The community sector is a particular world closer to the human element and far removed from corporate motives. An experienced member of this sector tells us about its advantages and characteristics.
When we asked Amélie Lafortune-Lauzon on the essential qualities of communal work, she answered without so much as a preamble. “You need to want to change the world, and have the passion to readily, genuinely engage in the cause.” Due to her tone, we imagine a Research and Development Officer passionately gesticulating on the phone for the Corporation de développement communautaire de Laval (CDC de Laval).
From the start, she admits that her love for humanity primarily guided her to this sector. For almost 10 years, she gravitated around international solidarity circles and independent communities which showed that to be happy and effective you need to listen and have initiative and creativity.
The beauty of the community sector
She highlights, “There are many working advantages in this environment like the omnipresent movement. I like seeing things moving along concretely and contributing to change however small. Unlike many other workers, I don’t feel dependant on the bureaucracy.”
She clarifies that even if community work rarely has competitive salaries for all the hours, it is very critical of its own circumstances.The mother of two kids admits to benefiting from the flexible schedule in a sector privileging humanity over performance. She adds, “Work-family balance is a main concern, and this environment is open to everyone as much as her. Pressure to perform comes from ourselves instead of our bosses.”
The challenges in the community sector
According to Amelie, recognition is the biggest challenge since the community sector is often associated with volunteering and those with a calling. She clarifies, “We are constantly fighting for validation and—of course—financing.”
She admits to having to stay regularly on top of things because of numerous issues like analyzing and controlling shifting economic and political situations—then adjusting strategies and consequential actions.
The employment profile
According to her, the community sector should not be seen as a springboard to somewhere else. What’s more, there is no place in it for corporate logic and profit-seeking at any cost. Amélie asserts, “Visionaries can find a place in this sector, but must be in a listening position instead of imposing themselves. As a community, we all work together to obtain the best conditions.”
Notwithstanding the fact that there are as many paths as there are community workers, we find many sociologists, psychologists, administration graduates, social workers with bachelors in activities and cultural research and (like in Amélie’s case) masters in political science—although the top keywords are mobilization, idealism, leadership, and democratic spirit.
Amélie is driven by sharing, participation, and being active. She concludes, “I see myself spending my life working in this environment relating to my values and personality.”