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Compiled and edited by Julie Tereshchuk

choosing value driven work ask a mentor 

Dear Mentors,

In the aftermath of our recent disastrous weather, and the community impact, I’ve been seriously revisiting a change, which has been on my mind for a while. I’ve been reevaluating my career and am thinking of looking for a role in an organization that puts value on community, and which aligns better with my ideas of good leadership. Any thoughts, tips or resources to offer?

Yours,

Mentee

 

Dear Mentee,

Outside of recommending H-E-B as one of our most consistent community superheroes, my advice is to list your top industry skills and interests and the company cultures you admire. Dig into industry blog posts, our and other member profile pages, and big data centers like LinkedIn, Indeed, your favorite social media sites. Read About Us pages.

As you gain more specificity about what you want, ask your connections for connection. Be brave. Ask for 20-minute discovery chats with individuals who do what you think you’d like to do or work where you think you’d like to work. We fear people will say no – and some may because they don’t have current bandwidth, but congratulate yourself for asking! That’s half the battle. Once you endeavor to expand your network, stay steady and keep reaching out. Most people are in the cheering section of life and happy to help.

Yours,

Karen Aroian

 

Dear Mentee,

It never hurts to be keeping an eye open for opportunities that align better with your values! In order to find the right fit, reach out to your local network and ask around about companies that are very active, and very generous, in your local community. Check with contacts at charities you support and see who their valued partners are. Start a list and then reach out to people you know who work there, so you can get an inside perspective and potentially get tipped-off to any upcoming openings.

Yours,

Maura Thomas

 

Dear Mentee,

How phenomenal that you are tuning in to your inner voice! Stressful situations bring into sharp relief what’s really important, but the fact that you’ve been ruminating on this career shift is very telling. I’m curious to know whether you’ve said it out loud; literally described the change to a friend, family member, or your journal. For whatever brain-science, insert-technical-words-here reason, thinking about a decision usually only gets us part of the way to the whole feeling or the full expression of what acting on the idea would mean and how its impacts would be felt.

Verbalizing forces us to not only speak to the emotional why but the logistical how, when, what. I encourage you to say what you want and how you might go about enabling the change out loud. Speak to it from an operational standpoint, then tell it again from a feelings and relationships standpoint. And on the latter standpoint, remember to consider and include your relationship with yourself.

Yours,

Kirsten Longnecker

 

Dear Mentee,

One of the silver linings of the past few weeks has been seeing our community come together and the strength of our nonprofit sector. To better understand what roles and organizations would be a fit for your skills and interests, and to begin to build relationships in the sector, volunteer or join a board.

Start your research on the Amplify Austin and I Live Here I Give Here websites. In addition to learning more about different agencies and what their needs are, you can add projects to your portfolio that can demonstrate your ability to add value to an industry that might not yet be represented on your resume.

Yours,

Nicole Basham

 

Dear Mentee,

When you want your work to align with your altruistic values, the obvious place to look is to nonprofits, and indeed I felt good about the work I did at a number of such organizations. My advice, though, would be to think more broadly in your search.

Sometimes a larger organization that seems politically neutral or even a bit sketchy has teams that do amazing social justice work. Some corporations have philanthropic divisions. Some for-profit work benefits people who need more equitable services. It may even be that your best bet is a decent-paying job that affords you enough time to volunteer or freelance for the cause nearest to your heart.

Yours,

Elizabeth Green