The New HandsOn Tech Team Answers Some Questions, Part II
In case you missed their post yesterday, the new HandsOn Tech team introduced themselves with a brief FAQ. Part II covers transitions, expectations and just what each of them are hoping to learn this year...
In case you missed their first post yesterday, the new HandsOn Tech team introduced themselves with a brief FAQ. Part II covers transitions, expectations and just what each of them are hoping to learn this year...
What challenges have you faced in transitioning from college to a professional environment?
Jess - I think my biggest challenge was simply moving here to Seattle. I grew up in Massachusetts and deciding to move to a city 3000 miles away - one that I had never been to prior to starting HandsOn Tech, might I add - is quite the risk in itself. College is interesting because you have a bunch of people coming together for the common goal of graduating. I had classes with a lot of different people. We received similar educations and upon graduating, we all separated to go do different things. With the professional world, you have the opposite scenario: people from many different backgrounds and educations come together to work towards a similar goal. It's fascinating to see that change. That mostly answers the question, right?
Alex - Transitioning from college to a professional work environment has been an eye-opening experience thus far. It has been refreshing to move into an office with a group of people that all share the common goal of helping the community. Knowing this has been rewarding in itself, but it has also been great to meet everyone who works here. One thing that I have known about this nonprofit in particular is the great diversity of background and skill that exists here.
Aimy - The greatest challenge has been adjusting to a new workplace culture. When settling into an established organization, you want to learn about that organization and figure how you can fit into that structure.
What do you expect to face that is unique to a nonprofit environment?
Jess - Recognizing the value of resources, definitely. With nonprofits, any money spent on new tools is money not going towards the target audience of the nonprofit. Any time I spend with the nonprofits is time they aren't spending engaging with and helping the community. See a pattern coming up? While being wasteful is never good, being wasteful when it comes to nonprofits is especially damaging.
Alex - Being in a nonprofit that specializes in community capacity building, I expect a lot of our unique challenges to be with managing our client and volunteer relationships. What can we be training them that is relevant and will help them help the community and themselves? What strategies will we need to employ to reach out to nonprofits that don’t know about us? How can we do our best service in order to create the biggest impact on the community? I hope to be a part of some exciting changes that will continue to affect all nonprofits in Washington and more
Aimy - The process of incorporating changes within the dynamics of a nonprofit is unique. The information we will bring to these organizations call for new practices that challenge previous norms. Approaching these situations by highlighting its benefits to our nonprofits is important to ensure sustainability.
What new learning or skills do you hope to gain through your year as a VISTA?
Jess - Networking would be the big one. I'm in a new community and I want to get more involved. Learning how to reach out to people and organizations and to figure out how to keep up communication and stay in touch would be fantastic.
Alex - I am really hoping to learn more about hardware infrastructure in particular. Having had nonprofit experience from college, I have had first hand experience of how a poor technological infrastructure can affect an organization negatively. By the end of my Vista term, I hope to be more experienced in evaluating a company and how they are using technology effectively to store data, organize clients, and communicate with the rest of the community. I am also interested in researching social media as a means of community outreach.
Aimy - I hope this year will teach me about the inner workings of a nonprofit. As a technical writer, I would like to have the opportunity to practice the various promotional and instructional formats within tech writing through the context of a nonprofit environment. I hope HandsOn Tech, will develop my knowledge of technology and my understanding of nonprofit structure.
- Alex Green, Aimy Enriquez, Jess Fraser