I have been working now for several years and my meaningful professional experiences range from a large bank (Société Générale in New York), the French Embassy in Stockholm, a multinational industrial company (Procter & Gamble in Geneva) and finally for iAgora.
Although I have always had the deepest respect for people who devoted their lives to others I never really considered a career in a non-profit organization. However, over the years, I have learned through others how fulfilling and challenging those jobs can be. Also, these jobs are the ultimate international jobs, working in remote places or large cities with people from all over the world, leveraging language skills… and just making a real and direct impact in people’s lives.
If I started all over again I think I would consider that option more seriously, but of course there’s still plenty of time and opportunities for me to get involved and I will give it a real shot sooner or later.
If what motivates you is an inspiring mission statement here is a meaningful one, that of the International Red Cross: “To stand for the protection of the life and dignity of victims of international and internal armed conflicts”
The International Red Cross was started by a Swiss businessman who was utterly shocked by the horrors that he saw at the battle of Solférino. He then dedicated a significant amount of time, money and energy to convince governments about the need to set up voluntary relief organisations to nurse the wounded on the battlefield. He also fought for the establishment of international treaties to protect the neutral medical staff and organisations. The International Red Cross came into being in 1863 in Geneva.
Today the International Red Cross is one of the largest humanitarian organisations:
12,184 staff members in more than 80 countries
Expatriates: 1,453 people
Men: 56% ; Women: 44%
Over 100 different nationalities
Delegation employees: 9,908 people
823 staff at headquarters in Geneva
There are ‘field’ jobs in conflict areas where the staff works in a delegation in permanent contact with local ICRC offices and headquarters. On the other hand there are headquarters jobs which provide support to the delegations and work to get political support from international governments.
Quoting the ICRC website:
“ICRC staff members work in sensitive, tense and sometimes dangerous situations, and in a wide range of settings, from government offices to the rudimentary facilities of camps for displaced persons. They move without pause from distributions of food rations to high-level negotiations with the military authorities. They are in constant contact with people of all kinds: the powerful and the powerless, the victims and their aggressors, diplomats and humanitarian volunteers.
The job requires human qualities that at first glance appear contradictory: ICRC staff must be tenacious yet flexible, creative but methodical, at one and the same time curious and discreet, sensitive but able to control their emotions. The job allows them to make a profound personnel commitment. It affords a unique human experience, enabling staff to make a direct contribution to humanitarian action by exercising a profession that is based on knowledge and experience and is constantly being reshaped by events.”
There are plenty of job opportunities to browse through.
And here is one for an IT Systems Engineer