Beyond AmeriCorps

By April 6, 2019 May 20th, 2019 AmeriCorps*VISTA

by David Tranvik, Project Coordinator at Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness and Office of Housing Stability

“What are you going to do?  What’s your plan? What’s the next step?”

 We are always asked some variation of these questions throughout our lives. They are good questions to ask.  Since graduating from college, I have been on a constant search for answers to these questions.  Most people ask because they truly care, but regardless, they tend to cause me a mixed bag of emotions: anxiety, fear, and anger. Anxiety because I was never sure what I wanted to do. Fear because I didn’t want to make the wrong choice. And anger because you asked me something that causes me anxiety and fear!

Over the past year, I have been trying to mitigate this mindset and I believe that AmeriCorps has helped me feel more comfortable in wrestling with these questions. While I still don’t have it figured out, this time and experience has allowed me to iron out some of the unknowns. For instance, I know I don’t want to be a complacent bystander to the community and a “weekend warrior” to my work. Rather I believe being an active community member means to empower, listen, and contribute to the needs and wants of that community. Maybe this means volunteering to coach a little league baseball team, starting a community garden at work, or even taking public transportation. I believe regardless of where we live or work, the blending of these two spheres in a positive and thoughtful manner will contribute to producing a healthy and sustainable community for the most amount of people.  

 At my service site, I have mostly worked under good supervisors but also some mediocre ones. I have worked with attentive and committed colleagues while others haven’t been so great.  And I have worked on many projects that have challenged and interested me while others were flat-out boring.  And of course, this is the way most jobs go!  But having these experiences has helped me hone in on what is most important for me when looking for a job.

It’s nothing new that today’s younger generation of workers will need to change their expectation of what a “career” looks like. In the past, many employees stayed at one job their whole life. Like it or not, that’s just not the case anymore. While it’s easy to lament over the loss of this career stability, I argue the benefits it provides shouldn’t be underplayed. We will need to embrace change, encourage lifelong learning, and be able to easily move outside of our comfort zone. There won’t be room for complacency.

Finally, I still don’t know what job I will do in my life. That’s okay. But I am fairly certain there isn’t just one perfect one out there.

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