The black hole of volunteer work…

I’m going to whine… I wish it was wine, but… if you’re looking for Vampire/Gothic/Ghosts/Parenting/Humor/Romance/Cats/Cocktails/ wait for the next post which will go live later tonight.

That said…

I’m going to sound horrible and crass but I rarely offer to volunteer anymore.

After years of volunteering at K-8 school I’m happy to NOT be volunteering at the high school.

I rarely do pro-bono work for anyone. Be it graphic or writing or organizing or marketing, my efforts usually go without thanks.

I’m tired of the drama that so often suffocates volunteering efforts.

People who PAY me for my time are thankful. People who PAY me for my time understand the value of my time. If someone pays me to do something I do it once. If I volunteer they expect me to do it over and over and over. No. Forget it.

Yes, I should be selfless but I’m a working mom. That means I have one full time job and one more than full time job. And I have a husband. That is another person I have to manage and keep track of. And I have elderly ancient folk I keep track of. And cats. And a blog. And about 40 other things I’m involved in that I don’t get paid for. I’m helping out with a lot of things that I care about and with people and causes I care about.

So, don’t ask me to design a logo for your organization or illustrate your book for free or run your political campaign or design a brochure or do anything that I don’t suggest first.

If I feel something in my heart I will volunteer (and I do.) If I’m asked nicely I’ll volunteer (maybe.) If it is important I will volunteer. But it is my time. I have to be selfish in this matter or I will get cranky. You don’t want me to be cranky or I will never help you again. I will say NO. I won’t feel guilty.

I’m not saying not to volunteer. What I am saying is that it is OK to say NO if you’re too busy or miserable or not treated well. It is ok to say NO if you feel you’re being taken advantage of. It is OK to say NO if someone is acting like an asshole (even at church and school.)


If you are dealing with someone who is a volunteer please appreciate his or her time. Appreciate the effort they bring to the job. Appreciate their knowledge. Say THANK you to them many times. Give them a hug. Give them flowers. Give them smiles.

VALUE the people who volunteer for you.

~ Juliette

Never blindly follow anyone or anything - especially a cat.

Never blindly follow anyone or anything – especially a cat.

10 thoughts on “The black hole of volunteer work…

  1. I completely and totally agree with your viewpoint on this issue, J. Like you…, been there, done that, and no thank you, I won’t do it again. I will choose when and how much of my time and energy that I will volunteer for anything without coercion from anyone. Yes !!! I agree with you !

  2. After 6 years immersed in the home school world, I know what you mean. I don’t do my work for free anymore. I am, however, missing the nature studies I used to do for the local nature center. I was pretty much on my own, and – honestly – no one really cared if I did the work. (They were too busy doing the find raising stuff … which is important, I know, but not my cup of tea.)

    I could do it on my own entirely, but I do think the data gathered is useful and should be shared.

    • Thanks. This all stemmed from someone nagging a friend of mine to do even more unpaid work. We all get it from all sides! Thanks for dropping by (I won’t ask you to do anything. he he he)

  3. Well said. I still think it is important to volunteer but not where it’s a hassle to do so. There are so many awesome opportunities out there, pick and choose and be happy (don’t worry – be happy 🙂


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