Effect Measure

Changing the world, one job at a time

We’ve talked a lot here over the years about preparing for a pandemic on a community level, not an individual level. Both are important, of course, but our interests here have always been on how neighbors can help neighbors and building strong communities to withstand all sorts of shocks, from recessions to pandemics. Our examples tended to focus on what we called the public health and social service infrastructure, but of course the principle went deeper. Unfortunately it was a message that fell on fallow ground during the Bush years.

There have been a lot of dismaying things about American politics since Reagan, but for us surely one of the most disheartening was the continual denigration on public servants. Politicians ran for office on platforms that put down anything done by the public sector even as their own corrupt hands yanking on the public money teat. It wasn’t enough to praise the wonders of private enterprise. It had to be done at the expense of tearing down the virtues of a common purpose. The result was to marginalize and impoverish public service, what should be the noblest of callings, not the most trivialized. Instead young people were fed the idea that hedge fund managers and Wall Streeters were the Best of the Best.

That was then. Now a nascent spirit of civic engagement has emerged from the 2008 campaign and found a responsive and sympathetic ear among the younger generation and even some of us oldsters. Talking about the value of civil engagement is one thing. Enabling it is another. So I’m glad to share an email I got today from Danny Modovan, Director of the Jobs for Change initiative at Change.org.

Jobs for Change is a career service and marketplace for social change jobs that we?ve created in partnership with dozens of nonprofits, including Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, AmeriCorps Alums, Echoing Green, Network for Good, and Encore Careers. You can check it out at http://jobs.change.org.

Our goal is to spark a nationwide movement toward careers in the common good – including nonprofit, government, and social enterprise jobs. We?re currently building a huge database of social change jobs with our partners and have just hired a team of career advisors who will be blogging every day to provide guidance on finding and developing a career in social change.

We?re currently reaching out to likeminded bloggers and nonprofit leaders to help build momentum for the campaign and spread its vision.

Of course we were delighted to endorse the vision and we did. Jobs for Change is part of a movement to recruit a new generation of leaders into the nonprofit, government, and social enterprise sectors:

To attract these people, we need to enhance the social sector’s ability to recruit, develop, and retain talent. Too many people interested in a career in service do not end up or remain in the sector because of a range of obstacles that include misperceptions about work and compensation, insufficient information about how to take the first steps, or limited recruiting resources from budget-strapped organizations. We need to address these issues.

Innovative businesses should join as partners with nonprofits and government in the pursuit of social good. One of the most promising movements in social change is the use of business as a vehicle for advancing the common good, and the rapidly expanding social enterprise sector should be embraced and encouraged. (Jobs for Change)

Good for these guys. Now, back to work! Lots to do and too little time.


  1. #1 Danny
    May 20, 2009

    Many thanks for the encouraging words. Thankfully, “tearing down the virtues of common purpose” is no longer in fashion. We’re eager to show that the “noblest” careers are often the most exciting and rewarding as well. Let’s hope the momentum in this direction of the past year continues to build. As you said, there’s a lot to be done!

    – Danny, Jobs for Change

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