I have always believed if I have experienced anything good from an initiative or community there should be a way of giving or paying back to that community and that can happen through by fostering the community growth. While there are many ways to do this, I have believed that in my case this can happen through volunteering.
This article was basically an attempt to bring out my stint of volunteering with the best testing community The Test Tribe. So let’s start.
Not so long ago but the pandemic of 2020 had brought about lot of changes in the lives of many individuals and so did it in my life as well, personally and professionally. The transition of shifting from office spaces to working from home in silos was the major challenge that I had experienced. The tremendous work load to working in weekends without rest has caused lot of disturbances and made life more monotonous and caused a mental health issues not major though. At this point of time I decided to take a break from everything and anything by having the much needed “me” time. During this period I did certain things which I had not done before. Breaking my comfort zone, I did at least most of the things which I would not have imagined to do. Some of them were becoming active on social media, networking with strangers, attending conferences, joining a testing community, pursuing certain passions that I liked which I did not consider earlier and so on. Of all that I did or I could remember the best decision was getting involved in the testing community first as a member and later by becoming a volunteer. So that’s how it started.
I was an introvert mostly with minimal interaction to people. Basically enjoyed my own company and needed no one and was afraid of people for all that I experienced. So wanted to get out of this mode which was creating lot of challenges in terms of opportunities. The other reason was that, I remember applying to certain internships and B Schools which had asked for any sort of volunteering experience as mandatory requirement. So this is why I had considered it, as I felt it would be useful for me in the future. These were my initial considerations on why did I choose to volunteer.
“The more we give, the more we will receive”.
I believe with all my heart that this statement is true. When we shift the focus of our selves and serving others has powerful effects. Life is all about giving, not gaining. Not only does giving make us feel happy, but it is also suitable for our health and evokes gratitude. There is growing evidence that proves to do something good for someone else can boost your own happiness. The more we do to make other people happy, the more we can increase our own joy by creating a “positive feedback loop”.
Another great thing about giving is that it’s contagious. When we give, the people around us feel happy and positive. They, in turn, are more likely to give to others and pass it on! By giving, we can create infinite cycles of joy.
There is so much work to be done in this life. Instead of thinking about monetary gain as an end result, it is a great lesson to commit to things without taking shortcuts. One of the life lessons learned from volunteering it that it allows us to get in touch with a more profound spirit. We have the opportunity to work hard for things we truly believe in.
Most volunteer projects are for the greater good of the “community”. When we get involved and serve in these projects, we are automatically subjected to being part of the community. This allows us to meet and learn from a range of new people and create memorable experiences with others that will last a lifetime. Working with others promotes cooperation and social connection. Through work exchanges, we promote a sense of trust that strengthens our ties with others. Experiencing positive social interactions is vital for finding joy.
It is so important to do things that make us feel alive. But even more critical is to embody self-discipline to take action. Self-discipline can provide steadiness and stability. Through volunteering, we can experience both by committing to our self-discipline and by choosing to serve in areas that we feel passionate about. When we combine commitment, action, and things that we love, it leads to creative passion and a life’s work. Many times volunteering involves coming back to a “beginner’s mind”, learning new things, and being in the present moment. Life lessons learned from volunteering can lead to self-improvement, confidence, and can even help in finding our sole purpose. Find your spark by serving others and take action.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Apart from this you will also
I would say the first and foremost is personal branding. I no longer need to create an explicit tag for myself and introduce myself formally. This has been a proud moment for me.
Job offers from start-ups I had wanted to work with or do some initiatives were approaching me. I can’t explain the plethora of emotions that were going inside me at that instance.
Speaking Gigs –Although this year I made my debut as a speaker in conferences and meetups, I had got more opportunities than I ever imagined and really feel grateful and humbled for all of this. My first one being TestFlix 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPkir1F_oQ4 and would be speaking in the upcoming Agile Testing Alliance Global Testing Retreat happening in December 2021
Network & Connections Through all the events I attended or participated I made sure I made friends with few people who were like minded and also making an attempt to take that to the next level by staying in touch.
Learning Opportunities: I remember attending my first Test.Bash event and a couple of other events at Ministry of Testing which I was earlier unable to attend through Richard Bradshaw who has helped me tremendously and can’t thank him enough. The Test Guild Conferences are also one among them. Winning tickets for Selenium Conference through an event are some of them I could remember. The everyday discussions that happen in the Test Chat community on some topics give some great resources and useful points. May not be quite useful at all times if you encounter situations at work. I can say I know everything of something and something of everything. Agile Testing Alliance and The Test Tribe need no mention as they organize fantastic events. Also the Test Automation & Quality Engineering Lah (TAQELAH) community needs a mention here for all the fun events they conduct. Synapse QA for their creativity.
Winning at Competitions or Events – I had made sure I participated in most events wherever I could and won a few which was special. Taking that chance really mattered to me rather than the winning though I could say. Most often people are crippled by that fear of being judged and not winning or making it to the top .So for me it was taking that chance even though I could not make it through some and that’s quite ok to me as long as I was learning and making sure not to make the same mistakes.
Improving with Skills: I think each one of us would know how to do a lot of things but we don’t really do it unless the need or time arises. So was the case with me. I’m referring to the ones which you don’t require day in and out. Working on these when events were organized more or less helped me get better. For ex: I sucked at designing Canva Templates and was even scared to, as I felt I didn’t have the right design sense, although I had a good taste of colours and combinations.
One of the better-known benefits of volunteering is the impact on the community. Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. Even helping out with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people.
Although this is not mandatory I still feel people should start considering this from a very young age if possible. This could help them mingle with people as such, identify the causes they are interested in or they care to work for. In Western countries this has always been a concept. But for a country like India this may still seem relatively new to begin with. They could start about by participating in various clubs in schools as members and create that culture which could take them forward. For individuals there are a lot of NGO’s which need volunteers at different levels. So this could be an opportunity that they could grab. For people in technology related careers your communities or clubs in colleges to product specific communities and local meetups to conferences. The world is all yours if you care to use it to your benefit. I believe this would create a lifetime full of opportunities for everyone and anyone.
Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you’re going through challenging times.
When it comes to volunteering, passion and positivity are the only requirements .While learning new skills can be beneficial to many, it’s not a requirement for a fulfilling volunteer experience. Bear in mind that the most valuable skills you can bring to any volunteer effort are compassion, an open mind, a willingness to do whatever is needed, and a positive attitude.
Volunteering brings fun and fulfilment to your life Volunteering is a fun and easy way to explore your interests and passions. Doing volunteer work you find meaningful and interesting can be a relaxing, energizing escape from your day-to-day routine of work, school, or family commitments. Volunteering also provides you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life. Many people volunteer in order to make time for hobbies outside of work as well. For instance, if you have a desk job and long to spend time outdoors, you might consider volunteering to help plant a community garden, walk dogs for an animal shelter, or help out at a children’s camp
Lastly I would like to say that this would not have been possible without the trust The Test Tribe had in each one of us and I feel proud to be associated with them for giving me a chance to have this share of the volunteering experience.
I hope you liked my attempt to tell you about my journey and would encourage everyone to pursue this in any field they would like to .Sure that this experience would be enriching with immense learnings and something that you could cherish for your entire life. We live only once so why not make it the best possible one which is worth remembering☺.
I'm Mahathee and work as Senior Engineering Lead Quality at Persistent Systems Hyderabad India. Apart from work I'm a fun loving person. I love to bake, spend time with my family and I love pets .I also volunteer at The Test Tribe and love interacting with people. I'm passionate curious and intrinsically motivated and always put my best foot forward in whatever I do.I also love reading books which are mostly motivational and have a good story telling in them.