By Kathleen E. Murphy
I am certain there are many days you think work is such a hassle and that you would not consider it a privilege to have a job, or a career. However, if you have either of these you are lucky and keep this in mind on Sunday night, Monday morning, or any other day of the week you are dreading going to, or being at work. Why? Because chances are you obtained your job because of the fact you might have had the privilege of higher education, supportive parents, a roof over your head, food on the table each day, and which are things not everyone in the United States has.
Recently I was speaking to an incredible woman I admire in the life insurance industry. She reminded me about how privileged we are, and one of the classifications of being privileged is the fact we have a college education. Upon further discussing the concept of privilege, she asked me if I had seen the YouTube video on this topic. I had not, and here’s a link to the video. As I was watching the video, it was absolutely eye opening to be reminded about how something as basic as not having to worry about where I will be sleeping tonight, or where my next meal is going to come from. A number of the people in the video had these concerns. However, if you fall into the “privilege category”, you have not likely had to give any thought to them on a regular basis. This does not mean we shouldn’t, it just means we do not understand or appreciate the struggles others have to go through simply to survive on a day to day basis, and yes, I’m talking about people in the United States.
How does this topic relate to your job? It does because there is something each one of us can do about helping others who may not have had, or will not have the same privileges we have taken for granted. Especially those who are preparing to enter into the workforce in 5-10 years. One way to do this is to set aside a few hours of your week to volunteer your time at a number of different places (e.g., The Boys & Girls Clubs in your city, Habitat for Humanity, tutoring at the middle and high school levels, working with local social workers to spend time with kids who are in foster care or transitional homes, volunteering your time to coach a sports team or be involved with an after-school program) as a few examples. The emphasis is on kids between the ages of 12-18, as these are the ages when kids need all the support they can get. Providing them with your support will allow them to potentially not have to be subjected to aspects of denying them privileges you can easily bestow upon them with your time, and teaching them how to gain privileges they would not otherwise know how to obtain (e.g., how to apply for college scholarships).
Many companies I talk to are looking for ways to further engage their employees either during the work day, or prior to or after work. Some companies allow their employees to have these volunteer hours count as “work” hours, even if they are a salaried employee. By allowing employees to volunteer their time during work hours, there are multiple parties who benefit from this arrangement. The top ones are the employer, the employee and the recipient(s) who are receiving the donated time towards helping them with their life. This may seem elementary as a concept, but it’s not, and it is one small way to help to offset the privilege gap.
So, the next time you catch yourself complaining about your life, your job or about how hard everything is, think back to the YouTube video you just watched. This video and the concept of how privilege is something more people can have if we all do our part in first recognizing the issue, and then taking action to do something about it. Everyone deserves a chance in having a better life, and those who have had the fortune of privilege can make a difference in the lives of those who do not. Think about this the next time you are looking for a cure for your Monday morning blues.
Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at firstname.lastname@example.org.