Volunteering and general crustiness

23 08 2010

I must be getting old.  Used to be I was the “call on me kid”, willing to do almost everything.  Now I’m getting fussier. I still like to volunteer, but I expect it to be a good experience. I don’t think I’m alone in this…

All of us probably have a volunteer experience where we signed up for one thing only to hear the giant sucking sound as many other projects latched onto us like vampirettes to draw every lastdrop of enthusiasm out of us. We try to maintain balance, but it’s so easy to get sucked in, not that anyone appreciates it in the end.

Or those volunteer experiences that were poorly organized, where you were left wandering disconsolately around a site, trash bag in hand, wondering why you gave up your morning coffee and paper for such a solitary thrill.

Mypersonal favorites are the ones where you start in to do something (having received no instructions) and are immediately told you have done it wrong, we always do it a different way, and you should check with everyone from the president of the organization to the carpet cleaner before you try to move forward again.

I just leave now. I can’t be bothered to be part of an organization that asks for volunteers and then makes them feel excluded, out of the loop, second class to the previous volunteers.  I’ve worked.  I’ve already experienced jockeying for prestige and I’m just not interested in it in a volunteer capacity.  Just tell me, clearly, what I have to do, be vaguely welcoming, and don’t complicate things with rankings and I’m your gal.  Start pulling rank on me and I’m outta there.

I must be more tense lately because I have a terrible impulse to flee from all of my commitments (well, except the MS Society, who are marvelous people and great to their volunteers, really making us feel like one of the team) and send nasty comments to each one as I leave. And I try to be nice, generally.

Maybe it’s my lack of energy or my feeling that there are so many causes who could use my talents that I really need to pick the right ones for my few hours available each week. But I am not taking any guff from anyone, as my mother would say.

Yep, I’m crusty.

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One response

23 08 2010
Walter Busse

Knowing what to expect is kind of important, no matter if one is volunteering or performing daily duties.

Once, when hanging a mirror in the unitarian fellowship, the decor person was approached by three different people, each with their own idea on proper placement, and arrangement of surroundings.

Not one of these people had provided ANY decor items or attended any meetings regarding the refurbishment of the (then) newly-purchased building.

I told the decor lady she ought to have said: “Great, you’re on the Decor Committee, we meet tonight at Seven PM!”

I am forever mystified by the constant urge among some people to “dictate” and “lead”.
I just want to co-operate and have fun.

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