Whether it’s a well known, multi-million dollar organization or a hole in the wall office consisting of three over-caffeinated individuals who have a similar dream, working for a non-profit is the absolute best first move for every single college graduate. With national employment rates lower than you dropped it to Lil Jon in high school, the pursuit of a postgrad finding his or her dream career gets increasingly more difficult every day. Many find themselves living at home with an unpaid internship, fetching coffee, and stuffing envelopes for bosses who can fit all of their compassion into their right pinkies. “But I got a really great job offer from the field I want to work in!” you say. Well, I don’t care because you’re wrong and I’m, once again, right. You see, I have the pleasure of working for a nonprofit and because this has been my only real job ever, I feel like I’m in a stellar position to preach about why it outweighs any other job in the whole wide world.
Nobody cares what you look like.
Your job description may say “business casual attired required,” but that simply means you can’t wear ripped jeans. You never have to wear makeup, and if you spend more than 45 seconds on your hair, you’re a try-hard. Basically, unless you’re going to a donor meeting or business lunch with a client, you can literally roll out of bed, get dressed in the dark, and show up to work with no judgment passed.
You get a bunch of free shit.
I often milk the crap out of my nonprofit’s logo to get free stuff. Not in the illegal, embezzlement kind of way–because committing fraud at a non-profit is a one way ticket to Satan’s lap–but in the look-at-me-taking-advantage-of-my-job kind of way. People see it, ask you about it, and automatically assume you are a much better person than you actually are. While I don’t expect people to respect me simply for where I am employed, I have become extremely comfortable with hearing the phrase, “Hey, this one’s on me.”
You won’t have to deal with big egos in the office.
If you’re cool with taking a dip in your salary to work for a cause you believe in, there’s no way in hell you can have a big ego. Generally, the people who seek jobs at non-profits not only put themselves second, but will also be the first to let you know when you’re being bigheaded. Whatever the organization is, you’ll work with either people, animals, or environments much less fortunate than you are. You’ll realize what your place is quicker than you can ask Mom and Dad for some help with your drinking money rent for the third time this year.
Experience at a non-profit will have employers drooling over your mediocre resume.
I am about 900 percent average, so I stick my experience at a nonprofit on my resume, sit back, and watch the bullet point of humble work glitter in the eyes of future employers. They will assume things about you based solely on the fact that you worked at a place whose mission is to make the world a better place. You may cuss a lot, take pride in being a passive aggression connoisseur, and occasionally dip your toes in a slight drinking problem, but the man or woman on the other side of the desk reading your resume thinks you are a selfless, kindhearted, wonderful human being. And to future employers who have read this far and haven’t already mentally rejected my job application, I definitely encompass the latter characteristics. Call me.
Because of you, the world will actually be a better place.
A non-profit doesn’t have time for bullshit entry level jobs filled with underqualified individuals. They don’t have a dime to spare, so whatever your position is, you will be calling some shots and accomplishing something important. Although I haven’t graduated from my first job into the start of my career, I assume the humility I’ve already experienced here will help carry me through the rest of my life.
Even if it’s just a stepping stone for your career, you’ll be doing work that actually matters–not taking minutes and Starbucks orders.