Today I had the great pleasure of sitting down to talk company culture with the CEO of a large Boston area non-profit organization devoted to providing food and supplies to children and families that cannot afford them otherwise.
I must admit that I have never left a meeting feeling more inspired to do good. Many of the employees at the organization perform a ton of manual labor for small compensation, but they all just seemed so satisfied. It is such a unique feeling to be able to go to work every day and understand the greater benefit of all you are doing, but just by interacting with people who were so passionate about the organization, I left wanting to donate money and resources in any way that I could.
After my meeting, I ended up in a conversation about corporate culture with my OB professor. I suppose in a non-profit it’s easy to realize the benefit of your work… Just because you went to the office and put in a hard day’s work, hundreds/thousands of hungry people will be able to eat. How then, can this idea be carried over to build a culture in for-profit organizations.
As we spoke, I realized that I have never had a job that I didn’t enjoy. I’ve always been able to feel good about a hard day of work, whether I was 15 years old and working in a gourmet hot dog restaurant (true story) or 19 and working as a pharmacy technician… Or even in my twenties and enjoying a wealth of rewarding and educational internship experiences. How then, can you develop an organization filled with people who love coming to work every day? Is it a matter of positive feedback and customizing your management technique to ensure every person sees that their effort is valued? Or is it a matter of riding the wave of CSR so employees feel that the work they are doing benefits the greater good rather than just drives sales. In many ways I am excited to get out into the real world and find out. I understand that success in this way cannot be bottled- there is no fool proof formula for corporate culture. On the other hand, I believe my generation is uniquely poised to really drive a change here with a combination of social awareness and new skills and resources that may not have been available 5, 10, 15, and 20 years ago.
After spending three years building my resume with internships, jobs and extracurricular activities, it’s time to start thinking about the real world. I had some great feedback about the blog I kept in London, although it lasted only a few weeks. I’m going to do my best to use this blog to chronicle the experiences of my senior year, balancing 30hrs/week of work, a full time class schedule and what I’d like to consider a blossoming social life… All while hoping and praying I’ll land the job of my dreams by the time I graduate. Can I do it? Let’s hope.