Having decided a career-elevating position is more important than money, I have been pursuing opportunities for the first time in my life.
Don’t get me wrong: everybody needs money; money = food = energy.
I have never been one for volunteering and here is the important explanation:
In middle school, I was introduced to the “beach sweep” version of volunteering. Taking place around a toxic, city lake surrounded by “carnage” (dead fish, heroin needles, human nests, the occasional stray bullet, and busy traffic on all sides), my first volunteer experience was not exactly great. The second “beach sweep,” a landscaping project, was really fun until every single kid, including myself, broke out in poison ivy so strong we needed to take super steroids for a month (longer for some).
I swore then and there, “I’m never volunteering again.”
I know, some of you must be thinking, “Who is this spoiled bitch?” Well, guess what: I am admitting I was wrong. I should have more open-minded, less selfish, and less proud.
In these tumultuous times, as my young brain begins to comprehend personal impact, I have felt the need more than ever to give back, to tell someone “Hey, you, you’re great and I want to help you somehow.” I just wasn’t sure how. That’s partially why I’ve started this blog—to host an anonymous platform which people can use to process their experiences and feel their importance.
Needless to say, I should have given volunteering another chance sooner. I missed a lot of amazing opportunities to give back.
It only took fifteen years to suppress the negativity and pride to give volunteering another chance—and I cannot express how glad I am for it.
Through an amazing friend (you know who you are—you also inspire me you wonder-nugget), an opportunity came about and I found my next move.
My Amazing Friend talked to a local scientist who needed help with their PR and social media management. No resume, no application, no interview: just a meet n’ greet “What can we do for each other?” conversation developed. Basically, how interviews should be (If only I’d known way back when). It went great.
Understanding I am currently between jobs, school and otherwise, the scientist saw a chance seldom people see in me (that’s not a pity-party, I cannot blame anyone for overlooking me when people are moving into my city from the art capital of the world and deservingly sucking up the creative jobs, FYI).
So, I was offered a volunteer-ship to gain beneficial experience, as mentioned in my previous post.
In the past week, I have attended meetings with both the funders and board, shared insight and ideas about PR, and written a press release (which was apparently really good—I’ll take the compliment!). Working hard for something I am passionate about, doing something I am applying to graduate school for feels good. I am applying my degree, using my connections, able to connect with the creative community, and working from home while I run this blog, run my store, pack to move (50% done!), prepare for Mexico, apply to other jobs and to graduate schools.
Everything feels right.
I haven’t expected anything (specifically impending failure and doom), haven’t asked for anything (specifically whether or not I’m doing the right thing), I continually shut down negative thoughts (I say “yes, I can” instead of “Maybe, but…”), and have learned so much because I am passionate.
Working hard, contently being myself, everything is right.
All of my research and soulsearching has paid off: I have been offered a contractor position by the scientist as her organization’s PR and Social Media Marketing Manager. I can still work from home, have the ultimate flexibility, and find additional work knowing I am already building my stats (resumes are just glorified “Pokémon” cards) with which I can attack the next great opportunity.
It may not be a big deal to some, but to the daughter of a businessman I now understand the merit of volunteering from a business stand-point: it shows the type of person you want to be in your community, in your career, and proves to yourself there is more to work than money.
Literally, I cannot express how grateful I am for everything—for everyone—that helped me.