Oh dear, less than half an hour of the day left and looks as though I left this later than I would have liked!
I’ve gotten myself situated in a rather hectic schedule lately. On top of my full time call centre work, I’ve taken on two voluntary positions: one with Cats Protection and one with a cross-community organisation called Community Dialogue. It works out that I don’t really get a day off!
And while I’m busy outside my mind sometimes, I find I’m better when my schedule is packed to the max. My last year of my undergraduate, I worked two jobs and had two dissertations to write. And there was still getting all my general education classes finished off full time as well. Looking back, I’m not sure how exactly I swung that one or indeed survived (or graduated . . . ha!)
I’m prone to procrastination, if there’s only a few wee things needing done, well, I’ll put them off. If there’s buckets load that *had* to be done, I plan my time better. I wish that I could just get the little stuff done without the urgent OMG OUT OF TIME, DOOOOM! feeling, but a quarter century into this journey and there’s no signs of improvement there.
I love my voluntary work. My job that pays the bills is for a major bank and I’ll be honest, I don’t really have the heart of a banker or a sales person. It doesn’t motivate or satisfy me in any real way. But it keeps a roof over my head for the time being, so I do my very best at it. But the voluntary work serves three purposes.
One, is less altruistic: I want to work in the voluntary sector, ideally in either one of the capacities that I volunteer with (rescuing companion animals or community/conflict work, couldn’t really be much different, but there we have it). And a prerequisite for most of the paid positions is that the applicant has some voluntary experience, which is fair dues really.
The second is the warm and fuzzy feelings. I work on the Reunite project for Cats Protection, which is exactly has it sounds. Cat is reported lost or found and I go about trying to match it with the records we have. I’ve had one confirmed success so far (only been at this particular project for a handful of weeks, I’m hoping there will be more!). It was just such a lovely feeling when I made the match and when the owner, who thought her cat had just decided to wander away to go die somewhere (seriously), came into the centre and there was her kitty. That was so cool. It won’t always be as nice, as several as the cats reported to us as found have come in as road traffic accidents or have been wandering for some time, but with every happy ending, there will be sad ones as well.
The third purpose is networking. When I asked Community Dialogue if I could volunteer with them, I was upfront about wanting to gain further experience to move towards paid employment in the field. And they were more than happy to take me on with that premise in mind. So in return for my services as a volunteer, they’re going to introduce me to their contacts and involve me as often as they can in their work. I honestly would have been happy enough with the project they’ve given me to work on, but this is extra icing on the cake.
I think this is a GREAT way for many young graduates, like me, who are struggling to get work or get into their chosen field. This allows me to network and actually get a feel for the work. My only regret so far is that I’ve waited so long to go down this route. Honestly folks, if you’re out there struggling, why not give the companies who do what you want to do, a few hours of your free time. It mightn’t always lead to a paid job, but it’s valuable experience and helps keep the skills your developed in university stay sharp. This position wasn’t advertised, I contacted them directly and so far it has been a happy partnership!