One of my LinkedIn contacts has recently shared a post regarding social impact and volunteering, sharing her favorite resources and communities she is currently engaged with. It got me thinking about voluntary work, and why we are talking about it more often especially in the times of global workplace crisis.
I personally took up a new volunteer role this summer through code4covid community as copywriter and content creator allocating my time to unpaid work in exchange for new knowledge and experience. This was not the first time I volunteered, and every time I had different reasons doing so. Why volunteer, you may ask? What will you get in return?
It brings confidence
It is a known fact that during COVID many jobs have been lost. One of my friends had to lay off nearly 65% of her team last month. Even though this decision came from above, she was the one to deliver the news. Now a job hunt resembles a quest that each of us has to solve in order to get to interview, pass several levels, and win the trophy in a form of a job contract. To my experience, a job interview does not always land you the job. So you are likely to find yourself on the receiving end of yet another rejection. How many do you think you can handle?
A job rejection may involve some constructive feedback that can help you prepare for the next interviews to come. However, most of us will tend to focus on the fact that someone else was better for the job. Someone else was better, period. This will most likely impact your self-confidence. If you check, there are many articles on rebuilding your confidence after a job rejection. Indeed, it does leave a mark. And that is not the worst of it. Bigger risk – it might impact your self-value.
It rebuilds your self-worth
Self-value, self-worth or self-love is the sense of one’s own value as a person, how much you appreciate and like yourself. When feeling unworthy and useless, it is easy to lose a sense of purpose in life. This is how apathy begins, and depression evolves. And when depressed, it is much more difficult to keep looking for a job or even perform your normal day-to-day activities. Here is why volunteering comes to rescue – it gives you purpose and rebuilds your self-value.
Taking care of personal well-being has never been more important, and doing something that gives you purpose is just another way of doing so. Once, I charged shared electric cars with battery under 20% for over a month. I imagined someone needing full charge to drive and found purpose in preparing the car by charging it. This is how I tricked my mind to rebuild my self-worth and stop the spiraling effect. It is important that you keep liking and appreciating yourself.
It pays back
Finally, do not refrain from volunteering by thinking it is free labor. It is not. If you look at it from a different angle – What would you do when you have earned all the money that you need? What would you do if there were no money at all? What if the new form of payment was information and knowledge?
Volunteering is experience and learning. Information is just another currency to trade and convert. My current volunteering role earns me experience in content writing, and allows gathering knowledge around new business subjects I am interested in. Once you understand the value of your volunteering experience, you will know how much it is worth, and it will no longer seem free.