Proving Des Moines is NOT boring

Who is a Young Professional?

Des Moines, I have a question.

How do you define a young professional? As Forbes’ best city for young professionals, we should likely have an answer to this question.

When looking at organizations like Young Nonprofit Professionals Network and Young Professionals Connection, I see people who are passionately seeking connections, challenges and growth in their careers. Wanting to make a difference in the community. Seeking professional development and personal growth. Making new friends and peers with which to share ideas and potentially grow your business, nonprofit or company.

ypc logoWhat seems like not that long ago, I defined myself as a young professional. Then life happened. I had a child and just six months later was laid off from my job. I was a stay-at-home-mom (a title I never thought I would have) for six months as I sought new employment.

Just when you think you have life figured out, you get curveballs thrown at you. I thought for sure my network could help me engage and find something new. But it honestly was harder than I ever imagined trying to reach out. I ran into one closed door after another. Thankfully, I happened upon a pretty awesome freelance opportunity that enables me to work nearly full time from home.

But as I have disconnected over time, I no longer feel as though I identify as a young professional. I’m young-ish, in my early thirties, and I have a professional job, but I haven’t been to a social networking function in who knows how long. I want to connect again, but I am not sure where or how.

As a working mom, I’m looking for opportunities to be involved and learn while also valuing time and balance with my family. This is something I thought a lot about as I returned to my previous job from maternity leave, and it’s something that continues to be on my mind as I seek to connect with others professionally.

So again, I leave you with more questions and am looking for your feedback. Where do you connect and find the most value in your professional growth? How do you find balance in your life? How can we as young professionals support each other as we navigate this life called working parenthood?