wikimania 2007 volunteers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
From early childhood, we are geared to be on a schedule and work. Even little kids are busy getting up and going to preschool. Then, if we have any common sense we go to school for 12 years. Many people go to college and beyond.
Afterwards if you’re lucky you hold some kind of job that keeps you going. Everyone, no matter how old, needs to feel like they count. They need to feel like their contributing to society. You still need to work. (Even if you don’t get paid for it.)
I’ve been happy with most of the things I’ve been doing. I volunteer in things I enjoy. I’m in a chorus and we do service projects. That’s rewarding in itself. Everyone does it together and the people we work with are so happy to be with us. There is something self-rewarding about getting about in front of people and singing. You do get applause when you’re finished. (Another form of approval)
The man in charge of the project is continually thanking us and making us feel good about the whole experience. He even gives people handwritten notes thanking them. No wonder there’s a waiting list to get into this group
Greensburg Volunteer Reception Center (Photo credit: Jon Person)
Today, I said I’d go work in an office for an organization that I’m involved with. Although office work is a little boring, I think it can be a good escape. I’ve always been a fast typist, so I don’t mind doing a little mindless work.
I went into an office. The woman in charge barely smiled at me. She showed me how to enter the information I was working with into a computer. This woman gave me sheets and sheets of stuff to put in a computer. She never checked up to see how I was doing. She left and never told me goodbye. (She did tell me the bathroom was at the end of the hall.)
She left me sitting at a desk by myself with a stack of stuff to input into her computer. I am a nerd and enjoy typing, but this was ridiculous. It was at least a weeks worth of typing. I really didn’t care about that as much as being upset that she didn’t bother to ask me how it was going?
I figure if you’re doing a job for someone , the least they can do is acknowledge you. A little bit more than a half-smile.
My daddy used to say, “sometimes they get people to volunteer, so they don’t have to pay someone. Think about whether or not you’re taking a job away from someone who really needs the money.
That’s how I felt today.
I must say her subordinates on the second day were really nice. One young woman even gave me a card in case I ran into trouble after she left for the day. The other people told me they appreciated it. But the big boss never said much to me.
I guess I’m alerting people to be really nice to people who volunteer for them, even if you’re super busy.
Am I being oversensitive?. Should I have just been willing to do it because I like the organization this person was representing?
Do you think people use people in volunteer positions, so they don’t have to hire extra people?
Do you feel like you’ve been exploited in a volunteer job? Should a person need constant approval?
volunteers (Photo credit: campdarby)
What do you think?