I’ve been sharing random details about my situation as they were relevant, but I think it’s time to tell the complete story. The TL;DR version is short. My job has ended, and I’m looking for something new. If you want the rest of the context, keep reading after the jump.
I moved to Des Moines in August of 2011, to take a job as the Director of Research and Programs at the American Judicature Society. My primary work was studying judicial selection (how judges get to be judges in the first place). I conducted and managed grant funded research, wrote articles and opinion pieces, gave public presentations and legislative testimony. I also wound up writing press releases, updating the website and social media feeds, and the other things that people do at understaffed nonprofits.
I have to confess that I made the move somewhat reluctantly. After living my whole life near Philadelphia, and in the city proper for seven years before and after law school, my conception of Iowa was entirely consistent with my East Coast snobbery. I expected to be bored out of my skull, surrounded by people for whom corn (and the growing thereof) was the most exciting thing in their lives.
Instead, I discovered a vibrant, diverse, engaged community, with opportunities to experience culture, art, food and entertainment in an atmosphere that lacked a lot of the pretension and self-importance of a place like Philly. I’ve met some wonderful people, made invaluable personal and professional connections, and begun to identify with the community in way that was entirely unexpected.
Early in the summer of 2013, I found out that AJS was moving to Nashville, TN, and my position was going with it. I was faced with the prospect of starting over in another unfamiliar city, or staying in Des Moines and finding a new job after the end of September. Neither option was exactly exciting, but after a lot of thought, the safety and familiarity of the job didn’t mean as much to me as the people and organizations that have become a part of my life in Iowa.
What’s important to remember when I talk about Des Moines is that I haven’t exactly grown out of my elitism. I’m still very much a city person. I value a certain amount of culture, sophistication and tolerance. Des Moines has all of those things in abundance, and it’s become a place that I’m proud to call home.
The last thing I need to make this place perfect is a job where I can challenge myself, put my skills, education and experience to good use, and hopefully give back to this community that I prize so highly. I haven’t found it yet, but I’m confident that it’s out there, out here, in this city that I’m so happy to be a part of.
Come on, DSM. Let’s do this.