Student soapbox: Social good goes beyond working for charities

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The careers that first come to mind for most Oxford students are easy to predict and fall into quite traditional categories. Yet, what job to enter is a big decision and before we decide we might want to pause for a minute to think about what is happening to society around us.So, for starters, positive social and environmental change isn’t happening fast enough: the inequality gap between rich and poor is widening in Britain and worldwide; we are as much as 100 years behind meeting the 2015 Millennium Development Goals; and pronouncements by scientists about the state of the environment grow ever gloomier.Do we really care? Maybe some don’t. But for those that do what can they do when deciding their career paths? As the Oxford Hub is proving, the options are exciting, but mind-boggling.Despite the ideal, we can’t deny that opportunities outside of traditional careers seem few and far between. Jobs in the charitable sector, for example, are rarely graduate level and are advertised on a fairly ad-hoc basis. Firstly, however, there are signs that the ‘information gap’ is closing and it is now much easier to find out about entry-level jobs when they appear.The Oxford Hub is currently in the early stages of a partnership with JustMeans, a new organisation advertising jobs that bring about positive social and environmental change – whether commercial or charitable. Sites like this, if successful, could go a long way to introducing people to a whole range of socially responsible jobs.Secondly, as JustMeans makes clear, working for social good obviously doesn’t just mean working for a charity. The Oxford Hub will be exploring this in more detail on Wednesday 2nd week when we are hosting a panel with representatives from TeachFirst and Tesco that explores ‘Different Models of Sustainable Change’.Doing good needn’t just be about standing on street corners shaking a tin or holding a megaphone. It could involve a career in the charitable, public or private sector. It could make you millions; it could make you very little. So, as the poet Mary Oliver wrote: “Tell me. What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” The possibilities are limitless, but hopefully you’ll have something interesting and meaningful to show for it. A good bit of background research should leave you with a whole range of options.
 
Adam O’Boyle is Manager of the Oxford Hub, a group which aims to help Oxford students get involved  with causes. For more information visit  www.oxfordhub.org
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