In Case You Missed It: Real Talk, Careers in Non-Profit & Government

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By Rea Mangla, CAS Class of 2023, Wasserman Career Ambassador.

Hey everyone! I’m Rea, an Economics student at CAS and I recently had the opportunity to attend a Real Talk: Careers in Non-Profit & Government event held by Wasserman. Three panelists from different industries within the sector, Tatiana Dozier, a Peace Corps Recruiter, Enya O’Riordan, a Data and Admissions Director at Breakthrough New York, and Alina Agusti, the Associate Manager of Government Affairs for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, spoke about their career paths and experiences. 

In talking about who would be successful in the government and non-profit sector, Tatiana mentioned how being willing to explore more about yourself and being compassionate in hearing other people’s stories makes for a great candidate for the Peace Corps. Enya echoed the sentiment, adding that the sector constantly requires you to reevaluate your values and bring a lot more of yourself into the workplace than other jobs do. Alina highlighted how internships could be a good way to determine your interests and what you do and do not like to see if a career in the sector is something you’d be interested and successful in.

Working in the government and non-profit sector can be a consuming job, and questions of identity and support were raised. A significant portion of the work in the sector requires you to go into spaces where you aren’t comfortable. You’ll have to grapple with your own personal identity and reflect on how you bring that identity into your job. It’ll also become important to not recreate things that have been harmful in the space previously as you enter. All three panelists emphasized the importance of mentorship, both with people who have more experience than you do in the industry and can relate to you and your identity and mentorship through your peers. Each has a different value that can create a great foundation for a system of support as you move through your careers.

The event was wrapped up with the panelists reflecting on one piece of advice they had wanted someone to tell them about the field they were in. A few key takeaways I got for students looking to go into this field are:

  1. In a field where the work is so much related to elevating and contributing to other people’s needs, it can be hard to set boundaries and separate yourself from the work you do. Make sure to dedicate time and space for only yourself.
  2. Success looks different for everyone. Throughout your life, you’ll have to constantly redefine your definition of success. You cannot be an expert on all things, and should not expect yourself to. 
  3. Figuring things out is more important than years and years of experience! Trust in your capabilities and talk with confidence and people will start to listen. You’re there for a reason.

Overall, the event made clear that a career in the field of government and nonprofits is a lot of hard work but is equally as, if not more rewarding.