Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Morgan Griffith on Volunteer Opportunities in Martinsville

This web site generally debunks displays of so-called altruism. Is doing volunteer work altruism? Depends on what you're doing and for whom. If it's for an organization that pays a few people at the top good salaries but expects the actual work to be done for nothing, then working there as a volunteer might be altruistic--in the sick sense--and refusing to work there, or buy the product or whatever, might be a way to further the Highest Good of all concerned.

If it's for a friend who really needs help s/he is not able to return in any immediate way, then doing whatever you might be able to do is not altruistic; it's good for your own health, and you know you jolly well enjoy it. We're hard-wired to get actual physical benefits from spending time around the very young and the very old.

And even if it's for an organization that probably can and should pay for your help, but is, in any case, giving you a chance to document your job skills in order to get a career-type job...need this web site say more? All young people should run, not walk, to the site of any "volunteer" work opportunity where the work is related to their career. Don't commit to stay there forever; do commit to enough time to document your work ethic and reliability as well as your job skills training. This just might make the difference between your being the last in your class to be offered an unpaid internship, and being the first to be offered a career-type job.

Why comment at such length on something Congressman Griffith said specifically to Martinsville readers? Because Gate City readers didn't need this reminder. Na na na na na...

From Congressman Griffith's E-Newsletter:

In addition to a three-part series on the difficulties local departments and civic organizations in the Martinsville area have in finding volunteers to help them operate, the Martinsville Bulletin recently ran a piece by editor Brian Carlton entitled “The first step can be the hardest.”

Carlton begins by relaying a recent conversation he had with a Martinsville woman in which she said she didn’t have the time to dedicate “at least six to seven hours” to volunteer.

This is a thought with which I suspect many of us struggle.

Carlton asks, “Are there times when we pass by chances to help, because of the effort we assume it’ll take?”

He reminds readers, however, that our busy schedules need not preclude us from pursuing volunteer opportunities that work for organizations and our calendars alike.

Even with the busy schedule I keep between work in DC, work in the Ninth District (which is approximately 9,114 square miles), and family commitments, I find it very rewarding when I can volunteer a few hours.

As Carlton writes, “There’s no such thing as a bad volunteer. The word doesn’t exist. And maybe the first job isn’t the one you stick with. But there are opportunities waiting. We just have to be willing to try.”