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Career Options: Mix Business and Social Causes

Thinking about career options, it seems like everyone wants their job to have meaning these days. Is this too much to ask of an economy or the nation’s management teams?

career options

While some might argue it’s a bit of a luxury, there’s no reason to believe that focusing on a company, industry or job type that helps people is a bad thing. So planning out your strategy to a new job should include this as an option if it’s important to you.

So how do you find a job that allows you to use your business skills for good?

Here are a few ideas to find meaningful jobs that pay well from Forbes. Or you can read about finding awesome jobs for people who love helping others from The Muse.

And here a few more thoughts below.

Look For A Clear Mission

Look for a company where the mission is around social good or social entrepreneurship. Specifically look for an obvious and empathetic beneficiary. For example, an organization where either the purpose is to support or grow a helpful initiative (e.g. a non-profit) or where the primary recipient of the organization’s product or service is a protagonist you can believe in (“work for”).

After 3 years as a marketing/branding consultant, I found this in my current company, Kareo. It is a VC-backed late-stage growth start-up serving independent medical practices through cloud-based technology. The independent physician is the recipient of helpful technology to stay focused on their patients while getting help to run a successful practice.

To help you recognize a company that’s probably not a fit, here’s something to chew on:

“We cut through the technology hype to deliver true business innovation and clear competitive advantage.”

Finding a company with a clear and specific purpose – with an empathetic audience – is critical. And during your job interview, ask great questions like: “Who benefits from the work you do here?”.

The Psychology Angle

If interested in social psychology, this could suggest your working at a brand, PR or ad agency where knowing the audience along with their motivations, fears and hopes helps you tell a story through images and words to introduce relevant brands or companies to new audiences.

Now, among career options, this may sound less pure. But a good agencies will have a portion of their work dedicated to clients that focus on doing good. And there are likely agencies you can find that focus on only that segment of the market.

Career Options: Making A Good Living

There are good jobs out there where you can make a good living and focus your work on helping others – even if your work also contributes to the bottom line of your company and rewards investors. For those of you wanting your career options to include a pure nonprofit role, just be careful. It’s hard to make a real living. If that’s important right now.

I did some consulting for non-profits and while I loved the work and the feeling when I did it, I found it hard to make it work financially. So, if money is important, my advice is to find a good paying job as your primary role in life and make the time outside of work to get on a board or contribute pro bono – perhaps contributing strategic guidance and advice based on your business skills.

The “Feels Good” Part

It feels natural to want at least a portion of your work life to contribute something more valuable to the world around you. As we gain experience, it’s especially satisfying to know that our career options aren’t limited. And that our skills can be applied to helping others.

You just need to find the right balance that works for you at the time. And you need to have a career strategy.

Note: this post was newly inspired from a question on Quora. Photo from TEDx Monterey via Flickr.


Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Career Advice

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