boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
I've been working on the slowest traineeship in the history of the Raptor Center. Yesterday I got mail from the Volunteer Coordinator:
Hi Susan,

I am checking in to see how things are going with you. I notice that you have been working on a shift about every other week. Are you able to do a shift weekly? This is the best way to learn. Also, please attend the rounds meeting on Tuesday evenings.

How are you progressing through your training? Are you getting the sign offs and the experience you need? Please let me know if their is anything I can do to help you along.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

I can tell that she means this to be encouraging, but it just makes me want to say no, sorry, I can't go any faster, good bye and good luck.

I have a long and varied history of volunteer work. Naturally, I also have opinions. Mostly on the subject of how to make good use of the stone the builder has discarded, or at least how to make good use of this particular stone the builder has discarded. I don't disagree with her that committing to once a week is the best way to learn. I'm just saying that I can't do that.

I did tell her that I was a very anxious person, in the initial interview when she asked what my weaknesses were. She asked how my anxiety expresses itself and I said, "For one thing, I'm unemployed." I don't know whether I want to try to explain that this is what I meant. I am anxious. I deal with it as best I can. Sometimes that is not very well. If I could deal with it better, I would have a job and a lover and probably no time for the Raptor Center.

Some people who don't experience anxiety take my anxiety as an insult. If that's the way the conversation goes, I will definitely wish I had skipped it. Other people seem to think that my anxiety is a problem for them to solve, by asking me what erroneous beliefs are causing the anxiety, and then explaining to me that the erroneous beliefs are erroneous. Ta-da! I'd rather not ever have that conversation again either.

I am open to advice.

Date: 2014-08-02 08:26 am (UTC)
malnpudl: (Default)
From: [personal profile] malnpudl
Oh, argh. Well-meaning, reasonable people. Yeah.

Anxiety isn't one of my issues, but my mental health issues (depression) do set major limits on what I am able to do and how I'm able to commit and interact with the world and other people.

For what it's worth, I have settled on telling anyone who asks me for [action / participation / commitment / etc] that I have chronic health issues and [X] is all I am able to commit to. People almost never press beyond that (because it's rude), but if they do, I say that I prefer not to discuss medical matters. That's a clear signal, and I've never had anyone try to push past it.

Date: 2014-08-02 12:47 pm (UTC)
seascribe: a wolf holds half a watermelon in its mouth (Default)
From: [personal profile] seascribe
Mal's advice sounds really good. And even if you didn't want to go into that level of detail, surely for a volunteer position, it should be enough that you simply don't have that kind of time to commit, without needing further explanation? I think it would be really weird for somebody to push, when presented with that statement.

Date: 2014-08-02 01:13 pm (UTC)
loligo: Scully with blue glasses (Default)
From: [personal profile] loligo
I too was going to recommend the nebulous "health problems" phrasing.

Date: 2014-08-02 02:56 pm (UTC)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
From: [personal profile] redbird
I might send a just-the-facts email, something like "Thank you for asking. I am not able to do a shift weekly; the schedule we arranged $time_ago is what I have to offer. Is it essential to attend the Tuesday meetings?"

I wouldn't be surprised if she interpreted "for one thing, I'm unemployed" as meaning that the anxiety kept you from applying for jobs and/or caused interviews to go badly. If she did, she'd figure that well, you've cleared that hurdle by signing up as a volunteer and talking to her. Up to you whether you invoke the medical stuff again, or just say "this is the amount of time I can offer, I hope it is useful to the center and the birds."

Date: 2014-08-02 03:05 pm (UTC)
wordweaverlynn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wordweaverlynn
You've already got excellent advice. I can offer hugs, and no is an ok answer.

Date: 2014-08-03 09:35 am (UTC)
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
From: [personal profile] firecat
"I'm anxious, not stupid."

(That's not advice; it's just where I went with your comment about people assuming they can logic you out of your anxiety disorder.)

I volunteer at an animal shelter with a wildlife rehab center, and I think your volunteer coordinator is being too pushy. Yes, weekly schedules are easier to manage, but if she doesn't learn to back off, she is going to end up with a shortage of volunteers.

Date: 2014-08-03 03:12 pm (UTC)
sasha_feather: a fox curled up around a rabbitt (fox and rabbit)
From: [personal profile] sasha_feather


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