Knowing when to walk away, is wisdom. Being able to, is courage. Walking away with your head held high, is dignity. ~ Unknown
The time has come to call it quits and to pull the plug on a volunteer activity which has occupied the better part of five years in my life. By golly, it wasn’t an easy decision and I didn’t know how to do it. But, it finally clicked, the chips fell and an executive decision was made. Enough is enough, time is money and the basic need to retain a minimum amount of dignity and self respect has won. Its true, everyone around you can think you’re a clown, look down on you or laugh, but none of those people matters one bit in the grand scheme. All you have to do is look in the mirror and ask yourself: “Have I done everything in my power to help my fellow seaplane pilots?” My answer was: “Yes!”. The next question you need to ask is: “Is there anything else I owe these people?” My answer was: “No!” From there on out, the rest is the equivalent of finishing an accounting ledger. Black & White stuff. For those who think that volunteering leads to job opportunities or anything, please think again. You might be fooling yourself.
Non Revenue vs. Revenue Activity
Ask any forum and discussion board administrator as to their daily workload in running their website(s). I recently evaluated my “schedule” as a unemployed job seeker who happens to run 3 discussion boards and found that I am generally accessible to my ~ 700 members at least 12, often 16-20 hours per day. I love my members! This means that I often spend time dealing with other peoples problems from 7AM to 8PM, most of the time long beyond that, with being on the machine working on something up until 10PM. Besides a cellphone number that is shared with (only) supporting members of my site, it is absolutely normal to feel like being “ON CALL” 24/7. Recently I watched a 1 and 1/2 hour movie on my work laptop (online) and during the time of the movie, no less than 12 emails hailed into my inbox. Upon count for several days, I determined that I received an average of 190 emails per day on 13 email accounts. In addition I manage 3 Facebook Pages, 3 Twitter Pages, 3 Forums, 1 Personal website, monitor and read (selectively) 26 discussion boards, 5 media outlets constantly, with probably 10 more on occasional basis. Imagine this: I do not have a backlog! At any given time in space, there is not a single person out there who tries to get to me and doesn’t get a response. If that isn’t customer service, I don’t know what is. What does it pay, you ask?
$3.28 Per Day!
(This money goes to the forums, not my personal funds, mind you!)
I am hereby declaring Email Bankruptcy. From this point forward I will not respond to any email or message that does not meet the following criteria:
Personal & Professional Development:
- Friends & Family
- Job Offer Related
Websites & Forums
- Registration (Verifications) Related
- Founding Member Related
- Supporting Member Related
- Sponsorship & Advertising Related.
In other words, I am strategically reducing any and all non revenue activity from my life. If its not contributing to the bottom line, it isn’t there. Yes, you just read this right, I am done and finished working like a clown, jumping up and dropping anything I do just to help people who see no value in anything I do and subsequently refuse to push the donate button on my forums to donate a lousy $25.00 per year. The buck has to stop and it stops now and here, literally.
Blame the sequester if you want, but cuts have to be made and this whole show needs to be brought back to what it really is: A UNPAID HOBBY. Sounds arrogant and harsh? Sorry. The truth hurts a little before it can set you free. If you think I am an asshole, read this and tell me why I should work for free. If you don’t get the point, I am not sure what else we could possibly talk about.
How Its Done
The next step was/is to cancel all my local seaplane association memberships and newsletter subscriptions. Things have slowed down considerably since and there is more fat to be trimmed. I still have tons of email alerts about news items and things I used to post about to go through and eliminate. The goal: 5-10 emails per day, with a maximum of 1 hour per day dedicated to answering them. If the topics I am obligated to answer fail to fit into the one hour per day, additional emails go blank and will be deleted. The clock and count starts over, every day. In other words, if I didn’t get back to you on the day you wrote me, chances of a reply are limited to me feeling like I’ve got nothing else to do and that I should be responding to emails, instead.
This Gun Is For Hire & Looking For Work!