Friday, April 23, 2010

Volunteer-itis

I'm feeling a little out of sorts.  It's pretty much to be expected, and it's a feeling shared by tons of people who try to put together a volunteer event.  Unfortunately, I'm putting together seven volunteer events at the same time, so I'm feeling flooded by the lack of response.  Maybe it's better to say that I'm feeling left high and dry.  (Well, you can pick whichever image works for you.)

To be fair, I've got to say that just because I think something is important doesn't mean that other people are going to be like-minded.  And my pet projects aren't necessarily of enough interest to overcome other people's inertia.  I've also got to say that I have an awful lot of inertia about other people's pet projects and don't help them out, either.

One problem I'm facing is that I just can't get volunteers to help.  I put out generic requests and get little/no response.  I put out specific requests and get little/no response, excluding the "sorry, I can't because..." responses, which are at least better than silence.   I understand it, but I don't like it.  But I think the most difficult to deal with in this area is to have someone who didn't volunteer come to me to complain about how the event was run.  Oh, my.  (Girl Scouts has a great response:  "You have some really great ideas about how a troop should be run.  Let's get you signed up for training so that you can become a leader and get your ideas to the girls.")

There's another area, too.  I'm not going into the specifics -- I'm venting enough with the conversations in my head, and no good could come of it anyway -- it just reinforces what I've said (and written about on this blog) before.  Do what you say you're going to do.  I take my promises seriously.  If I say I'm going to do it, then I'm compelled to do it, and that's why I don't say "yes" quickly.  And the corollary is what I want my children to understand:  What you do has an effect on others.  (I remember praying while I was carrying my son, asking God to please let him learn and understand exactly that, and that his actions have consequences.  Well, I got a kid with considerable deficits in the area of theory of mind -- who says God doesn't have a sense of humor? -- but we're working on it.  Explicitly and frequently.)

So when I'm involved in a group and someone takes on a role or a job in that group, I expect that person to take the obligation seriously and to do what s/he said s/he was going to do.  Now here's the tricky part:  Not everyone has the same value system (aided by stuck-thought-itis/OCD-like symptoms) that I do.  (Sad, but true, I know, that we don't all share in my brain workings.)  So one thing that happens is that I'm left having to scramble to take up the slack because I do take my commitments seriously.  1) It's not appropriate that I have to do that work.  2) I don't scramble well!  And 3) I'm supposed to be gracious while doing so.

I have a lot more rumbling around in my head, stuff connected to volunteering and expectations and even hidden agendas.  Maybe another post...

4/24/10 ...Or maybe not.  It's all rather boring.  And old.

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