It’s easy to forget the power of volunteering. While it may be in bad taste not to go on and on and on about the importance it has in the community… I would instead like to focus on the power it can have on you… yes you… the one volunteering your time.
Andrew and I often like to joke that our university degrees (framed and hung nicely on our wall) really had nothing to do with where we are in our careers now. While taking Women’s Studies and Political Science I decided to volunteer (on impulse, naturally) at my college radio station. Andrew on the other hand, while studying Fine Arts and History, decided to start writing for the Sports section in our school newspaper because they needed someone to report on the school’s Rugby team. During our undergrad, year after year we moved up the ladder in those organizations. I eventually got a part-time position as a reporter and producer, and Andrew became the Sports editor. Then after graduation I worked full-time as the station’s Coordinator of Volunteers and Andrew landed an internship at a national sports organization.
More and more doors began to open which basically lead to the jobs we hold today–and to think its because we started out volunteering our time.
Anytime a friend talks to me about how they want to switch gears, find a new passion, or maybe go on a different career path I always suggest volunteering. Whether its volunteering your time for an organization you want to work for one day or volunteering at a place that gives you a sense of fulfillment–the benefits can greatly outweigh the time commitment. And of course–it has an amazingly positive benefit in the community.
Andrew now coaches a Junior Rugby team 3 days a week and he loves it. No, he doesn’t want to be a professional coach one day, but the position gives him a break from the 9-5 office life that we’re all so accustomed to. And he says, it feels really good to make a difference in kids’ lives.
Seeing how happy volunteering has made him makes me want to find a volunteer opportunity in the New Year. Just add it to the list of New Years’ Resolutions— but this is one I plan to keep!
Do you volunteer? I’d love to hear about your experience.