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Good Deeds

A recent Wall Street Journal issue carried an interesting story that dovetailed with some conversations I’ve had with a couple of displaced professionals exiting the industry. These individuals are signing up for public service roles, volunteer work or jobs with not-for-profits. The Journal reported that the recession is proving to be a boon for volunteer programs and social-enterprise groups. For example, applications to the Peace Corps are up 16% over last year, but, more interesting, for ages 50 and older, applications are up almost 50%. The same is true for a variety of other causes such as Teach for America Inc., which places professionals in low-income public schools, and the Appleseed Foundation, an outfit that enlists lawyers to work on social causes. For groups like the Peace Corps, the bonus is not just the higher volume of applications, but more importantly, the quality of the available individuals, who bring exceptional business backgrounds and technical skills. Regrettably, the current economic downturn is going to take some time for certain jobs to recover, so the alternative of public service is a good one, and will look outstanding on your resume when you are ready to cycle back into mainstream business — that is, if you decide to go back.

Tony LoPinto is CEO of Equinox Partners, an executive search firm specializing in the real estate industry, and parent company of SelectLeaders. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.
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