WARNING: DON'T RECYCLE THIS SHEET!
YOU WILL USE IT FOR THE REST
OF YOUR WORKING LIFE.*
If you haven't already, soon you will be receiving information about the Graduation Pledge: "I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work." Since 1988, the Pledge effort has been a community-wide event, formally recognized at commencement. Students who so desire, sign and keep a wallet-size card stating the Pledge (50-60% typically do). Then, at commencement, students and supportive faculty wear green ribbons to display their commitment. If you decide to take the Pledge now, or might in the future, the following tips will be helpful as you conduct job searches over your lifetime.
IDENTIFY YOUR VALUES TO LEARN WHAT KIND OF WORK IS IMPORTANT TO YOU
Before you can determine what kind of work is important to you, it is useful to review your work and personal values, because they may change over time. These values will point you toward the social and environmental issues you want to embrace. Examples of values are: helping those in distress, being creative, opportunity to teach others, freedom to create own lifestyle, convincing others to do something, having supportive co-workers.
DETERMINE WHAT SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY MEANS TO YOU
According to the pledge, social responsibility is self-determined. Check out the Graduation Pledge web site. There you will find information explaining social and environmental responsibility, including examples such as: believing in workplace accessibility for everyone, contributing to local charity and social change efforts, believing in the value of all cultures, using a production process that doesn't pollute the environment, respecting worker privacy, producing user friendly products that are reliable, and not testing products on animals.
RESEARCH SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE CAREER FIELDS AND EMPLOYERS
Research using a variety of resources that you can get from the organization, from independent sources, from advocacy organizations and from talking with people. These resources might include: annual reports, marketing materials, internal newsletters, orientation materials given to those recently hired, publications on specific areas of controversy, published social and environmental audits, career counselors, placement agencies, newspapers, magazines, journals, books, official documents filed with government agencies, on line databases. You can search for currently available jobs and internships at the Graduation Pledge web site.
LEARN WHAT QUESTIONS TO ASK IN AN INTERVIEW
- Is there an employee assistance program or similar source of support?
- Is there support for child care and other kinds of dependent care?
- Are there opportunities for community service with co-workers?
- What's the organization's record on occupational health and safety? Waste handling?
- How are products packaged? What efforts have been made to minimize solid waste?
- What programs does the organization have to contribute to the surrounding community?
SET GOALS FOR MAKING A DIFFERENCE BOTH IN AND OUT OF THE WORKPLACE
Be a co-creator of the workplace you want to see. After you are employed and as you change jobs throughout your lifetime, continue to think about making positive changes in your workplace. Job satisfaction is more than just a paycheck. Some ideas for workplace improvements include: recycling programs, mentoring programs, workplace flexibility, wellness programs, diversity programs, supporting green suppliers of office products, and promoting joy and celebration. If your workplace doesn't have these things, create them!
*Much of the above information adapted from Making a Living While Making a Difference by Melissa Everett;
Office of Career Services, Manchester College