It’s no secret that I love volunteering. I have my limits and there are some volunteer jobs you won’t catch me doing but that’s okay because we all have our “thing” we like doing and would do for free. Mine happens to be helping military families and I also help out with the stuff my boys are involved in like school, Scouting, and sports. In fact, I feel like volunteering is a pretty important thing for military spouses to do. Wait… here me out…. I have some good reasons why.
1. Resume building! Our frequent moves to many states and foreign lands can take a toll on careers. Some times you get lucky with a job right away and some times you don’t. Volunteering fills the gaps and tell employers that you are working (even without the pay).
2. Great way to meet people. I tell my children often that being in activities they enjoy will bring them to kids they will have the most in common with and create friendships. This is also true for adults. When you are volunteering in something you like and feel passionate about you will most likely find long lasting friendships, too. This is so true for me! The network of women that are now friends for life came through my Ombudsman position. We had a common goal and bonded over that.
3. Helps pass away the time during deployments. For the spouses who do not work (by choice or not) volunteering can help the days pass. Cleaning homes, helping with homework and running kids to activities gets mundane. But, when you add a volunteer job in the mix you’ll have a reason to put on jeans and interact with other people.
4. Gives you something that is all yours. So much of our lives are as mothers/fathers and parents, doing everyday tasks for our families. Give yourself something that you don’t share with anyone in your family. Something you can look back on and are proud of your accomplishment.
5. It’s flexible. One of the many reasons I don’t have a paying job yet is because I feel like my life needs to be flexible (this is my choice not saying it has to be someone else’s). I want the freedom to be home with sick kids, be at sporting events, or work functions for my spouse without the worry of a job holding me back. Volunteering gives me purpose, responsibility and satisfaction with luxury of saying, “Not today, we have the stomach flu.” and not worry what is going to happen at work. Volunteer jobs get out of what you put into them with no repercussions because after all you aren’t getting paid to do the job at hand.
There is something I’ve learned about volunteering that I know is true and that is that generally people have more satisfaction from a volunteer position than a paying job. I really did like my job in the Navy but it came with lots and lots of stress. Being Ombudsman was stressful at times, too. But, then I would remind myself (or often times others around me) that I wasn’t getting paid and to just let whatever was bothering me go. Volunteering will make you feel accomplished and proud because you put your soul into it with no gain except to help AND that is an amazing feeling!!!
What is the best volunteer experience you’ve ever had? Where do you enjoy volunteering the most?