Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…

{May 9, 2011}   burning bridges

As a Volunteer Manager, I pay attention to what people are saying. I listen to the volunteers and I listen to the staff. I hear the complaints of the staff regarding tasks and time management so I try to connect the volunteer with the set skills and ability with that staff member to alleviate some of that stress.

As I move out of “Management” and into “Coordination”, I’m finding that staff would rather eliminate the volunteers who have been helping them over the course of the past 4 years and re-absorb those tasks back on to their shoulders instead of having to build a relationship with them or heaven forbid, talk to them or “manage” them.

I sent an email out to several volunteers today saying we were undergoing a staff change and that their tasks would now fall under staff instead of volunteers. When I was working directly with it the past 4 years, it seemed to work out fine, lots of work got done, volunteers were happy, staff was happy. Now that I’m not doing it, no one’s doing it.

Its very sad. No one wants to feel that things will fall apart when you leave or aren’t there to head it up…although sometimes people want to believe that it might…they don’t want it to really happen.

I know this is part of my transition, but I’ve built relationships with the volunteers who are doing these tasks and now I’m the one that has to tell them and say goodbye to them.

I guess it’s better to hear it from me who has cared about them and what they have been doing for us then the staff involved now anyway. The staff would  probably burn that bridge and not look back.

I don’t get people some days…


Ros Demaree says:

It IS better to hear this kind of news from someone who carss. As someone who lost many colleagues in three rounds of layoffs before losing my own job, I know it’s stressful to be a survivor and cope with all the changes. I’ve often wondered, too, how difficult it is to be the person who has to decide and announced who will lose their jobs.

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