Lunch, Learn, LIFT

By LIFT on July 11, 2017

Categories: First Person Perspective

I think that all interns share a common fear when they enter their new, temporary workplace for the first time: Am I here just to get coffee?

The short answer to that question concerning my experience thus far at LIFT is certainly “no.” My biggest dread about being the intern-coffee-girl is not about waiting on my superiors. Instead, I have a great fear of leaving my summer position feeling I did nothing but got another quasi-impressive six words on my resume. I want to learn. I want to improve. In these eight short weeks, I want to make an impact on the organization and its target population.

At LIFT, everyone makes sure that I am getting as much out of this internship as I give. Each week, we have Intern “Lunch & Learn” sessions, in which we get to sit down and have casual and low-stress yet invaluable conversations with various members of LIFT’s executive team. To date, each Lunch & Learn has offered completely distinct yet equally valuable insights about educational decisions, the nonprofit world and career development in general.

“You can only make things better once you understand them.”

These are the only ten words that I wrote in my notebook after a Lunch & Learn with Molly Day, LIFT’s Senior Vice President of Strategy and Growth. I was too busy listening to her speak to take notes–excepting this one quotation that immediately struck my heart and will continue to stick with me as I pursue a career centered in public service. In fact, the entire discussion struck my heart, as Molly even began to cry when talking about the impact of a former job position.

I kept thinking that that is what I want for my future. I want to be so moved by past professional experiences that I become emotional when I look back upon them. Is it really that hard to love your job?

Sometimes, from the perspective of college students, I feel like the answer is “yes.” You hear tale upon tale of recent graduates taking the common “Ivy League” track, entering a world of business or finance that allows them to live financially-happy lives but mentally-unhappy ones. So many college students in my generation struggle to find the balance.

Sang Lee, LIFT’s Chief Development Officer, put all of this into perspective during his Lunch & Learn.

He described three buckets:

  1. The bucket that benefits society.
  2. The bucket in which you are skilled.
  3. The bucket that is financially stable enough to support your personal life and family.

He told us that in life, you have to figure out how you want to fill these buckets. You want something in each of them, of course. No one wants an empty bucket. But we don’t have some limitless supply of things with which to fill the buckets, as much as we wish that we did.

I’ve simply learned that everyone just wants to feel fulfilled. Whether you can achieve fulfillment by making money, saving lives, or raising a family, the buckets are yours. Do what you want with them.

When I take bits and pieces of knowledge gained from each Lunch & Learn, I find that my view of my future career has shifted. I don’t need to fit some mold that everyone expects, nor do I have to commit my life to saving the world without having enough income to raise a family.

My work at LIFT has confirmed that I want to fill the bucket that others cannot fill for themselves. The bucket that I really care about. And I think that the rest of my time at LIFT can help me fill that bucket to the top.

This blog post was written by Rosie Arbittier, a student at Princeton and a summer 2017 intern at LIFT.