The nature of volunteering can give a person a selfless image. It usually requires some involvement within the community and may reflect somewhat of a saintly nature at times.
However, volunteering can still be done with intrinsic motivation to the volunteer’s own good. Consider volunteering an investment in the future, whether currently employed or not.
Why Volunteering is the Best Job You Can Imagine
Volunteering somewhere can be an incredible experience and also allows you to feel really good about yourself as you’re giving your time to help others.
Here are 9 reasons why volunteering is the best job you can imagine.
1) Good Contacts
The first reason to volunteer is to meet people. By volunteering, you can demonstrate competence to people who know people. A volunteer coordinator, or other volunteers, gain respect for good workers and then talk about it.
A mutual contacts may even offer a paying job. In any case, when applying for jobs, volunteer tasks can substitute for work experience on a resume and supervisors can vouch for work ethic and habits.
2) Show A Willingness To Work
Upon leaving a job to move out of town, my employer said I would have no problem finding a
job because I am a good worker.
As she told it, “there are jobs everywhere, it’s just that no one wants to work.” Certainly don’t expect to become a CEO straight off, but a willing and able worker can succeed anywhere. Without local contacts, volunteering is one way to prove your worth.
Anyone will say it looks good on a resume to show willingness to work, especially the willingness to work for free.
Employers want someone who wants to work, someone driven and dedicated, not someone just after a paycheck. The idea here is just work hard, do the right things for the right reasons and the rest will fall into place.
3) Perfectly Chosen Job Field
For the most part, people take jobs to make money. Nothing wrong with that, until they find out months later that they hate the job. There is something to be said for choosing a job you like and then living within your means.
With a volunteer gig, choosing to work for free, usually means a perfect placement. Unless you are volunteering for a work release program, it’s most likely that you are doing the job that means the most to you.
Volunteer jobs should always be fun and a break from the regular routine. Even if you already have a paying job, it can’t hurt to also have a volunteer job on the side. It gives a nice break from the rigors of daily work and keeps backup options in place if you get sick of your regular job.
4) Fringe Benefits Without Taxation
While most volunteer jobs do not pay, they do come with valuable perks. I have been able to get free entry to events, dinner at nice restaurants, beer, summer squash, and all kinds of random things that saved me money.
Perks can add up to be worth a few dollars per hour. In some ways, volunteering is kind of like being on the barter system: trading a little work for some goods.
Random free goods also don’t require paying sales tax. Likewise, no paycheck means no income tax. I once worked a party unpaid.
However, there was a tip jar, so I made a few untaxed dollars as well as being provided with more food and drink than I could consume, even had brunch the next day. Come to think of it, that ended up being a better deal working for free than for pay.
Generally, when haggling over payment in a job, you won’t necessarily make friends. The monetary value of paychecks has a limit. On the other hand, the benefits of being liked will create good opportunities into the future.
Volunteer gigs have always made me new friends and contacts, much of which led to payment of some variety.
5) Some Volunteer Jobs Do Pay
It’s not out of the question that a volunteer job pays money. There are some doozies of opportunities out there. One big thing used to be mall surveys. I had a buddy hitchhike to another city where he then made cash from a mall survey to buy a concert ticket.
Online questionnaires can work similarly. University or institutional research studies often pay a little cash for participation. To a similar degree, donating bone marrow, blood, plasma and even DNA can bring in a bit of extra cash, untaxed of course.
Volunteering is not only good for the individual, it is good for the organizations that need help. There is even some evidence that having employees volunteer on a company level is good for a business. So, don’t be surprised if your boss offers to pay you to work as a volunteer for another organization sometime.
6) Free Vacation
Another fringe benefit of volunteering can be a paid trip out of town, or even out of the country. US citizens typically need highly demanded skills to qualify for work visas to most countries. As a volunteer, however, options to travel are greatly expanded.
You still need to bring something worthwhile, but desire and effort count for more as a volunteer.
Peace Corps is one way that over 20,000 people have explored the world. Opportunities from
teaching English in Kosovo to forest education in Paraguay make it possible for almost anyone
to get involved.
UVolunteer is an organization assisting with volunteer placements in Ghana, Costa Rica and Thailand. By volunteering, you can make critical differences while becoming cultured. There are many volunteer agencies, just be careful. Some require you to pay. Simply working for free is where I draw the line.
Paying to work should never happen.
7) Sense of Responsibility
As much fun as it could be to hit the town every night, it gets exhausting and expensive. It’s not responsible or sustainable. However, with a schedule to follow, fun time becomes limited.
Needing to be up in the morning is encouragement to go to bed at a reasonable hour. Responsibly adhering to a schedule as a volunteer keeps you in good shape as if training for a paying job.
8) Skills Stay Fresh
During periods of unemployment, skills become rusty and outdated. While working, new skills are learned and built upon. That is one big reason people always say it takes a job to get a job. It doesn’t look good to an employer to hire someone without a job.
That’s not because an unemployed person is a deadbeat. It’s because an employed person is more marketable. An employer offers money in exchange for skills. Work, whether paid or unpaid, implements skill-sets. The more you bring to the table, the more marketable you are. Stay fresh.
9) Important People Doing Important Jobs
Don’t think volunteers only get nasty garbage duty. There are some pretty appreciable things that
volunteers get tasked with. In fact, garbage itself can be a sensitive thing. Big companies often bring in volunteers for help with things like shredding or managing personal information.
In some cases, even prison inmates do such work. Ultimately, even a dirty job can still boost marketable skills for important traits like adhering to confidentiality. As you earn your stripes, proving yourself gets you into bigger and better positions.
If volunteering seems futile, meet some volunteers. There are volunteers in life saving positions, such as firefighters and EMTs. Some of these people are always on call. After all, the nature of volunteering is a giving thing, a community effort.
Finally, if you’re too selfish to work for free, consider the lifestyles of those people that give so much as volunteers. Many have esteemed, prestigious titles and have developed the qualities of a great leader.
A majority of such people report that volunteering helped them grow and develop psychologically, as well as strengthened social relationships. Reports also showed that volunteers live longer, healthier lives.
Lifelong volunteers always seem to be in a fairly decent place with health and finances, despite giving away time. Chalk that up somewhat to karma, getting what is earned.
My rationale in all my working years has been to put the best foot forward, take care of business and business takes care of itself. This is the ultimate goal as far as I see and it starts with the desire to learn more
about the community. Give yourself and others will give back to you.