From Volunteer to Career: How my experiences as a volunteer led to my dream job

[Editor's Note: This guest blog post comes from one of our volunteers, Shauna Geraghty.  Shauna Geraghty is a fourth year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology and a content writer for the Talkdesk call center blog.  Talkdesk provides call center software for SMBs at an affordable price.  Want to contribute to our blog? Get in touch.]

Some people were born to do what they do. I wasn’t. I was led to my career from my experiences throughout my 20 years of volunteering.

I have always had a huge heart, an idealistic viewpoint and dreams of saving the world with my love and compassion. I knew the world was big, but I also knew that my heart might just be big enough to change it.

Shauna Geraghty at the age of 6, dreaming big.

So, at the age of 6, I set out to do just that. I started on my quest to change lives, one volunteer experience at a time. I selflessly collected most of my stuffed animals to give to children in the hospital. I felt touched as a mother was brought to tears as I stood on her doorstep holding a box of food and necessities before Christmas. I felt a sense of pride tutoring kids in a low SES neighborhood. I experienced pure joy while singing, clapping and dancing with children with severe intellectual disabilities. I felt the love of a child as he sat in my lap and looked up at me with a huge smile while I read him a story at the Neighborhood House, a non-profit organization for low income families. And I will never forget the look of true happiness on the faces of the people dancing at the Special Olympics “after-party” that I helped with.

As I grew older, I realized that my volunteering wasn’t just helping the people I worked with; it was having a positive influence on me as well. For every hour that I invested giving to others, my heart grew a little more. I gained a sense of pride, accomplishment and deep connectedness from helping others. I found the strength to preserve through tough circumstances by thinking of some of the “fighters” I met. I cultivated my sense of self, deep compassion and truly understood the power that kind actions can have on a person in need. My experience volunteering taught me that my heart was big and my desire to give is even bigger.

My experiences as a volunteer made it clear to me that the career I chose must allow me to truly have an impact on the lives of people who need my love the most. So, I decided to dedicate my life to helping those in need and become a clinical psychologist. And I’ve never made a better decision in my life. Each hour that I sit in the office with one of my patients, I feel that same sense of compassion that I did when I was 6. I am so thankful that I found a career that will let me love with my whole heart, give without asking for anything in return and touch the lives of those in need. I can truly work with the words of Mother Teresa as my guiding mantra:

“Spread love wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”