Thursday, January 12, 2012

Too XYZ Classic: 8 Reasons Volunteering Sucks

On April 20, 2010 I wrote this piece on volunteerism. It has been either first or second on Google searches for the phrase "Volunteering Sucks" for most of the time since. Which means more than a few people must punch in that phrase. And if the many comments on this post are any indication, quite a few of those Googling the phrase have recently been burned by volunteering their time to some cause or another.

Let's face it, volunteering isn't really all it is cracked up to be as a concept. Sure, we want to help people who need it, and there are for many people lots of opportunity to make use of our talents to assist others for free. Yet if we are not lucky enough to land the perfect volunteer position? Let's just say that the pre-packaged notion that volunteering is it's own reward was never vetted by offended and unappreciated former volunteers such as myself and those who read this post originally.

Since publishing this piece, I have yet to look for, and hence have yet to find, any rewarding volunteer services to provide my community. So my thoughts remain in large part the same as they did when I wrote this.

Do you volunteer anywhere? Have you noticed any of these things?


Karen Highland said...

I read your original article... I actually agree with many of your points. (Thanks for the honesty!) However, here is my "not-even-compassionate conservative" take on volunteering: In the DNA of our culture is a desire to help the less fortunate among us. Whether from our religious roots or our humanistic roots, or a little of both, it is there and will not leave. Americans are a good people. We want to help. [We WILL help, damn it, even if we borrow money from China to give to Aides relief in Africa. We shall Help!] My viewpoint is this, if we don't promote all the helping we can in the private sector, then the government will do the helping. They will do it inefficiently, through bloated bureaucracies, using 3X as much taxpayers $ than if the private sector does the helping. So yeah, lets all do some helping. Disingenuous? Yeah, maybe. Realistic? I like to think so.

As for you personally, if you don't find some organized way of volunteering that is meaningful to you, then don't worry about it. No one is measuring you, and if they are, shame on them. But keep looking with an open mind... you might find some way of "giving back" that also fulfills you.

Ty Unglebower said...

I see the overall point you are making, but my honest counter-view on that is that most non-profit volunteer organizations are just as poorly run and mismanaged, providing just as inefficient a service as the government programs many people wish to eliminate. The people in most need are the ones that tend to get the least help from either source, I dare say.