Thursday, February 21, 2019
Pushing The Envelope - Volunteering/Working
I have been volunteering/working as Rhonda for over 15 years. The thrill of planning a day out and helping in a non-profit is exhilarating. I would love to tell you I am an expert in this area; I am not. I have had numerous volunteering opportunities and have worked part-time/full-time so do have observations. "Your mileage will vary."
The big takeaway is that (no shocker here), reality seldom lives up to fantasy. Work is work no matter how you are dressed. However, I must admit that there is an excitement that does add extra fulfillment to being “out” and contributing to a worthwhile cause of your choice.
I cannot encourage volunteering enough. Many organizations desperately need your help and volunteering can lead to other opportunities. Volunteer today – Employee tomorrow. All but one of my “Rhonda” employment opportunities happen through volunteering.
This week at work I had a 1250 piece invitation/mailing to get out. There were three item to put in the envelope, attach a label and then stamp/seal the envelope. My wonderful 6 volunteers did the whole project in about 8 hours. I worked with them, when I could, and was so grateful for their help. We had fun working together.
Here are some random observations/thoughts:
Getting ready in the morning takes planning. If it takes you two hours to get you makeup done, work on getting it done it 30 minutes. This is going to be part of your every day, getting out-of-the-door routine. I give myself 30 minutes to get bathroom duties, outfit selection, hair, and make-up done. Two hours on the makeup, will not cut it. You are not going to the prom; you are going to work.
Always dress professionally for the initial visit/interview and observe closely how the women dress. With that in mind, do not over/under-dress for work. Club-wear is for the club. Slut wear is for never. I see dresses and skirts, but the majority of women wear pants and low heels / flats to the office. This is a reality. Not too much jewelry, and no perfume. Blending in is your goal. Always err on the side of looking conservative.
Your role as a volunteer may involve filing papers, taking tickets, or stuffing envelopes. Low heels and comfortable shoes will be your savior. If your heels are high, consider taking a tote bag or large purse with flats. If you stand all day in front of a file cabinet, your feet will thank you.
Listen carefully to your instructions, ask questions, go to work. You will likely be unsupervised and left to do the task; sometimes you will be alone or as a group. Be sure to ask where the restrooms, and additional supplies are located.
Unless you are coming in as a consultant on a specific project, you are no longer a “Subject Matter Expert” (SME). No one cares how you did it before or that you can make this volunteer job more efficient. You are there for a purpose; show your willingness to work, not manage. This is one of the hardest parts, for those of us who have “advanced skills and opinions”.
Take pride in what you are doing, no matter how menial. Smile and be a good worker. You will be invited back.