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No don’t look away! I have here a potential valuable opportunity for you to use your core technical skills in order to gain more experience in the commercial space, and probably feel good about it in the process.
Charities are non-profit organizations, but they are organizations and they are commercial. Actually many are profit-oriented organizations, but their stockholders are the people they serve, be it homeless, sportsman or schoolkids. Charities are always in need of skilled workers who offer them value. They are not, if you’re under the impression, a workforce of the 2nd-grade. Charities are becoming increasingly professional and the work more challenging. Anyway, enough semantics.
My idea for you is that charity work has a huge potential for exposure in other business functions other than your own. Charities are generally small (but not always) and require it’s workers to get involved in more than their niche. It is in this way that offering yourself to a charity for gainful employment could give you engagements you may never have found yourself in. You won’t just find a more diverse business environment to learn from. You’ll probably find a higher degree of social and cultural diversity, leading to greater self-confidence and self-esteem. Your work will add to your society, culture and community.
Charity work is also an excellent way of meeting potential new contacts and future employers as well as opportunities to be publicized in the media. A number of my colleagues in previous jobs were brought in at senior levels because they were associates of senior managers and executives involved in the same charity. And I’m not talking about nepotism; I’m saying that they were respected hard workers who could demonstrate their worth and apply skillset in a meaningful and ethical way. Working for a charity is a statement of your personal values.
Lastly, charity work is a sound way of balancing you work-life. This isn’t easy when you’re entrenched into the guts of an organization. It will give you perspective. I strongly recommend you search for opportunities or organizations in the googleplex as soon as you can. I personally involved myself in a charity helping disadvantaged children find hobbies and interests in computing. I enjoyed it so much it spurred me to looking at personal development in technical professions as a career, and hence SimonStapleton.com!