First up, I was thinking about this topic a bit over the last few weeks, then the lovely Alexis from the wunder under year posted on a similar theme a few days ago – I’m not usually inclined to believe in signs from the universe, but perhaps this is a nudge for me?
I have always felt compelled to volunteer in the communities in which I live and inhabit. My schooling experience was a big part of my volunteer history – I attended a private, all girls school for 7 years, and fundraising and volunteering was a part of school life. In highschool I offered to be a leader a camps for younger students, assist on projects, and engage in community activities like door knocks, raffle ticket selling and other fundraisers for charity. At university I was involved in running my state’s Youth Parliament program. Since then I’ve been involved in my state, national, and now international haemophilia foundations, in particular working on projects that assist both young people and women with inherited bleeding disorders.
A volunteer can be part of an essential gap-filler in the life of someone who is unwell or disadvantaged. Governments can’t hand out food baskets, or supply the homeless with Christmas presents, and doctors don’t have the resources to lend an ear every time the treatment for your condition is scary, stressful or isolating. For the volunteer, they are a chance to contribute in a meaningful way.
When I graduated from university, it was the height of the financial crisis. For four years, I took a series of short term, temp or casual office roles, and some casual retail jobs just to make ends meet. I’ve had 2 jobs in my life, one prior to graduation and another short term role about 18 months ago that I really liked. Both allowed me to write (which if you can’t tell from my frequent posts I quite enjoy doing), develop new skills, stretch my brain and both organisations were really honest about how they ran their business and how I fitted into it. Being INTJ, I really responded to that structure and honesty. I felt like I was contributing and becoming a better employee through using my skills and stretching my capabilities. All the other roles I’ve had in between and since haven’t had these elements.
This has been another great aspect to my volunteer roles. I’ve had the opportunity to do things that interest me, to work with people who are similarly interested in what I’m doing, and to feel like I’m contributing to the world around me. My volunteer roles have had a greater developmental influence on me than most of my paid jobs, and I love having my brain stretched and used and even the intermediary struggle with moulding it around a new idea or framework.
I’m really proud of my involvement in HFA’s current projects and the outcomes we’ve made – how cool is out website?! And one day, maybe, I’ll find something that gives the same satisfaction from my 9-5.