Friday, February 9, 2007

Public Service

Over the years I have enjoyed volunteering for several organizations whose mission I believed in wholeheartedly. Mostly, I've used my professional training to perform the accounting and budgeting functions for these organizations.

In my role as foster home for Belle, I stepped entirely out of what I do and what I know in my professional life and took on learning a whole slew of new skills necessary to become a successful foster home and trainer for Belle. I suspect many of my fellow foster homes have done the same.

Oh sure, there is definitely crossover. For example, where I used to present budgets and balance sheets to boards, now I get to use those same presentation skills to demonstrate, explain and show off Belle's assets. The best part is the audiences I speak with for Helping Paws are usually much more engaged in hearing about Belle than the audiences to which I presented financial statements ever were. If you will pardon the pun, go figure.

For the first time in my life I am actually enjoying, sometimes revelling in the public side of what I'm doing. Whether it be the informal Q & A sessions that spring up just about everywhere Belle and I go together, or the more formal presentations to organized groups that have asked us to come and talk about Helping Paws and our dogs I leave each one more enthusiastic than ever about the work that Belle and I are doing. In my twenty-six years as an accountant I've only had that feeling once about the work that I did - a special project that I worked on with committed, caring professionals (the greatest of which was my supervisor) from all over the country willing to share their knowledge and expertise as we all struggled to convert to an entirely new standard for financial reporting for the industry we were in. In looking back however, the enthusiasm came from the people I worked with - not the work that we did. As a Helping Paws volunteer - I get to experience for the first time both the chance to work with people that are caring and committed professionals, and to love deeply what it is that I am doing.

There isn't an executive pay package out there that could top this gig.

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