Sunday, August 12, 2007

Volunteerism... not for me.

Some well-meaning people have suggested I could lose da bloos if I went out and Gave My Time for A Good Cause. I imagine they're thinking of homeless shelters, church programs and stuff like that.

Nuh-uh. Not this boy.

It's not as if I've never done that. Years ago I spent a summer volunteering as a tutor in a federal feel-good/eat-up-tax-dollars program. No money, but the satisfaction of Helping sort of thing. The paid administrators (as big a bunch of equal-opportunity screwups as you could ever hope to meet) made it next to impossible to actually help anyone. In fact, the goal seemed to be to have a building with fancy offices in it for people whose enthusiasm for drinking from the public trough far exceeded their abilities.

Feeling used and useless after that experience, I tried other forms of volunteer work at various times. I always got into conflicts; I wanted to do things, while those in charge wanted to plan to do things and talk to the press.

And of course I have done more than my share of involuntary volunteer work, the kind where you expect pay but don't get any, and are told you should simply take away the satisfaction of A Job Well Done.

Like most people, I've given a fair amount of help to individuals. Too often, I've felt I put in far more than I got back. That's un-Christian of me, I guess, but then I'm not a Christian. So there.

My model for volunteers I did not want to emulate comes from newspapers and TV. You know the kind: "Ms Liz Poontweent is seen handing a 100% synthetic-fiber blanket to little Esteban Torres, age 3, at the annual Blankets for Babies dinner and charity auction held at the Imsorich Country Club last night...."

Between past experiences and a need to scuffle to stay above water these days, I'm not feeling charitable at all.

Let's get right to the point: what I need is for someone to take me on as a volunteer project. I have a good idea of who and what the ideal candidate for this rewarding position would be, and can supply a list of necessary qualifications and duties (not exactly difficult or unpleasant ones at that) to interested applicants.

Who knows? It could become a full-time gig for the right person.

Might even convince me to attempt Good Deeds again.


Anonymous said...

There is a point when a person needs their cup filled up again before it overflows to help someone else...Lou

MrScribbler said...

Too right, Lou! And that's where I am....

I can promise you if I ever do get back to it, I'll stay away from projects with government connections of any kind.

Birdie said...

there ARE places where volunteering can be very rewarding, and I don't mean monetarily for the "bosses". You could perhaps teach photography or writing at a juvenile center, help young people get back on track... something like that, NOT feeding the homeless or such.

Have you ever considered teaching in a night school program? Where I teach dancing over here you don't need teaching credentials, just the proper "know-how".

I still think you could sell some great stories to your local tourist news place or newspaper....

I know, if I was living in SD (which I should be... ) we could get something good on the market... maybe some day.

John said...

This gets into a philosophical discussion really. The idea that official volunteer not for pay activity is nobler or more beneficial than for pay activity is not necessarily valid.
People do things because they have to or want to, whether paid or not. They desire a certain result and that influences the actions, including kindness and generosity. One way or another it distills down to that.
To assume one is more selfish if he doesn't officially volunteer, or that his actions do less good is an error.

kit said...

You're twist on this was classic Mr. S. prose and made me smile.

Since you have a clear idea about the job requirements and ideal candidate for your own personal volunteer job, I think you're ready to post the opening and start the interview process. :-)

lowandslow said...

I think you'd be a natural volunteering at a School For Wayward Girls. Then you could be the benefactor passing out blankets. :)

KauaiFinn said...

i once volunteered to teach an Art Class in a nursing home.

i was abused so badly by the patients that i suffered from PTSD for years after. LOL!

seriously: there are some "volunteer" jobs that really aught to be SALARY jobs. and teaching Art in a Nursing home is one of them.

Love n Hugs n AloooooHA!

Justfly said...

The reason I have suggested volunteering/charitable things is not for the sake of giving your time. It is for the sake of meeting new people (women). Doing routine things everyday is not changing your life any, and you seem to want some changes in not being so alone. Even taking a night class somewhere. One never knows where those roads may lead you. Old roads are familiar, same old same old. New roads can open up new adventures.

Interested said...

I agree with birdie. How about one of those continuing ed classes high schools offer to the public at night? Those might be paying ones, I do not know. Creative writing or some variation thereof.

Professor Scribbler, can we meet after class? LOL, come on that would be fun!

joan said...

I am a volunteer director and on this one I am with jusfly - what I see working so successfully is the comaraderie that develops between people. The reason I suggested it is because while most of us get that at work, you have a solitary job. I don't care if you do it for free or work in a coffee shop, book store or a library for minimum wage.

The purpose in this case is not to get free work out of you but to find for you the social piece you are missing because of the nature of your job. We all need people.

sugarcane said...

You are too funny Scrib. Just today, I emailed a local organization about volunteer opportunities.

I'm doing it for several reasons... 1) I need to get my recently-anti-social-ass out of my house; 2) I need to meet new people and engage in intelligent conversation; 3) I am working on developing a public speaking career and this is a great opportunity; 4) I believe I have something to give that may help me feel a little more engaged in life again.

I do agree with Lou, though. You will do what's best for you when you're ready.