Reverb12 Day Twenty One: One the Outside

Going back to Daily Angst today.

Sometimes you are left standing on the outside looking in.  As you stood there, on the other side of the glass, were you thankful for the boundary?  Or do you wish you could’ve been on the action-side?

Once in a while I volunteer my time. I haven’t had the best of experiences as a volunteer, so I’m rather selective of where I will do so. One of the local struggling non-profits for which I do occasional work has recently gone through a bit of a shake up in the upper offices. (I think every single non-profit goes through this at some point, and in many cases multiple times.)

Despite my having worked with the “brass” in this institution for a while now, my opinion wasn’t sought on the change. I was certainly left on the outside looking in for that one. At first this bothered me, and to some extent still does. But the more I think about it, the more I value my position on the outside.

Yes, I like helping people, and no I don’t think the institution is doing as good a job at that as they could or even as good a job as they used to. Do I have ideas that I know would help them in their mission of serving society? I do. Do I think I should have been considered after the time I have invested in this non-profit? I do. But in the end I think it’s best that I wasn’t involved in the political machinations of this group.

I wish to the heavens that some group somewhere could exist without politics and backstabbing playing a part in the proceedings. That the mission to help those who need it would trump pride, egos, conflicting agendas and the like. I long for an establishment where a sense of purpose became the keystone around which an organized, fair and efficient approach to the important work could be built. I suppose such places exist, but none of the ones I have been a part of recently.

If I set aside my own pride, I realize that the last thing I need in addition to being tossed around like so much flotsam and jetsam in an angry political sea, is to be part of that storm. Yes, I have much to contribute, but if by merely standing on the outside of the situation, (where I no doubt was intentionally placed) I am buffeted this much with little to show for it, how much worse would it be if I were on the inside as one of the opposing forces? Or worse perhaps, as someone to whom clean-up efforts were delegated?

The truth is, I do long to be more directly involved in helping people, and I do wish I could find a place wherein my involvement with the honchos would be considered an asset. (Perhaps one day even being a honcho myself, so long as people were being served as a result.) But until that day it’s probably best I am not part of the actions that are making (or probably breaking) any given institution for which I volunteer my time. I will continue to do what I can from the outside for now, and hope that my contributions make life better for someone someday. In the mean time, I will keep my hands clean from the internal messes.

The institution will either correct course, or it will wither and vanish as a result of its own tumultuous inner life. The latter would be sad, but I can at least say that if it comes to that, it wasn’t due to my leadership or counsel.

Yes, I’m glad to be on the other side of the glass for this one.

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