Between necessity and passion

I believe that everything is interconnected in this world and though I may not be a butterfly who at the flick of it’s wing can cause a tsunami at the other end of them world, I know my contribution  matters. I have alsways wanted to work for an NGO. After volutneering for a year in Ireland with homeless people I am doing an internship in a company that offers consulting cservices for charities. Since the internship is unpaid I rely heavily on the help from my parents. Having a scholarship also helps. But nonetheless I am living a permanent conflict between struggling to pay rent and pursuing my passions. My mother, though very supportive financially, is  always reminding me about the imposssibility of pursuing social work since the wages for It were I live - Romania, are terribly low.  My father is advising me to quit my intersnhip and shift my attention to the more practical professions. I have no objection to being a barista or waitress but somehow I feel a compelling need to learn and contribute directly to the welfare of my community. I was hppiest when I did my volunteer placement in Ireland: talking to the people, hearing their problems and working together in solving them. Here I have no such opportunity and no support. Of course my situation is made worse by the dire economic situation in Romania and worse still by the backward thinking mentality of most people here: the prejudices against women, the lack of investors in youth, the lack of f trust in the local authorities, the underdeveloped sense of community, the prevalence of individualistic materialism.

Your contribution matters. Believe.

Humm, Jane, excellent! You have a sensitive (correct) reading of the nature of Reality. Indeed, we are all connected, but as you mentioned it, because most are caught in ‘individualistic materialism’, it is difficult to make a living now, because these principles are not yet accepted as the normality.

Your contribution matters. Never doubt it.

Continues to keep your dreams close to your heart and believe in them. This will lead you in situations where you meet the right people at the right moment. Talk about it in your LinkedIn profile, speak out on our Facebook page, print business cards with your employment goals and distribute them to every person you meet, blog about it, look out for other people thinking like you. Etc. Talk to everyone about what you would like to become, and ask your network to support you.

When the intention is planted, one must be grateful that this has already happened (even if it is not yet the case) and not worry about the means. It takes a bit of time. I share with you this Chinese bamboo story, which I really like to watch: a lesson in patience (video) .


So what’s next?

Nice to meet you, Jane C. :slight_smile:

Your mother is clearly a precious ally, and your time in Ireland showed you a way. Yet, you must be feeling quite some pressure: from what you say, it seems unlikely that your activities as a volunteer might turn into an actual reasonably paid job. So, where are you thinking to go next?

A next step for me is an EVS placement. Iit is a non-formal learning environment and I won’t have to worry so much about the financial aspects while making a contribution. Afterwards I am looking at finding permanent work placement with an NGO in Moldova were this is still a growing sector and the posibilities of funding are only beginning to be explored.

Thank you for understanding. It is definetely hard to work in the non-profit sector. But the more I think about it, the more I like the idea and realize that I am prepared for the sacrifices working for an NGO entails because the reward is so enjoyable.

EVS seems like a great choice!

Hi Jane,

From what I hear this volunteering programme is one of the best, and although a bit hard to get in apparently is worth it, so good luck if you decide to go for it!

I’m curious, how old are you? I’m 25, a grad student and had my fair share of unpaid work and investment to be able to work: like I took a traineeship last fall, and paid for summer courses in data analysis the year before, but luckily all this has paid off, even if only with temporary jobs and projects. I think this is more and more the “normal” path, as many social workers/ sociologists/ students in international development I know have taken this path, paved with insecurity but the closest there is to their ambitious mindsets. I think some of us even if we could settle for a routine, poorly paid job in a local NGO, would not take it easily since we feel there are opportunities out there that we have to try out, and become better at what we do.

I tried it with a local NGO, which by the way had some money moving around, but couldn’t stay there if you paid me for real. It limited my options and work satisfaction so much… by the nature of the job itself and the quality of workplace.

Now my question  is related to the time factor: how do you sense this pressure? I for one am in a continuous race against time because I feel I need to achieve a certain amount of experience and knowledge before it’s too late and I may need to settle whatever, or compromise… do you think there’s a certain end point until which we can experiment with gigs, volunteering, or it can go on forever as long as it pays a decent meal and we love it?

You have to read and get in touch with other people concerned with these issues, say Ioana in her mission report My work is my hobby or Chara and Betta in this discussion on how much volunteering weighs when you’re looking for a “proper” job.  Good luck!

Hello Jane,

I liked your

Hello Jane,

I liked your post a lot and I agree at a point that everything is connected and even a small personal step can make a change! But I feel that you are a bit pessimistic of the situation you are now. I mean of course its not the best thing to work without being paid but happiness for me is more important…

Have you thought at all about the “NEXT BIG STEP” of yours? What are you thinking to do ? have you finished studying?

Follow up to your contribution?

Hi Jane!

Long time since we last heard from you, how are things, any improvements since you wrote this post? Hopefully you’re more optimistic now!

Not sure if you heard about the latest here at Edgeryders, we’re trying to build collaboratively a handbook for the community of policy makers based on Edgeryders and young Europeans alike who find themselves at the avant garde of change, and you are one of them, also an indirect contributor to the handbook… Here’s an excerpt from a research policy paper drafted by one of our researchers trying to sum up Edgeyrders experiences and see where there is room for better youth policy (report is open to comments and prone to change), where they quote you:

Regional European differences, apart from better position of youth in Central Europe and Scandinavia, also show adverse position of youth in Mediterranean and Eastern Europe. This insight indicates a need for more elaborated policy measures in countries that are more significantly affected by deterioration of youth position on the labour market. A mission report by Jane C vividly shows problems faced by young women in East Europe:

“Of course my situation is made worse by the dire economic situation in Romania and worse still by the backward thinking mentality of most people here: the prejudices against women, the lack of investors in youth, the lack of trust in the local authorities, the underdeveloped sense of community, the prevalence of individualistic materialism.”

Jane C gave me a buzzword for the introduction into this paper – materialism/post-materialism. The sociological theory of post-materialism was developed in the 1971 by Ronald Inglehart, who postulated that the Western societies were undergoing transformation of individual values, switching from materialist values, emphasizing economic and physical security, to a new set of post-materialist values, which instead emphasized autonomy and self expression. […]

It would be great if you could have a look, and join our conversation on what we’d like to ammend or give more focus to! if anything, even to tell us what you think of the paper or the message we’re sending:

Would love to hear from you, really!

PS Are you still in Romania? Maybe we can meet up? I’m based in Cluj…