If someone offered you a job where you could change the world, would you jump at it? What if you had to give up a great job at Google?
That was Jen Dulski’s dilemma when Change.org recruited her.
Most people in the Valley know Jen Dulski from her long career as an Internet tech executive. She was one of Yahoo’s first 500 employees and was later acqu-hired by Google when it bought her startup, Dealmap, in 2011.
In January, Dulski left Google to become chief operating officer at Internet petition site Change.org.
But what you may not know is that Dulski actually started her career as a high school teacher and an activist. In 1993, well before joining Yahoo, she founded a non-profit called Summerbridge Pittsburgh to help under-privileged kids go to college. It’s still going strong today.
When Change.org called her, she saw the job as “a perfect way to combine both of my passions, scaling successful Internet companies and making the world a better place,” she told Business Insider.
Even so, it was a difficult decision to leave a lucrative position at Google.
“I also have two daughters so it’s not just me and my decision but a decision that affects our whole family,” she says.
The tipping point was a conversation with her mum who was concerned about the new job in part because Change.org members tackle controversial issues. “There’s a certain level of risk,” in the world of activism, she says.
“I could hear myself trying to win her over. And the fact that I was trying to convince her that this was a good idea, gave me the signal that I really thought this was a good idea,” she says. One way “you can tell if you really want to do something, or not, is the way you describe it to other people.”
That might just be the best tip ever on how to make a tough decision.
A few facts about Change.org:
- Change.org is a for-profit “B corporation,” meaning it’s been certified as a socially responsible company.
- Since January, registered users have doubled from 20 million to 40 million. It’s growing by about 3 million users per month.
- It makes money by selling ads. It also lets organisations “sponsor” petitions where users can opt to share their email address with the sponsor.
- In May it took its first investment, $15 million mostly from eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam’s philanthropic venture firm Omidyar Network.