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Impact Jobs Worth Doing

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The notion of the independent, rational economic actor is a fictional crock of ideology -- disconnected from real life, disorienting to healthy communities and a destructive idea for social change agents and job-seekers alike.

Even the most rabid free-market libertarian and rightwing economist knows (or should know) that group norms determine individual behavior, rarely the opposite. We are social animals.

This human reality is why social media is a powerful communications platform, why the fashion industry prospers and why political operatives overbook rooms. It is why some neighborhoods are litter-free and others are disgusting.

To change the world, rethink your definition of social entrepreneurship, suggests Triskeles Foundation CEO, and failed volleyball athlete, Clemens Pietzner.


"Working with people in a structured care-giving role is not glamorous, but what is really amazing, if you are empathetic, it will make you a better person." Have you considered your first job as a way to be better than you are?

"My childhood community embodied social change, and it continues to be a big piece of my life today." Have you considered creating a small community of well-valued colleagues where service to others is the norm?

"My childhood playmates had handicaps. They were John, Philip and Suzie. I didn't know they had handicaps." Have you considered working past your own handicaps?

"What I would say to someone living with a population that 'will not get better'? There is no exit strategy. You live with small, incremental steps that take place in a human dimension." Have you considered what success in social change means for you personally?

In the words of Shirin Ebadi, Iran's first female judge and 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, "A political leader shows people the way, moving in front of the people and showing them a path. A human rights advocate walks behind the people and, if anyone is left behind, takes their hand to help them." A good rule, as well, for social entrepreneurs!

Wearing a job lens that myopically sees the human community as a teeming mass of potential customers and clients, that singularly looks for solutions based on market forces, or that can only read spread sheets crammed with scalable projections, means your driving goggles are grimy. It drives your justice job search into a blind alley, unable to see all the powerful pathways for change, fulfillment and meaning.