Many people only want to work for money. They will not do things for free. In fact, some of them even want upfront payment before doing anything at all. Today, we want to discuss how you can build your career from doing pro bono work – activities that you do for free without pay. The world cannot just revolve around dollars all the time.
I will share what is probably a typical story and you may have come across similar ones. A friend of mine had a brother who had graduated from the Polytechnic and he could not find a job for more than a year. The big brother, my friend, is an executive at one of the banks and well informed. He realised that his younger brother was failing to get a job primarily not because he was not able to do a good job, but simply because he had no experience and especially because he was not in employment at the time. Have you also observed that jobs attract those who already have jobs? And good jobs go to those who already have good jobs only! What an irony!
Through the power of networking, the bank executive found a three- month volunteering opportunity for his younger brother. We jointly briefed the young man on how he could exploit this rare but powerful opportunity. We told him that although he would not be paid for the job done, he needed to work harder than those who were paid. We advised him to focus on learning the job to the limits of its depth so that he could master the job more than those who joined long before him.
I was later informed that the young man was always the first to arrive at work and last to leave. He did an excellent job in his role and went further to even help others – doing more than his mandate. He came up with some clever ideas that he suggested to his bosses who allowed him to proceed and he did a project that had major impact on the business. The idea here was that by the end of three months, it would become difficult for his bosses to get rid of a person who though not paid, is the most productive and innovative in the team!
In the course of the three months, the young man was invited to a job interview. With the extensive experience that he exposed himself to in the two months, coupled by the fact that he was at the time in active employment, he was for the first time successful in the interview and he got the job. He was so happy to get his job long at last. But it was all down to the fact that he was ready to do a job for free—as a volunteer for nearly three months.
I recently checked him out on Linkedin and he is now a manager—just three years into the job. This means that he has sustained his zeal for hard work and hunger for continuous on the job learning.
Volunteering is not the option for only those who are jobless. It is for everyone. You may be employed but through volunteering, you will learn new things and meet new people. You will get exposed to new challenges and opportunities. The trick is to be very committed and dedicated to whatever you do even if it is just voluntary work. This way, you will gain the most out of the voluntary work.
Let us not only work for money all the time. There is great value in doing voluntary work. We can earn new and better jobs through volunteering. We can also improve on skills that are weak and acquire new competences through volunteering. In your personal and professional development plan, do not undermine or ignore the importance of acquiring importance career credentials from voluntary work. Good luck as you build your career through volunteering! You will rise and shine!