Volunteer work while j*b se*rching

will-work-for-free

I’m a self help junkie. I guess I figure SOMEONE out there knows what they’re doing! That’s not always the case but in reading books and articles on job searching I have often read that it’s good to volunteer while going through a job search or career transition. I have often looked for volunteering opportunities regardless and about six months before I left my job I started volunteering for the Taproot Foundation. Taproot is an excellent organization that puts groups of professionals together on consulting projects that last about 4-6 months to help non-profit organizations. Having volunteered for several organizations in the past, Taproot is a wonderful, well-organized, professional foundation that, I felt, treats their volunteers as professionals and seeks to provide quality help to their “client” base (the non-profits they help). We had an awesome group of five finance professionals that sought to advise and build a financial model for an education non-profit. This project reminded me of what it was like to work with a cool team on a cool project for cool people.

Now that I am out in limbo I have done a little volunteer work for the same education non-profit that we worked with through Taproot and, while it doesn’t give me the “boost” that I expected, it does get me out of the apartment to interact with people in the real world for a good cause. It helps me check a “completed” box at the end of the day that includes an appreciation for my efforts, as opposed to the hated, fruitless tasks related to that which we shall…. not…… name….

It helps that I worked with this organization before in a professional capacity so I am able to use at least a small portion of my professional skills. Still, I think I might try volunteering in something more active or hands on. Perhaps something I’ve never tried before is in order– an animal rescue (though I risk coming home with another pup) or a gardening circle (I haven’t had a farmer’s tan -or any tan!- in years).  The verdict is still out on how much volunteer work helps your mindset during the job search, however, I highly recommend Taproot Foundation as a great organization to volunteer with. Another organization I enjoyed being a part of was Streetwise Partners which seeks to help under-resourced adults improve their employ-ability by improving their office/administrative skills, improving their computer skills, providing mentorship and helping them understand that process which shall… not… be… named.

Happy volunteering and Happy hunting.

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