Sunday, June 22, 2008

Low pay ain't all it's cracked up to be

My quick thought on this article is that Not For Profits are often a joke. They are poorly run with loose objectives and lots and lots of development work. Asking people for money sucks, its begging really. Why choose a career that is often unstructured, with colleagues that do not share one's professional aspirations and where begging is a large component of the job requirement?

TFA is an interesting example. Many people hate TFA and are frustrated with its unrealistic goals (throw inexperienced overachievers in the poorest schools in America for two years and watch nothing happen). Worse, however, it is soul sucking. The poverty of the ambition comes from having the life sapped out of you every single day. The poor pay (in many NFP) just exacerbates the problem.

The bottom line is that when there is a bottom line things tend to run better and be more demanding. That is why they attract Ivy Leaguers.

(Just as a disclaimer, though my former employer in a NFP, it is run rather well.)

4 comments:

miriam said...

TFA is not the best example. working in bad schools sucks. working for TFA itself on the orgnizational side can be fine. i think i actually met someone who did that and had as fine a time as anyone has at a NFP that interfaces with the govt...

Zev said...

You're right insofar as TFA is a NFP. However, I stand by my comment that it can be soul sucking. And not in the way of 'my soul is being sucked, but at least little disadvantaged children are better off' either.

Anonymous said...

right, but it's soul sucking due to attributes that are atypical for a nonprofit. or, rather, it's soul sucking b/c it is a particularly hard sort of direct service. you seem to be talking abt the office side of NFP work, not the direct services side. Teaching being soul sucking is only marginally related to fundraising being so.
Miriam

Zev said...

That's what I conceded by saying, "you're right insofar as TFA is a NFP." I.e. it is not the poorly run, begging kind. The objectives can, however, be unrealistic because it is driven mostly by goodwill. If TFA were a business and the profits were tied to performance, would it still be a success?