I've heard before that sometimes finding the place or venue you want to volunteer in can be some work and involve trying out more than one place. I'd really like to hear what other's experiences are in this, because I have not yet found my *match* and I'm kind of discouraged from trying to find it any more.
Volunteer job #1. Worked for a place that did a vital service for the community. I enjoyed what I was doing there but I found the atmosphere to be exclusive-for example, although there weren't many volunteers, all were not only invited to a party but also shared christmas gifts.. except not for me. I'd be lying if I said that my feelings weren't a little hurt by that. I had started around the holiday season so it was natural that I might not have been on the list to get a gift or invited to the party, but the person giving the party talked about it around me, as well as gave out the gifts in front of me. I thought that was extremely rude and insensitive and it took the heart out of me to be there.
Volunteer job #2. Saw a very interesting club that required some training. Went through the training and enjoyed it quite a bit; at the end of the training there was a test, although becoming an actual *official* club member required a particular number of volunteer hours *after* the test. I didn't attend the general meeting until after I found out what the results of the test were (ie, whether I had passed or failed), as I figured if I didn't pass the test for some reason, that I didn't want to start associating at the regular meetings with the members. Before I heard the results, I found that one of the regular members had assigned something to me, with herself set up as the person to manage the project. I protested to her that I hadn't been at the meeting so how had it been that I had been given something to do without my input or consent, and before I even knew that I had passed the test. She replied something to the effect that's what happens when people aren't there, they're given assignments. That really spoiled it for me-I didn't want to belong to a group that decided without my input or consent how my volunteer time would be spent.
Volunteer job #3- Because I had a lot of experience with my work jobs in speaking before the public and doing training, I thought it would be fun to work for a place that had some public speaking/interactive opportunities. Went through some training for that, and enjoyed it very much. I was told that the first time I did a speaking gig by myself that there would be no problem in using a flip book for reference, IF needed. At the end of the first tour I did by myself, I was told another person who worked there that I sucked. I was kind of shocked, not necessarily that it wasn't the best first time in the world, but at the sheer rudeness. I didn't want to talk about it with the organization at any higher level because that person was married to someone else in the front office who was a director. I decided that the odds of me having to be with that same person for upcoming engagements were pretty high and I was offended. I also, on reflection, decided that, while I continue to believe that I myself am a talented speaker, the particular type of speaking done in that organization wasn't my style.
Volunteer job #4-Decided to volunteer at another place. The very first time I was there, I found out that the key to the place was left out of doors. I was extremely tense when I left and my husband I sat in the car for awhile waiting for the sidewalks around the place to clear before putting up the key after locking the door. Although I could have gotten my own key made, with permission, and although there were other keys held by other locations in the area (in other words, could have gone to get a key from an office), this was not in lieu of leaving the key outside. I started to dream about someone taking stuff from the place, and brought up to the manager that I wondered if we could quit leaving that key outside and, if someone forgets his or her key, just get it from one of the other secure offices nearby. The manager didn't agree with me and let me know, although not in these exact words, that when you live in a small town, you dont' have to worry about breakins the way you do in a big city, people leave their doors unlocked, and after all, if anything valuable is stolen, there's insurance. But the manager agreed about bringing in the key, finally, and I felt somewhat better, although the manager said a very disparaging thing about my intelligence as a parting shot in that conversation. I considered that the manager felt affronted or perhaps challenged by my wanting to quit leaving the key outside, and thought it was stupid of me to be concerned. So I went to volunteer again recently and there, outside, was the key. So I quit because I did not feel comfortable in being associated with a place with valuables where more strenuous practices to keep them safe weren't being employed. And, frankly, it clearly showed me that the manager had no respect for my opinion, had been paying lip service to me, but also had no scruples but to insult me in the previous conversation. I don't happen to believe that this is a small town versus big town crime issue, but rather, common sense.
Anyway, I think I'm just done with being a volunteer.
Do you have any interesting experiences or stories to share about being a volunteer?