In the months following my year of service with CVV, I was keenly aware of how that experience put me ahead of my peers. I was hired on for an entry level part-time position. Before completing the two week orientation, I was offered a full-time position doing work that directly impacted people in need and representing the agency to the general public. I excelled in that position and continued to build my resume, while other college friends were working in coffee shops or other entry level positions, not necessarily putting their degrees to good use. I have no doubt that the experiences I had at the Samaritan House Clinic and as a Case Manager for a few families catapulted my career. I am eternally grateful for the work experience that CVV afforded me.
I am now in my tenth year in management at my current company and have had a hand in training, supervising, and establishing procedures. I have come to awareness that CVV prepared me for management; but not in a way that was immediately obvious.
Mindfulness seems to be all the rage right now within the professional growth or ‘advance your career’ self-help books. Much of it seems to boil down to slowing down, taking time to reflect, and being thoughtful in whatever course you take. To any CVVer, this concept may seem such a logical strategy that it may seem strange that there are volumes of books sharing this simple wisdom. Being that we were regularly invited to reflect, both as a community and as individuals. CVV emphasized devoting time to processing one’s day; considering what was challenging, and what could have been done differently. We were also routinely invited into a space of vulnerability. We considered our own shortcomings and fragility as we companioned others who were often experiencing brokenness and pain. This practice of reflection and introspection is steeped in mindfulness practices. Could there be a better place to learn/practice these lessons than while being devoted to prayer, committed to serving others, and invested in community?
As an introvert, I am inclined to quiet and self-reflection, but I believe that my time with CVV helped me to develop an awareness and intuition far beyond my own consciousness. I believe that being exposed to these reflective practices have helped me cultivate my skills as a manager; again affording me the inside track to my peers and others who are navigating the challenging waters that being in management brings. By no means do I know it all, or have it all figured out. If anything, I am aware of how much I have to still learn and develop. However, based on the practices ingrained during CVV I have a solid foundation to build from, and a comfort level with introspection, vulnerability, and thoughtfulness that makes for fertile soil upon the seeds of mindfulness and personal growth to flourish.
I am struck again by intense gratitude for CVV and the role it has played in my life. I am so glad to be part of this amazing community and for the opportunities I have had because of it. I wish to thank the incredible group of individuals who were my companions in CVV Year 8; and to express deep gratitude to those that embraced and nurtured us along the way. This especially includes, Bill and Mary Frances, whose wisdom and gentle prompts helped cultivate skills and practices that will be used for a lifetime.
Tags: Colorado Vincentian Volunteers, Vincentians of Wherever