Volunteering During the Recession – It Can Be Good for Your Career
The New York Times reports ” Volunteering Waning in Recession, Report Says:”
By STEPHANIE STROM Published: August 26, 2009
As the recession took hold, most Americans cut back on volunteer work and other civic activities, according to a survey conducted for the National Conference on Citizenship.
That finding undercuts anecdotal reports of volunteers’ flooding nonprofit groups as unemployment has increased and suggests the challenges faced by the Obama administration, Congress and foundations working to encourage greater volunteer service and civic participation.
“They’re not saying they’ve stopped volunteering, but they are cutting back on the time spent on volunteering and civic engagement,” said David Smith, executive director of the National Conference on Citizenship, which conducted the survey as part of a study titled America’s Civic Health Index,
It is quite understandable that in a recession people tend to “hunker down.” When times are tough, especially for those without a job, even the costs of gas or bus fare to the volunteering site must be considered. But I would argue that cutting back on volunteering is exactly the wrong thing to do for professionals looking for work. As discussed in a previous post, for example, volunteering can provide excellent opportunities for networking and fulfilling ethical obligations.
In addition, doing good for others makes you feel better about yourself. The decision to do something beneficial to others with your time puts you in charge of that time rather than letting your circumstances be in charge of you. These two “attitude adjustments” will go a long way towards helping you find employment or retain the employment you have. After all, other factors being equal the employee with the professional attitude is more likely to be retained than the one with out. These attitude adjustments will also take some of the sting out of the unemployment period.