Monday, September 6, 2010

Doing good...

“An attempt to achieve good by force is like an attempt to provide a man with a picture gallery at the price of cutting out his eye”.

Ayn Rand

My brand new camera was stolen in Baguio City this weekend and - contrary to my nature - I looked inward in trying to determine the reason why I’ve had three cameras stolen from me in three years while trying to pursue a career in international development. For some odd reason, I came up with this:

The universe is punishing me for not really loving what it is that I am doing.

I’ve always wanted to do good. To improve people’s lives in some, way shape or form, and to be able to find a way to make a living out of it.

To make a living out of doing some good.

Any kind of good.

Seems simple. Noble. Righteous. Whatever.

Little did I know that ‘doing good’ requires a lot more consideration than one might think. So many activities that one constitutes as ‘good’ are sure to be considered ‘bad’ by others. Why is it that I feel the need to do good anyways? To make other people’s lives better? Or to feel better about myself? Does it matter either way?

Furthermore, am I too scared to do the kind of good that inspires significant change? Do I have the ability to do this sort of good? The intelligence?

One would think that after seven years in post secondary education, two degrees and a thesis under my belt, I’d be able to answer a few of these questions. Rather, I feel less able. I’m more confused about how to do good than ever before. What’s more, my inability to enjoy the new experiences and the new places that my supposed career path is placing before me, have me questioning my career motives on a daily basis.

I’m even going so far as to blame the theft of my camera on my recent inclination toward professional insincerity.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still madly in love with the idea of doing good. I’m still madly in love with the idea that I will be able to find work which will allow me to improve lives and to conserve the environment. I’m still madly in love with the idea that I will be able to create an effective Solid Waste Management campaign in a Filipino community. I’m just worried that I may not enjoy doing these things as much as I thought I would.

Let's wait and see...



  1. Kate,
    I'm sitting in a hotel room in Bogota, Colombia, wondering who is going to pay for it. I'm the victim of a turf war between two stubborn department heads in my huge international development NGO. They're trying to score points by proving who has to cover my costs. it's immature, unnecessary, and it makes me feel like poo.

    Enjoy your good fight without the bureaucracy. !Si se puede! (But even the good fight won't be fun all the time, of that I am sure.)

    Sorry about your camera!

  2. You are a beautiful writer.

    Get out of your head and into your heart.



  3. Kate,

    I'm asking myself most of those questions too. The longer I stay in Ukraine, the less confidence I have that I can actually find activities that I find important, meaningful, enjoyable and somewhat well-paid. As for now, I have everything except the financial part. Still hoping and believing I can find my best combination. Before I get cynical :)


  4. Katie,

    Do you want me to send you my old camera?