This month we are recognizing software engineer Nick Sherrill. Here’s what he told us when we asked about his various volunteer experiences.
Why do you volunteer?
I’ve always wanted to get more involved in my community, which is why several of my volunteer efforts are outside of work-hours. However, Nebraska Global is extremely community-aware, and this creates an environment where volunteering is not only encouraged, but expected. It’s awesome to see the beginnings of the immense and long-lasting positive influence our company will make here in Lincoln.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering? A favorite memory?
Volunteering could easily just be another checkbox on the list of things to do. Yet for me, the most enjoyable part is to see the lives affected by either my direct influence, or simply the investment of time. My favorite volunteering endeavor has been through TeamMates. My TeamMate and I would have never met without the program, and yet we’ve become great friends. I entered into the game late with him as he was a freshman at North Star when we were finally linked together. In these past few short years we’ve gone from “trying to fill the hour” to wishing we he didn’t have to go back to class! He’s a huge Husker fan but had not yet had the opportunity to go to a game. Last year I was able to take him to his first game in arguably our best home game of the season! He said he’ll keep the memory (and his ticket) forever.
How has your volunteer experience impacted your workplace?
I think one of the most unique impacts volunteering has had on our work environment is a sense of internal community. When our company had a total of 17 people, everyone knew each other. Now that we have something like 80+ bodies wandering around, it’s frequent to see unknown faces. However, our volunteering efforts have created opportunities for people that wouldn’t normally work together to get into the trenches side-by-side.
What have you learned while volunteering?
I’ve learned what it can look like to have a generous mental attitude. It feels like our country’s culture is leading slowly down a path of singularly serving “number one”, and the easiest method I accidentally found to combat this mentality is to invest time in the least self-serving environment possible. Putting time/energy/money/skills/etc/etc towards others is the best investment you can make. Even if there’s no visible growth nor movement nor advantage in what activity you performed externally, you’ll gain a healthier attitude internally over time.
Do you have any advice for other volunteers or people who want to get involved?
Do it. No one has time to do it unless you make time to do it. It’s well worth every minute invested.
I’ve found that the easiest way to “find time” to volunteer is to sign up for recurring opportunities. There’s an old saying about trying to mentally include saving money as a part of your budget rather than waiting and using “whatever’s left” as savings. I think this can be applied to volunteering. If you wait to see how much time you have to volunteer, you’ll never have any time leftover. Rather, by signing up for monthly/weekly opportunities, I’m investing my time on the front-end before less-important options become available.