Go Volunteer!

Some years ago, after an unfulfilling job ended, I returned to Job Connections, feeling a bit like a failure. I talked with one of the leaders of the program after the meeting and asked him for some advice on how to get back into a job search. I’ll never forget what he said. “JP – as I recall, you’ve always been involved in volunteer work … why don’t you get back involved again?”

He was right – I had let my volunteer work drop off as I got more involved in my job, so when my job ended, I just started feeling sorry for myself. Getting back involved with Junior Achievement and the theater company I was part of was just what I needed to focus on others rather than myself.

As I started a new career last year, I got even more involved – volunteering for assignments, joining my MBA alumni group, looking for ways to help others, and connecting people I met with others who might help them.

It wasn’t hard and in fact, it was fun and pretty rewarding. Now as I meet new people and others who are in transition, I am finding that I can share my ever growing network to help them, too.
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Here’s an example – a friend and former employee contacted me earlier this year and said she was a free agent once again. I knew how talented she is and talked to another friend who was a
senior manager with a large company. He said “JP – I’ll be happy to meet with her, but we have a hiring freeze and I can’t help her here.”
A month later I contacted my friend and asked her how the meeting went… she said that she’d had 4 interviews with his company and was going to meet his boss from back East the next day. She is now the Director of Sale Operations for my friend – he recognized her talents and created the position for her.

So why am I writing this? If you really enjoy people but are shy (as I
once was) putting yourself out there to meet others can open so many new opportunities – career and personal. Once people know that you are concerned about them (whatever it might be – large or small – a job opportunity or a new recipe) they will want to return the favor. The more people you meet, the more opportunities will result.

There are no guarantees in life, but getting out there and volunteering will force you to meet others, many sharing the same giving philosophy – and you may find yourself rewarded in ways you never expected, maybe even a new, fulfilling career.
What do you have to lose?

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