By Barbara L. Nelson
Volunteering – I can’t say enough positive things about volunteering. If you aren’t working or just want to meet new friends with common interests, it’s a great way to get out there where miracles can find you.
But the most amazing benefit of volunteering is giving back to your community, which makes you feel good about yourself and life. In this good vibration, we create positive events that otherwise may not have happened to us – in other words, synchronicity.
Volunteering also expands the network of colleagues that know your work. Believe me most of the time I’ve gotten a job offer, it’s through someone I know that knows somebody. Sure I’ve landed jobs through blind ads and via the Internet, but when I’ve gotten recommendations from others who know my work, I was already a shoe in. You see it works like this. Employers want to employ someone they trust. Chances are that if the employer knows the person that is recommending you, they have built up a trust with that person. Not a lot of people will betray a trust to find someone a job. That means their reputation would be on the line, if the person didn’t work out. It’s just like dating someone, if your friend already knows them, you feel a bit safer in meeting them.
Volunteering created a series of synchronistic events in my life when I moved to Lafayette, LA after college. I had a degree in journalism, but little job experience. So I began volunteering as a clerical worker answering phones for a homeless network. It was right before the Thanksgiving holiday, one of their busiest times of the year. Well, lo and behold shortly after I started, the volunteer coordinator found another job. It was only part-time, but it was a paid position. After working there about five months, a co-worker who knew I was a writer and looking for full-time work recommended me for a technical writing job. The person who hired me went to church with my colleague. I had no technical writing experience at all, but because my co-worker trusted me, so did the person who hired me. I would not have applied for that job, even if I had known about it, because my skill sets were not a match. However, because I was in the right place at the right time, I got the job. Later my boss moved to the West Coast to work for Microsoft and I became head technical writer. This all happened within a year of me volunteering at the homeless network.
In addition to landing a writing gig from volunteering, I met and became friends with a volunteer nurse at the homeless network. In getting to know one another, we found out we both grew up in the Chicago area and had lived in Northern California at the same time. She introduced me to new age spiritualism. We also attended a class on communicating with your angels at a local community college and thus began my interest in angels. Years later she passed away, but I will forever remember her and her teachings. I still have the tarot and angel cards she gave me and her friendship left a lasting impression on my life.
Today, I volunteer my public relations services to a food bank in Lafayette. In giving back to my community, I am out there where miracles can happen. Plus I have a recent reference and can add to my portfolio. Last week my press release helped to get the executive director on the local TV news and she’s interviewing with her hometown newspaper next week! I told her I was looking for a job in Austin. She knows my work because of our current relationship as well our previous working relationship at the US Census Bureau last summer.
I believe volunteering creates positive energy that the Universe picks up on. It’s just another way to spread love around. Love is the energy of the new earth. So get out there and let the Universe bless you with the miracle of synchronicity. There are a myriad of non-profits in every community that are in dire need of volunteers. I would suggest one in which you feel compassionate about the mission that way you meet like-minded people and enjoy the work.
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