News - Work-Life Integration - Millennials Value Merger of Career & Service

Work-Life Integration - Millennials Value Merger of Career & Service

Big Brothers Big Sisters Group Photo

Who knew that a freebie toothbrush and tiny tube of toothpaste could bring such a big smile? 

Certainly not Nicole (Tucker ’08) Crites when she offered them to Cheyenne, the “little sister” she mentors through Big Brothers Big Sisters. To Nicole, the samples were just giveaways from her check-up earlier that day. To Cheyenne, they were a godsend.

Ever since her parents split, Cheyenne lived out of a suitcase. Her frequent moves and disconnected phone numbers proved challenging for Nicole, who had determined early in their relationship that she would faithfully meet with Cheyenne four to six hours each month.

“I consider this an enduring relationship, because I don’t want to be just another adult that comes and goes in Cheyenne’s life,” explains Nicole, a financial analyst for grocery chain Save-A-Lot and recent MBA graduate from University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL).

“When I picked her up and offered her the bag from the dentist, she lit up like it was Christmas morning.”

Cheyenne explained that in the rush of her latest move, she left her toothbrush behind. As one crisis slipped into the next, weeks passed and she was still without a replacement.

Her delight over the new toothbrush reminded Nicole not to underestimate the impact of a small kindness. The realization would surely help the big sister again as she managed this marriage of dual commitments – one to a successful career and the other to meaningful community service.

Millennials Want to Make A Difference

Nicole is not alone. In 2013, 14.5 million “millennials” across the U.S. invested nearly 145 million hours of volunteer service to better their communities. Just last year, Forbes reported that 64% of millennials said making the world a better place was a priority; 88% said they valued “work-life integration.”

Unlike work-life balance that focuses on separation between work and non-work activities, work-life integration brings the two together. It reflects the millennials’ desire to invest their work effort with employers that make a difference in their communities, employers that invite them to make a difference, too.  

Here’s a peek at the work-life integration Nicole achieved: 

It all begins with awareness – Nicole recalls developing community consciousness as an undergraduate at GC through activities like “Shack-A-Thon,” The Simple Room and Urban Plunge. By the time she graduated with a major in accounting and business administration, serving others had become second nature to her.

Big business with a heart for neighborhood – Shortly after graduation, Nicole began work as an accountant with Save-A-Lot. Though the supermarket giant boasts more than 1,300 stores across the U.S., it also encourages community involvement and values volunteer service. Nicole helped create Save-A-Lot’s Volunteers in Action steering committee that organizes annual volunteer events including partnership with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. “We also focus on hunger relief and environmental stewardship,” she says. 

Moral duty – Nicole is surprised at how much she learned about service in her business classes at GC and even in her MBA program at UMSL.

Nicole (Tucker) Crites“People in business careers have a moral duty,” she reflects. “At Save-A-Lot, we have a duty to provide grocery stores and fresh produce in areas around the country considered food deserts. The fact that my employer also encourages opportunities where we will gain a sense of personal fulfillment while serving the needs of the local community is really important to me.”

Chances are it will be important to Nicole in the future, too, as she pursues rewarding career opportunities and faithfully keeps her dates with Cheyenne. After all, each conversation with her little sister presents one more valuable opportunity for Nicole to truly make a difference.

GC’s Fund for Educational Excellence helps provide service opportunities for GC students like Nicole. Click here to give.

Read more about students who serve at GC:

Accounting Students Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

In Prison But Not Forgotten

Students Engage in Service Learning on Urban Plunge Excursion

Youth Against Complacency and Homelessness Today

GC Students Volunteer at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center

This story was published on March 31, 2015

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