Workin’ Hard for the Money

I haven’t talked about work much recently… Partly because whatever you put on the internet can be read by anyone, and partly because I try not to be a blog-downer.

But today is a little bit different. Today I finally figured out how to put a lot of my frustrations and feelings into words. So I’ve decided to make the following List of Differences Between the Corporate and Nonprofit Worlds (from an employee’s perspective):

In countdown order…

5. You get all those funny holidays off (like Presidents’ Day) that you haven’t “celebrated” since you were in high school. You also get lots of vacation days and people don’t look at you with jealous or angry or disapproving eyes when you put them to good use.

4. Your salary no longer means anything. Your title may be worthless as well. As long as you can pay your bills, consider yourself lucky. Don’t expect things like raises and bonuses – if you get a raise it will be a small percentage and probably won’t add up to much. (Although, of course, you will be thrilled).

3. Regardless of their background, the people you work with will come from the same place you do. They will have similar values and make similar life choices. They may not look like you or want to do the same things on a Saturday night, but when it comes to the things that really matter, they’ll understand you.

2. Working long hours suddenly feels different. It’s still hard. It still isn’t fun. But when you’re working for something that matters to you, it’s not the same as doing something because someone told you to. And even if your superiors don’t recognize your efforts (publicly or privately), you know you did something good for someone. And that can be enough.

1. There will come a time where you are fed up with a situation at work. I don’t mean frustrated – I mean fed up. This is normal in life. If you work in a corporate environment, it’s easy to mentally check out or quit, thinking I don’t need to put up with this. At a nonprofit, however, you might realize that you care more about the organization than you do about your own position. It’s the most baffling thing. Almost any issue I’ve had at work in the last year has ended with me realizing that I love my job and I care about the cause more than I dislike the situation/person/problem. So I’m working to try to make it better.

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