BY GUSTAVO, MY JOB GLASSES MENTOR & PRESIDENT OF THE ASSOCIATION VAINCRE LA HAINE
In this article I’m going to ask you to do a little mental exercise with me. Go back to your childhood and revisit with me the book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum. It lists things we learn in kindergarten that we should not forget as adults:
- being fair,
- putting things back where we found them,
- cleaning up our own mess,
- avoid taking things that don’t belong to us,
- asking for forgiveness when we offend someone…
The list goes on and on, ending with this advice that can be interpreted figuratively as well: when you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stay together.
This ideal image of young friends walking together in the street is rarely reproduced in today’s professional world, which often promotes peer competition. And yet, this advice is the basis of all positive impact leadership: think of others and act for the common good rather than focusing on your own interests.
Wondering if there are any companies that work for the common good? Sure! And they often exist in the form of associations!
ASSOCIATIONS : A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN FIND MEANINGFUL JOBS
Let’s start with a somewhat taboo subject: our own perspective on success. Indeed, this notion is still very (too?) often associated with earning good money. The image of the “successful man” often tends to replace our simple and small desires with gigantic personal ambitions. It is therefore perfectly normal to ask oneself questions on the effect these ambitions have on society. Hence the interest of working in an association, an organisation that is not focused on profits but on sharing, helping others and making the world a better place.
Working in associations are rarely seen as a professional opportunity. They are, however, the go-to place for developing meaningful careers and for feeling really passionate about what you do!
If you wish to add meaning to your work and to be happy in your job by knowing you are contributing to improve everyone’s lives, even if this means reducing your earnings, then you are certainly on the right track to “professional success” in the associative sector !
THERE’S NO “ONE SIZE FITS ALL” WHEN IT COMES ASSOCIATIONS!
Solidarity comes in several forms: there are associations of all sizes and in all fields. There are local organisations that promote youth sports or children’s education, others that provide assistance to retired people or health care in developing countries… The core activity can vary enormously from one association to another, but the objective remains the same: to help others, to fight environmental issues or to protect the animal kingdom.
Some people may think that associations are only looking for very specific profiles (people often think of doctors, for instance), but in reality they need all types of employees to ensure that they function properly, just like a “classic” company does. Therefore, it is perfectly possible to be a project manager, treasurer or communication manager in an association.
REASONS TO JOIN AN ASSOCIATION AS AN EMPLOYEE
From my own experience, I can give you many reasons to join an association where the key words are “come as you are”. These opportunities can allow you to be yourself and defend the values you hold dear through your professional activity.
1. TEAMWORK AND PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
In the associative sector, you will be working with colleagues who are just as committed as you are, ready to give their best without expecting a high financial compensation or promotion. It is this commitment that explains why it is sometimes possible to achieve large-scale results with little means in this type of organisation, all thanks to collective effort, collaboration and trust. Leaders and employees mobilise for a common cause that is dear to them, for societal objectives. They think of a better world and fight to achieve it, each in their own way.
Associations are by nature a place for sharing: say goodbye to competition between peers and hello to mutual aid. Your colleagues and managers will help you to evolve and be the best version of yourself and you can also help others to grow professionally.
You will learn to work as a team and to solve ethical dilemmas collectively. In a sometimes individualistic world, it is very interesting to carry out projects with several people, to hear different points of view and to find common solutions through dialogue. Although it is difficult to agree systematically on every decision, you will see that it is possible to have divergent opinions while respecting other parties.
2. MEANINGFUL JOBS AND HAPPINESS IN THE WORKPLACE
The longer you stay in this sector, the more you will realise that many things are ultimately more important than money in life and that happiness is also found in the little things. Every positive impact derived from your actions is a small victory to savour!
In the end, you will behave like in kindergarten again: you will play clean, you will share, you will clean up your mess, you will say you are sorry if necessary and you will shake hands with your colleagues to go further together.
THE ASSOCIATIVE SECTOR IS NOT A DREAM BUT A REALITY
I know what you are probably thinking at this point: the elements described in this article about the associative sector may seem a bit fairytalish. Although I am totally aware that this sector is not perfect, it allows you to contribute on different levels (working or retired volunteers, employees on fixed-term or permanent contracts) and it is totally worth it. I can only recommend you to give it a try, the human experience will allow you to grow on all levels.
Want to know more about Gustavo’s experience in the associative sector? Click here to contact him on My Job Glasses!