I just returned home from my first volunteer experience. While I wish I could say my cup runneth over with the Joy that comes from doing a good thing, there is considerable room left in said cup. Dare I say it is not even half full???
Volunteering was one of the activities I listed on my Devil’s Workshop list. I’d been having a hard time deciding on what kind of volunteer opportunity to try. I am a worrier by nature. Once I know you (especially if I like you) your worries and problems tend to become my sources of anxiety and stress (which is exactly why I avoid Joy Thieves). For that reason I wanted to avoid anything dealing with sick people, children, or homeless/under privileged women. Not that these are not great causes in need of our support. I just did not want to come away from the experience feeling sad, depressed, or worried.
When I received an email from the Support Center for Child Advocates asking for volunteers for their Annual Benefit Auction Reception I thought this is perfect. I could provide service for a great agency that helps Children without the worry of becoming attached to said children, plus the Reception would give me an excuse to wear my new red dress, and bonus maybe I’d meet a cute lawyer (I am single and looking afterall 🙂
Unfortunately, I didn’t get the warm fuzzes that I was expecting. Who knew that there would be several hundred lawyers, and law related professionals, and one non-law related professional, Me 🙁 Guess what, Legal professionals don’t make a lot of effort to talk to you after they realize you don’t work in the law field. I briefly chatted with several people but after explaining what I did for a living they’d say “that’s interesting” but then turn away to talk to other lawyer types. I knew the crowd would be mostly lawyers but expected the volunteers to come from more diverse professional backgrounds.
There was one Lady Lawyer who did make some effort to talk to me even after I explained I was not a Lawyer. We did not really have anything in common. I am black. She is white. I am 31. She is in her late 40s early 50’s. I have no kids. She has two. She could afford to practice law as a volunteer. My paycheck is a necessity. So what did we talk about??? We talked about the fact that we both had on fabulous red dresses. We talked about why we wore them, how long we had them, and how relieved she was to see someone else wearing red. Lol
When I signed up to be a volunteer I asked to work registration. However, I had to ask again at the event to be assigned to registration. Luckily they still had a position open. They explained all the instructions very fast and quickly thanked us for assisting. I did not at all feel confident in what I was doing. Also, despite being told thank you I did not at all feel my presence as a volunteer was appreciated or meaningful.
While the evening did not go as I had planned, there is a joyful lesson to be learned nonetheless. Overall I felt stressed, out of place, and underappreciated. However, I did feel very attractive. I loved the red dress I was wearing. I felt confident about who I was and the image I was projecting even while not feeling confident in what I was doing. While I did not necessarily fit in with the Law crowed. I did not look out of place. The lesson learned: the more stressful the event or situation the more effort I’ll put into my appearance. If things don’t go well at least I can grasp a little by Joy looking in the mirror 🙂
Have you ever been disappointed by a volunteer experience?
Has a special outfit ever been your source of Joy in an otherwise disappointing situation?