Good is not the only option
Jared Sperli stashed this in nyt
LAST September, the networking site LinkedIn added a feature that allowed its members to say whether they wanted to volunteer or serve on the board of a nonprofit. In just eight months, one million members raised their virtual hands.
But here’s the rub. LinkedIn has posted only about 1,000 listings seeking volunteers. That can’t begin to meet the demand from those on the site who are looking for ways to volunteer.
In much of the nonprofit world, there are more volunteers than there are spots. Staff workers don’t have time to manage more volunteers. As one executive told me, “If I get another volunteer I am going to go out of business.”
This demand to volunteer masks a broader problem in our society. It points to the lack of purpose that we experience in our jobs. As Jessica B. Rodell, a professor at the University of Georgia, has found in her research, “when jobs are less meaningful, employees are more likely to increase volunteering to gain that desired sense of meaning.” The numbers speak for themselves. In a recent Gallup poll, 70 percent of American workers said they were not engaged with their jobs, or were actively disengaged.
We cannot meet this demand by looking to “causes” as the primary driver in our careers and place the burden on nonprofits to fulfill this need. Instead, we need to look to ourselves and cultivate self-awareness to take ownership for creating purpose in our work.