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What's your North Star?

I just got off of the phone with a prospective candidate I was excited about. Part of working on the People Ops team involves searching different talent networks (ex. LinkedIn) and reaching out to those I feel could potentially be a strong applicant for one of our openings. Think of it as professional stalking minus the creepy aspect. So, at the end of our call the prospective candidate, Kasey (not really their name but I like the name Kasey), said something that really made me reflect. They said , "[I don't need to find fulfillment in my work. Right now, I see a job as a means to financial independence. I don't need my passion to be tied to my paycheck.]"

I'd always tied my career to my fulfillment. I studied what I loved in college because I figured I had the rest of my life to worry about making money. I took a job aiding people facing deportation because I felt a personal connection to the work. However, I'd be lying if I said I didn't also feel the pressure to make money. In fact, that's the real reason I later transitioned to corporate law. The Bay Area ain't cheap, ya know? In my short stint in the corporate world I met people like Kasey whose job was just that, a job. And a lot of them were happy! I know, that's not exactly where you thought I'd be going with that, but it's true.  Tons of people are completely ok and genuinely happy finding fulfillment and pursuing their passions outside of their careers.

Then again, there are people like me whose careers are more than a paycheck. I've met quite a few of them here at Informed K12. It's the main vehicle through which we make the impact we want to make. You can think of our reason, the impact we want to make, as our North Star. If you're not familiar, "North Star" is often used figuratively as a way of describing something that guides us.

My North Star when I joined Informed K12 was doing people-centric work that helped others. I know, vague much? Yet, what really drew me to Informed K12 was that everyone here had their own North Star that led them to the same place. Some people have a passion for building systems out while others have a desire to see more equity in our school systems. The really cool thing I found was that every member of our team has a North Star aligned with Informed K12's goals and mission. It’s that combination of stars aligning (I'm sorry, I can't resist a good pun) that has made Informed K12 such a genuine and exciting place for me to work.

Unlike the actual North Star, our figurative North Stars can change as we learn more about ourselves. When I was 14, I wanted to be a doctor because I wanted to heal people. Think Dr. McSteamy but the Latinx version. One season of Grey's Anatomy later and let's just say my motivations changed. While they can change, another way to think about North Stars is as guiders in our journeys. My North Star led me to Informed K12, which then led me to begin doing Diversity and Inclusion work here, which has now led me to begin thinking of ways to create more access to opportunity to people from underrepresented backgrounds. That's the cool thing about North Stars. If they're broad enough, they can help you narrow in on something specific and impactful.

So, whether you're an avid reader of Informed K12's blog or accidentally stumble on this blog post while surfing the web for astronomical articles, I ask you this: What's your North Star?