Help! I have worked for non-profits but have an interview with a corporation soon

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Posted 1/23/2013 by Pridemom in NSBR Board

Pride of the Peas

PeaNut 25,575
December 2001
Posts: 19,818
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Loc: Stuck in the Middle With You

Posted: 1/23/2013 6:35:01 PM
I got a call today to schedule an interview. I had submitted a resume two years ago for a training position and never heard from them. I am interviewing for a local company for a recruiter position. Networking is a strength for me and, because of my work background, so is dealing with people. The company has grown like crazy even during the recession and has strong community relations.
The base salary is very close to my current pay, but commissions are also earned. With our oldest getting ready to start college, that's an important piece.

My concerns are in regard to changing from a social services/non-profit mindset to a corporate mindset. I am so used to working on the best interest of the consumer without the dollar being the bottom line. I think I can adjust because the new position is to find the right talent for the contractor. It wouldn't be just about the money. I just don't want to give up my calling for the almighty dollar.

So, if you've made the switch from nonprofit to corporate, what did you struggle with? What concerns didn't really matter in the end?

Proud Wife and Mom to four big goons!
I cannot be old enough to have three teens and a tween.

God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially formed you to
go through it, not without pain but without stain.
-- C. S. Lewis

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PeaNut 259,367
April 2006
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Loc: Midwest

Posted: 1/23/2013 6:45:12 PM
Good luck. My sister tried to shift from non-profit to profit, but hated it. She felt like she was scamming people. She went back to non-profit and raised over 33 million for cancer research before shifting to educational non-profit. She left for-profit and never looked back.

I hope it works out better for you, but she has done very well in the non-profit sector.

Canadian Girl 77

PeaNut 33,042
March 2002
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Loc: Canada

Posted: 1/23/2013 6:54:09 PM
One of my good friends did this. She switched from non profit to profit. The company restructured 8 months later and she was out of work.

Luckily she quickly found another non profit job. She's told me that the grass is not necessarily greener in the higher paid corporate world. Not that it matters to me. I'm committed to my organization.

Oops, submitted too soon.

It sounds like this job would be a good fit for you. So, maybe it is time to make the switch. You can't live your life based on antedotes, right?

Pride of the Peas

PeaNut 25,575
December 2001
Posts: 19,818
Layouts: 45
Loc: Stuck in the Middle With You

Posted: 1/23/2013 9:14:41 PM
That's my worry. My brother left working with school districts to take his dream job and he hated the push for sales with Dell, even though he was with the top selling team. He quit after a year to go to a small school district with a big pay cut.

Proud Wife and Mom to four big goons!
I cannot be old enough to have three teens and a tween.

God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially formed you to
go through it, not without pain but without stain.
-- C. S. Lewis

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PeaNut 431,262
July 2009
Posts: 3,905
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Posted: 1/23/2013 9:55:55 PM
I have worked mostly for non-profits with stints at a for profit company and local government entity, and now I'm self-employed. I have done it all But, by far my favorite, and where I spent the most time, was non-profits (doing fundraising, volunteer mangement and public relations). I have worked for one very small, local non-profit, and one large, national non-profit.

I had trouble adjusting to 3 things when I made my switches.

The first was the fact that in both the for-profit company, and the government agency, everything was very segmented. Everyone had a very specific role and you never, never did anything outside that role. If something was going wrong, or not getting done and it was outside your role, there wasn't really anything you could do about that. That was not at all what I was used to when I worked for non-profits. My experience in non-profit was that everything was very mission based and the overall mission came before the your specific role. If something needed doing, you jumped in and did it, no matter if it was your job. I loved that sense of team, and I loved getting to know all aspects of the organization. I didn't have that experience anywhere else.

The second thing was in non-profits everything gets done on a small (or even no) budget. You become an expert at getting a huge bang for the buck. You learn how to really stretch a dollar, and you learn what you don't honestly need. You become flexible. When I worked for for-profits and government, I was appalled at the waste. Wasteful spending made me crazy, esp. the end of the year purchasing because there was money in the budget and if it wasn't spent we would "lose" it. Once when working for a local government program I was being reluctant to spend money on something I knew was wasteful and my co-worker said "You act like it's your money". Uhhh - I'm a tax payer... it is my money.

The third thing was, in non-profits most people seemed to have a sense of motivation and purpose. They were doing work they believed in. They were driven to get the very best results. I didn't find that in for-profits. Yes, there were driven, motivated people in the corporations I worked for... but not like it was in non-profits. There was a much higher amount of people who were just there for the paycheck... doing the minimum and not that concerned about results. That was even worse in the goverment agency. It was a difficult for me, because when you are around "bare minimum" people it's hard to keep your own motivation up.

BUT... I will say that for-profit had some advantages too. Higher earning potential, better benefits, bonuses, shorter hours. I was able to have a more balanced life because at a non-profit everyone worked whatever hours were needed, but at the for-profit everyone went home at the end of the day.

Good Luck! I hope you find the perfect fit, no matter what sector it is in!

boring + nerdy

PeaNut 52,817
October 2002
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Loc: Oregon

Posted: 1/23/2013 10:06:24 PM
I think you have to shift your mindset about the corporate world.

Yes, the bottom line definitely matters, but how is a company successful in the long term? By taking the best care of its customers. When you contribute to providing an excellent experience for clients, you are contributing to the financial success of the company. Companies that seek profits *at the expense of* customer experience aren't companies I would want to work for, because I wouldn't believe in their longevity.

I worked in the non-profit sector (healthcare fundraising) for years prior to moving to the corporate world.

I don't really think it's all that different. Successful non-profits also have to mind the bottom line so they can continue to be viable and provide their services to their clients.

But if you are going to make the jump, you have got to leave behind the notion that you'll be "giv[ing] up my calling for the almighty dollar. " That's just setting yourself up for failure. You can follow your calling just as well in the corporate world. There's nothing inherently bad about it, as long as you prudently pick the company you work for and the position you are in.

Good luck to you.

I live for the applause applause applause...

PeaNut 526,154
October 2011
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Loc: Illinois

Posted: 1/23/2013 10:42:59 PM
I've switched that way and now I've gone back.

You just have to remember Return on Investment. What is the cost of whatever you are doing and how much will you make back for that cost.

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