As young people face the transition into becoming professionals, they are challenged with the task of finding a balance between their careers, giving back to their communities, beginning a family, planning for retirement and more.
During our academic and early life we have a professor, guidance counselor, mentor, or parent shining the way for us, or perhaps even pulling our hand in a specific direction. The most successful people at the top will tell anyone they didn’t get there on their own. Young professionals, in an age of intensified competition fueled by the ever-present eye of social media and unlimited data, have grown to realize there are many benefits of being a well-rounded person with strong philanthropic responsibilities and involvements.
While many may see the benefits of volunteer work, others may be unsure of how to get involved and hesitant to make the time in their busy schedules.
Build in the time.
When hosting discussions and giving speeches about my involvement with United Way and other organizations, I always explain the benefits of taking the time to do good for yourself, but also the impact your involvement in local organizations can have on your community. You meet new people, learn new things, and see your community from different perspectives when you take the time to volunteer.
Discover where your passions lie.
In Pittsburgh, there are countless nonprofit organizations representing a variety of causes and social issues that need the help of enthusiastic, driven members of our community. But before you can find that cause or passion, you have to be willing to say ‘yes’ to the opportunity.
It turns out, young professionals know that volunteering does good, they know volunteering looks good, and they even know that volunteering can make them a better person, but many of these same young professionals are hesitant to just say ‘yes.’
When a mentor of mine asked me to join him on the Next Generation Steering Committee of United Way, I simply said ‘yes.’ It wasn’t hard. And from that experience, I discovered a passion for giving back to my community and learned about a multitude of different opportunities United Way offered for me to get connected to the things I care about.
Make the commitment.
So my challenge to young Pittsburgh professionals, is to simply put your fears aside and be open to the possibility of great things to come; just say ‘yes!’ There really are a multitude of opportunities bombarding our email, social media, and smartphone, if you just take the time to notice. Finding the opportunity to be involved isn’t the hard part, it’s making the commitment and saying ‘yes.’ But in doing so, a door opens.
Each person who volunteers does so for their own reasons, and each person takes away something different from the experience. Fellow volunteers that I have spoken with who have made the commitment to say ‘yes’ have grown through their experiences and ultimately become better leaders and thinkers. It’s my hope that this simple message of being open to new opportunities will spread and more young professionals will step up and play a larger role in the community.
Build in the time. Discover where your passions lie. Make the commitment to give back to your community. Just. Say. Yes.