I had a lovely retirement party last week. Yep, retirement party. Not from my day job. There are quite a few years left on that journey. No, I retired from my volunteer gig.
I have been part of the Women in Nuclear board for six years and was on the leading group of my local chapter before that. The members of our group are men and women in all parts of the nuclear industry across Canada. It focuses on communicating the benefits of nuclear technology (energy and therapeutic) to the public. Our meetings and programs offer professional development and networking.
There have been times where trying to live up to my obligations in my day job, my family/household and the Board seemed impossible. But you get through. You work with your volunteer colleagues and get things done together.
And so, as I move to my status as “just a member”, I can step back and recognize that while balancing may have been tough, the rewards are so worth it.
I have a shimmering network of cool, intelligent, giving people. People that I would never have had the chance to meet, let alone get to know. I have had the chance to learn from subject matter experts on many of the forward aspects of the business. When I use this knowledge in work conversations, people really raise their eyebrows as in “wow, you really know what you are talking about”.
Maybe the coolest thing is watching the people who are taking my place. I have watched them develop as they sat on committees, took on projects and now they are taking the lead. This makes me feel pretty proud.
I love my real job but I have to say that I have found tremendous value and satisfaction in my volunteer work too. Together it’s a powerful combination.
The next time someone asks you to sit on a committee or join in on a project outside of work, you might want to say yes. Don’t let being busy be an excuse. You might be missing out on so much good stuff.