Rumble: One of the reasons I like the job I do

Peter in Dubai

There are days where I, as an aid worker, think: "Am I really making a difference?". There are other days where I reflect: "Maybe in the grand scheme of things, I don't, but I surely have the power invested in me, my position, to change the lives of those around me."

And that is important. Even before I became a manager, I took "the influence I could have on those around me" seriously. But in a more senior position as I am in now, this became even more apparent.

Today, I was reminded of that. I participated in job interviews. There were five candidates. Several of them were jewels of people. People with potential, with a drive, with a will to make a difference both in their job, and in the world.

We asked them "Why do you want to work with us?". Several answered: "Because you are not a company, you are an aid organisation. You make a difference. That difference is important in my choice of employer."

I might not have many things I am good in, but one of the qualities I have is to spot the diamonds in a crowd. I can spot those people with potential. And with the power invested in me as a manager, I have the opportunity to change the lives of these people in a way. I can give them a job, which I know will be a good match with them. A job in which they will grow and bloom. But it is not only that. I know for several of those we interviewed today, this day will be remembered as "the day I joined the organisation". And they will remember it with a smile.

That is the difference I made today. And that also makes me smile. I made a difference today.


Anonymous,  21 November, 2008 21:06  

Is WFP changed so much? I mean, I worked as a volunteer a few years ago: I wanted to start in that way, intentionally, thinking that, may be, I would have made my mind and changed my career.. I did not like it at all, too much politics: I completed my "assignment" and bye bye everyone. Better my actual job with its ups&down. I however didn't give up with volunteering, and I keep on doing for local charity activities. We also have contacts with a very small organization in Mali. At least we see results, and I have not to assist on daily basis to people wasting the money of the donations and more interested in clambing the "ladder" of the success. As you might have picked up, my background with WFP was very negative. However if the "environment" overthere has improved, good on you all, it was time. Sadly, for what I saw and experienced, I am very happy not to have made that change. I still believe in good things.
Kind rgds, S.

Peter 22 November, 2008 02:06  


Thanks for your comments.
Did you work in HQ or in the field?
The feeling of connection and 'making a difference' is very different in both places...


Anonymous,  22 November, 2008 17:55  

3 months in Roma, nearly 9 in the field.. no difference though, different issues, same frustrations. Please don't take it as a severe criticism, again may be it was a bad period for volunteering, or may be just me too much idealist. I don't regret anything, like I said in my previous post, if the things are now different good on the whole organization, but most of all good on the people in need of help.. those were the most impaired at the time. Keep on the good work, Saluti, S.

Peter 22 November, 2008 18:18  


I try to avoid discussing internal stuff or criticising the organisation I work for, on my blog. Still I would like to answer you on this one.

First, I don't take it personally. ;-) Anyone who knows me in the organisation will know how critical *I* am.

Secondly, it saddens me that anyone would think of the organisation in this way. Why? Not because what they say is not true, but that an organisation clearly misses opportunities. You, as a volunteer, leaving disillusioned, for me, represents a missed chance, and shows in general -for all the work we do- we can and should do better. Surely no organisation can 'win them all', but still.

Now for me the bottomline is: in an organisation of 10,000 staff, things go wrong at many different levels, that is almost guaranteed. It is my drive, my belief, my "consolidation" that an individual can make a change. Even in a big machine.

That is why I don't give up. Despite the fact that it is a fight, every day, to continue believing, and to continue sticking to one's true beliefs, and not to give in.

Progress and change comes slow. The bigger the machine, the slower. And the more efforts to make it move.

And it does. If for any UN organisation (and I worked for/with several of them), one organisation has shown to be able to do extra-ordinary things, and to have extra-ordinary ways, and has extra-ordinary people working for them, then it is ours.

I truly believe that.

And I am sad the organisation missed a chance with you. I am sad this is the impression we gave.

Wishing you well.. If you want to discuss any further, don't hesitate to Email me directly...


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