As a college student about to graduate, I hear it all too often during my talks with other students looking for their first career: “I just don’t feel like I’m going to be helping anyone.”
The fact is, today’s workers – namely Millennials – want jobs where they can make a difference. People my age want to know they’re not just another cog in the capitalist machine – they want to know they’re making an impact, that what they do actually matters in the grand scheme of society.
They want jobs that will make their place in the social hierarchy worth it and hopefully, will have a positive impact on the world around them. This post on Forbes tells us how the Occupy Wall Street movement – which was largely rooted in a damaged trust in business and capitalist enterprises – has affected Millennial’s perception of what it means to be a good worker, and a good person.
I don’t blame my generation for wanting to make a positive impact in their work; I have these thoughts all the time. At Come Recommended, I love that I get to help others decide the best career path for them, and I love that I get to give advice to people who may be struggling to find employment.
I think that everyone deserves to feel like they’re making a positive impact at work. That’s why I decided to put together a list of four paths that make the world a better place. Are any of these careers right for you? Read on to find out:
1. Nonprofit Work
There are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the U.S., big and small, covering a wide variety of social, political, and economic justice issues. Within each organization, there’s bound to be tons of opportunities for professionals with any kind of background, whether you’re a communications guy, a finance woman, or an outreach whiz.
So what are you waiting for? To see where a nonprofit actually puts their money – and how credible they are – check out websites like charitynavigator.org, which can help you to determine if the nonprofit you’ve got your eye on has sound practices.
2. Freelance Work
While freelancing can be intimidating (living paycheck to paycheck isn’t for everyone!) this is a great way to focus on your own personal projects, and can even be done in conjunction with a full-time job (what else are you going to do every day after your 9-to-5?) or part-time side gig.
Set up your own website, and start branding and networking to get your work out there. Freelancing works well for independent creative projects, designers, writers, artists, you name it. Sites like Etsy.com can help you to easily set up your own online store.
Got a big idea? Don’t be afraid to jump in and attempt to create your own valuable business or organization. Sites like Kickstarter can help you crowdfund your creative projects–basically, if someone sees your idea on the site and likes it, they may decide to throw you some change to help out.
Check out Come Recommended’s Entrepreneur Guide for more details on how you can get started.
4. Volunteer Work
Okay, so this doesn’t constitute as a paying job, but hear me out. There are plenty of reasons that volunteer work can add a valuable element to your life. Even if you find yourself in a job you’re not immediately passionate about–maybe you just needed something to pay the bills for the next few years–volunteer work can be a great way (albeit unpaid) to add value to your everyday life. Check out what types of philanthropic or community organizations there are in your area, and get involved! Not only will you feel like you’re making a difference, but you’ll be able to meet like-minded people who want to make an impact just like you.
Growing up in the ever-connected Internet age–and an age that’s been impacted by movements like Occupy–has made Millennials socially conscious individuals… and this can only be a good thing. I encourage anyone who wants to make the world a better place to get out there and do it in any way that best suits their interests and lifestyle. Good luck!
Does your job make a positive impact? Are you struggling to find value in your work? Would you consider any of these options? I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at ComeRecommended!
About the Author: Julie Mastrine is a senior at Penn State, majoring in public relations and minoring in Spanish. She has gained experience across a range of settings, including print journalism, public relations, nonprofits, blogging, social media and promotions.