I want to work for UNICEF

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dixiecupdrinking
Posts: 3142
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:39 pm

Re: I want to work for UNICEF

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:32 pm

Samara wrote:
crumpetsandtea wrote:I actually kinda disagree with hibiki on the PI-people comment. There are gonna be dicks, yeah, but the PI people I've met have all been genuinely great people. They do fall victim to the holier-than-thou attitude though, but I think that's necessary to maintain your conviction while working in PI.

My issues with PI work (particularly grassroots activism/advocacy, which is what I did) is that it is disorganized, there's a lot of turnaround, and to some extent it often feels like a hamster wheel: you're running for 20 hours a day, bone tired, but not getting anywhere. Or if you get somewhere, it's a tiny itsy bitsy step and theres about fifty million more standing behind it. There is also no such thing as "done with work" in a PI organization. If you're not someone who is accustomed to saying "No" (like me) you will get more responsibilities given to you on top of what you already have, over and over and over and over again. PI organizations can take over your life just as much as biglaw can.

With that said, I loved my experience working in the public interest sector. If I could go back, other than learning how to balance my time better, I wouldn't change a thing. It helped shape who I am today. But before you decide you want to make it your career, you should really see if you're the type of person who flourishes in those settings. We hired about 50-100 interns every 6 months, and of those people I would say maybe 3 or 4 each year could withstand the rush of work enough to stick with us for longer than a few months. The turnover rate was insane because we had so many idealistic kids who never realized that feeding the homeless or saving the planet from global warming would actually require them to put in hard, long hours, often doing really dull things like cold calling strangers, data entry, writing press releases, calling 50 media sources, making props, spending hours planning out the campaign, endless trainings, and many many hours in the office.

+ a million

Doing PI means doing a ton of bitchwork because every PI group is hugely understaffed and underfunded. Also, from a policy perspective, your personal impact will be so small as to seem non-existent. The hamster wheel analogy is perfect. Policy changes happen incrementally an with the help of many organizations, so even when something is accomplished its hard to feel like your role had an impact.

PI is filled with "true believers" because only true believers would put up with all that. And even a lot of true believers burn out after a few years.

dixiecupdrinking
Posts: 3142
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:39 pm

Re: I want to work for UNICEF

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:08 pm

Also, if you're interested in being a lawyer for children, there are plenty of children in this country who need legal assistance, and as a bonus, there are actually some jobs doing it. http://www.legal-aid.org/en/juvenilerig ... ctice.aspx

I don't think it's possible to stress enough how hard it will be to do what you are talking about doing, and how unlikely it is to be what you want it to be. For instance, I really doubt there is a position where you can do international policy stuff and also be a legal advocate for individual children. I agree with everyone saying you should go get some hands on experience after college (in fact — do it now. There is no better time to be an unpaid intern than while you're still in school). Talk to people who know how you can achieve your goals and don't go to law school unless and until you're certain it will open a particular path for you.




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