Tuesday, November 3, 2015
TO GIVE IN RETURN
I hate when my friends are more than
right. Long before I finally exited the
corporate world for a theoretical life
of leisure I was warned "You'll be
busier than you've ever been before!"
Of course such statements sounded
preposterous. After all when one was
used to working from sun up to sun
down how could being "retired" ever
be as arduous? Well, damn them, they
were right. Lately almost every hour
of everyday has been filled with some
sort of volunteer activity. I'm pooped!
Out of control
It started so subtly... one position on one
board. Then reluctantly I agreed to join
another. Then a weekly lunch with fellow
minded friends. And soon participation in
a major community reinvention initiative
came along. PRESTO - any vestige of a
life of leisure evaporated. And while I've
never have thought of myself as any sort
of superhero, I'm somehow doing all of
the above sans the support network I was
once blessed to have. Rather than having
a team behind me... I'm managing my own
time. No wonder I'm in such a MESS!
When working full time, I never really
understood how not for profits worked.
I was more than willing to attend the
compensatory galas, write checks, and
dine upon rubber chicken. At times I'll
admit that the very idea of one more
evening at Cipriani on 42nd Street put
me at risk of losing my mind. However
post said events my life returned to a
semblance of normalcy. You see, while
I worked for someone else, I had it all
under control. So how did I suddenly
and completely LOSE IT?!
At this point I can't help but wonder what
my life would have been like had I said
yes to everything. Fortunately I heeded
the advice of those more experienced and
focused on a very few things. I've come
to realize that in any community there is
a shortage of talent available for those who
cannot or are unwilling to pay. And yet -
the needs of such organizations are greater
than any for profit company. That's because
while these groups enrich, affirm, help, or
empower those who they serve - a limited
pool of talent is willing (or able) to help.
Help is on the way
Honestly, crossing over to the other
side has been an amazing experience.
While most corporations claim to
want to help others, their primary
purpose is the make money. More
important - a profit. Hence in most
cases altruistic initiatives are quickly
usurped by a need to ring the register.
Said myopia warps the perspective
of all involved. That's the only way
one can explain doing things that are
bad and calling it "good business."
No wonder some of us need help.
While I"m exhausted, I'm very happy
and oddly mellow. That's because for
the first time... in a very long time...
I actually feel like I might be making
a difference. Now all of those years of
experience are finally paying off and
the beneficiaries are those who actually
deserve it. While I'm sure none of you
have the time now, I suggest you find
the time to give back. In the end the
end result of that time and effort comes
back tenfold straight to the giver. Now...
that's the ultimate give and get formula!