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12:35 am: in the meantime
I've been working on the slowest traineeship in the history of the Raptor Center. Yesterday I got mail from the Volunteer Coordinator:
Hi Susan,

I am checking in to see how things are going with you. I notice that you have been working on a shift about every other week. Are you able to do a shift weekly? This is the best way to learn. Also, please attend the rounds meeting on Tuesday evenings.


How are you progressing through your training? Are you getting the sign offs and the experience you need? Please let me know if their is anything I can do to help you along.


Looking forward to hearing from you.

I can tell that she means this to be encouraging, but it just makes me want to say no, sorry, I can't go any faster, good bye and good luck.

I have a long and varied history of volunteer work. Naturally, I also have opinions. Mostly on the subject of how to make good use of the stone the builder has discarded, or at least how to make good use of this particular stone the builder has discarded. I don't disagree with her that committing to once a week is the best way to learn. I'm just saying that I can't do that.

I did tell her that I was a very anxious person, in the initial interview when she asked what my weaknesses were. She asked how my anxiety expresses itself and I said, "For one thing, I'm unemployed." I don't know whether I want to try to explain that this is what I meant. I am anxious. I deal with it as best I can. Sometimes that is not very well. If I could deal with it better, I would have a job and a lover and probably no time for the Raptor Center.

Some people who don't experience anxiety take my anxiety as an insult. If that's the way the conversation goes, I will definitely wish I had skipped it. Other people seem to think that my anxiety is a problem for them to solve, by asking me what erroneous beliefs are causing the anxiety, and then explaining to me that the erroneous beliefs are erroneous. Ta-da! I'd rather not ever have that conversation again either.

I am open to advice.

This entry was originally posted at http://boxofdelights.dreamwidth.org/253531.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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[User Picture]
From:magnetic_pole
Date:August 2nd, 2014 03:27 pm (UTC)
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Okay, B, I have to chime in here with an opinion of my own: the suggestion that you increase your volunteer time to twice week because it's "the best way to learn" was really off. Volunteers give what time they have, when they have it, for reasons of their own. This is the difference between being employed, subject to the direction of supervisor, and volunteering. Often organizations for logistical reasons prefer to have volunteers work a minimum number of hours or days, which is completely legitimate, and if a twice-monthly schedule doesn't work for your organization, they should just say so. But couching it in these terms is patronizing, and if you're feeling a little cranky in response, I'd say you're completely justified. You don't need to provide her with any kind of explanation of your schedule or any of the reasons you hesitate to volunteer more frequently, you simply need find an arrangement that works well for both of you, given your availability and their volunteer requirements. And she should say thank you at the end of that conversation.

(Sorry, but the better half has worked for a number of non-profit organizations that use volunteers, so I seem to have Opinions on this topic.)

Anyways, sorry to hear about the anxiety. I've heard about it before on this journal but didn't realize how difficult it was for you. Much empathy from a similarly anxious person. *hugs* M.
[User Picture]
From:eeyorerin
Date:August 2nd, 2014 03:30 pm (UTC)
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Here is what I would send back:

"Dear [name],

Thanks for your email. I am unable to do more than a shift every other week right now. [Respond to other queries about training with facts about your progress.] Thank you for being willing to work with me around my schedule and my needs.

Sincerely, Boxofdelights."

You do not need to give her a reason why you are unable to do more than a shift every other week right now. And I would not think that was abnormal if I were doing the scheduling -- we have people who volunteer at the shelter where I volunteer who only come in every two weeks, or one weekend a month, or other configurations that suit them.
[User Picture]
From:eeyorerin
Date:August 2nd, 2014 03:33 pm (UTC)
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Also, as I was ranting about last night on Twitter, my Panic Hamsters are impervious to logic. Logic just bounces right off their shiny little hides. So I hope she does not try to Logic You Out Of Your Anxiety because I know that it doesn't work that way. If it did, I (and you, most likely) would not have anxiety in the first place. Oh dear, I seem to be ranting again.
[User Picture]
From:boxofdelights
Date:August 2nd, 2014 05:25 pm (UTC)
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I know, right? "I am fifty years old. I am very intelligent. Solving this problem is a much higher priority for me than for you. If it were that easy I WOULD HAVE FIGURED IT OUT ALREADY."
[User Picture]
From:adrian_turtle
Date:August 2nd, 2014 05:52 pm (UTC)
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Yeah. I like to say it as "Thanks for your advice, but that doesn't work for me. It would be convenient if it did,. I need to do it this way."
(That may be more restrained than appropriate for some pushy people.)
[User Picture]
From:eeyorerin
Date:August 2nd, 2014 08:03 pm (UTC)
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I forgot to say I think that part is awesome too! I just work with cats since they don't need any more volunteers at the aquarium where there are PENGUINS right now. But they promised to call me if they need me.
[User Picture]
From:plasticsturgeon
Date:August 4th, 2014 03:04 pm (UTC)
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I always want to tell people to stop and think about why I might be doing what I'm doing when I'm doing something that they don't want me to do, but I have the feeling that it wouldn't go over well. Maybe there's some delicate way to say it. Did she just think you were lazy or something? And in that case, why would you have volunteered in the first place?
[User Picture]
From:jodawi
Date:August 7th, 2014 01:28 pm (UTC)
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hypnosis helped me with anxiety
[User Picture]
From:boxofdelights
Date:August 17th, 2014 07:02 am (UTC)
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I have often thought it would help me too! But how do you find a competent practitioner?
[User Picture]
From:jodawi
Date:August 25th, 2014 01:09 am (UTC)
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Dunno...maybe my person knows someone near you? Send me where you is at jodawi@gmail.com or in comment and I can poke about. Or visit Seattle.
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