Each year I choose a community service or theme of activism to focus on for the year. Last year I was feeling overwhelmed and needed to put all my energy into finding more work, juggling multiple contracts and keeping my head above the turbulent waters of life. Sounds melodramatic I know, but I think we all know that feeling of being too busy, having too much going on and like we’re treading water constantly and only able to come up for a much-needed breath before getting swept off again. Yep. That was 2016 for me. For many of us. There was no space for any pro bono work. Much of it anyway. Ahem.
This year feels different. (Pause for a small celebration, hoorah!)
I have realised that my paid work could be considered a partly pro bono affair. I work in the charity, or Not-for-Profit sector. I have honed incredible skills over the years of my environmental and social change work and am proud of the results of that work internationally. While the not-for-profit sector is improving in valuing employees financially, wages are not nearly close to our corporate counterparts. One of my current jobs could be a full-time role and I am paid for less than ten hours a week. At not a great hourly rate either. To do the job well I end up gifting my time. I try and limit this. I get to work with fabulous people, doing great work in the world, but it's clearly not a great choice financially.
So, my thinking this year is that I ALREADY donate my time and skills to good causes. That’s quite liberating for me. It frees me to focus more on my own creative work, writing and connecting time with my boy.
That said… the throwaway element of the ‘developed’ world is driving me crazy and I would dearly love to see disposable coffee cups (what is so hard about carrying your own cup?!) and plastic bags banned here in NZ. Better yet, not ban them, but have the dominant culture reject them. You know, people-led change rather than a top-down legislated change. I have been thinking about it today. Who is already working on these issues in NZ? I hope people are. Otherwise I will want to start my own campaign.
See what I did there? Total turn around…I identified that I already donate chunks of my time and energy but people, I have this passionate drive to help create a more sustainable world. Sigh. Who’s with me?!