Posted January 27, 2011 by

4 ways to include community service in choosing a career

Combining your career and community service goals provides more options than you think. We hear a lot in the press about Generation Y opting for big money career goals instead of helping people. (I think they said the same about my Generation X and every one after the 1960s) “Going Green” is a slogan now applied to careers, in addition to household cleaning products. With all the buzz, this may be a good time to ask, where does community service (including environmental advocacy) fit in with your career goals?
The best way to include community service as part of your career goals is to follow the guidelines for making a good career decision, and include service goals along with consideration of your Holland personality types.
Helping people comes in many forms, both on the job and off. You do not have to choose a well-known service-minded occupation like Social Worker or Health Educator, although for some that will be the best match. If you do not score high in the Social personality type, then Social occupations will not be the best choice – but that doesn’t foreclose your ability to help others. Most people are a combination of types and some combinations are unusual. So if you are highest in the Realistic personality type, it may be better to choose a Realistic occupation if that is your highest score, and serve your community after work. Or choose a Realistic occupation, like a carpenter, and work for employers who primarily serve others (i.e. affordable housing nonprofits, Habitat for Humanity).
4 ways to include community service in your career plans:

  • Adapt the jobs that interest you to a community service goal, if you make that your priority. For example, a pulp and paper scientist with a multi-national paper company can work on environmental initiatives – if you develop your skills in that area and seek out those projects.
  • Make community contributions “off the clock.” As part of volunteer work, church activities, or even a part-time job completely different from your regular work, you can make significant contributions. For example, a building contractor can volunteer his or her skills to Habitat for Humanity.
  • Develop and grow your skills so that you have the maximum job mobility. That way, if your employer acts in ways that conflict with your personal morality, environmental, and social views, you can leave.
  • Recognize that you do not need have to do everything all at once. Sometimes the ups and downs of life makes demands on your energy and time that make showing up to work and maintaining a career an achievement itself (having a child, caring for a sick relative, illness, etc.). By planning how community service fits in with your career and life’s ups and downs, you are more likely to include service and go back to it after a needed hiatus.

Fitting community service into our careers and lives is an ongoing process and according to well-known psychologist Martin Seligman, PhD., important to happiness. Being creative and practical about how it fits in with the rhythm of our lives and careers will make community service a greater part of our society – benefiting all of us.
Article by, Juliet Wehr Jones, M.D. and courtesy of Career Key, striving to help all people make the best career choices, worldwide.

Originally posted by Candice A

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