Monday, August 13, 2012

B S M F - It Ain't What You're Thinkin'

So who watched the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympics? Impressive, huh? Can you imagine organizing that? I'm sure the organizers were overwhelmingly busy. But who I feel sorry for are all the people who volunteered to help. 
I am a semi-professional volunteer. Now that our sons are old enough to tell 'em to go take a shower and fix their own sandwich, I fill in my time with some volunteer work. Some of my volunteer work still revolves around them and their activities, and some is my own stuff. But I'm a helpin'...yeppers. I chaperone, I organize, I attend...all that stuff except dance and sing. I can't sing (though by my reckoning, neither could Russell Brand - see the Olympics Closing Ceremony), and my dancing would further humiliate the teen sons (which I try to keep at home...or on Facebook).
When I was young, and very poor putting myself through college, I had a saying - free, cheap or somebody else's. It helped remind me that I couldn't afford stuff those sorority girls were doing. And now I have a new rule - BSMF. Now, now, it isn't what you're thinking. Read on (or skip ahead).
See what I've discovered as my volunteering universe has hit the big bang theory is that when you volunteer, it's like an explosion of the cosmos. Everyone thinks you have time to help them and their organization, toooooooo. Moreover they also seem to think that their organization is the only one you're helping, or it's the only one that is worthy or it's the only one that has an emergency. 'Taint so, people.
Those of us who volunteer tend to be doing it for more than one organization. Many of us also hold jobs with an actual paycheck, and have that pesky other organization called a family. We can't jump through your hoop, don't matter how you hold it.
So I have a new rule, and I love it. Though I expect some people are gonna hate me and tell me how wrong I am. But here it is, the BSMF rule for volunteering:
B - Blood, S - Stroke, M - Marriage, F - Friends
Are you related to me by blood? Are you stroking me an actual paycheck vital to our survival? Are you related to me by marriage (not less important than blood, just the initials are awfully easy to remember in this order)? Are you a friend of such magnitude that you really could fall in the related to me category, except you're not?
If you do not fit the BSMF qualification than when you call and expect me to drop everything to show up at a meeting two days from now so you can give me unpaid work, I consider my list - BSMF. I find my volunteering feels so much less like an obligation now that I have freed myself to say no if I need to. It's the freedom of the acronym, baby! Gotta go now. I've got a volunteer project to finish. One I'm enjoying, thanks to the acronym - BSMF freedom.

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