Service, Saving Plants, and Selling Out

Food runners come in on Thursdays and we all crowd around the pastries, hoping to snatch a savory one before they’re gone.

Tess, New Door’s beloved CEO of 16 years, occasionally sends articles and videos to us, some that inspire, others that infuriate, all forces that keep us going.

Every time someone finishes a significant task or a donation comes in, everyone celebrates together. This includes the time when I cleaned out and reorganized the cabinets, and after I saved two very cute desk plants from an untimely demise (underwatering and overwatering, respectively).

It’s been a good time.

A few seconds of my ten weeks there weren’t so golden though.

As a part of the development team, my coworkers interact with many well-connected, wealthy people. One mentioned meeting someone who had pretty much the same job as her, interacting with donors and forming relationships. This person made a lot more money because they went corporate.

Every interaction with outside entities has to be logged in Salesforce. This is of course necessary and comes in handy later, but after sending over a hundred emails and requests, my eyes start glazing over a bit.

Also, I fell down the stairs and came down with the flu.

The benefits of working at New Door still overwhelmingly exceeded the negatives. New Door’s education and employment programs give youth access to resources that every young person deserves in order to transition to adulthood:

  • a community
  • education
  • employment
  • access to public transit
  • lots of snacks

The program is crazy effective and graduates have gone on to do amazing things. Just knowing that the money we raise go towards breaking the cycles of inequality is enough to make a job fulfilling, not to mention everything else that I love about this place.


I’ve visited some big corporate headquarters. With their endless standing desks, beautiful architecture, fridges full of free drinks and snacks, and lunchtime yoga, I can imagine it being very easy to migrate over to corporate. And let’s not talk about the effect of San Francisco’s ever-rising housing costs.

At Princeton, there’s a lot of talk about “selling out”, namely while referencing a big consulting company or whatnot. It scared me for a while, so much that my dreams were haunted by the thought of working at an imaginary soul-sucking place solely devoted to the bottom line. You’d think that working at a nonprofit would reinforce that fear, but here I’ve learned that many people who’ve become wealthy stay connected to their communities. And with their success, they’re able to make big donations and regularly volunteer. There are even opportunities to do pro-bono work for nonprofits.

This summer has really opened my eyes. There are so many opportunities available if I just believe in myself, work towards them (and cherish my support system!). My enthusiasm for service hasn’t waned, I’ve discovered that I love fundraising, and my curiosity about working a for-profit job has increased.

Still wondering what will happen, but I know for sure that I’ll keep learning and exploring 🙂


My team

Date posted: August 23, 2019 | | Comments Off on Service, Saving Plants, and Selling Out | Uncategorized