Friday, June 16, 2017

being an adult

I know the other day I talked about some of the good things of childhood and how it's nice to be able to, for example, buy a doll as an adult without endless weeks of saving my tiny allowance (and doing extra chores) AND THEN having to wait until one of my parents can take me to a store where that doll MIGHT be sold. (And once or twice as a kid: the disappointment of something being sold out when I had finally saved up the money for it).

But really, liking cartoons and My Little Ponies and stuffies and dolls is about the extent of how I am a "child."

I've talked before about how people praise me for being diligent, and how that's kind of a frustrating thing to be known for, because it's not *fun*.

But this is something I experienced in recent weeks, in re: a group I am part of that does volunteer-type work. We were having our annual planning meeting and were trying to allocate duties. Because it's June, I guess, and because lots of people are on vacation, I guess, relatively few of us were there. And so we had to try to suss out, "Would so-and-so be willing/able to do this task?"

And at one point, one member of the group noted, "Don't assign that duty to Francie*, she won't do it, and it will just fall on one of the rest of us."

(*Not the person's actual name)

And.....I don't get that. I really don't get that. If you're part of a group that does volunteer work, and you're asked to do something, and you don't have a good, clear excuse (like: your spouse is now in long-term care and you need to assist them. Or, like: you are in the middle of a high-risk pregnancy. Or like: you have a chronic illness like MS that means you have good days and bad days and you can't predict what days will be good or bad), you DO THE THING YOU ARE ASKED TO DO. It is called "pulling your weight."

And that's what makes me so irritated about some groups I am a part of: there are the people who do the majority of the work, and then there are free-riders. And no one ever says anything much to the free-riders, EVEN AS THEY ARE HASSLING THE WORKERS TO DO MORE. (And yes, I've been in the position, of people telling me, "Well, you could take on that task" and I am like "but I am already doing five or six things and also don't forget that I work full-time and I am single so I have to do all my own marketing and laundry and everything"

I try to be sympathetic, because I know, "be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle" but sometimes I want to say to some of these groups, "Maybe, maybe if it's the same five people who have to do everything, and we have lots of people just riding on what they do, maybe we need to disband and if people express shock or horror over that, then they need to step up and carry some of the load." Or those people need to quit the group. Or something.

I don't know. But I'm too hot, I'm sort of tired, I'm achy this morning (our weather is - I can only describe it as BEASTLY. They're running constant news stories on local news about not leaving kids or dogs in cars and about how you should just risk misdemeanor charges, being sued and possibly beat up by the car owner, and break out a window in a car if you see a kid or an animal in there, and they're giving the warning signs of heat exhaustion).

And I have changed my plans; my research student can meet today so I decided to go in to work at least this morning. I MIGHT go over to the dealership this afternoon and see about getting a new battery in my car - they warned me the old one was starting to go bad at the last maintenance check-up, and I can tell it's been harder to crank it these past few days, and in this heat, I do NOT want to get stranded somewhere with a car that won't start.


Lynn said...

For a little while Roger and I were in a beekeepers club. For the first few weeks we just sat in meetings and listened but after a while we started to participate and volunteer for things and suddenly everyone started unloading on us. It was like "Oh! Roger and Lynn are going to do ALL THE THINGS!" That was not fun so we quit. I think a while after that they just broke up for lack of interest.

purlewe said...

you can "fire" a volunteer for lack of work. it has been done before, and it will be done again. if firing someone seems drastic then find out what this person wants to actually do in the group. and if they don't do it then you have complete reason to ask them to leave as they did not complete their duties.