(private or public, up to you!) hello mollyhall! i just saw your post about your carmen sandiego jetsetting job and was hoping you could talk a little about how you got it/got into that field? i'm close to graduating college and one of the options i'm looking at is working with nonprofits since i've done a lot of that in college but i honestly have no idea how to even get started looking.
hello, my lil pomme de terre! sure. so, i have kind of always vaguely known i wanted to work in the nonprofit sector (assuming i didn’t Make It as a famous singer or pulitzer prize-winning author, which: spoiler alert!!!! i did not) so that was always what all my internships were in, in college (not, to be honest, that that really matters). i flirted with staying in academia and tried publishing for a while after i left school, and also did some freelance journalism stuff, but ultimately i really hated being at jobs where i didn’t feel like i was making some kind of concrete difference in the world.
please understand that i am not saying that any jobs that aren’t nonprofit are useless or stupid jobs. (or even that all nonprofit jobs are created equal; there are, like, a lot of useless and even harmful nonprofits out there. good intentions do not good outcomes make.) only that the specific jobs that i had did not make me feel like i was contributing anything to the world. they were also just a little too repetitive, for me, because i’m an easily distracted bird that needs lots of shiny things to look at.
the things that were really important for me when i went back to looking at nonprofit jobs (including the one i now have) were:
- does the mission of this nonprofit line up with my political & ethical beliefs?
- do the programs of this nonprofit actually achieve what they’re trying to, and can they prove it?
- does the job available to me have room for me to grow professionally?
my actual title is project coordinator, which basically means that i’m a jack of all trades, and that works for me because i’m rarely doing the same thing twice. it’s very difficult to put on a resume but in day-to-day life it’s great. i like being the person with the clipboard at events that people are constantly approaching with their problems. (one time at a conference i was running someone literally asked me to sort out their phone bill. i was like, “uh. that’s … really …. not my ………. you know what, it’s fine, hand me your phone.”)
my recommendations when you’re looking for jobs is not to worry too much about what you’re QUALIFIED for and more what interests you. know that you’re not going to find your dream job as your first job out of college. or even probably your second. i started this job as an admin and moved up, so, you know. get in where you can.
i hope that’s helpful!!