It’s been a fairly horrific year for myself having struggled to land full-time employment and enduring long periods of both anxiety and depression. There has been a real lack of focus and any kind of forward thinking on my part which has created feelings of both worthlessness and despair.
I needed to do something and it had to be put in place very quickly otherwise I could have fallen so far down the depression pit that I highly doubt I could have mustered the strength to come out of the other end. Luckily, I have managed to find something productive which has given me some much-needed routine and human companionship to help me gloss over a torrid period of my life.
This comes from a voluntary position at a local Oxfam shop that specialises in both books and music. The project entailed the organization and promotion of the new branch to ensure people were aware of its products and when they were open for business. It has given me a sense of pride having worked to build and implement something for charitable purposes and is starting to really enhance my CV having utilized a number of key skills that are applicable to the line of work I eventually want to get into.
So, I have broken down some of the very best reasons to consider volunteering in some capacity and how it can really help your mind and improve your employability.
Learning New skills
There is a whole host of important skills that can be learnt whilst working in a retail environment such as Oxfam. You are constantly exposed to the general public, which means having to fine-tune your communication skills to provide friendly and constructive help and support as they enquire about particular products. Certain customers may also have incurred problems, which would mean having to think about possible solutions to help them with their concerns.
In the age of the Internet, you will also find that any job is likely to require the running of an online store and a strong Social Media presence over all platforms. All the more lucrative products will need to have descriptions written and then uploaded onto an eCommerce website so that people are able to purchase items and receive them through a delivery. In the case of Social Media, there is always going to be new stock and certain offers that need to be publicized with dynamic advertorial material.
You will also be able to improve your organization skills as any retail environment will need you to replenish the shelves, ensuring all the products are categorised and put into the correct place. This also means taking time to work on visual merchandising to bolster sales potential and making all the displays look appealing so that people are more inclined to spend browsing over the products you have available.
Meeting New People
I have so far met some incredible people who have all been remarkably hospitable and welcoming. It’s no wonder Oxfam have managed to sustain a proven model for such as long time when they are able to entice the most generous and hard-working individuals I think I’ve ever had the privilege to meet in my life.
You will come across people from all walks of life, some of which will be from other countries and others who may have a mental health or condition that impairs certain aspects of their daily life. This gives you great exposure to a rounded demographic and makes you appreciate the importance of individuality and how everyone is special and important in their own way.
Being around people again has proven to be a Godsend as I’ve spent most of this year experiencing intense levels of isolation. Just hearing people’s stories and ideas can prove to be highly reassuring and has certainly rekindled my faith in humanity as a whole. Being cut adrift from the World is something that can really intensify anxiety and depression, which is why it should always be avoided at all cost.
Oxfam have done an incredible job fighting poverty and will only be able to carry on their amazing fund raising if more people are willing to volunteer some time to help run their shops. Even if you only have a few hours to spare each week, that time you give could be the difference behind your local shop being able to open on certain days ready for trading.
Right now, there are people scattered across the Globe who are without proper food and water, living in conditions that are not suitable what so ever. Without our help they cannot hope to live any kind of genuine lifestyle and will spend their life questioning just how much longer they are going to be able to continue.
It’s understandable if you are working full-time and cannot spare any hours during the week due to work commitments, but any students wanting to pass time over the summer of people in between jobs should definitely consider volunteering in order to enhance their working credentials and help support the fight against Global poverty.