How To Get An Awesome Job At A Social Good Startup

Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Green, How-To, Non-Profit, Resources

Jobs are hard to come by these days, especially jobs where you can integrate purpose + passion (<—it can happen) in a way that provides meaning + solutions for families and communities facing a social or personal issue. Over the last 2 years I’ve gotten the opportunity to work for two incredible early stage companies (simultaneously) who address personal and social issues. Unfortunately, there aren’t any tricks to being so fortunate, but I have found values and strategies that can be used for any person who wants to do social good for pay!I currently work for:

en*theos serves over 25,000+ customers and offers online courses and products to help people live optimal lives and give their greatest gifts to the world. en*theos collaborates with world-class teachers to provide affordable courses for individuals across the globe. en*theos is one of the few personal development and leadership companies that provide free scholarships and a pick-your-price option for students!

Aunt Bertha(www.auntbertha.com) is a software company trusted by thousands across the country to provide free need-based information and has been honored to be an Unreasonable Institute fellow, Code for America Accelerator startup, RISE award recipient, and a thought leading company in Social Service and Technology.

No Application

When I earned these jobs there was no application. And there isn’t an application up now on either of the websites.The people who end up working for companies like en*theos + Aunt Bertha seek out opportunity. It starts with an email, collaboration, or even a small internship. The work necessary isn’t cookie-cutter and it can’t be surmised in a 50-word ad on Craigslist. Early stage companies aren’t looking for entry-level positions or even managers.They’re looking for people who imagine + ship, not someone who follows the rules.
Imagine : What unique solutions do you have for a personal or social problem? What would be your daily tasks? What goals would you set for yourself on a daily, weekly, monthly basis? What needs to be done in your role that isn’t being done?

Ship – A term created by Seth Godin referring to the action of getting ideas + products out into the world.

Ship – At Aunt Bertha, we use the Lean Startup model to focus on priorities and scale ideas fast and effectively. At en*theos, we’re all about Getting Things Done and making sure each task and responsibility is given a decision immediately and that we’re working diligently, patiently, and persistently, towards our goals.

Integrity

Integrity is doing what you say; when you say you’re going to do it. Integrity is essential for anyone who wants to work for a social good startup. Social good organization are focused externally on a social and personal issue and the mission is to SPICE it up by serving society, partners, investors, customers, and employees. When you have multiple stakeholders involved in a venture cutting corners is never okay.

Integrity is doing what needs to be done for yourself and the company. For example, integrity means we never market a product that doesn’t align with our values or use techniques to manipulate or trick any of our stakeholders. Personally, we do our work from a place of purpose – connecting to our “why” on a daily basis and doing the practices (exercise, meditation, yoga, and writing) that helps us integrate what is important to us and bring it into the work we’re doing.

Integrity is about being and doing what we value.

What do you value?

What are you doing?

How can you bring your ideals and behaviors closer together?

When I started working at Aunt Bertha, I had no previous technical experience. However, I was doing work (Social Work) that aligned with my purpose and practicing (spending time with family and exercising) what I believed.

Having an awesome resume is great, but social good organizations want to know:

Who are you when no one is watching?

Consistency

You can get a normal social good job if you hit financial homeruns or have  experiences doing good (Social Work, Peace Corps, working with youth). In social enterprise, I’ve found that home runs don’t count for much. Social enterprises are often aggressive do-gooders. These organizations aren’t angry or mean-spirited but they do expect consistent excellence and results.

As en*theos customer happiness manager, I serve 25,000+ customers and we’re committed to providing each one with a *wow* experience every single time (even if the customer has never paid a dime for a product) they have a concern or request.

As Aunt Bertha’s community manager, I’m expected to connect and support thousands of social service charities and hundreds of thousands of social workers in a way that encourages community engagement and makes them feel that their in a personal relationship with our company.

Both of these jobs require showing up every day.

We aim for the small victories every single day and celebrate the milestones (being featured in Mashable or reaching 100,000 en*theos students) as a nod that we’re going the right way up the mountain (that never ends) not that we’ve reached the mountaintop.

On your resume or introductory email to a social good organization show consistency or your plan to be consistent.

The work of doing good is a marathon. The people you aim to work with aren’t looking for a slam dunk, sprint, or fast and easy trick. They want to know if you’ll be there 5, 10, 20 years focused and ready to serve.

Relationships

As with any start-up environment, social enterprises work long hours. Tolerating your co-workers or boss and not actually liking them is a bad idea. Before even attempting an introduction or going  for an interview, follow some of your future co-workers on Twitter, Facebook, and/or read their blog. Find out what books + philosophies inspire your organization and see if these ideas resonate with you. People and relationships are the driving engine of any organization. If you think you can do a job just for the social “cause” or for  your “purpose”, you’re wrong.

Instinctually, we want to work with people who inspire us. If you don’t respect people on your team it will be difficult to trust. If you can’t trust your team, it will be impossible to rely on each other when the organization experiences tough changes (all organizations experience tough changes).

When I’m in town, Erine and I go running and eat dinner together every day.

I have literally listened to hours of Brian sharing his ideas on my Ipod.

We’re not best friends, but we respect and admire each other.

Even if you’re at the worst job, ever, find what you admire about your current boss or co-workers and share you admiration in an interview or introductory email. Having a team of people who inspire + respect each other is a great step towards changing the world with community and authenticity!

Resources

Aunt Bertha
en*theos

Peak
Lean Startup
Firms of Endearment
It’s Just Good Business (radio)

P.S. If you’d like to see the email I used to get my virtual job at Aunt Bertha or just want to chat send me an email at mozartguerrier(at)gmail(dot)com.

P.P.S. I highly recommend Laura’s SocialEarth article “How to Get a (Paid) Job in Microfinance” as a great “How-To” when you’re looking for your dream social enterprise job in Microfinance!

 

Mozart Guerrier

Mozart Guerrier is a social worker, writer, and the community manager for Aunt Bertha and the Customer Happiness Manager for en*theos. As a social worker, he has worked on labor rights, homelessness, low-income housing, and community organized to end sexual violence. He is a graduate of Syracuse University's College of Human Ecology and Mansfield University. Mozart recently served as an Upstate Medical University Presidential Fellow working on qualitative research at the Occupational Health Clinic of Central New York. He also coordinates the Syracuse Salt City Slam.

More Posts - Website - LinkedIn

Leave a Comment