Working for Change: Making a Career in International Public Service

By Derick W. Brinkerhoff; Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
Sustaining Motivation for
International Public Service:
Service in Balance

Remember Gloria Steinem's motto (which Sarah Newhall lives by)? Where your energy goes is what you become. For many of us, there is a fine line between professional and personal life. Your professional life is an expression of your being. Many of our profiled practitioners affirmed this perspective: The work is the life. But being dedicated to a life of international public service does not mean that it is all you are, or all that you do. As Sarah Newhall put it, I don't see work and leisure as a dichotomy in my life. I think my work is my way of life. I want to work as hard at leisure as I do at my paid, professional work. But working is an orientation to an entire way of being, not just a job. My work is not my job.And it's not just a question of happiness, though that is important. If all you do is pursue your service career, you're not likely to be able to sustain your motivation and passion. You're likely to burn out or, to some degree, become less and less effective.

In discussing burnout, Ram Dass and Paul Gorman put it this way: “Having started out to help others, we're somehow getting wounded ourselves. What we had in mind was expressing compassion. Instead, what we seem to be adding to the universe is more suffering—our own—while we're supposedly helping.” As we discussed in Chapter 5, it is through your humanity that you connect with others and transform the world and each other together. Such connection to your own humanity requires that you embrace your emotional needs and lifestyle preferences. In other words, as you work to contribute to the quality of life of others, you should consider, too, your own quality of life.

In this chapter, we address how your career integrates with other aspects of your life. We touch upon challenges and choices regarding life

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