What It’s Like to Work in Non Profit

So for those of you who have been following closely, (or for my loyal readers who also happen to be family or friends,) you’ve watched me journey from a corporate life in NYC, selling my soul at an Interactive Ad Agency Monster to packing up my bags and traveling south of the equator to volunteer for nature conservation.


The last year and a half has been quite a ride for me, (and my “shoulders to cry on”), but more than anything it’s given me a completely different view on what work-life is like outside of Corporate America. Now I can’t say for certain if my experiences are specific to working at a Non Profit, or if it has to do with living in Paraguay or Germany, but I have to say despite the stressful days, I’ve never felt like I had so much time before.

I laugh at the former me who spent endless hours in the office working out the fine details of a budget that I just couldn’t seem to get right – that is until the other night I slaved away until 9 PM (9PM!!) working on a budget that I just couldn’t seem to get right. But what was the difference between those two experiences? This time I didn’t feel angry about it! I didn’t mind working one late night to fix a budget for a project I am personally invested in. Especially when I take into consideration the other perks of my job; the (mostly) 8 hour days, the hour-long lunch breaks, the 30 vacation days, the compensation for overtime, the paid-for language classes, and the list goes on. I get to save the world and have a balanced life. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say I hit the jackpot!

The down side, (if there is one,) to all of this working for your passion, is you give up your should-be 6 figure salary, (well, maybe if I had stayed at it a bit longer,) and you find yourself working on (or in my case waiting for) the same thing that should have been done half a year ago! With all the urgency there is to save the world, stop deforestation, and cut back on CO2 emmissions – when working in a Non Profit and generating funding from government entities, you have to learn to pace yourself. Slowly. Because no one else is in a hurry.

As I said, I have all the time in the world now. Time to read, time to meet friends for drinks, time to travel, time to exercise. Who knew all this time existed outside the doors of a Manhattan agency? Now, of course, (without sounding like too much of a complainer,) I just have to find a way to fill it all!

Have any of you had similar experiences? Switching between corporate life and non profit life? Or maybe you’ve stayed within a company and moved abroad? Would love to hear about it!


3 responses to “What It’s Like to Work in Non Profit

  1. Hi Amanda! Thanks for getting in touch with me through Mel and I’m so glad you have a blog to document your wonderful work with WWF! I’ll be writing to you again soon and I can’t wait to catch up on your blog!

    Oh, and as per your question I didn’t move from corporate America to a non profit but something similar (marine corp to envi consultant) and I have a ton of down time…which means I read a lot, clean, catch up on tons of movies and exercise!

    • It’s good to know there is other life out there aside from the crazy, intense work life, huh? Plus, it’s a nice perk that we both get to save the environment while we’re getting to relax a bit more!

  2. Getting “me” time for exercise, hobbies, friends, etc. was a definite perk of leaving my corporate lifestyle. I feel like I’ve replenished my soul. I do, however, miss those hypothetical 6 figures.

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