The other day one of my friends reached out to me and said that he is totally dissatisfied with his career and he don’t know where is his life headed. To the best of my knowledge, this friend of mine has all the right qualifications, is armed with best in class certifications and possess relevant experience needed for corporate success. Yet, he ranked extremely high on career dissatisfaction. When I asked him why all of a sudden is he thinking of quitting, he said, he doesn’t find any purpose and meaning in his job.
Reasons for career dissatisfaction can be many and these could be both personal or professional. However, when we think about re-programming our career or plan strategies for our career success – thoughts that frame our mental construct are: Skills, Training, Competencies, Management Courses, Professional Courses, Coaching, Certifications and so on. What doesn’t naturally come to our mind is Volunteering and the positive impact it can have on one’s career. Most often, people think of Volunteering as a charity assignment and doesn’t really matter if it is pursued seriously or not. Whether or not you are looking for meaning and contentment in your personal and professional life, volunteering definitely shapes your life in significant ways. Here is how volunteering can enrich your life and career:
Improves your self-worth – No matter how well we are placed in our career, there are always times when we doubt our own sense of self-worth. We wonder and start questioning if we made right choices or has life been fair to us? When we volunteer, we genuinely contribute to someone’s life, purpose and vision with a true spirit of helping them without any expectation of return. This boosts your sense of self-worth and doing a volunteering activity regularly can improve your personality.
Improves your sense of responsibility – Volunteering isn’t about just signing a check and paying for the cause. It’s about contributing your time, energy, efforts, skills and involvement in making a difference in the lives of people. You take classes for the underprivileged people, you develop a website, you work with an NGO and take care of cleaning your neighborhood areas, you do a fundraising event for a cause – these all require personal commitment which develops your sense of responsibility and you know how your small efforts are making an impact.
Improves your understanding that "being kind is good" – There is so much disparity in the world, there is so much to be done that despite all the volunteer work, the challenges and problems that we see today won’t disappear. However, it is important to be kind to people always. Everyone has their own role, everyone has their own canvas and just by being kind you act as a catalyst for bringing positive change.
Improves your learning from real life environment – As a volunteer, most often you will be learning on the job, at the feet while on the street. There won’t be any learning labs or tutorials to help solve the problems at hand. You will mix challenges with opportunities and work out a solution that best suits the interests of your group. You will learn that resource crunch, lack of funds, lack of manpower are all challenges that can be solved creatively.
Improves your personal satisfaction – When you directly work for a cause, the impact and involvement that gets created is magical and a feeling of satisfaction and gratification is unparalleled. You see direct correlation between your karma and the benefit it brings to the people who are in dire need of the same. Your own value system gets strengthened and you start looking at the world differently.
Next time you think of lack of direction in your career, pick up a volunteering assignment or a project. Get involved and feel the difference.