In our modern, capitalistic world, the idea of doing something for free might sound strange. Western society has oriented itself on success and profit, people possessing honed professional skills, and being able to “sell” these skills; therefore, the idea of working for free does not fit into such an outlook. However, it strongly depends on how you look at it; for instance, volunteering, which has become popular in recent decades, is one of the greatest examples of how a job can pay off not with just money. It can be said that everyone should at least once in their lifetime try volunteering due to a number of reasons.
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Although it may sound paradoxical, volunteering is one of the easiest ways to find a job. After graduating from a college or university, many get stuck in the situation of trying to find a job, but needing working experience, you cannot obtain working experience because no one hires you. Statistics show about 73% of employers would prefer to hire a person with volunteering experience in the field than a person without one; 94% of employers share the belief that volunteering helps potential employees obtain new skills and diversifies their qualification, and thus are more prone to hiring people who volunteer. Respectively, 94% of those people believe volunteering can add to one’s skills; 94% of people who were hired after a volunteering experience say such an experience aided them in getting their first job, or benefited them in other ways, such as quicker promotion, salary increases, or obtaining new skills (World Volunteer Web). Having relevant work experience obtained during volunteering and specifying it in your CV can be a kickstarter for your career, because nowadays more and more employers tend to count volunteering as actual work experience (ReachOut.com). Besides, volunteering is a great option to explore possible career opportunities if you are unsure what you would like be doing for living. Through various programs, you can try yourself in a number of organizations, working on different problems, and in different positions, without having to do job-hunting, and then job-hopping. Therefore, if you still think you do not have time to volunteer because you need to look for a job, or because volunteering could be a nuisance to your duties, you might want to reconsider your opinion.
Also, volunteering is a natural way of socialization and getting to know your surroundings, meeting new people, and finding useful contacts. Regularly meeting with a group of people who share the same activities, way of thinking, and goals can make it easier for you to make friends. Besides, volunteering could make a great example for your children; if you want to teach them responsibility, compassion, and how one person can make a difference by personally participating in solving it, you should volunteer; children tend to learn through observing what adults do, and by your example, they will have a great role model to adopt. And, of course, through volunteering, you can find a lot of useful contacts, resources, and activities for your whole family (HelpGuide).
There have been surprising research studies connecting helping other people on a voluntary basis with mental health; specifically, people who are known to be involved into different forms of selflessly helping other people, animals, and so on, felt like they were undergoing some sort of beneficial therapy. In particular, according to CSV, millions of people in the United Kingdom doing voluntary work started to feel less depressed; about 48% of those who have been involved in volunteering during the last two years felt relief in terms of depression, and improvement of their mental condition. Among more than 600 volunteers who were observed during the experiment, 63% of people aged between 25 and 34 said that volunteering reduced their stress levels—so did about 62% of volunteers over 65 years old. According to CSV’s research, volunteering also helps reduce work-related stress, and even boosts productivity: 31% of people aged between 18 and 24 said they had taken less time off work since starting to volunteer (The Guardian).
All these facts demonstrate that volunteering is a great alternative to a number of other activities, since it can help you acquire work experience and get a job; makes you more sociable, and turns you into a good role model for your children; and besides, it decreases the levels of stress we are exposed to on a daily basis, and helps people effectively combat depression. Therefore, you might want to start volunteering as soon as possible.
- “Benefits of Volunteering.” World Volunteer Web. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.
- Segal, Jeanne, and Lawrence Robinson. “Volunteering and Its Surprising Benefits: How Volunteering Makes Us Healthier and Happier.” HelpGuide.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.
- “6 Reasons Why Volunteering is Good for You.” ReachOut.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.
- “Volunteering Linked to Fall in Depression.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 28 Sept. 2004. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.
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