Is being ruthlessly overworked as an NGO employee par for the course?
November 16, 2011 7:19 PM Subscribe
I've been working in my current position for a little over a year now, and I love most things about it. But: I'm very overworked, exhausted, and I can feel burn-out creeping in. If I leave to work at another organization, will I still be just as busy? Is NGO work only for the super-committed?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I've been working in my current position as a community manager/communications coordinator at a small, young NGO for a little over a year now. I love nearly everything about the job - what I'm doing day-to-day, the work I'm supporting, and the potential I can see for my career growth if I stay here.
However, I'm intensely overworked. I feel like I'm doing the jobs of three people; I'm often working solid, non-stop 16 hour days and most of my weekends. In theory I have a month of vacation; in practice I don't see any way I could possibly ever take it. We're a young organization - less than 10 years - and scaling very quickly without a lot of core funding (so we can't hire anyone to support operations). Everyone who works here takes on a lot, but I seem to be in a position that has me taking on a lot more than everyone else (mostly because I have some pretty useful skills that no one else here has). Part of this is my direct supervisor, who is aggressively growing our section without much thought for the limited resources we have (um, me) to support this growth.
I do a lot of professional networking, and I think I could easily move on to another organization at this point. But: given that I am very happy with the exact position I have, and I really, really like the organization I work for, I'm hesitant. The only thing that is making me want to leave is how overworked I am, and I'm worried that it's like that for every NGO; I've certainly heard that everyone is at least a little overworked. I've never worked in this sector before, so I'm not sure if what I'm experiencing here is standard. I'm also not sure that any position I move to will be as interesting to me as this one, and if I leave I'm reasonably sure that I won't be able to progress my career as quickly as I'd like (I can see myself as Director of Communications within the next few years if I stay; that could take a long time to achieve if I were to leave for another organization).
I should also mention that I really value my free time: I have an outside project that I work very hard on and love doing. In my current position it is badly neglected, leaving me feeling stressed out, guilty, and annoyed.
Is this just a normal thing I'm going to have to learn to deal with? If I move on, will I still have just as little free time & regret giving up a good thing?