Working for peace

Almost a month ago, I wrote about leaving my job at Netcentric Campaigns in search of something that would make me happier while continuing my own growth professionally and personally. I laid out what I wanted from a new job:

  1. Collaborative organizational structure supported by democratic management.
  2. Openness to innovation at the strategic and technological levels.
  3. Ability to telecommute…
  4. Passion for what I’m doing…

lotusmedia 2.0 » A brave new world

And I also mentioned in that post that I had a job interview the following day. It was with the Fellowship of Reconciliation for the position of Communication Co-coordinator. That phone interview went very well, which led to an in-person meeting, which led to a job offer, which led to a bit of a dilemma for me. I was at the point of looking ahead at the wide world of options, activating my social networks, and also looking forward to a break from work. Along came a perfectly good offer that more than met my criteria, but I was just starting my job search, not ready to end it.

I spent some time contemplating (while participating in the NetSquared conference), I spoke to colleagues, I listened to friends. I finally decided that although the timing was not ideal, this job was a very good fit, especially in terms of the criteria I had already developed. I took the job!

Here’s why:

  1. FOR has a moderate-sized staff (about 17) but is striving to be democratically-operated. My position will be working alongside an equal partner as co-directors of communication. This paired working structure is one that I think can play to my strengths, such as collaboration, while minimizing my weakness, getting easily distracted.
  2. I was happily surprised to hear that FOR is interested in not just using the Internet to broadcast their message to more supporters, but to actually transform their work by connecting activists around geographic and issue areas, bridging cultural and religious barriers, and amplifying the voices of grassroots activists. As you can see from their web site there is much to be done, but I am looking forward to the challenge, and I feel supported in making bold decisions that will make FOR more effective and will support the essential work of building a renewed movement for peace.
  3. FOR was looking for someone who would work out of their Nyack office, but has agreed to let me telecommute as I have done at my last two jobs. Bonus: More trips to New York (and less to DC).
  4. Finally, working for a non-violent world is something that is not only absolutely essential right now, but also feeds my soul. About 8 years ago, I began to learn about Engaged Buddhism, a practice that reinforced my own beliefs while providing deep grounding for community activism. At some point I realized this was not just something I read about, it’s something I am. Although I haven’t been going on as many retreats lately, I still believe in the eight-fold path and look forward to getting back on that track.

    At FOR, I will be working to stop the Iraq War and all wars, and I consider this to be both bodhisattva practice, and crucial political action for our time.

The prospect of working for a faith-based organization has led to a number of interesting conversations with my friends, many of whom are agnostic (as I was for a long time) or atheists. For example, isn’t it excluding potential allies to simply work only with “faith” communities, and hasn’t organized religion been a tragically destructive force in human history, causing more problems than it has solved? These are the right questions to ask. Not only are they on my mind, I think FOR is also wrestling with it’s identity as a 92-year-old organization and seeking to remain as relevant and radical as ever. Let’s keep that discussion going.

13 thoughts on “Working for peace

  1. Ruby, thanks for elucidating engaged buddhism and spiritual activism. I hear there are others who would like to have some sort of short camp/sympo on this topic….would you be interested in a virtual meetup on how to set intention and move to action?

  2. Wow, great idea Evonne. I don’t feel qualified to do that myself, but I just met another woman who is in Second Life and who works for the PeacemakerInstitute.org. She has started an Engaged Buddhist group in Second Life, so perhaps we can meet under their auspices.

    There are a few groups that do retreats along these lines (like BPF.org) so we should definitely partner with them as well.

  3. Congratulations! Sounds like a very good and well-thought-out decision. I’m jealous of those trips to NYC!

  4. Congratulations, and thanks for the nice writeup explaining your thought process. know that experience of finding something good right at the beginning, when you are still looking forward to the exploring part of the job hunting process.

  5. Seems to be a very wise decision and a wonderful opportunity….Looking forward to your NYC visits.
    Be well.

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