As a young professional starting your career, you may have been dreaming about a robust one, one in which you got to help millions of people around the globe. When you started out, feeling like your contribution was making a difference must have given you that euphoric sense of pleasure.
However, the crazy, hectic, and extremely challenging roles and responsibilities we are required to take on throughout our growing nonprofit careers can take a toll on us. That’s when the love and passion for our nonprofit career may decline, causing us to (guiltily) wonder why we took this route in the first place.
It’s called burnout and happens to almost anyone, in any profession. And if you’re at an early stage in your career, you might be starting to painfully realize this.
But if you want more than anything to stay committed to your career, reviving that sense of passion is crucial!
Here are 5 simple ways to fall in love, or back in love, with your nonprofit career.
1.Remember that any successful career requires hard work: As you climb up the ladder, you might be loaded with roles and responsibilities that you never imagined you’d be doing. However, you must remind yourself that hard work is required in almost any profession to get promoted. When you want to make a difference, you’ve got to give it your all. Remember, this is not a fantasy, this is real life. And real life required immense hard work—regardless of your chosen career!
2.Build your career around love: One of the best ways to revive the passion for a nonprofit career is to think about that one, powerful force that motivated in you in the first place. It’s not just compassion, or care, and it’s not mere charity either; it’s what sums up all of these words into four letters: love.
When we work out of love, we learn to be giving, caring, kind, compassionate- all the qualities that you’d associate with a person who is a great fit for a non-profit career. Without love, we become selfish and we forget to see the reasons why we choose to make a difference. If you feel the need to rekindle that love, try to find love in the little things, and most importantly people, around you. Revive that sense of love, and you’ll revive the love for your nonprofit career.
3.Realize the perks: While many of the cons are a lot like those in a typical, for-profit career, there are several pros that are completely different from what you’d find or experience in the corporate world. For example, nonprofit careers can provide flexibility, allow for a certain amount of autonomy and ownership of your projects, and attract leaders who appreciate a broad skill-set.
4.Know the role your personal life plays in how you feel overall: This barrier is often one of the culprits when we start falling out of love with our nonprofit professional careers. It’s important to remember that in any career, be it for-profit or nonprofit, has to be managed alongside our personal lives—that is, if we plan on thriving in that career and not giving it up anytime soon. So, if we’re worrying about personal problems- or even happy milestones, such as getting married, completing the dissertation writing, or having babies- it can cause a downturn in our abilities and outlook at work. While it’s natural to get caught up in one area of life, remember that checking in and taking inventory to discover the source of your emotions or sense of displeasure will really help when it comes to resetting your outlook about your work.
5.Create a change of scenery: Sometimes, being stuck in one position for too long is what causes us to experience burnout and want out. It’s natural for humans to get bored (that’s why product brands change their formulas and packaging every once in a while). Consider moving your desk to a new location at the office, take a day trip, or even just explore a nearby (but different) neighborhood.
As you expose yourself to new visual stimuli, take note of differences you feel in your mood. You may even want to experience a different environment by volunteering someplace new over the weekend. Those sweet smiles and genuine thank-yous from complete strangers might just remind you of why you fell in love with your cause area in the first place.
6. Think about your impact: Finally, go over the reasons why you do what you do and how it impacts the society. Even those mundane tasks you have to do every day somehow contribute to the organization’s goals, which in turn contribute to the society. You might have to start with the small tasks and then slowly build up with larger, more important reasons for accomplishing them. This will lead you to a much brighter and more fulfilling big picture.
About the Author:
Rochelle Ceira is a career consultant who helps new grad students and experienced academicians alike with making the right call when it comes to their career. When she’s not working, she loves spending her time on her favorite activity, reading Dan Brown novels.