By: Justine Smith, New Media/Web Content Coordinator
The theologian and philosopher Albert Schweitzer once said: “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”
A career at a not-for-profit human services agency is an excellent way to dedicate your work to serving others. Whether you are graduating from college, seeking a new work environment or simply want to help others in a rewarding job, a job in human services could be the perfect fit.
1. There’s a reason to come to work
Captivate your heart and your mind
Unlike a typical job in the corporate world, for example, human service not-for-profit agencies offer work that provides meaningful outcomes yet still allows you to utilize your skills.
“I wanted to help people and spend my time doing something that actually made an impact,” said Amanda Krukowski, Quality Management Specialist at DePaul. “I needed to do something that I felt good about.”
Indeed, a job at a human services agency practically guarantees that you’ll feel good about your daily work.
“I have always wanted to work with people…I love the idea of working with people who need help,” said Yvonne Adams, Intake Director for DePaul Community Services. “Right out of college, I was seeking a job and was lucky enough to find a career in an agency that cares for a variety of people with a vast array of services.”
Wealth in service (not necessarily money)
If your goal is to earn a big paycheck, you’re in the wrong career. But if you strive to make a difference in your job, you’ll be rich in service and experience.
Work with the ‘big picture’ in mind
At any workplace, it can be easy to become absorbed in the everyday details and forget why the work you are doing is important. But, at a human services agency, no matter your job, a focus on the big picture keeps things in perspective.
A job in Information Technology, for example, doesn’t necessarily mean directly interacting with the people an organization serves. Yet IT is crucial to any agency.
Matt Hunt, an IT Specialist at DePaul, knows that his job fortifies DePaul’s mission by “making sure that all (DePaul’s) resources are used to their greatest potential.”
2. Work with a small community of dedicated employees
Employees at a human services agency tend to collaborate easily because of their common goal: to enrich the lives of the people they serve.
Sue Potter-Tuma, DePaul’s Vice President of Human Resources, chose a human services not-for-profit because of the potential for “working with others to discuss ideas, create plans,” and to ultimately “help make the programs successful.”
This collaboration of ideas also occurs more easily due to a smaller staff, so your chances of interacting with the CEO and upper management are much more likely.
3. There will always be job opportunities
As long as there are people in need, there will be opportunities to help people. Whether it’s your first job out of school or the beginning of a rewarding second career, the options are limitless.
4. No two days are the same
Gain valuable experience because you wear many hats
You will perform a variety of duties and will therefore gain significant experience.
Karen Shaffer, Administrator at Westwood Commons, a DePaul Senior Living Community in North Chili, NY, enjoys being involved with Westwood’s seniors.
“I visit the residents, give tours and help with activities. We are blessed with a dedicated staff who enjoy their jobs which makes it easy for me to love what I do,” Shaffer said.
Unpredictability is predictable
There is one factor you can be sure of when working in human services-unpredictability is the only predictable aspect.
Change can be exciting, however. DePaul’s President, Mark Fuller, chose DePaul because it does offer variety. In addition, he hoped working at a human services agency would let him utilize his business background while allowing him the chance to truly help people.
Working in a senior living community, for example, means that there’s no such thing as a ‘typical work day’ for Shaffer, and that’s why she loves her job!
5. Change lives, provide hope
The goal of most human service organizations, including DePaul, is to transform the lives of the people it serves through quality programs while offering hope for the future.
That’s been the mission of DePaul since 1958. “I’ve learned that human services is about giving people hope,” said Krukowski. “Seeing our clients succeed is truly inspiring.”