Yesterday I was speaking to a friend from uni, she's looking for jobs at the moment, specifically one for a charity. I'm sure she won't mind me quoting her: "I want to know I'm making a difference for people who don't have a voice for themselves".
At the same time, I'm currently in the process of applying for a scheme at work to allow me to take a year out and go to work for VSO. Ideally I want to get the chance to go back to Africa, but I'm pretty open to going anywhere.
So what's the thinking behind all of this? I genuinely believe that more and more people my age (late 20's) are thinking about what their job actually means. What do we contribute? Am I proud of what I do?
For me, it's a bit of a strange situation. I've lived in Ghana, I've done volunteer work before. I tried (unsuccessfully) to get into charity IT work when I came back and settled for a company that felt a bit more personable that some of the uber-consultancies.Obviously I have previous in this area so it's not unsurprising that I would ask these sort of questions, but I do find it interesting that others my age are asking the same questions.
If I was a charity, I would be falling over myself to make the most of this - instead of taking on stale, ageing workers who just want to get out of the rat-race, why not employ young, hungry graduates with a few years experience and lots of ideas. You get enthusiasm, energy and dedication, all for significantly less money than their more experienced counter-parts!
Either way, it's something that I think is becoming more important for graduates. Saving Bland Incorporated such and such a year on their IT infrastructure just isn't as fulfilling as knowing that the company you work for makes a real difference to people's lives and I for one look forward to being proud of the company I work for.