As someone who is over 25 years old, I did not get into social work expecting it to be all sweetness and light, nor did I think I can change the world, not even fraction of it. But my experience in the sector for the past year has left me wondering why I did even bother to join in the first place.
In 2016, when I left a loss-making startup, I had no idea what to do. I managed to get connected with founder asking job reference. I was instead offered an Internship at the same place; I decided to grab and not to let it go. I was rewarded with a supportive team and supportive environment to work. I moved out to a full-time position at a later stage, with a less payroll. Maybe it was a midlife crisis, maybe it was something else, but in 2011 I felt I needed a career change.
Prior to this, I had a (fairly) successful career working for a start-up with a decent paycheck, working from my way from not so good content writer to a Social Media Strategist.
I have seen it multiple times that, bad hiring process in place. It starts with the wrong person, mostly its volunteers offered job offer to work there. The problem is hiring often the required person, another starts getting overworked and fails to give any one of their responsibilities the proper attention it craves. The saddest thing I have seen is that hiring someone simply because of their passion for the cause, and being paid less for the said reason. Let me tell you that passion isn’t enough to be successful at a job, no matter whatever the job.
The NGOs often take volunteers and interns for granted, they use them to get paid work for free, often for those works there had not been a person before, and just whoever was available which means no continuity and pattern. So, that is my beef with nonprofits taking volunteers for granted.
Things fly with the time, deadlines get missed and menial tasks take weeks to complete. This includes important lists, social media, community events, website traffic and more. In the end, you get told that you are not doing anything or underperforming. I felt that I was underpaid, overworked and undervalued.
We often end up competing with the crafty and MacGyver on handmade products, with lack of better revenue stream which had a half-baked strategy that benefits the payment processor just as much as the other non-profits involved in the process.
So ultimately the decision to change career to the new sector was not a futile decision.