For someone burned out by a soulless corporate job, the switch to a career with more meaning often starts with going back to school for a master’s degree. A Seattle-based company offers a quicker option: a new six-month long program that includes a custom-designed overseas trip to work with a social enterprise and gain direct, high-level experience.
“The core is that learning happens through experience,” says Mark Horoszowski, co-founder of MovingWorlds, which launched the new MovingWorlds Institute today. “When employers are skimming a resume, they’re not looking for degrees, they’re looking to say has this person really ever worked on monitoring and evaluation, or ever led a new tech launch or innovation.”
MovingWorlds’ “experteering” programs connect professionals with highly skilled volunteer gigs. It started as a way to help social enterprises access the talent they needed, whether that’s related to business strategy or marketing. But the organization quickly realized that expert-level volunteering was also a way to help volunteers gain valuable experience themselves.
In partnerships with companies like Microsoft, MovingWorlds has helped connect employees with “experteering” gigs in other countries as an employee development program.
A UX designer at one company, for example, wanted a promotion to a manager role, but the structure of the company wasn’t giving her a chance to gain the experience she needed. By taking a short break to work in Guatemala–where she helped lead the development of a new e-commerce platform for a social enterprise–she was able to build the case for her promotion back at her job.
The new MovingWorlds Institute is focused around the same type of skill-building project, which can last from three to 16 weeks. But it also includes a longer program that offers training in skills like design thinking, then connects participants with industry mentors and helps them use the new project to find a new job.
“We give them coaching to talk about it in a way that will help them transition their careers,” says Horoszowski.
For some people, the experience may lead to a new role within their existing organization. Others want to test working in a social enterprise. A third group has a dream job already in mind.
“We see a number of people 5-10 years into their career, they’ve been at BlackRock, they’ve been at Deloitte on the partner track, and they just want a new experience and exposure,” he says. “Then you have other people that are very specific: ‘I want a job at Gates Foundation,’ ‘I want a job at Kiva,’ but they just have no field experience.”
The common theme: people want jobs that feel like they have an impact. “It’s been inspiring and motivating for our team to see how many people actually actively looking at their careers and career paths and asking questions,” he says. “And to see so many people that are actively looking for ways to build their experiences–often to end up in careers that might pay less, but are helping contribute to the greater good.”