It’s hard not to be disheartened when you’re 25 and still unable to pinpoint what your career interests are, maybe even you’re own interests. I am one of many in their mid twenties suffering from an overwhelming guilt that I have yet to find my professional and emotional goals. I know I want to work in the arts. I know I love art. However, since volunteering for SICK! Festival, I explored not only previously unknown career options, but areas of interest that now inspire me to read on in my spare time.
By offering my time as a production volunteer, I have spoken with psychologists, abuse victims, artists and actors. All with a powerful stories that I had been unaware of before. I volunteered not for my CV to ‘further understand how to run a successful festival’, I did it to open my eyes to a new world. And I realised that I have little foundational knowledge on many mental health issues that affect us all whether it be a low or high impact. I realised that stories of rape victims could shake my soul so hard that I want to develop a much more complex understanding of abuse and its effects and ways that I can help.
Interning has split many and often implies illegal strategies to keep employee costs low. Students and graduates now work for free and leave with very little work satisfaction, but extensive experience in filing and coffee making. It is time to volunteer for the soul and do what you love and then maybe you will learn more about yourself than you think.
A few suggestions to get you started:
1. Always enquire in the places you hang out the most. Like a certain gallery? Ask for the curator and explain your interest in curating or events management. You never know if you don’t ask. Most jobs go unadvertised so be positive and proactive.
2. Be specific in what you want to do. If you like being practical, then say that. There is no point being stuck behind a desk if you’re interested in production for example. If you’re giving your time up for free, make it count.
3. Don’t do anything you don’t want to do. Volunteering is all about finding out about your interests and goals. If you feel like you’re being taken for granted then move on and you will feel much more satisfied.