Friday, March 03, 2006

Mom without a Mom's Club

Yahoo! When I was younger, I could never imagine what those suburban women were talking about when they listed "volunteer work" in their (social) resumes. Huh? I was raised by hippies in the mountains. About the only volunteer work that I (or anyone I knew in the seventies, for that matter) did was attend the occasional protest. Now that I'm a real, honest-to-God forty-five year old suburban mom in a silicon valley suburb, I can testify to the whole "nonprofit/volunteer" thing. Been there, experienced it. Odd. Yes, I've always known that some people in the world like to be "pink ladies" and such. I've actually known some of them -- oh yeah, even as a child. Hmmn. Forgot about them. I guess that sort of thing goes into the "valued very little because it's just women and they don't get paid" bucket. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. I have never really liked people all that much, and being pleasant is such a severe psychological strain, that I would never greet people at a hospital. Give me a keyboard and a database. Tell me what's wrong. I'll get you a nice, comforting information structure thank you very much :-) Well, I've been in a women's club (just turned nonprofit) for two years, and just jumped ship. Given the amount of attendant wierd female-politics and such, I looked at the 21 huge things on my to-do list, looked at the new (real world) projects in my lap, and cut the cord. The interesting thing is, as far as I can tell, that if you DO get into a volunteer experience and you're competent, then more and more and more work just ... comes your way. Yeah. And if you're obsessive and tie your self-worth to that overachieving feeling, well... my goodness, you can dig yourself one huge hole! Especially if the powers that be find you too ... intense. The great news is that I am no longer getting two hundred messages a day about mom's club issues. Ick ick ick! The even better news is that I can work on, um, new things (said obliquely.) I recently spoke with someone who is doing a startup. He's done a fair share of nonprofit work, and his comment was that for-profits are great. "They're very clear," he said. "When people aren't getting paid," he said "they get wierd." From now on, I think I stick to boards and leave the worker bee stuff to the next generation, but I raise a toast to all of the hard-working nonprofit people out there. In the meantime, check out this url. Have you heard of microisv? Yeah. I knew you had. Time to get back to work. I like "clear."


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