How voluntary is volunteering?

"I think you have something stamped on your forehead that says PICK ME, PICK ME! Hahaha!"



My friend who said that is exactly right.

In possibly every position I’ve held I did some enrichment and enlargement of my original job. Wait, I didn’t do it actively – it just happened! Exotic requests that fell in nobody’s job category magically landed on my desk. And I embraced them. It’s always good to broaden your horizon and do some networking, right? 

As a result I got 
 more tasks, more responsibility and more pressure. The only thing that never changed was the amount of time to do it all. After all a day has 24 hours for everybody. 



I was "Lady B" and often spent weekends in bed with fever of unknown origin and a killer headache. Ironically around that time, I missed a Sunday brunch with a guest speaker who gave a presentation on how to prevent a burn-out.

In retrospective it was almost a miracle that under these circumstances I got pregnant at all, and I often think that this little guy saved my life on so many levels. 



I was going to quit my job and stay at home, take one day at a time, grow some herbs in a pot, bake Christmas cookies, and everything would be OK.




Let's skip the days where taking a shower and making lunch that didn't come from the microwave felt like achievements. 

My hairdresser signed on to be my English student. She told me about the charity association she was a member at. She kept talking about how they urgently needed  someone like me - take charge, business skills - on their board. 



It got me thinking. I was approaching the big 4, and all I had ever done so far was for myself, I was now a SAHM and had some time to spare when little C was napping - wasn't it time to give back? The members of the board at the time seemed so desperate to hand over their roles to "new brooms" and assured me that all I had to do was taking the minutes of 3 - 4 meetings and organize an event per year. 

That sounded doable, and even though I was interviewing for a part-time position at the airport around that time, I agreed to be available for election.

I felt like a singer who was invited to show up at the recording of a charity project. As soon as I would walk out of the studio, money would start rolling in, everybody would be happy and I could go on with my regular life. 



Was that naive? Probably. 

Fast forward. The original members of the board are long gone, and new, great ones could be found arduously. Generous amounts coming from yearly membership fees and a couple of events could be donated at the end of the past years to institutions supporting women, families, children and sick people. 

The 3-4 meetings don't happen per year but per quarter. Same goes for the events. In addition this summer we expanded, remodeled and inaugurated the kids' consignment store that is part of our society. Oh, wait, there was also the replacement of the whole sales team. 



When I started, we were communicating with our 400 members by paper mail. In the meantime over 100 ladies are on our e-mail distribution list, and we have a Facebook Page and a Website which is pretty worth mentioning. Why? A tremendous percentage of our members are aged 70 and over and isn't really online. We want to attract new people though.

Why am I even telling you all this? First and foremost I am talking to myself. You just get to eavesdrop and (dis)agree.

Little C doesn't take naps anymore, he attends Kindergarten which comes with parent-teacher conferences and a set of events like the upcoming turnip parade. 
He will start "Ice Hockey School" next week which means taking him to an arena that is an hour's drive away every Wednesday afternoon. 

Since hubby's business partner passed away in summer 2011, he has been working 6 days a week. 

I work 3 days a week, I do laundry, I buy groceries, I cook, I clean up - and every task that I am supposed to do for the charity club starts to feel like a strain. I am tired. 

I am either a case of "give them an inch, and they will take a mile" or I really suck at saying NO. 

So last month I announced that as of general assembly in March 2014, after a regular 4 year tenure of office,  I will resign. 

This sounds like I am the President of the U.S., haha. Believe me, there are much more interested parties who want to become President of a country than charity board member. 

PS: speaking of Presidents. I am glad they agreed on extending the government's debt ceiling. A permanent shutdown would have resulted in this:


Update: I posted on a former classmates FB wall to wish him a happy birthday. Of course he replies "thank you so much, how are you, we should have a reunion again, what do you think?"

School reunions!! I have organized many, and when people bump into me they ask "so when will be the next one?" I have tried saying "whenever YOU organize one" - but then I haven't seen those faces for 10 years until I had a weak moment again.

What is it? Am I the only one who keeps track on people's whereabouts? Who can send out an e-mail?