I’m making every effort to build a career in the non-profit sector. I believe in it. I want to contribute to it. However, I am beginning to see why people are not breaking down doors to get a career in the sector.
My first full-time job was with a non-profit. It was a “start-up” arm of an organization being built in Atlanta. The staff was very small and the work was plentiful. There were many late nights and weekends to work, but I was an hourly employee so overtime was given. Neppotism was rampant and I didn’t stay there long, around 4 months. That was 2005.
My 2nd FT job was at another non-profit. It was not a start-up, but was under constant restructuring to increase efficiency and mission-attainment. In fact, the mission statement and vision was being changed while I was an employee there. I was “required” to be there several nights a week and many weekends. I was salaried. I stayed there for one year. That was 2006.
In 2007, I took a break from FT work to focus on school. I had several PT jobs (all with non-profits) to make ends meet.
My current FT job is with a company that works exclusively with non-profit organizations performing evaluations and conducting programs overseen by the Federal government. The staff is extremely small. I am salaried. I have been with this job for one month and I have already been asked to work on my off day (only 1 day since I work my 2nd job on one of the other off days) and been given much more responsibility for projects than I was originally told. I’m not happy with that…but the job offers great experience and opportunities to co-author academic papers.
What’s my point? Well, I’m beginning to rethink the way I want to contribute to the non-profit sector, rethink my involvement within it. I once got offended by researchers with little or no direct involvement with the sector who constantly criticized it and pointed out its flaws. I think I understand a little better why there interaction was from a distance. Honestly, a non-profit career sucks. I can now speak from experience and say that the hours will be long, the pay will not begin to rival that of the private sector, benefits will be close to non-existent and room for upward mobility is close to none.
A career as a researcher isn’t looking so bad after all.
*edited* One other note, one of my professors a disappointment. Of the 6 schools I sent applications to, one’s deadline passed without receiving his information, two are currently under review with all needed information, and three STILL don’t have his stuff. He said he sent everything on 11/17/07. He’s now responsible for my loss money (application fee, transcripts, cost of sending GRE score). I’m considering applying to UF as a backup. It’s not a top-ranked program, but it’s a top-ranked school with 3-4 research institutes related to my potential area of research.
I’m exhausted and buzzed off of the riesling (I bought a case for $100).