I will, once again, be treading the boards shortly, after some time off to change careers. In May I will be performing in Jekyll and Hyde and, arguably not the first time, I'll be dying on stage.
Ok, here’s a hypothetical situation. Let’s just say you’re a member of a non-profit, charitable group. Now let’s say that, although, not part of the management committee you have, for a number of years, assisted by writing and running their website and done most of their design work – printed media, and the like. You do it, not because you’ve been asked to, but because you like to help. Now, let’s also say that you’d stated in the past that you’d like to re-design the groups logo, which is looking a little old and tired. Let’s say you’d asked to do this on more than once occasion.
So how would you feel if they decided to do the logo, but didn’t ask you? Instead a committee member (admittedly, the one who should be responsible for such things) was doing it. And it wasn’t mentioned to you, and didn’t go through anyone’s mind that they should maybe speak to you about it. Oh, and a change of logo would have the biggest impact on the website, which you’re responsible for.
Well, when I put this exact situation to an internet forum, the vast majority of people agreed with the following statement that one user posted…
You’re doing this voluntarily out of the kindness of your heart. If that’s the case, I think there’s a simple solution, i.e. stop doing it. If you’re feeling unappreciated (and personally I think you have a fair point) take your time and skills elsewhere..
Hypothetically, of course
Well, it is now. As predicted, I didn’t get the Vice Chairman role. I knew it before I got there. But, never-the-less, I still gave it 100%, my speech was loved and I let no-one down.
But I still feel robbed. Kind of. Without the behind-my-back nasty comments, how would I have done? It might be that I still wouldn’t have got it. But why?
The person who did get the role has been performing the Patrons & Subscriptions role which I handed over to her 4 years ago. This has been her only position on the Committee. The subscriptions part of her role is now virtually non-existent as most are now done via Direct Debit. Never-the-less she didn’t spot the fact that for 8 months last year I changed my DD to that of a non-acting member. How do I know she didn’t spot it? Well, she had last years show programme show me as an acting member. Plus she makes a big thing of ensuring ALL money is in by the end of the year because of the accounts. Although I had good reason for this change, I was never given an opportunity to explain it.
The second part of her job is recruiting and looking after Patrons. The patron numbers have halved during her 4 year tenure.
So, what has she been doing?
Well, first of all, nobody probably knew this because NO-ONE asked her any questions after her speech. I assume I was the only one to have done some homework.
So they’ve elected, as Vice Chairman, someone who has shown during the last 4 years that she can do a below-average job. What does that say about the fact that I lost?
Last year, for the first time, I was acknowledged during the AGM for my work, especially on the website. This year, once again, it didn’t happen.
So, my conclusions are… I’m not seen as useful (certainly not wanted as a useful member of the committee) and work, which I don’t actually have to be doing, is un-appreciated. Charming.
Of course, I’m wary that all of this will look like sour grapes. But how else am I supposed to interpret this? As a vote of confidence it’s damning. And, let’s be honest, after the “rumour” that’s been floating around, I may as well throw my toys out of the pram as it’s probably what people will be expecting.
Here are a few things that made me think the voting wasn’t going to go my way… nasty rumours being spread behind my back, friends not responding to emails asking for their support, the out-going Chairman making a joke to my competition about not being on the committee YET… and so on.
So what to do now.
I’m certainly not feeling good vibes towards my friends right now but, then again, I never like to make a hasty decision. I suspect a long dose withdrawing my assistance may be called for. But I’ll admit that the damage may already have been done.
Maybe my CV will end up in the post to some other local groups.
Maybe I’ll give up on this theatre malarkey altogether and concentrate on friends who aren’t spiteful behind your back, and appreciate you a little more.
I assume they exist.
As you are probably aware from my various blog entries, I’m a member of a local theatre group. I do as much as I can to help, including creating and running their website (with next to no feedback or comments from either members of committee), designing posters, etc, etc. And I’m happy to do it.
I’ve also been on the committee twice before. Once, looking after the patrons. Then, later, as a Society Representative. Unfortunately, due to illness I resigned from the latter role, stating that it was due to “personal reasons” (I really didn’t feel the need to give exact details!).
Now, the position of Vice President has become free and I’ve put my name forward. On Wednesday night myself and, at least one other person, will present our case and the votes will be cast.
In the past, senior positions on the committee have caused some nastiness from within the society, as people take sides. Except there’s no real need for it and it just causes ill feelings. At least one person fell out the last time this happened and I think it affected others, who have not since been quite so involved as they once were.
You’d think history would teach a lesson, but as nothing was done about it that time, it continues. This time the daggers have come out for me. “Don’t vote for him, when he doesn’t get his way he resigns from the committee,” is how the rumours is going around. In some versions I’ve resigned twice, in others 4 times (an impossibility, as you can only resign once from a position!).
And you know.. it does hurt. People who you regard as friends being spiteful and vindictive behind your back.
So far I’m saying nothing. I’ve written a speech for Wednesday which a friend (who also put forward my nomination for the role), who also happens to a psychology degree, helped check. In particular, it’s checked to ensure I don’t accidentely make the mistake myself – the speech is about me and why I’m good for the role. It insults no-one and makes no mention of anyone else who is going for the same role.
To be honest, the damage is probably already done towards me. The “rumour” has probably been directed at new members, who won’t know better. The competition was already quite stiff, and I suspect this will have put an end to my chances.
But, as I say, I’m saying nothing unless asked. All I can do now is my best and, even if nobody else wants to, I’m determined there will be at least some integrity remaining from all of this.