I have never seen myself as a person who would do volunteer work. I thought you had to be a peace, love and harmony kind of person to engage in volunteering activities. In addition, I have always been very independent and loved taking the lead when doing group work – and thus mark myself in any given situation.
So how did I – the egocentric success hunter – end up loving my volunteer work? Well, I believe it all started with an itch. It usually starts that way for me. When I get bored in life the itch starts to kick in. And what do you do then? You scratch! After some time doing that, it hurts, and you realize that you have to change something in your life.
When I started at Copenhagen Business School, I did not know what to expect and how stressful it would be, so I quit my part time job. About a year later, I had another part time job in order to pay my bills. But I was bored. It was a hassle trying to get a challenging student job, so instead, I looked for other ways to enter the job market and I got the tip about volunteering. It did not sound that appealing to me at first. Working for free. Not working for a boss, who could recommend me. What could I use it for then? Luckily I got much wiser.
I ended up volunteering for a union arranging academic student activities. I got to use my creative skills in combination with my academic background, which taught me a lot. The most amazing thing was that I got to meet a lot of people with many different backgrounds and competencies. At university, it is easy to end up only spending time with people from your own field, so it was very new to me, to work together with law students, economist etc. I experienced what networking is all about and I loved it.
I have always been – and will probably always be – very interested in acknowledgments. I like people patting me on the back telling me what a fantastic job I’ve done. When you engage in volunteer work, you quickly recognize the fact that it requires teamwork in order to obtain success. You need the mix of competencies to make an outstanding event for example. The great thing (for someone like me) is that everybody is needed. Everybody is a vital part of the value chain so to say. It has truly opened my eyes to the fact that; yes, I am special! We all are! And I can make even greater things when I can put my strengths to use together with others.
I honestly would not like it to be all about me. I love that it is about us. It is something we create together, and that feeling makes me even more proud than if I had done it by myself. I know how to make things happen and push things through, but it’s been a challenge to learn how to cooperate. Volunteer work taught me just that. But my most important lesson; teamwork is even more fulfilling than running solo.
So I guess I will keep on engaging in volunteering activities throughout my life. At least, I know for sure that I will spend my life surrounding myself with motivated people with all sorts of backgrounds, competencies and personal strengths because that’s my best odds for reaching the stars.
For the last six months, I have been a big part of a new Think Tank called Frej with 30 other motivated volunteers. The unity and the way we acknowledge and help each other – I have not found that anywhere else – and I can guarantee that it not only feels damn good, it will also make you grow as a human and a professional.
To read more about the work Ida is doing at Frej, click here.
Written by Ida Støier, Network Consultant and Cand.ling.merc from Copenhagen Business School.
Network Consultant at NOCA & Volunteer at Frej
Cand.ling.merc from Copenhagen Business School
Connect with Ida on LinkedIn
Best career advice Ida ever received:
“Stay curious! If you forget to be curious you do not evolve and learn new ways of thinking, which is the key to ongoing success!”