Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give” and an added bonus for job seekers, volunteering can lead to new job opportunities!
In theory we understand that a life worth living is about what we give to others. We nod our heads to this idea. But how can we put this idea into practice when we focus all our attention on our internal struggles? Make a living. Put the kids through school. Transport the kids to this activity or that. Move that stack of paper from one side of the desk to another.
Find a job. Now that is a big one.
What if making a life is interrupted by finding a job? Finding a job takes precedent over most everything, doesn’t it, especially if finding a job undermines our personal security. Then giving back moves to the back burner.
I have been there myself. When I had mouths to feed and a mortgage to pay and a job to find, it was all I could do to muster the energy to network with a smile on my face. I had little energy or interest in giving back. That could wait until life became more settled.
But what if there was a way to combine the idea of giving back and the need to make a living? Intriguing idea isn’t it?
I practice what I preach so I have lots of coffee with lots of interesting people! Yesterday I had coffee with the head of Junior Achievement in our area. A mutual friend introduced us so we met for coffee to explore what we can do for each other. I take this networking business very seriously!
My new friend, Michael Gaffney, came up with an intriguing idea. What if job seekers opened themselves up to volunteer with Junior Achievement? Interesting… Think about it for a moment.
Consider what you need to find a job these days:
- Lots of energy… even when you don’t feel energetic
- A plan so you don’t wander around aimlessly waiting for the phone to ring
- A wide network of people
- Creative ideas to get your name out there to people who can help you find what you want
- New ideas to think about and talk about to others
- A reason to get out of the house
Michael might be on to something here. Junior Achievement’s tagline is “Empowering young people to own their economic success”. JA volunteers teach students a prepared curriculum about the business world, personal finance and economics. Volunteers select the time frame that works best for them. You talk about something you likely know a bit about with students who are interested in what you have to say.
You get more than you give! Here are some of the advantages I can think of off the top of my head:
- Be around young people with lots of energy
- A chance to focus on something other than yourself
- A place to be at certain times of the week
- Something to put on your resume and talk about with prospective employers
- A way to meet and network with people who can help you find what you want
The list of companies that support Junior Achievement in my community reads like a Who’s Who of desirable employers.
Wouldn’t it be nice to get the energy, information and contacts you can use in your job search and give back at the same time?
I am giving it a try! I volunteered to teach a program on Global Market Place (curriculum and activities all provided to me) at a local elementary school in May. I will report back how it goes. But I am confident that volunteering with Junior Achievement will be a win-win for the community and for me! How about you? Check out Junior Achievement for yourself and find your own win-win!