Too Much Time Volunteering

United States
May 3, 2012 9:38pm CST
I've been looking for online writing jobs since Jan. I thought I found one which I thought would work out for me, in April, but I hadn't had any luck with specific writing jobs. I looked online again last week & this week & found 3-4 ones I think would do for me, narrowing it down to 2 or 3, which I think would best suit me. There's a problem: I volunteer for 2 museums, one of which I spend more time with because I'm the youngest volunteer amidst people who are mostly over 65. There's 3 other people who are 60 & since I'm 45,& largely underemplyed with this site, I feel obligated to volunteer for every assignment to be done in groups. For example, last week I had to help on the Exhibit Committee, taking down the old 3-month exhibit on one day, then had to help put up another exhibit the next day, then had to set up the chairs & projector for the next day's slideshow on Michaelangelo, then when I attended the slideshow on the next day, I had to put the projector & the chairs away, & was so tired from lack of enough sleep that I couldn't go volunteer for the other museum. Another example, this week I had a chance to volunteer for the other museum on Mon., but then I was back @ the 1st museum helping a crew clean it, then I was recruited by my usual partner of the Ground Committee to help him mow the lawn for next week, then the same day I was recruited to help my aunt who is a volunteer herself bring her shelf over for the musuem's lawn sale on Sat., so I was committed to that. If I don't I seem like I'm a selfish louse. I was back the next day, helping a crew to fold newsletters to be sent out. I volunteered to help put up the tents for the lawn sale a day ahead of the sale & to help set up the tables & displays for the sale on the actual day. I volunteered to help take down the tables & tents @ the end of the day too. I'm getting tired (emotionally)from being frustrated, being swamped with all this work, simply because I'm the youngest volunteer @ this museum. I even helped another guy put up a sign for the lawn sale. I don't even want to do half the things I'm asked to do. "Ask" is a loose term in this sense. I'm expected to do this with some guilt put in to help me decide whether to do it. It's not volunteering if I'm obligated to do it. Volunteerism is from the heart. I'm trying to join one of two writing websites I found to become a freelance writer. I've decided on 2-3 but when can I find the time to even join & fill out an application if I'm constantly busy most of the day, volunteering? Having a car accident yesterday on the way to a fundraiser for the museum didn't help either. It wasn't my fault @ all. I was hit from behind @ a stop light. The damage was minimal but then I had to spend most of the morning on the phone with the insurance company to answer alot of questions. I can't even commit to jobs that I finally made up my mind about if I have all of this sidetracks, the most constant one being committed to the 1st museum I mentioned that keeps me too busy. I hope I get a break from all these committments so I can do what I truly love (regarding work)- freelance writing!
1 response
• Philippines
4 May 12
I think you and I are on the same page. I also do some point of volunteering because my mother encouraged me to do it. She says that volunteering might help me land a real-time job (she still doesn't consider my online jobs as a stable income and I sometimes agree with her). I do my volunteering around the house and my close acquaintances. i also help out my friend who's conducting a seminar because she doesn't have any idea how to do it. I was hoping that my volunteer work would translate me to be considered as a events planner for future workshops. But that's another story. Anyway, I think if you have any online job prospects, it's better to start saying 'No' to people at your volunteer work. As you said, volunteering is not obligatory. Drop hints that you might get this job and you need to prepare . Or inform them that you are adapting to a new schedule that might not enable you attend some of your voluntary activities. It is possible that they might discourage you but tell them that that you are not leaving right away and you just need another kind of venture to focus your energy on. Stress the fact that you love the museum and the volunteer work but you also have to focus on yourself and your necessities. wish you luck on your writing prospects. I am also keeping my fingers crossed that i might finally land a client! And very soon!
• United States
5 May 12
Thank you so much for your empathy, sympathy, advice and encouragement. I had already been approached yesterday about whether I really did want to mow the lawn of the Museum grounds & I said I'd be willing to do it in early spring (May) but that I might be getting jobs soon & that I can't commit to mowing all summer. My best wishes to you too!