The other day I started a post musing on the difference between being a nonprofit professional and a Jewish communal professional—wondering, is there one? Both positions are certainly overworked and underpaid; however, they also hold the greatest potential for reward in that you are truly able to see the difference you make each day. Both fields also attract some of the most passionate workers you’ll ever meet in your life.
And here’s where I petered out of idealistic reflections…both also require an absolute commitment to what you do and who you serve, as well as a willingness to “get your hands dirty.” Sometimes this requires participating in, and struggling with, the organizational dialogue.
We here at the J are lucky enough to organize programs that facilitate discussion and encourage open exchange . Why then, does it come as such a challenge (at least for me) to participate in that larger organizational conversation? Because sometimes it’s just easier to be handed down a decision from on high; to not have the opportunity to contribute at all.
Then it hit me: what we do every day is making a contribution to the community. And that attitude—that we’re building something together—carries through to the professional relationships we develop with each other, and the relationships we build with those who patronize our programs. This really, truly invaluable, exhilarating (and yes, sometimes frustrating) experience defines my work as a nonprofit/Jewish communal professional.
So, while sometimes I wish I worked for the man, that’s why I’m glad I don’t—and even if I did, that need to contribute would push me somewhere, to do something, to help . How do you contribute?