Kwanzaa Career Tip #3: Community Building

Kwanzaa is a week-long pan-African celebration of family, community, and culture from December 26 through January 1 each year. Each day of Kwanzaa respects one of seven principles good for people of all cultures to value because they reinforce each of our commitments and contributions to our families and communities.  Living each of these principles can also help you to find career success.

Principle 3: Ujima (oo-JEE-mah): Collective work and responsibility
To build and maintain your community together. To work together to help one another within your community.

“I’m a movement by myself. But I’m a force when we’re together. I’m good all by myself. But baby you, you make me better.”

Sometimes you might feel alone or like no one understands your financial or job situation.  However, there are people out there who are going through, or have gone through, similar things.  These people are your community … your neighbors … your colleagues … your friends.  Reach out to them.  And respond when they reach out to you.

As you build your career network, don’t just pay attention to the people who might be able to help you.  Look for ways to help others, too. Your bank account might be empty. You might not know any hiring managers or business contacts. But you do have valuable resources to help others.

Here are some simple ways to help others in your community:

  • Ask someone how he or she is doing – and stop and listen to the answer.
  • Introduce your friends and colleagues to others who might help their job search.
  • Host a networking event at your house, or just have people over to socialize.
  • Think of services your neighbor or networking contact might need and offer to do it for them, or find someone who can help. Whether you know how to fix a leaky faucet or give them the name of a good plumber, for example, you can help solve someone else’s problem.
  • Pass along job leads that might fit the other person.
  • Share industry news you find on the Internet or in magazines.
  • Smile and say hello to everyone you meet.

Your Move: Think of three people to reach out to within the next two weeks. No action is too small; any act of kindness is appreciated.

Using the 7 Principles to Boost Your Career:

  1. Umoja ~ Unity
  2. Kujichagulia ~ Self-Determination
  3. Ujima ~ Collective work and responsibility
  4. Ujamaa ~ Collective economics
  5. Nia ~ Purpose
  6. Kuumba ~ Creativity
  7. Imani ~ Faith