Don’t work for an NPO? Who cares, go make a difference!

I am working on a new initiative at work that will highlight the amazing social impact that local businesses are having in the community. Similar to a “40 under 40″type program, it will recognize businesses that are doing social good, be that philanthropy, community service, sustainability, etc. This, coupled with the many students that have recently come to me trying to figure out their career path, prompted me to write out my thoughts on this subject, YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORK IN A NONPROFIT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. This is one reason that I am starting this work initiative. I want college students to see that there are endless ways you can positively impact your community outside of having a career in nonprofits.The key is finding jobs that are meaningful and allow you the opportunity to make a difference.images

You might think it is easier said than done, but it actually can be that easy! There are two different situations here that I mentioned, 1. a new professional looking for a job, and 2. the established professionals (or businesses) that can figure out how to make their current work have more of a social impact. Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace report shows that 70% of American Workers are disengaged at their jobs anyways, so don’t be part of that statistic and figure out how to engage yourself in more meaningful work!

1. New professionals have the opportunity to specifically find a career that allows you to engage with the social sector without having to work IN it. They can; be a social entrepreneur tackling world problems as an innovative for-profit company, work for large corporations in their philanthropy/foundation divisions, practice public interest law serving charities and public organizations, micro finance, the list goes on!

Here are a few resources to find those kinds of jobs:

Try taking the Self-Assessment: Passions Mosaic on Net Impact’s website to clarify the impact you want to have in your career, and walk away with a better understanding of how you can tackle the issues you care about. I went to the Net Impact Conference last year in San Jose and it was so great to see all of the MBA students there that genuinely wanted to positively contribute to the social sector. I enjoyed it so much, I am considering going again this year (and I never like to repeat conferences) to see Dan Pallotta, so I encourage you to check it out!

2. Those already in the workforce can figure out how to make their current job or business more awesome. Think about ways you can incorporate sustainability efforts into your workplace, maybe you start a philanthropy among your colleagues, work with your supervisor (or if you own your business, you do it) to allow time off for community service days, etc. there are many ways, big or small, that you can do this.

Often times we get too bogged down with taking a job that we think we should be doing, or that other people are expecting from us, don’t let that happen to you, it is never too late to switch to a career that you find more meaningful and fuels your passion for social issues. There is an amazing story mentioned on Ernest Barbaric’s site about a Taiwanese monkey trap. Read it here! He discusses the idea of caring too much about titles and what others think of us as he references “second acts”.”A second act is a powerful moment in time, when we make a transition from doing a “job” to doing meaningful work”. We need to let go of those fears and take the plunge into a career that we know we will truly enjoy.

Tomorrow I am attending the Echoing Green certified Work on Purpose facilitator training to help emerging professionals find work that really matters to them, so tune in next post for even more on this topic.







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