me a lifetime.
Serendipity at it again.
Follow the SERENDIPITY SERIES for More Serendipitous Revelations
Definition of SERENDIPITY:
The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
An instance of making such a discovery.