Have you seen the lines of people applying for jobs every time there’s a job opening or a career fair? Have you actually stood in one of those lines yourself hoping to land a job?
My question is: What are the chances of you getting a job for which there are thousands of applicants? If you take into consideration the waiting, the frustration, and the anxiety you experience as you talk to other unemployed people, it is definitely not the best way to spend your time.
Volunteering in a project or organization you care about is a much more effective way to invest your time. You get to develop meaningful relationships with people who share your interests and who appreciate your dedication, you stay active and you might even learn a few new skills that will come handy when you find work again. And as 70-80% of jobs are still found through networking, building a stronger network is a better path to employment than anything else.
But there’s an additional benefit to volunteering: you get to discover what you are really passionate about, something critical in a time when you might need to change careers or the industry where you work. Realizing that you are good with people and that you’d rather spend time helping them get healthy than, say, trading stocks, is a great first step towards a more fulfilled life.
Take the opportunity to seriously explore your options and to connect your skills with your knowledge and passion. You may be surprised by how good it feels to do something you love even if it means you will make less money or that you will have to create your own job. Speaking of which… I think this is the way of the future. But that’s the topic for a different post!