Aha! Moment of my Day

I don’t think anyone else who reads this blog works in the nonprofit sector, but I think we can all relate to this…

 I found after getting a degree and going into my field (nonprofit), I wasn’t really getting the fulfillment that I had hoped to.  It’s not so much that I want to be constantly thanked for what I do, but I really get a great sense of my purpose when I can actually see people become happier thanks to my help, in whatever way that happens.  It just makes me feel really alive, and really happy that I am so lucky to be able to help people that are less fortunate. 

 I think I lose that feeling every now and then when I am working because I’ve often ended up doing office work, and not so much the direct work with people, where I can see them and know their stories, and really just help them out.

I has a really wonderful moment just now that made me feel really happy to be where I am.  I got called downstairs to help with a computer problem (as I do about 90% of the time I’m here) and I went down thinking it was a simple problem like ink running out of a printer, etc.

What I came to see was a very frail woman, maybe no more than 45, who had tried to save a document to a floppy disc, only to see it dissapear.

Now, I’m pretty sure anyone who has ever touched a computer has felt this, but she was different.  She doesn’t own a computer, she can’t afford to pay to use the internet at a cafe, and she can’t use a library computer because of the confidential nature of the document she was working on. 

Two hours of her time had suddenly vanished, and the volunteer helping her had no idea where the document went.  It looked like she was going to break down completely if I couldn’t get the document back.

I don’t know what it truly feels like to be helpless.  I am lucky enough to have a home, a family, a car, a job, friends…I mean really when it comes down to it, I am really lucky.  But to see the desperation and terror on someone’s face when they don’t know why they lost an important document because of the big scary computer….I can’t even tell you how sad that is to see.

I worked for 15 minutes and got her document back, and then I helped her print three copies, save it to her disc, and put them in a folder for her so that she would be able to keep them safe.

We exchanged names and I wished her luck, and the happiness in her eyes is really all I need at the end of the day to know I made someone’s difficult situation, a little less hard.

6 Responses to “Aha! Moment of my Day”

  1. 1 Christine November 13, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    I hear you on the non-fulfillment. I have a BEd that is now pretty much collecting dust since I decided that teaching really wasn’t what I wanted to do. I’ve decided to volunteer as a Big Sister now instead.

  2. 2 Goodboy Norman Featherstone November 14, 2007 at 7:12 am

    Queue sappy music … awe, how sweet.

  3. 4 ultratoast November 14, 2007 at 7:41 am

    This is off topic, sorry.

    But, I thought you would like it:


  4. 5 bluesunday November 14, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    YAY! You’re on WordPress now so I can read you from work! Woo hoo!!! 🙂

  5. 6 Jen (Suki's mom) November 20, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    I work in nonprofit as well. There are so many times that work gets so hard and I feel so disconnected from the young people I work for and I wonder if I made a huge mistake going into this career. The rewards are so few and far between – god knows we make bullshit money and work long, arduous hours. But then when I’m out recruiting and working directly with the kids I have these moments when I am so proud of them and my work that I might cry at how stupid it was of me to question my choices. I am here because I am supposed to be and I would never have it any other way. So I feel you about nonprofit – when it’s good it is sooo good. 🙂

    -Jen (Suki Sumo’s mom)

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November 2007
LOOKBOOK.nu: collective fashion consciousness.


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