I just read this blog post by Allison Jones titled “How do you know you’re making a difference?”
Allison works in the nonprofit world, but I think this question has crept up in any 20-something’s mind after graduating college.
At Penn State, there was always a way to give back to the community and the world at large, whether a blood drive or taking a Spring Break trip to Mexico to help build schools. Everyone had a club that they dedicated themselves to, giving up any free time available to help out. At the Collegian, we were on a crusade for the future of journalism, wild about news.
But then comes the diploma and the bills. The college bubble has burst, and everyone doesn’t want to save the whales/kids/etc. or isn’t as passionate. Life becomes so much more, with mouths to feed, even if it’s only your own, heat to keep on and priorities to be met. (cars, weddings, student loans.)
When I get a moment to really shut my brain off, the questions come up that are a mixture between career impact and life impact — the carrot chase vs. changing the world, or sometimes in my mind, selfishness vs. selflessness.
We all can’t be Mark Zuckerberg or one of Inc.’s 30 under 30. Though, when I read what they have done, some younger than me, I can’t help but ask if I will ever make a difference. This issue fits nicely into the quarter-life crisis.
I don’t have an answer right now, and I guess I have to leave it at that. (If you do, please email me!)
But in the meantime, I will take baby steps: reduce my carbon footprint. Give used clothes to the poor. Participate in work-related charity events if I can. Donate food. Tithe. Volunteer my time. Talk to friends, family and co-workers about the issues I am passionate about, and blog about those, too.
Did you ever deal with this “making a difference” issue? What did you make of it and what actions did you take?