For the past two-and-a-half years and I’ve had the privilege of launching and editing Idealist Careers, working with writers, thinkers, and leaders to explore what it takes to build and sustain a social impact career.
Now I’m moving on from Idealist and handing over the reins to our very own Victoria Crispo. You’ve gotten to know her through her column Ask Victoria, Twitter chats, courses, and events. There’s even more to come; be on the look out for new ideas, articles, webinars, and opportunities!
We’ve covered quite a few topics in the past few years, from crafting great resumes and cover letters to job hunting at various stages in life to dealing with money while working for social change. Our most popular pieces tend to be highly tactical, ones that give you clear instructions on how to stand out in the job search or your workplace. Before I go, I’d love to share some of my favorite pieces that went a bit deeper. With over 900 articles it’s hard to pick just a few, but these are the ones that I found especially helpful, prompted me to think differently, or were fun to work on:
An interview with Peter Buffett on “Philanthropic Colonialism”: In July 2013 Peter Buffett, son of billionaire Warren Buffet and co-chair of the NoVo Foundation wrote an op-ed in the New York Times arguing that too much of philanthropy is focused on making the donor feel good, and not on providing actual solutions to pressing social problems. The article sparked a sector wide debate with some celebrating and sharing his point of view while others argued that he grossly oversimplified the situation. I interviewed him about what he learned from the conversation, what the causes of “philanthropic colonialism” might be, and what he thinks the sector needs to do differently.
How to shift from self-care to communities-of-care: Self-care! It’s hard to work in this sector without talking about this given the demands of our work. But are we looking at the problem too narrowly? After all, it’s not just how we, as individuals, handle our workloads, but also how our organizations, cultures, and sector as a whole view and manage the work we do. Betty-Jean Ward of YNPN shifted the conversation a bit and focused on lessons from “An End to Self Care” by B Loewe and “Communities of Care” by Yashna Padamsee. Some of the questions she asked: How have you – personally and professionally – experienced care, health, and sustainability (or lack thereof) as an individual? What about as part of a group or organization? What social factors, such as class, race, gender, and family role – have impacted those experiences?
An interview with Lodro Rinzler on finding meaningful work when you need to work: In this interview, Caroline Contillo—community manager here at Idealist—talks with Rinzler about the tension many of us of experience when trying to find a great opportunity. How do you pursue a meaningful career when you need a job right away? Does pursuing such work make sense when jobs in general are scarce? Rinzler explores these questions and the emotions behind them and how to think differently about your work.
An interview with Alice Longworth on shifting careers at the age of 62: On top of the applications and conversations, Longworth had to tackle the financial and social challenges that often come with trying to make a career switch over the age of 60. The details she shared were helpful to many of you and what struck me the most was how generous she was with her time and her story. She reminded me of the active, engaged community we have of people who are eager to make a difference and want to help others do the same.
An interview with Katie Radford of DoSomething.org on how she hires: Learning from hiring managers and HR professionals was a fun and rewarding part of this job. I learned a ton peeling back the curtain a bit and hearing about candidates who stood out, how people landed in HR, and what hiring managers look for. This post in particular prompted a great discussion around culture fit.
Writing to remember who you are: Because of all of the writing and editing I do for work, I neglected the importance (at least for me!) of personal and reflective writing. Tara Mokhtari—our resident Storyteller—kicked off her monthly column with a writing exercise designed to help us reconnect with who we are by writing to our 16-year-old selves.
I’m not big on good-byes, so I’ll just say: Don’t be a stranger! You can find me on Twitter @ajlovesya or over at the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), where I’ll be the Marketing and Publications Director starting in November.
Thanks for the lessons, insights, and community. Onward!