Paul's Blog

The Well-Grounded Yuppie

Subscribe to RSS feed

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Volunteering in Northern Virginia

I do something nice for other people every once in a while for absolutely no reason. Well, not "absolutely no reason", it could be boredom or Karma building.

I have exchanged a few Emails from "Northern Virginia Family Service", and I am going to start volunteering for them. They have a class where adults go there to learn the skills to get better jobs so they don't have to work in entry-level jobs for the rest of their lives. The class teaches speaking, computers, job searching, resume writing, interviewing, and other type of skills of that nature. It's a class Mon-Fri 8AM-2PM for 22 weeks. By statistics, over 90% of adults who graduate obtain "better" jobs.

I visited them today during lunch. The majority of the students in that class are foreign. I remember when I was young and new to the US, my parents had help from other Chinese people to "point them the way" in their careers back in Long Island. But what if there was nobody to help them with anything? I can definitely imagine this class being extremely beneficial for foreigners who don't totally understand the US customs and work culture. Nobody else will tell them "during a job interview, when asked why leaving the current job, don't complain about the low pay or about the current boss".

Due to my fulltime job, I can only participate in this about two days a week, 8-9AM (before work), but I'd love to participate more, if the experience turns out to be rewarding.

Philosophical Question: Is it still considered an "unselfish act" if the sole purpose of an act is to make me feel better about myself, bored and give myself something to do, or building karma for myself?



Blogger Andrew said...

Wow Paul, I'm impressed! It definately still qualifies as an unselfish act.

PS. You might want to check with the Washington Post, they may 'sponsor' you to do this and by sponsor I mean let you take a couple hours a week paid and teach over there. I know they do that at IBM.

8/17/2006 10:36 AM  
Blogger Paul Zhao said...

Nah, then it just becomes "work", and is no longer an "unselfish act". That and I'd like to be able to back out anytime if I find out "this isn't for me.

8/17/2006 11:08 AM  
Blogger will said...

whatever reasons you pick to do it are fine. You don't have to justify why you do it. If some hot chick was there and you did it for that and you actually helped someone get a better job then the person who you helped doesn't care you were there to meet a hot chick.


8/17/2006 2:23 PM  
Blogger Paul Zhao said...

I don't know, Will, "helping people" to meet hot chicks kinda takes away from me "doing an unselfish deed" or "building karma".

8/17/2006 2:49 PM  
Anonymous Kim said...

If you want to sit there and disect the psychology of it,on some level, every "unselfish act" is never truely unselfish. For example: People donate money to a charity because it makes them feel good that they're helping someone out. Regardless of your motivation behind it, unless there's a harmful intent, as long as you're helping others that's all that matters. I'm proud of you Paul.

8/23/2006 1:37 AM  
Blogger Paul Zhao said...

Kim? Actually being proud of me? I'm very very moved. Look, I just saw a flying pig. :)

8/23/2006 11:57 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home