Started volunteering but not enjoying it. What would you do?(7 Posts)
I have spare time when my children are at school/nursery and I've started to volunteer once a week. (Don't want to name the organisation but the work is office based.) I couldn't do the role I went for as I was unable to take the formal training course. Instead I'm being trained informally to do something else. The dilema I'm having is that I'm not enjoying the role.
I don't seem to be able to retain the information I need from week to week although the job is "easy". Also I've realised that to fulfil the organisation's shift system I'd need to pay for extra childcare. Some expenses are paid but not childcare.
I wanted to volunteer to use my spare time as usefully as possible. I also felt that going for an office based volunteer position would be a positive step when I start looking for paid employment.
I had to fill in an application form and have an interview before starting and I feel I'm "a long way in" to suddenly say it's not for me. I'm embarrassed with myself.
At present the organisation has enough people to fill the shift system without using me. So what would you do? I've told myself to hang on in there for 6 months and see how I feel after that.
Anyone else started volunteering somewhere and realised the organisation/role isn't for them?
I don't see anything wrong with just saying that it hasn't turned out to be suitable, especially if they are not relying on you.
If you are thinking of volunteering as contributing to your CV, you need to think of what it is you ultimately want to do. There really is no point in wasting time in a role that doesn't interest you because you won't be able to seek that to a future employer. There are plenty of volunteer roles that involve practical/people oriented/creative work. Good luck and don't feel embarrassed to say it's not for you. It happens all the time.
I think it depends if you are just looking for a way of 'giving to the community' or if you are looking to upgrade your skills and get references so you can look for a job in the future.
If it's just a 'leisure' thing, then I don't see any problem with saying that it's not turned out to be what you'd thought it was, so you are going to look for something else, and leave. If, however, it is to help your CV, then I think you'd be better to stick it out for 6 months. Just explain the the supervisor that you can't do any shift pattern that means you need childcare, whilst the position is not a paid one - I don't think anyone could deem that as unreasonable.
If youre not enjoying it then leave.
Volunteering should be in a role you are happy to support and one you enjoy really. Theres nothing worse than having to go somewhere you dont want to be and even worse if its costing you to help out and you get nothing back from it.
I would definately be highlighting the fact that you will be incurring childcare costs. They may tell you its not fair on you paying childcare and so they may find you an alternative role anyway.
Don't do it unless you are enjoying it or finding it fulfilling. Where I volunteer, they recruit two or three times a year, and only some from each batch stay: everyone's circumstances are different and life changes; not all organisations using volunteers are good at placing the right people in the right role, at using their skills etc. I think if you are rusre it is not for you, it may be better to raise that now.
It is fine to say you can't do some shifts because of childcare - that is standard for volunteering, IMO.
However, you say you are not able to retain the information you need week to week. Is this why you are not enjoying it? I think there is a steep learning curve when you start in an organisation and it can be really hard to get up to speed at first as you are there so infrequently. If this is the problem, maybe see if it is possible to do some extra shifts close together just for a short period? It is definitely much more enjoyable when you know what you are doing and also know the staff and the set up.
Explain to them about the childcare. If they are a caring organisation, they will understand. Have you tried your local Voluntary Services bureau? They have a wide range of voluntary works. There are many voluntary organisations which are happy to take you for only a few hours per week if that is all you can spare. Just look around and consider a much wider range of things other than what you are used to. If you have only ever worked in an office - consider something totally different - your local garden centre or home for the elderly or whatever ... Anything different will look really good on your CV when you are in a position to go back to paid work. Good luck. I wish you well.
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