Volunteering, What Makes it Work?

Getting involved in a volunteer effort is more than just finding an awesome group you believe in. I’ve discovered that the talents that define some of my desirable traits as an employee happen to be the things people want from me as a volunteer. After being pursued for normal day tasks I’ve finally reached a couple of conclusions:

I’ve come to realize that I don’t want my volunteer hours to mimic my work hours. I don’t want to spend my time stuck doing data entry, creating standard operating procedures for some data set, or sitting by myself in front of a computer. When I  volunteer I want to be participating in areas I enjoy but don’t get to explore in my current job. I want to be sitting talking things through with one or five people. I want to be active, engaged, and creating.

I am opting out of the physical labor efforts. I have picked up my fair share of trash and jumped in many a dumpster. I’ve helped move old rusty culverts from the river beds. I have removed the invasive species and gathered the native seeds.  I now reserve my time with shovels and plants to my gardens at the house. It’s not a general aversion to physical labor it’s just I’m no longer 18 with tons of expendable energy and living in an apartment. I have land to invest my energy into that produces both beauty and sustenance.

In my world, my volunteer hours are different from my work hours… that’s the secret to engaging as a volunteer for me.


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