Working For Free – “Oh, The Horror” Or Totally Worth It?
Working for free. Working for free. It does have a certain unpleasant ring to it, doesn’t it? It shouldn’t – unless someone is exploiting you. In other words – donating your efforts without seeking financial gains can be quite awesome. And yes, people actually do that!
The reason I’m being sarcastic is because I’ve been doing it for quite a while now and a large amount of people keep asking me why I do that instead of actually finding a way to get paid for my efforts. I finally decided to answer it once and for all! 🙂 Hopefully by the end of this some of you might at least consider participating in something cool as well!
First of all, and now is the time to start sighing and facepalming yourself if you’re one of the negative know-it-alls, I like helping people. I honestly believe that helping each other and sharing knowledge with each other is one of the ways to change the world as we know it. There is so much negativity, so much bullshit, so much bullying, so many excuses for not doing the right thing… and not enough people willing to change that. But hey, it can’t happen overnight, and we know it. I like the feeling of helping someone learn something I learned long ago or training someone to be better in what he wants to do. Without expecting anything in return. I will admit that each of us has selfish bones in his body, and there’s no harm in that as long as we acknowledge it and not give in to it completely.
Secondly, I love the feeling of someone coming to me for help. Let’s say I do normally charge people for some services, after all we have to respect our skills since it usually takes a long time to become good at something. But definitely not everyone. Would you really tell a friend asking you to proofread something or spend the day with him helping him with his CV “that will be 20 euro, please”? Hell no. I really do like being the person these people turn to for help and I don’t plan on capitalizing on that. Ever.
Thirdly, ever heard of charity work? Getting involved in a charity project serves as a kind of filter. You don’t meet a lot of truly selfish people there, or people with ulterior motives. Yeah, some of them want to have volunteer work on their CVs, but don’t we all? If they are doing it just for that, they usually quit within the first month, trust me, I’ve seen it enough times. I’ve tried to see the world through these people’s eyes, but I can’t say that I can. For the life of me, I can’t imagine getting involved with something that is going to help someone or a group of people in any way and then quitting. Unless, of course, I have to move to another city or something. (Not that it stopped me from getting involved with ANOTHER volunteer project. My friends know what I’m talking about, wink wink).
Fourthly (I think this is the first time I’ve ever used this word), when you’re involved in volunteer work, there’s just something unique about being surrounded by people working to achieve the same goals as you and getting to know each other in the process. It’s truly amazing! Also, I can’t help but believe that the most innovative and creative brainstorming sessions take place when you’re not paid to come up with something. When you’re doing it for the experience, for the common goal, for simply doing good, that’s when it’s as good as it gets.
I am not gonna say “fifthly”. Did you know that volunteering actually leads to the so called “happiness effect”? Yes, apparently there is a study in Social Science and Medicine based on a group of American volunteers and people who never volunteered. Turns out, the more you volunteer, the happier you feel. Check it out for a more in-depth perspective on the whole thing, but my point is that, not knowing how much truth there is to it, if I’m basing it completely on myself and the people around me – it’s 100% true.
Not saying “sixthly” either. Connections. Friends. Networking. Bingo! I stopped being able to count the new people I meet all the time through volunteering, they’re just way too many. I’ve build up such a huge network that if I need anything at all in my everyday life (or ever) it just takes contacting 1-2 people until I know exactly what to do to get it. I also learn about the coolest events and parties around here thanks to that. Not bad, huh?
7thly. Yuck. Again, the experience. Volunteering can really help you get on that career path you desire so much. And not just thanks to connections, as I already mentioned. It also helps you in another way. If any of you don’t actually believe that volunteering can help you gain the skills you want and then actually get you hired, then this is how I’m looking at you right now:
I want to add something else. Volunteering in any way makes you feel much more fulfilled than you usually do. Why choose not to get paid? Well, because volunteering and a paid job have nothing to do with each other. You do realize you can do both, right? There’s 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 365 days (usually) in a year. Do you even realize how much you can do in such a long time? A small confession though: it does pass quickly if you’re only doing awesome things. I still feel like it’s 2013.
SO, instead of wondering why people do it, get on that train (huh?) and try it out for yourself! You definitely won’t lose anything. Plus, there are so many opportunities out there, so many projects, places, organizations that require volunteers! Don’t overthink it 🙂
And if you’re one of those people that are rolling their eyes at me right now
and claiming to everyone who wants to listen how naive I’m being – 1) don’t you have something better to do than read my blog posts and 2) spare me your negativity, please. While you’re rolling your eyes and laughing at people trying to do good, they are actually doing it. I even had a friend tell me sarcastically that I think “I can save the world”. Um, no, because what does that even mean? I know we can all change it together and yes, I intend to be a part of that. By helping others in need, by sharing knowledge, by explaining things to each other instead of getting angry, by listening to each other, by donating a small amount of money to a cause you believe in, by fighting for your freedom of speech, by convincing those around you they should not be afraid to try – that’s how we do it.
And this is especially dedicated to a friend of mine out there who is in a bad place right now – stop being scared of what’s out there, because you know what? You’re awesome and for all the times you tell yourself you won’t succeed, imagine someone else (preferably blond) telling you twice as many times you will never know unless you try. Stay strong!
To finish off, guys, check out some of the things I am involved with right now, maybe you’ll get an idea, find something that interests you or even decide to participate – who knows? 🙂
- If you live in Denmark, I am part of the organizing committee (head of online marketing) of the first ever TEDx event in Odense – TEDxEAL. Maybe you’d like to attend, maybe you’d like to become a speaker or maybe you’ll get inspired and create the first ever TEDx in your city! Check out our Facebook page for inspiration.
- Again, if you’re in Denmark, check out this awesome event as well. As a team leader of business development there, my job is almost done now since it takes place next friday, but the good news is, there is still an opportunity for you to join and take part in the amazing discussions, workshops and panels, especially if you’re interested in technology, networking, job opportunities and meeting interesting people.
Until a few days ago I had a campaign on Indiegogo.com that aimed to help my best friend (the most talented hairdresser in the world) raise money to open her own salon. If you’re ever in doubt about how you can get the money for something important you want to do or someone close to you wants to do, Indiegogo is a great starting point for that. Give it a shot!
- It’s very hard to find good and selfless people these days, and the people from Let’s Adopt Bulgaria are truly extraordinary. This organization has helped so many animals from the streets to find new homes and live happily ever after, that sometimes they forget about their own lives. Help me spread the word about them – most of the animals get adopted from abroad! If you’re feeling generous – you can always donate some money too! 🙂
- Life for the homeless is a tiny little organization consisting of only a couple of nice people saving animals from the streets of Bulgaria. They often find themselves overwhelmed and in need of financial support. If you’re interested in helping, that’s awesome, and if not with money – you can always share posts and talk to people about it!
- Charity water is something I just recently took an interest in, but it’s an incredible initiative that more than deserves your attention! Make sure you check out “The birthday project”- such an easy way to do something generous! Update: I’m now donating my own birthday for clean water!
- I better finish off here so here’s one last project I love: Farm Sanctuary‘s efforts to stop animal abuse. Through this initiative you can choose to sponsor an animal monthly or even yearly. They even have gift adoptions which make for a nice present to someone you know interested in that! (hint, hint)
If anyone is interested in any of these or in anything else – just drop me a message!