Need More Fulfillment at Work? Explore a Career that Gives Back

two sets of hands holding a plant to symbolize a career that gives back

Are you feeling like you need more from your work? Are you looking into a career that helps other? People often think a career at a non-profit is less taxing than one in the corporate sector but careers in social responsibility require a lot of commitment. The field is full of challenges, emotional toil is high, resources are limited, and in some cases, people’s lives are at stake. So before you make the big career move, there are a few questions to ask yourself. Answer them as truthfully as possible as this will help you determine if a career that gives back to society is a good fit for you.

  1. What do you find most intriguing about volunteer work and/or social work?
  2. Is the charitable aspect missing in the field you are currently in?
  3. Are you excited about the possibility of offering resources, guidance, and support to other people?
  4. Do you go out of your way to understand people’s struggles?
  5. Is being patient one of your strong characteristics?
  6. Are you empathetic and understanding of other people’s issues?

In addition to these questions, take some time to consider your field of interest. Are you interested in a career that works with the elderly or children?  Do you want to help women or young girls?  Do you want to protect animals? Or would you rather be involved in causes that help the environment?

Also, understand how your current skills and past work experiences can benefit a non-profit. Aptitudes such as leadership, communication, research, and analysis can be extremely valuable.

A Career that Gives Back Offers Vast Choices in Social Responsibility

elderly hand on top of a younger hand to symbolize a career that gives back

If you are still reading, there’s a great chance that you are interested in a career that gives back to society. The field of social responsibility is rapidly evolving as people are looking to find more purpose in their careers.  And with the emergence of buzzwords like “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR), more emphasis is being placed on career opportunities that give back to society.

Not to mention that as more companies integrate social, environmental and ethical contexts in their strategies, additional roles with an emphasis on giving back are being created in the corporate sector. You no longer have to work for a non-profit to have a socially responsible role. Jobs such as director of diversity, VP of community affairs, volunteer coordinator, community relations manager and director of corporate giving are just a few that are on the rise. Furthermore, the increasing awareness in matters concerning the environment is driving another development in the field. Green jobs and sustainability careers are growing, opening up even more opportunities.

So if you are ready to take the leap, here are just a few of the many roles you can consider:

  1. A counselor in varied settings such as schools, welfare offices, and job search centers
  2. Interpreters, translator, speech pathologists and sign language experts
  3. Dietician, nutritionist and food scientist/researchers in hospitals and shelters
  4. Social and community services coordinator whose work involves data analysis, coordinating grants and overseeing community and social programs
  5. A Corporate Social Responsibility Officer in a private firm whose work is to connect the company with communities and causes
  6. Careers that advocate for environmental protection such as environmental scientists, conservationist, and environmental engineers
  7. Lawyers offering free legal aid
  8. Emergency response personnel, firefighters and police officers

Taking Small Steps Towards the Big Leap

Transitioning to a socially responsible career can be a big step but it can be less daunting by following a few simple steps:

  • Spend time looking into your options.
  • If you find an industry or an organization you’re interested in working with, try volunteering first. This will give you a better understanding of the organization and the opportunities that may exist.
  • Network with others in your field of interest. Getting involved and meeting people in the industry can open doors and provide additional opportunities.
  • Find out if your current company has any CSR roles available. You may not even have to leave your current employer to find a more meaningful role.

Switching to a career that gives back to society may be enticing, but it can also be a daunting endeavor. It may require additional certifications and training, the compensation may not be as generous and it may be emotionally challenging. But it can also be extremely rewarding and give your job meaning and purpose.

About the Author

Ellen Madden studied Communications and Women & Gender Studies at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. She is navigating motherhood while working and celebrating life in Tampa, FL where she grew up. Ellen is a food lover and is learning the art of writing as she goes along.
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