Desperately Seeking Self-Fulfillment: Recent Grad Dumps Profit For Nonprofit

by Mia Feldman '02

Diligently sending out a résumé a day to organizations whose missions I wholeheartedly believed in, cold-calling people whose jobs I admired, networking through family, friends and Scripps’ connections would lead one to believe I could easily get a job within 18 months after graduation. The catch: I was looking for a “socially responsible” job.

It is harder to land a job that does not pay well than one that does. In the past year, I have worked with an international consulting firm, spending most of my time between New York and Mexico City. I was contacted for these projects through a Pomona alumna’s father. Unfortunately, helping transnational corporations understand the Latin American market did not fulfill me. The work did pay me, however, and considerably more than any full-time nonprofit position could have.

My desire to make a positive social impact and apply the idealistic goals I had out of college to my career was proving to be more and more difficult as each month rolled by. Meanwhile, in between projects, I waited tables at a vegan organic restaurant with three Pomona recent graduates and persisted throughout to get, at the least, unpaid work within my field of interest. However, this story does have a happy ending. After personally delivering my résumé to the headquarters, nearly a year and a half after May 2002 graduation and after my first day at a new internship position, a micro-lending nonprofit firm made me an offer.

ACCION NY is an organization whose main principle is to foster community development through micro-lending to small businesses and entrepreneurs. As a loan consultant, I will go out into the community to interview potential clients and begin the loan process to help them grow their businesses. After working as a waitress, an international business consultant, and as a professional job seeker, I am pleased to say I will now be joining the ranks of the (full-time) employed.