Monday, May 06, 2013

so long

I have a confession to make. I love quitting. Severing the festering ties of a relationship that no longer works, throwing off the toxic shackles, and moving on, unencumbered - there is real joy and a sense of rebirth in that. I'm a sucker for a fresh start.

I do a fair bit of volunteering, much of it writing, but some of it actual physical work. In general, I find it really quite rewarding. It certainly doesn't hurt that the organizations I volunteer with are really great at showing their appreciation for their armies of volunteers. From volunteer appreciations events to free tickets to chocolates and cookies, they go all out to show their appreciation, even when all we really want is a simple thank you. 

Today, though, I quit organization x, for whom I have been writing two articles a month for about a year and a half. It wasn't so much that they were making money from the contributions of their writers (although I did find that a little sketchy) or that they were paying some of their writers but not others (okay to be honest, that was really shabby). It was the lack of appreciation that finally forced me to quit. I kept waiting for some love, but aside from mentioning my name a once or twice (but usually not) when they tweeted my articles, I got no acknowledgement.

I'm not sure why I waited so long to finally quit. Maybe I kept waiting for that elusive thank you. Eventually the completely ignored National Volunteer Week last week finally made me take action. I am sure going to love all this new-found free time.

Tell me about your volunteer experiences.  
Have you had any really bad (or really great) ones?


Lesley said...

I volunteer with three local organizations on a regular basis, and they're all really incredible with the Thank You's. I mean, really, saying thank you is free so I kind of think they should be. I don't need parties or raffle prizes or cards, but repeatedly saying "Thank you, we couldn't do any of this without you" goes all the way I need.

Congrats on your time- I'm betting you won't have it for long. :)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That's the thing with time, Lesley, it is elusive.
Glad to hear that you are getting love from your volunteer gigs! It's funny how organization x never understood the basics of managing volunteers - saying thank you.

umbrellalady said...

Sometimes it is ok to say "Enough!"
Enjoy the free time and do something for yourself.

John Mutford said...

Very recently I went through a similar thing with a certain volunteer organization: feeling under appreciated. Made especially worse when the contributions of other volunteers-- the ones with a certain level of fame-- were deemed as somehow more significant. As just one example, one day having my idea dismissed, only to have it brought up later by X and suddenly it was a wonderful idea. It took a lot for me to finally address the issue. I wrestled with my ego a bit, telling myself that that wasn't the reason I got involved in the first place, but you're right— some appreciation, however small, goes a long way.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I am using the free time to tackle my long-neglected yard, Kathy. Well spent.

I think your situation goes beyond having your ego bruised, John. That's essentially intellectual theft. If you were able to overlook that, you are a better volunteer than I am.

Barbara said...

I always appreciated your contribution to The Stroumboulopouli blog back in 2006 but I probably didn't show or say it enough. It's still running. Still unpaid.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Thanks, Barbara, good to know the blog is still running after all these years!