Poll: Can volunteer work lead to a job?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 14:40
SITE STAFF
Nov 22, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Can volunteer work lead to a job?".

This poll was originally submitted by Sherif Ramadan. View the poll results »



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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 22:40
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes Nov 22, 2016

It’s probably not very common, but over the years it has happened to me with 3 organizations: Médecins sans Frontières, Médecins du Monde and Humana. Besides that, I have been collaborating with UNV for over 15 years and they have recommended me to some UN agencies for paid work.

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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:40
Spanish to English
+ ...
No, but... Nov 22, 2016

In my personal experience the answer is no, but I'm sure there are others who will say yes.

I do some volunteer translating as pro bono work for causes I believe in, but none has ever led to a direct job. On the other hand, I also believe that we all reap what we sow, so who knows if in the grand scheme of things volunteering did actually come back to me in some good way?


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:40
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Cause and effect are unrelated Nov 22, 2016

Volunteer work gives you some visibility, shows your skill... like many other things in unpredictable contexts.

Think about this... an MD was passing by when some disaster occurred. Of course, he rushed to save as many victims as he could. After the situation was under control, a reporter asked his name, and a few questions on the people he took care of... on camera! Later, the interview is aired on national TV.

What's the likelihood of having new patients coming to his office and, when asked about "Who referred you to me?", getting a "Nobody"? ... "I just saw your interview on TV after that accident, liked your attitude, and searched for your name on Google."

My question would be... "Can helping foreign tourists in distress lead to a translation/interpreting job?"
I hope not. Most of the (many) times I did this, being myself a foreign tourist there too, it was in languages that I speak, but never translate professionally.

In volunteer work, you give your time and effort merely for the thrill of accomplishing something that you consider worthy, expecting NO payback. It is an oxymoron: "selfish selflessness". You don't expect thankfulness from anyone other than yourself. You feel good from having done it; if you get a "thank you" from anyone else, it will be a bonus.


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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 23:40
Member (2008)
English to Italian
Other Nov 22, 2016

who knows?

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Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:40
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
Why should it? Nov 22, 2016

J
In volunteer work, you give your time and effort merely for the thrill of accomplishing something that you consider worthy, expecting NO payback.


That's the main point in my opinion.


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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:40
Member (2006)
German to English
Other Nov 22, 2016

no idea

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 23:40
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Only if you are visible to the right people Nov 22, 2016

I do a certain amount of volunteer work for a museum, and I have been contacted by people connected with the museum. A few paid well, and all the jobs were interesting, but it can just lead to more voluntary work.

If you are working in the right subject areas and it looks good as experience on your CV, it might draw in a client or two, but I think you have to be proactive and make yourself visible to paying clients as well as just helping out as a volunteer.

[Edited at 2016-11-22 20:22 GMT]


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Ikram Mahyuddin  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 04:40
English to Indonesian
+ ...
The question begins with "can". Nov 22, 2016

The question begins with "can", so "yes" as the answer is understandable. But it doesn't mean that a volunteer work will always lead to a job.

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Platon Danilov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 00:40
Member (2014)
English to Russian
+ ...
It "may", rather than "can" Nov 22, 2016

It may or it may not... But the job is unlikely to come from the organization you're volunteering for. In my opinion, it may lead to a job from somewhere else as a result of your increased visibility and qualification.

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Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 23:40
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Maybe not Nov 22, 2016

but if it does - tant mieux!

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:40
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
yes, why not? Nov 22, 2016

The way the question is phrased makes it general, but I take the keyword as "can". It's historically been that way for ages: need = service. I don't presume it's always under the conditions we know and work with. For instance, the profession used to thrive in port cities. In fact, the professionals we most need to defend are those working in precarious conditions we wouldn't undertake... just 2 cents about it.

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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:40
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, but it's very rare Nov 22, 2016

The few volunteer jobs I've done so far have never led to a paid job with the same client later. After all, the type of institution that requests volunteer jobs has a reason to do that, and that reason will likely not change. I never did a volunteer job for a client that was not of the "needy" type or who could be a potential commercial client in the future, as these are being smart asses if they ask for volunteer jobs (evangelian churches, for example, commonly ask for volunteer jobs, and they surely do not need them).

However, I do have a couple of friends who did volunteer translations (games), and later got paid jobs from the same clients. It may be a screening method for companies that make videogames and the like, who knows?


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