Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…

Aside from the advice that I was not “that powerful”, “changing my lightbulb” has been probably the most sound advice I have heard in years.

When I worked in education, I absorbed every problem and struggle of all the children and families I was involved with. When they didn’t  have shoes, I provided shoes, when they struggled with grades, I made every attempt to make sure they “got it” and as I moved up the education chain from elementary students to college students, I became concerned when the students weren’t attending classes. I actually created a “where’s waldo” game within our class  when one of the classmates stopped attending. I contacted our admissions and retention services, I contacted his dorm director, I just wanted to make sure he was ok. I eventually met with a colleague of mine who had taught classes way longer than I had and he told me over coffee >You are not that powerful<

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

>Changing my lightbulb< hit me like another ton of bricks. I need to become energy efficient I was a told. Stop burning so brightly all the time. Stop being “on” all the time. “set yourself to dimmer” once in a while.

Very interesting….


{January 27, 2011}   Advice with a Spoonful of Sugar

As a Volunteer Manager, I help a lot of people. And, as I’m assisting them, many feel it’s difficult to just accept the help. They want to give something to me in return. I collect wind up toys, so sometimes I’ll find one of those in my mailbox, if you’ve read other posts, I’ve been offered free tattoos, cookies, free meals, free drinks, moving vans, flooring, even a new concrete driveway, you name’s been put on the table.

Now for ethical reasons, I don’t accept many of these freebies. A wind up toy is thoughtful, a few chocolate chip cookies can and SHOULD never be turned down, but on the whole, I thankfully decline, what I can’t decline though is the free advice that comes across the desk to my ears.

I can’t give their words back to them. As much as I don’t share anything personal with many of the volunteers that come in to my office, I still get advice on my hair, my clothes, my organizational skills, my eye make-up, my shoes, my job, my photos on my desk, my pens that don’t work….my lunch, my glasses, my relationships, my politics, my religion and my reading choices. EVEN THOUGH…none of this was ever brought up by me in the first place.

Recently, I was given (forced upon) the advice of personal fitness. Now, mind you, I work out and try to watch what I eat, but I’m no Jillian Michaels…and the man giving me the advice was  not Bob Harper. This man was becoming a fitness trainer, and was setting up shop in his apartment until he can get some funds to start-up his own gym. He lost 65 lbs in 3 months.  His training is free for now, but he will be accepting donations.  He told me to stop drinking soda, don’t eat after 9pm, no more fast food and go for walks. Easy enough, after that lesson, I didn’t really feel the need to go to his apartment for him to advise me further, but in kindness I added his scrap of paper with his number and name on it to my Rolodex in the “Health” section. He was pleased with that.

I don’t mean to be critical…but sometimes “Biggest Loser” can mean so many different things at one time…

et cetera
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