Monday, April 30, 2018

Volunteering Takeaways

I was volunteering at a conference recently. Overall I enjoyed it because it was manual work, and I love manual work (to an extent). I also was able to enter the conference for free and attend many of the talks. I came up with a couple takeaways.

  • There are no limits to how many people will give their time and effort freely, as long as they believe in the cause. The organizers themselves were not really organized at points and its a bit annoying waiting for work. If I decide to volunteer I want to go all out on it so if I'm not given a task to do (and being a one day volunteer its not easy to figure out on my own what to do), I feel like the organizers are not being mindful of my time. If you ask for volunteers, please be organized enough to have plenty of things for them to do. They want to do work!
  •  After completing a task, the volunteers had to go back to the team lead and then that team lead would walk around looking for tasks for us to do. At the end a bunch of us were standing around while the leads team discussed what to do next. Again, its important to be mindful of peoples time.
  • I was having a whole lot of fun moving chairs and tables around. I think back to a book I read called Flow, which talks about how to experience moments. Its all about mental state and If you put yourself in the right state you can really enjoy it, even if the task might seem boring. I was playing around with optimizing the most efficient ways to stack the chairs. How many chairs should I pick up at once? What position should my hands be in? Is it more efficient to create small stacks closer to me and combine them or have one big stack but travel further to the stack? It sounds stupid but its true. If you look for fun & interesting things, you will find them and if you do, you may experience flow, and if you do, you will have enjoyment.
  • I realize that just as I would be really picky in a job, I should be more picky in selecting how I volunteer and which opportunities I want to take on. This was a good experience but I don't think I need to experience it again. I was happy to give my time because the people were actually really great.
  • Going back to the organization. You would think that at these large conferences everything is really structured and people have everything together. However, it was fun and interesting to see the chaos and confusion. People figuring things out as they go. Its quite refreshing really. Its the same as business. You would think large corporations have their shit together. But in reality if you look inside, they are figuring it out just like the rest of us.