Where Will You Work?
The combination of creating self-awareness (Chapter 4), finding shared meaning and support in service communities (Chapter 5), and building skills and knowledge (Chapter 6) leads to choices about where to work. One of your communities of understanding is necessarily the organization for whose mission and agenda you choose to work. Since working in and through community is a two-way street, one aspect of public service for socioeconomic development and change is an ongoing redefinition and transformation of your workplace organization and its agenda. Most people prefer to work for organizations and agendas consistent with their own values. This is one of the reasons for the popularity of NGOs as employers; they are seen as values-driven organizations that pay attention to what their staff think should be done, which can be very appealing (this is an idealized view of NGOs, and is not always the case). Other people may choose to work for organizations with an explicit intention to influence and change them from within, such as international donor agencies. You may think that because donor agencies are large bureaucracies, changing them from the inside isn't possible. But you'd be surprised at what can be done. Later in this chapter, you'll hear more from Aaron Williams and Najma Siddiqi on this topic. In either case, whether or not it's an organization you feel comfortable and compatible with, you are likely both to transform and be transformed by your workplace—public service and shared meaning are created in dialogue.
In this chapter, we talk about some of these service employment choices and options. The possibilities are vast, so our discussion is