Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Failed Volunteer Awaits Her Fate

Two days passed after my volunteering debacle at the Humane Society. I knew they still needed help that week, and I knew I was only on the standby list, yet a sinking feeling continued to weigh me down—a feeling that I’d been deleted from the volunteer roster.

Then my phone rang—they needed me!—and I was off to the land of abandoned and lost pets.

I assumed I would be helping the staff catch up on the routine work left undone by fundraiser preparations; I assumed I would be folding letters and stuffing envelopes. But, of course, you’ve already guessed what confronted me upon my arrival: the dreaded paper cutter.

“Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.”
—Malcolm Gladwell

This round of paper cutting was for a different fundraiser and this time I wasn’t The Fixer. This time I would be the first volunteer to muck up the job.

I tried to take a positive approach to my assignment. I thought of Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, his book about attaining expertise and success. Research shows that it takes about 10,000 hours of doing anything—playing chess, painting, boxing, composing, building, singing, drawing, editing, sculpting—before you can master it. Though I harbored no dreams about becoming a master paper cutter, I had every intention of improving my skill set.

I’ve 10 hours behind me, and I don’t know how many hours ahead…


Grey Horse Matters said...

Paper cutting doesn't sound like the ideal job but I commend you for volunteering. I'm sure you'll be an expert soon and they'll move you on to other more enjoyable tasks. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

cj said...

Thanks for the encouragement! And thank you for visiting. (Lull Readers: I recommended Grey Horse Matters to you in "My Little Ponies." Stop by and say Hello.)

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