So I have mentioned before that I work for The Prince’s Trust, which is a national youth charity set up by HRH The Prince of Wales in 1976 when he left the Royal Navy. It’s a charity and therefore part of the third or voluntary sector.
I have worked within the third sector since 2007 when I got a job at Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisations (GMCVO) and have worked within the sector ever since. I have also worked in the public, private and statutory sector in my career, but feel happiest in the voluntary sector as I feel I am with like minded people.
There are pros and cons of working on the third sector and here they are as far as I can work out:
- You can usually wear what you like, fancy work trousers are just as acceptable as jeans.
- The people are usually fairly easy going and altruistic.
- You get to do good almost every day.
- You get to help some people and feel like you make a difference.
- It’s usually a pretty flexible working environment.
- It’s usually not very well paid as third sector organisations rely on external funding or donations.
- Jobs can quickly become “at risk” if funding is withdrawn.
- You often have to do more than enough work for one person. Charities can never afford to employ enough people, so the people they do employ have to really work their socks off to get everything done.
- There are lots of part time contracts around due to funding restrictions, so if you are looking for full time permanent, you have to look quite hard.
There are probably many more, so do comment below if you can think of some. I have to say though, working in the 3rd sector has always suited me as I am not really driven by money and would really not do well in something like a call centre or sales. I have always found my work interesting and there are days when I really do feel like what I do matters.
I get to be creative and do stuff that is out of my comfort zone and I had my best ever introduction to a job at GMCVO. The chief exec said to me “Enjoy yourself and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. People who try the hardest sometimes get it wrong, but that’s how we learn”.