While explaining paintings may not seem like a task that would translate to the world of development, I have found that the two jobs are one in the same.
Just a year ago, it was natural for me to see a stern, expressionless face and steer clear; but after just one shift at a local art museum, I realized how unfair these judgments were. In our society, we are expected to be friendly (but selectively intimate), social (but never curious), and when a stranger deviates from the trend, we are too quick to write them off as stuckup or aloof.
We have to stop this.
Because once two individuals are placed in just the right context—whether that is in front of a canvas or a picket sign—the world starts to make a little more sense.
And communication is key for anyone working for UFE. We are constantly reaching out to donors, foundation heads, disenfranchised communities. We have people on the phone explaining specific laws, leading workshops on the wealth divide, and so much more…
So, when it comes down to it, there is simply no room for any of us to just assume that the person on the other line doesn’t care about our cause. Instead, it is our job to frame our thoughts and mission statement in such a way that we can inspire others to act!
Sadly, the zip code we start with almost always dictates where we end up; a “can do” attitude is only part of the equation. Therefore, many low wage workers deserve better. They deserve more than a society that deems them as inherently lazy. They deserve more than just stories of opportunity.
Because how much can any child accomplish when the only meal they can depend on is their school lunch?
WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT…
Working at the Rose has made me so much more open-minded, when I didn’t think that I had much room to improve on that front.
Just like all of my co-workers, when I don on my uniform, I have to treat every visitor with the same level of kindness and be whatever they need at that moment. Sometimes, that means I’m giving spiritual advice or big bear hugs. Sometimes not.
But the ability to treat every shift on a case-by-case basis? To improvise and pick up on what the other person expects? That is vital whenever I am representing an organization—and UFE is no different.
As a development team member, it is our job to tailor each donor interaction and ensure a steady, reliable string of communication. We have to put ourselves in uncomfortable positions and occasionally dismantle long-held norms–which can be challenging, but makes every hour all the more exciting.