Things we wish we’d known before starting work in the aid sector

1. That being a professional or specialist first and then transferring would have been more useful.
2. That as an international member of staff, you will always be at least one step away from the beneficiaries and probably more like 4+ steps away.
3. That those high school excel lessons were actually really relevant.
4. You will spend most of your time doing boring things.
5. Nobody is as idealistic as you are. But they are as idealistic as you will be in a few years time.
6. Aid workers spend more time at parties than in rural villages.
7. No-one will ever let you actually drive the landrovers and they’re usually broken anyway.
8. Most of your time will be spent gazing into the soulless depths of your laptop.
9. There are a lot of seriously weird people kicking about in emergency responses. The ability to maintain polite conversation in the face of wild absurdity is therefore a very important work/life skill.

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10 thoughts on “Things we wish we’d known before starting work in the aid sector

  1. There are a lot of seriously weird people people kicking about in the aid sector. Period. And, so…yes – ability to maintain polite conversation in the face of wild absurdity is therefore a very important work/life skill 🙂

  2. If you work for a beltway parasite, you will solely focus on being contractually compliant vs developmentally sound…but only after trying to figure out how to not pay income taxes….

  3. Pingback: How to get in to the international aid sector | AID LEAP

  4. More time at parties than in rural villages? I wish. Two years in a rural village and a party about every three months was my experience.

  5. Pingback: Comment intégrer le secteur humanitair​e | AID LEAP

  6. Wonderful blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring
    writers? I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m
    a little lost on everything. Would you suggest starting with a
    free platform like WordPress or go for a
    paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely
    confused .. Any suggestions? Cheers!

    • Hi there, we haven’t tried any alternatives at this point so can’t really comment on what is comparatively best. Good luck with your new adventure. Our best proposal is just to start.

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