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Internal Conflict

8 April 2010

A little over eight years ago, in high school, I volunteered with my friends who were on National Honor’s Society at our town’s holiday light festival.  The thing I remember most vividly is my toes feeling, well, nothing because they were so cold, us huddled around the makeshift bonfire in between collecting money from customers.  At the time I thought, mostly, that it was just a fun way to spend a Saturday night with my friends.

Now that I look back, though, I think I’ve always been inclined to “help” {people, neighborhoods, animals}.  Throughout college, I studied American Studies and Women’s Studies, which were both heavily focused on identity issues.  As part of my Women’s Studies major, we were actually *required* to volunteer for a semester.  I started at a gender public advocacy non-profit, of which I loved its mission but didn’t like its organizational structure or the way that it actually executed {or didn’t, more accurately} its programs.  So then I moved to Dress for Success, an international non-profit which provides used clothing to women transitioning from welfare to the workforce.  Though I liked the concept of this one, as well, I spent most of my time organizing the overly stuffed closet that housed all the giveaway rejects.

I also tutored high school students and helped Alzheimers patients at a retirement home.  But I think the most fulfilling volunteer position so far has been when I delivered meals weekly with Meals on Wheels, when I actually got to interact with the people I was helping.  Even when* I joined the Associate Board of the Washington Animal Rescue League, I didn’t get to actually play with any dogs or make them suffer less, directly.

Which is why I’ve had this nagging feeling about an email I received yesterday, a monthly blast from a local non-profit which helps families to fulfil their physical as well as non-physical needs, such as furniture and clothing and health education.  The email mentioned a job position for a coordinator.  Requirements?  Be able to drive a truck, lift furniture, and be friendly.  That’s me!  Well, mostly!  But would it really be a good move to leave my fine-paying job for a non-profit, especially knowing (from volunteering there and at these countless others) of their usual inadequacy to have it together?

J and I are hoping to buy a house and start a family.  Oh, with a wedding thrown in there somewhere.  Which all cost money.  Is it reasonable that I’m ready {despite being in the “official” workforce full-time for only about one year now} to leave my job for something “important”?  Should I already feel tied down to future responsibility?  My natural inclination is to say YES, BE RESPONSIBLE.  But my wait-a-second-I’m-only-24-and-have-hopefully-a-full-life-ahead-of-me says NO, GO FOR IT!

Though one day I do hope to have the means to become a “career volunteer”, I think now is the time to focus on my shortish term goals: house, {fourth} dog!, wedding, baby.

Ahh, the turbulence of having choice.  Instead I think I’ll focus on my little shop!

*This is not meant to be a list of my accomplishments!  I hope I’m not coming off snotty by trying to frame my dilemma!

One Comment leave one →
  1. 16 April 2010 7:19 am

    Those things are all important! On the bright side you have some options that will contribute to your success or happiness in the future. But, I ask myself the same questions all the time. Is it worth leaving a job? My J tells me to go back to grad school and we’ll live on his paycheck and eat tomato soup and grilled cheese until I finish. I’m sure whatever you two decide to do- you’ll be happy!

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