Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Life of a Nonprofit Diva

So those who know me know that I can be a bit of a diva, depending on how well you know me. It's not so much a diva in a bitchy kind of way but I know what I want and how to get it. I used this ability in everyday life and while working in Corporate America.

I worked for two Fortune 500 companies after grad school but after a while I realized it wasn't for me. Nearly two years ago, I made the switch to nonprofit. Although, I'd volunteered for every type of charity you could imagine since I was young, I had never worked for a nonprofit. Let me tell you it was not only a culture shock but a shock to my bank account.

Working in Corporate America, if I wanted to go out and buy the hottest bag or jewelry, as long as my bills were paid I could do it. I've always had expensive tastes, that's just how I was raised and what I've grown accustomed to. When I bought my new car, my old one was dying and I decided I needed to step my game up so I decided to invest in a nicer but starter, luxury car. (People seem to think it cost more than it did but that's on them.) Hey, I was in B2B sales and we were expected to have an air about us to be able to successfully negotiate with CEOs and decision makers within companies we were trying to win business from. In my line of work having a nice car only added to your credibility.

One day, I realized the life of wheeling and dealing really wasn't for me so I started looking for other opportunities. During this time, I was determined to make the switch from Corporate America to nonprofit. I knew that I would never find a nonprofit that would pay me what I was making in sales so I began to cut back on my spending. I found a roommate who was also interested in saving some money each month. It's been a great partnership having someone to help me out with the mortgage and also having someone else there for safety.

And anyone who knows me knows that I love to shop. Fortunately, the company that I worked part time (PT) with through grad school, then went on to work in their corporate offices in NY, has allowed me to have a very flexible PT schedule over the years. Having a PT job allows me to not only have a fabulous discount on the things I love most but it allows me to buy the things I want, whereas the full-time pays for the things I need.

Working for a nonprofit has definitely humbled me. While I'm not getting the salary I think I deserve compared to my counterparts with similar positions in Corporate America, the experience, growth opportunities, benefits, far outweigh that of a salary. I think, well no I know, I've learned more in the last few years in nonprofit than I probably would have in 5-7 years working in Corporate America. My boss is extremely supportive of me and my career and is always encouraging me to attend various events and go to trainings.

True, I've had to make a lot of sacrifices whether it's not being able to travel on a whim due to working the PT one day on the weekend, or not being able to spend lots of money on entertainment and going out. Those sacrifices are minimal to what I've been able to learn. Working for a nonprofit, has given me the opportunity to see that money is not and should not be my only motivation behind having a job. Instead, this nonprofit diva has a passion for being able to make a difference in the lives of others.


  1. nothing wrong with money tho


    u probably dont even half miss the things you cut back on

    its amazing what we THINK we need

    I had to go without cable for months once when I was paying back a student loan..didn't miss it AT ALL

  2. It's nice that you can look at both bottom lines. Glad you found such a meaningful niche.


  3. That's really great that you're doing something meaningful! It beats the money, although travelling on a whim is nice, I admit. I guess the fact that you're helping people and all the lessons you've learned outweighs the sacrifices you've made. I want my career to be meaningful; I'm into music and writing, and I'm exploring those fields. Right now, as I'm still in school, I work at a coffee shop, and it's the most depressing job I've ever had*sigh. But, people need their coffee!:P

  4. Whew, girl, I can relate. My career has been the opposite, I started out with nonprofits and moved to corporate 5 years ago. Total culture shock. I definitely miss the feeling (even if it was of knowing my work actually helps others.