As we find ourselves in the middle of the holiday season, we join with our friends and family in celebrating what we have and share the joy with others by giving.
It might be a cliché, but it’s still certainly true – the greatest gift you can give is your time. I will admit that I am not often the first person to jump to my toes and volunteer my own. In the past, I’ve joined my friends in handing out turkey dinners and I’ve wrapped donated gifts for kids. It’s rewarding, and it feels good, but it’s not the kind of giving that I’ve sought out intentionally. Let me clarify that we’re talking aboutDesign community service (or insert your relative profession).
There’s another way to give that’s not so obvious: Getting out there, perhaps traveling a bit to share your time and your knowledge with those who value it – the students who will one day replace you. Navigating any career from the start to success is a long journey, and no one tells you how to pack your bags. As a professional who’s made mistakes and has dodged many a career pitfall, I valued the advice I got from the few professionals I was able to talk to when I was younger. I discovered the impact of design community service my first year out of school – seeing the positive impact mentors and advisors can make. I’ve been committed to giving time to it ever since.
Whether it’s taking the day to speak to a class, review portfolios, or simply taking a half hour to give a student a practice phone interview, all of it counts. It means giving time out of your schedule throughout the year. As schedules often go when things get hectic, it’s easy to say no. But I urge design professionals to say yes more often than no and give classes and/or individual students every ounce they can. It builds the community, and better designers.
Here are few more reasons that we give our time back to students:
Schools need our help
As professionals, we are living the business of design every day; refining and or redefining our craft. We get to see how rapidly the world changes, and more often than not we are participating and working with companies/organizations that are facilitating that change. Keeping up with that change costs A LOT, and design programs are constantly playing catch-up and fighting with budgets that seem to be more and more limited. Not only that, students are focused on learning design fundamentals – their noses buried in the books, so to speak. For you to come and inject some design wisdom with an outside-the-institutional-walls perspective gives them a huge boost.
Let’s talk about how we can help move your business forward.