I’ve decided volunteering at a fun fair is 80% two people doing all the work.. and 20% a bunch of people standing around doing nothing and then sneaking out early so they don’t need to clean up… I guess that goes for volunteering at anything. There are the worker bees and the walkie talkies… the people doing the heavy lifting and the headset people who are all in charge and delegating others. In the spirit of Dadmissions, I’ve been inspired to coin a new term based on my own experience. I call it “volun-tiering”. Just like your tiered pricing on the cable bill. There is now a handy guide to see where you are on the volun-tier scale… and more importantly… where others are:
Volun-tier 1: you know they’re big when they wear a headset and keep a clipboard. They’ve arranged many pre-meetings at local coffee houses during the day to discuss whatever event and they’re the ones that spur never-ending email chains. They are the ones that get applause and a special thanks at the end of it all.. and then say “you shouldn’t have” but know they really expected you to and that you should have. They keep a binder of what they did for future generations of volun-tiers so there’s no question as to what worked well and why it worked so well.
Volun-tier 2: they get the headsets without the clipboard… they are the upper echelon worker bees who keep the email chain going and do whatever is needed by volun-tier 1. They do the hard work without the accolades. They have homes with stuff spread out over the counters for the big event and a list of errands to pick up last minute supplies. Volun-tier 2 status often means your family will not see you for several days around the time of the event… it was nice knowing you.
Volun-tier 3: they don’t get headsets or clipboards… they actually do a lot of work even though no one may know their names. They do the grunt work and set-up and box hauling and takedown that keeps things going under a cloak of secrecy. Volun-tier 1 probably wouldn’t even recognize them in the supermarket… But volun-tier 3 would know volun-tier 1… And they know the truth about who actually did what even if they’ll never get a headset or clipboard or accolade. Oftentimes their spouse is in volun-tier 2… thus recruiting them for unsung hero status in volun-tier 3.
Volun-tier 4: these folks weren’t involved in the planning of the event… But they are doing their civic duty for their country (or PTA) for whichever event it is. They will take one shift, two shift, red shift, or blue shift… They’ll volunteer for more stuff at the last minute too partly out of due diligence and partly out of guilt that so many folks in volun- tier 1 and volun-tier 2 did so much work while they didn’t. They never attended a coffee house pre-meeting or responded to an email chain. They don’t have a head set or a clipboard. They just have a sense of right and wrong and it is the right thing to help. They’re usually good and hardworking people with busy schedules.
Volun-tier 5: special mention to these guys because they are the worst. they are the ones who weren’t involved in any planning.. because they don’t want to be involved in any planning.. because they have far better things to do and a far more packed schedules than everyone else must. They try to pick the easiest shift, at the easiest spot to fulfill their volun-tier duty. They then try to make conversation, slink out a back door, and avoid the cleanup afterwards then complaining about how much hard work and effort they had to put in. They then carry around this sense of accomplishment, say they volun-tiered, and then don’t return phone calls for the next six events because they feel like they’ve done their job.
While the folks in volun-tier 1 can be the most demanding, it’s the folks in volun-tier 5 who have committed the biggest sin. They might as well not even be there. Wasted space. To those people I wish a tasty burrito and then explosive diarrhea with no bathroom within five miles. So where am I on the volun-tier scale? I’m usually a volun- tier 4 but often recruited into volun-tier 3 status. And now that Dadmissions has this easy to handle volun-tier scale… There will be no more question about who is what… grab your clipboard!
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