During these first few days of the New Year, my son, a college senior, is taking a well-deserved rest. I can sympathize. It was a hard semester, especially since he’s so close and so anxious to just be done.
As he headed into the final weeks of the fall semester—the most tedious and sleep-deprived days of the whole 15 weeks—he plowed forward, staying up nights and spending weekends locked in his room. He was confident he had it all figured out.
That was until one professor announced the Friday before exam week that in addition to the in-class essay exam, there was now an at-home 5 page essay due by exam day. He spent a good portion of that evening wandering around the house shaking his head.
This made me think about our volunteers in the final stages of a major project. Are we like this professor and throw in the “Oh, by the way, you also have to…” announcement just when they are getting to the end of a project?
And what about our leaders? Do we promise the position will only take “x” hours per week/month and then pile on more work, assuming they are up to the task?
As we head into 2014 with new boards and committee members taking on new challenges, let’s resolve not to throw our volunteers into the hot seat. Let’s give them clear expectations of their roles and the time involved. And if something unexpected does come up, let’s work with them on ways to resolve it.
Above all else, let’s remember that we are not the only commitment they have.
Our volunteers - like my son - certainly deserve that much.