No, sorry, I don’t have a paying job, yet. I am doing work though, as a volunteer, and that means I have my foot in a couple of doors.
How so? Well, it harks back to that old saying – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
When you send out a CV, or a written application, you are showcasing what you know. You, as a person, however, remain a blank slate. From an employer’s persepctive, you could be a hard worker, pleasant to get on with, funny, kind, generous, a real asset to the organization. Or you could be an absolute ratbag who just knows how to play the application game.
A job interview can help cross this personal barrier, but only a little because at interviews you have to be on your best behaviour. And let’s face it, how much of yourself can you truly express in half an hour? Sometimes even getting that interview is an uphill struggle. Trust me, I know. I’ve been trying for three months!
So this is where volunteering can help. You get to meet and interact with people in the industry you would like to join. They get to know you, and you get to know them… and all without obligation. If you don’t like the place, or the people, or the work, you can walk away, offer your services somewhere else.
Of course, the flip side is that the potential employer can also decide they don’t like you. That is why volunteering is a gamble of sorts. Nonetheless, I’m convinced it’s the very best way of finding the work, and the work environment that is going to make you happy.
Sure, money is important! Every time I get another bill in the mail, I’m reminded of just how important money truly is. But! I’ve worked at enough jobs I hated to know that enjoying your time at work is vital. So for me, volunteering is the perfect way to ease back into paid employment.
There is also another benefit to volunteering – confidence.
You see, no matter how much faith you may have in yourself, the longer you go without some kind of positive feedback, the harder it is to maintain that confidence. Self doubt creeps in. Pretty soon you begin to actively fear being put to the test. Then avoidance creeps in…
The emotions I’ve described are all my own, but I believe they can apply to anyone who has been out of the workforce for an extended period of time. They can also apply to most other endeavours in life. -mumble- writing -mumble-
Moving on. Over the last two weeks I’ve had volunteer gigs at Park Orchards and Greensborough, and next week I may get to help out at Panton Hill. I’ve also joined a tutoring agency. I’m not too sure about that last one, but I have thoroughly enjoyed my volunteer gigs, and they have boosted my confidence tremendously – I know I can teach, and teach well.
I’ve also enjoy the people. They are what makes or breaks a job in the long term.
I’ve often referred to myself as a bit of a hermit, and that is still true – I enjoy my own company and the freedom to pursue my own projects at my own pace. But as with everything else in life, balance is vital, and over the last two weeks I’ve realised that I need to interact with real life people as well as you lot. 😀 Why? Because I do like people, especially the nice ones, and I’ve been lucky enough to meet nothing but nice ones through my volunteering!
So me lovelies, the moral of this post is that reaching out to people is always a good thing. If, like me, you are looking for a job and not having much success with those CVs, reach out and volunteer. You may not get a paying job out of it, but the non-tangible benefits are very real, and well worth the effort!
cheers from a very happy Meeks 😀