Claro! Nokia! Uriburu

Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist recently posted a piece on why we overestimate the gap between the gap between nonprofit and for-profit jobs.  It’s a short and interesting read if you’re considering the pros and cons of working in one of these sectors.

In this post, Penelope talks about how both nonprofit and for-profit workplaces are changing and why our age-old typical stereotypes no longer hold true.  Not only are these sectors getting more creative about how to structure themselves internally and “how they give back” externally, their financial structures may be one of the only significant remaining differences between the two. Dan Pallotta, who writes regularly for Harvardbusiness.org, gives similar arguments while dispelling myths about the private sector in a recent piece on how the “Psychic Benefits of Nonprofit Work are Overrated”.

Personally I’ve found the establishment of an entire field around corporate social responsibility (CSR) as one example of the sensible meeting of the for- and nonprofit sector minds. But even that is an oversimplification of the existence of and potential for building bridges between sectors to accomplish positive change in the local communities where they operate to the global world within which they exist.

As a graduate student evaluating the pros and cons of each sector, and the goal of affecting positive local and global change, I find the shifting trends within these sectors as an encouraging and exciting affirmation that nonprofit and for-profit companies alike continue to have to adapt in order to compete in the evolving world.  It’s also a good reminder that it is more about what you want to accomplish, the specific workplace(s) you work at or seek to work with, and perhaps most importantly the individuals you work with that matter the most.

A recent panel I attended discussing work in the field of International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (INCR), another field that crosses the nonprofit, public, and private sectors, confirmed just that. As one panelist put it, “It really does matter who you work with; you spend a lot of time with them!”

And if you’re looking to shift sectors, or like me, hoping to shift in and out of sectors throughout your career, the continued blurring and overlapping of the various sectors, public, private, nonprofit, for-profit, international, and domestic workplaces signifies an even more essential development: We may not have to choose!

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