Posted on December 14, 2009
This week marks the start of my second year at Areyvut. What was initially a temporary volunteer position turned into a long term (two years is long term, right?) and paying gig. A lot of people ask me what the best part of my job is and for that, it’s easier to turn to the many things that went wrong at my previous places of employment.
My first job out of grad school was working at a drug treatment center for adolescent substance abusers. Sure, it wasn’t the most glamorous job, but I did have my own office. My own office, with windows on every side which oddly faced only into the facility. I was a fish in a fish bowl. In case anyone is wondering, when adolescent substance abusers get angry, they sometimes have the tendency to throw, punch or kick things. FYI – Glass shatters, but climbing under one’s desk provides a good cover. I admit that I wasn’t unhappy to leave when my next job opportunity came upon me, this one bringing me into the City.
Now I was working for a national nonprofit organization that provided programming for children and teens by having them work with mentors. My job was to create and facilitate programming that was interesting for teenagers to complete with their mentors while at the same time providing them with valuable real world skills and preparing them for college. I gave up an office for a cubicle which at times I pretended was sound proof because it made for an entertaining day. (If you’re ever bored call the extension of the person sitting in the pod behind you…it can be a great procrastination technique.) There were certain aspects of the job that I enjoyed, that luckily I still get to do on a regular basis at Areyvut, but overall my unhappiness with the bureaucracy won out and I departed.
In December of 2007 I came to Areyvut for the first time. I had known Daniel from when he lived in Riverdale and he said I could volunteer for him and he guaranteed that he would help me find a job, a win-win in my book. Within 2-3 weeks of volunteering at Areyvut, Daniel was successful in finding me a job, working here permanently. Sure, I may no longer have an office, or cubicle for that matter (I sit in an open office space, though I do get a window), I know that this is where I belong.
Over the past two years I’ve been sent on business trips (I especially like going to places where my friends live, or any place warm), attended seminars, run programs and met great people. While the “big picture” stuff is a lot of fun, it’s the small day to day that is more important to me…like being able to look outside and seeing the first snowflakes fall, or timing in my head how long it takes Daniel to get from his car into the building (I’ve gotten really good at that), or seeing a potential intern look a little lost as he walks around the building. It seems the thing that was missing most was a window to the outside world. My window serves as a constant reminder as to why I do the work that I do – it’s the people. Whether supporting my colleagues, creating programs for children or working with fellow nonprofit organizations for the greater good, it always comes back to the people. Here’s to more “small moments”, lots of programs and fun people for the coming year!