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Overcome Social Stigma

As they explore their options, Millennials must first overcome the social stigmas associated with compassionate careers. Some of these stigmas include:

*Professional status. Working in a cause-driven organization is often not seen as a viable career choice. Although for-profit leaders are beginning to see the value of the skills and attitudes that purpose-driven organizations build, many young people still feel that working for nonprofit organizations equates to lower professional status.

*Family support. Family opinion often has a great influence on a young person’s career choice. First-generation college students have a particularly difficult time, as their parents tend to express the most hesitation about compassionate careers. Married individuals can also struggle if their desires to pursue compassionate careers are not compatible with the career choices of their significant others. Young people must realize, though, that working for purpose-driven organizations typically equates to having more freedom and flexibility in their work-life balance.

*Integrity and trust. Publicized examples of scams have led some people to distrust charities. These people tend to show skepticism toward young people who decide to work in compassionate careers. Young people must be aware that corruption does occur in every profession, so they must carefully vet the integrity of any organization they consider working for.

*Compensation. Many young people believe that cause-driven work does not offer a decent salary. They do not realize that while many nonprofit jobs do not typically pay as well as for-profit or government jobs, many cause-driven organizations do offer reasonable wages and benefits. In particular, foundations tend to have higher salary scales than other types of nonprofits.

*Prospects for diversity. Young people realize that diverse employees help companies deepen their understanding of critical issues and ensure more effective outreach to target populations. However, the social sector has been slow to attract people from diverse backgrounds. A gender bias also exists in cause-driven organizations. Women greatly outnumber men, although top-level positions are dominated by white males. Young people should focus on finding organizations that know how to offer them the best culturally diverse experiences.

When facing the stigmas associated with compassionate careers, young people must remember that compassionate careers exist in every interest area. They must also realize that purpose-driven organizations provide a safety net for billions of underprivileged people and bring together huge networks of professionals who create enormously impactful movements.

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