Four reasons a stint in the corporate world can help your good career
For those driven by a desire to contribute towards a better world, working in the corporate sector may seem like selling one’s very soul! However, a stint outside the non-profit sector (obviously with a business that still aligns with your core values) could be just what you need to be more successful and effective in the ‘do good’ sphere.
#1. Change your perspective!
Working in a different environment will enable you to bring a fresh perspective and apply new ways of thinking to what you do.
Edward De Bono developed a technique called the ‘6 Thinking Hats’ where each hat represents a different approach to a situation. The white hat wearer focuses on objective facts and data – the neutral element, the wearer of the yellow hat emphasizes the positive aspects of a situation and the person in the green hat is the ideas person – concentrating on what’s possible in the circumstances’.
In a similar way, stepping into a new and unfamiliar environment is an opportunity to move away from former expectations and constraints that limit or regulate your way of thinking. Involvement in new work practices can seem daunting, but will help to refresh your outlook, drive innovative thinking and enable you to look at things from multiple angles. Whilst the level of resources, the physical surroundings and even the focus of your work in the corporate world may be different from what you are used to, what you learn from the issues you face and challenges you overcome will increase your ability to approach matters from multiple perspectives. And that can be an extremely valuable skill that you can utilize when you move into your next do good role!
#2. Skill Up
Individual businesses have differing priorities and variable budgets allocated for training and development purposes. They can offer vastly different opportunities to their employees. Larger companies might also be able to take advantage of economies of scale and gain access to tailored in-house training sessions for instance – something cash strapped non-profits are not always able to do.
Internal mentoring, leadership development initiatives, attendance at industry conferences as well as membership of professional bodies are just some of the chances available to you to foster both your professional and personal growth. These will help you to grow new skills that can be applied in both your current role as well as in your next do good role.
#3. Get Literate!
Non-profits are required to operate and survive in increasingly competitive environments. Gaining exposure to the commercial world, the challenges it faces and the solutions applied, will give you a more strategic perspective and additional skills to take back to the do-good world.
Improved business literacy might consist of learning about things such as: budget forecasting, project management or harnessing technology effectively. Your enhanced business acumen will enable you to be more efficient and effective in helping whichever type of organisation you work in to achieve it’s goals. It may also give you the edge in other ways:
For example when you go for your next dream role it could increase your chances of being selected over a candidate without this type of knowledge and understanding. It may help to strengthen your credibility (both as an individual and an organisation) which may in turn increase your ability to secure funding (as donors will feel more confident that the money they donate will be used in an efficient way).
#4. Share the Love – spread the Do Good Message!
Working outside the non-profit sector is an opportunity to engage with both the individuals you work with, and the company you work for to make them more aware of the do-good job sector.
It’s a chance to let them know where they can contribute (such as corporate volunteering initiatives for instance). Global Investment bank Goldman Sachs have a scheme in place called ‘Community Teamworks’ (much like ANZ’s
‘Closed for Good’ day) where staff spend one day per year working with organisations in their Community and sharing their ideas and skills. In addition to any outcomes achieved on the day, this can lead employees to continue volunteering more long term. I know this for a fact because I was once one of those employees! Two years on I was still doing conversational English Practice with the Japanese lady I’d been partnered with for my Community Teamworks day.
Think about the advantages that can be gained by stepping outside of your usual work environment (and comfort zone) and how they can be utilised and applied back in your chosen area. It might be a good move, that ultimately helps you do more good!
Liked this post? You might also like our blog posts: Six reasons you’re not a villain for leaving your ‘do good’ job and Seek out work where you don’t hate everyone: 3 fresh ways to find your mission
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