Saturday, July 27, 2013

"Give people the opportunity to be kind, they will be." ~Julie Miller-Hernandez

I occasionally quote myself, yes: Give people the opportunity to be kind, they will be.

volunteerism noun
(Sociology) the principle of donating time and energy for the benefit of other people in the community as a social responsibility rather than for any financial reward

charitable adjective
generous in giving to the needy
kind or lenient in one's attitude towards others

benevolent adjective
intending or showing goodwill; kindly; friendly

If I had to write down in order, my favorite type of work it would go something like this:
1. Writing (which I don't find nearly enough time to do lately)
2. Fundraising
3. Public Speaking (I've never really been called "shy")
4. Product procurement (Research and development really - ask me everything you ever wanted to know about bobblehead production... go ahead)
5. Public Relations (They always told me "sit down and be quiet, Julie" - it just never sunk in)
6. Marketing (The artistic gene passed through me to my children, nieces and nephews, but the creativity gene did not)
7. Reputation Management (Don't you be talkin' 'bout my friend like that!)
8. Social Media Management (Where there's a will, there's a PROPER way)

For those of you who know me, this might surprise you, maybe not. Some of you might be thinking "I really could care less what you enjoy doing, Julie, did you finish that project's first draft yet?" I have had the opportunity of doing nearly all of the above on a regular basis since I began my business several years ago; on a much busier scale over the past year which I am very grateful for. I had the pleasure earlier this year of watching my daughter perform in Annie Get Your Gun which, ironically or maybe interestingly, has a song that relates to this blog:  "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly."

I also recently read an article about up and coming professions as well as professions on the outs which I found interesting considering I have a few good friends out of work right now whom have had to rediscover themselves; one has taken free workshops through the county as a resource to become gainfully employed again.  In our mid-forties we are competing with young, ambitious, freshly and highly educated candidates vying for the same employment opportunities, having either come out of a four-year college or with a masters degree in hand; although nothing guarantees you a six figure job. I have friends using government programs to pay their mortgages right now. Times are tough. I was thankful to see my line of work on the "up and coming" list of the article.

Business consulting comes naturally to me, especially in the non-profit sector, yet I hesitate to call myself a "business consultant" because I'm not confident nor arrogant enough not to know that there aren't brilliant minds out there and firms that are full of them. I love to brainstorm and I do have enough experience in enough areas to know a few things about a few things, so if you give me a moment of your time you might also have the opportunity of being entertained by someone who can rattle of marketing strategies and business concepts without pausing to take a breath.

So I thought about it and decided to blog about what it is that I actually do on a daily basis in the thoughts that some of you might be seeking a new line of work; like my friend who made pretty good money, had benefits, 401k, a desk with a nice view, regular hours and is now researching the best resources for someone who's near poverty and hanging on by a desperate thread to their home. This brings me to my original point: VOLUNTEERING.

My son asked me a question at the dinner table the other night; that conversation went a little something like this:
"Mom, why do you volunteer so much? Maybe you could get a job-job and make more money."

"because I think I must have been a serial killer in a past life and I'm trying to straighten out my karma." 

All joking aside, I have raised my kids in a charitable home where we, as a family, have actively volunteered since before they could walk. My kids have been raised to give of their time, their energy, their talents and their earnings. In fact, it began when they were little-littles as I have required, among the members of our family, that we donate to charity, at minimum, twice a year: right before our birthdays and right before Christmas. Because there is someone who always has less than we do.  I have been known to say "You want to fix a bought of depression?  Think of someone else, besides yourself."  My suggestions frequently include serving breakfast to homeless neighbors at your local food pantry, going over to the local animal shelter to walk dogs that may not see another day of sunshine, give up one Saturday to volunteer for your local community beautification project and rake some leaves to feel a healthy release of endorphins from a little extra physical activity. Good for your body, good for your soul.

To be charitable is a way of life that has worked well for me.  Not only as an example for my children, their friends and the next generation, but as a way of life that I've transformed, inadvertently, into a career.  I love chatting about fund raising; I enjoy learning of the stories of so many who have less yet deserve so much more.  And I wholeheartedly believe in the theory of raising funds five dollars at a time. Who among us cannot afford to skip their Starbuck's one morning? Who cannot afford to pack a sack lunch instead of drive-thru on Wednesdays? Who cannot afford to spare what we can usually find at the bottom of our purse or stuffed into the dark depths of our sofa cushions?  Who on earth cannot spare five dollars?  Five dollars multiplied by one hundred... times 1000. You can do the math.

What I have experienced throughout my years of charitable contributions and volunteer man-(*ahem* WOMAN)-hours is that I have yet not to gain one at least one of the following:
1. a new skill
2. a new contact
3. a new client
3. a new friend
4. self esteem



Little do you know, that next job offer you're so desperately seeking may come from the time you spent volunteering at your favorite organization.

Give more, whine less.

BLOG POST AUTHORED BY: Julie Miller, President of Lady Luck Consulting

 Julie Marie Miller Lady Luck Consulting LLC 

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