Paperwork Is Too Much Work

, , , , , , | Working | March 25, 2020

(I am a volunteer working directly with the Administrative Manager of Volunteer Services for a non-profit. One of the things I have to do is double-check that every prospective volunteer’s paperwork is completed before they are activated. I come across one file that is… special. It is marked, “Rejected: Not a Good Fit,” by the assistant manager. Curious to see why the file was rejected — and to make sure the appropriate notes were made as to why this volunteer was rejected — I open the file and am soon reading it out loud to my manager. This is a summary of printed emails between the prospective volunteer and the assistant administrative manager:)

Administrative Manager: “[Prospective Volunteer], just about everything is ready except for your references. You didn’t fill out the form.”

Prospective Volunteer: “Oh, it’s [Reference #1], [Address #1], and [Reference #2], [Address #2].”

Administrative Manager: “[Prospective Volunteer], we sent out the surveys and both came back as not residing in those locations. We need their current addresses to send the surveys to.”

Prospective Volunteer: “Okay, well, here are their phone numbers. Just call them up and ask for their new locations. [Phone numbers].”

Administrative Manager: “[Prospective Volunteer], as they are your references, you need to contact them yourself and get their information. Their current information is supposed to be on the form we gave you to fill out.”

Prospective Volunteer: “I already sent you their phone number, so you can just call them for the relevant information. Thanks.”

Administrative Manager: “[Prospective Volunteer], it is not our responsibility to fill out your paperwork for you. It is yours. If you do not supply us with the information, we cannot activate you as a volunteer.”

Prospective Volunteer: “Well, I sent you their phone numbers, and it should only take a quick phone call, so I don’t know what the problem is. I’m doing you a favor by trying to volunteer my time to your charity. I even did you the favor of calling them and telling them to expect a phone call from you soon.”

Administrative Manager: “[Prospective Volunteer], that is not how this works. We require you to fill out all of the paperwork yourself. Since you are refusing to do the minimum work required, we will not be needing your assistance with our charity. I will be deactivating your file.”

Me: *to manager* “Soooo, this volunteer literally called them to tell them to expect a phone call from our office, but refused to ask for their addresses herself while actually on the phone with these people?”

Manager: *sighing* “I wish I could tell you this is the first time someone expected us to fill out their paperwork for them but… Well, welcome to my world.”

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The Film With No Name

, , , | Working | January 29, 2020

(I am deployed as a worker with a disaster response non-government organization to the site of a recent hurricane. Two of my fellow volunteers have stopped unloading trucks long enough to get some bottled water and sit down for a few minutes. Mind you, it’s day four of the emergency and everyone is exhausted from the extreme heat, humidity, and 14-hour workdays.)

Volunteer #1: *out of the blue* “Did you ever see that Clint Eastwood movie?”

Volunteer #2: “Which one?”

Volunteer #1: “That one where he was in the war.”

Volunteer #2: *after a pause* “I think you need to lie down for a bit.”

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It’s F****** Christmas!

, , , , , , , | Friendly | December 21, 2019

(My boyfriend and I are out in town, picking up some emergency items a few days before Christmas. There are charity volunteers all over the place collecting change.)

Volunteer: *singing loudly but in tune with a big smile on his face*

Random Woman: *as she passes him, yells* “Oh, shut the f*** up, would you?”

(I and two other passers-by react at almost the exact same time.)

Passer-By #1: “Oi! No need to be rude!”

Passer-By #2: “You shut the f*** up, love! It’s Christmas!”

Me: “Calm down, Mrs. Grinch!”

(We shared a laugh and a couple of people around popped a few coins in the guy’s bucket. Lady, I don’t know what your problem was, but don’t take it out on a guy volunteering to stand outside in freezing weather for hours to collect money for sick children!)

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Slapping Some Sense Into Them

, , , , , , | Working | September 17, 2019

(Before our shift starts, we always have a thirty-minute meeting to make any announcements and do training. I’m sitting in front of a coworker who I know pretty well, since we do both of our weekly volunteer days together. As the supervisor’s making an announcement, she slaps me on the back of the neck.)

Coworker: “What did he say?”

Me: “He just explained the changes they’re making to the schedule. He’s handing out the new schedule at the end of the meeting.”

(A minute later, she slaps me again.)

Coworker: “But if we have a new schedule, when will it go into effect?”

Me: “He just said next week. If you listen, you’ll find all of this out.”

(Another minute later, someone else mentions an upcoming event that we can mention to tourists. I get slapped a third time, this time so she can ask if tickets are still available for the event. All of this is information that she could get if she just stopped smacking me and listened to the announcements. After the meeting…)

Me: “If you have questions, ask the people making the announcements. I don’t like being smacked every time you’re not paying attention.”

(She looks suddenly very sympathetic.)

Coworker: “I forgot. You don’t like being touched.”

Me: “Touching is fine. Slapping me to get my attention isn’t.”

Coworker: “Because you’re autistic.”

Me: *baffled* “I’ve never been autistic, but if I were, why would that be the only reason that I don’t like being slapped?”

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Did Not Volunteer For This Treatment

, , , , , | Working | July 4, 2019

(I volunteer at a miniature science museum during summer break, which is characterized by its “Mess Kits,” little boxes with science experiments for children in them. Volunteers work at the Mess Kit Desk and provide information or kits to anyone who comes up to it. The owner is rather lenient when it comes to phone usage during lulls in activity. I’m 16 and quite obviously autistic, as I tend to stim in public. One of the paid workers has been on my back for several months, constantly berating my work, speaking to me in an extremely condescending tone, and telling me that the way I speak and treat people is very rude. She screeches at me for drawing, reading, or checking my phone no matter the situation and has nearly brought me to tears several times. My brother and another volunteer are working at the desk with me in this story. My brother notices the painful lull, takes out his phone, and sits in front of the desk. The other volunteer glances up and looks back down at her phone. I finish sweeping, which was the only other job available, and sit on the floor behind the two since there’s no other chairs up front. I’m there for not even a minute when the paid employee walks up to the front of the desk.)

Paid Employee: “[My Name]! You need to stay off your phone! We’ve discussed this. Do I need to take it away?”

(I gape, as my brother and the other volunteer are in her direct line of sight on their phones and she has to strain to see me specifically, clearly singling me out.)

Me: “B-but…”

Paid Employee: “You need to learn to follow directions!”

(My brother’s phone is a foot away from her face.)

Me: “I j-just swept…”

Paid Employee: “Then find something else to do!” *leaves without saying a word to the two volunteers directly in front of her*

(I barely make it to the bathroom before I start crying, inconsolable, and my mother picks me up. My brother backs up my story, so she urges me to draft an email to the owner explaining the rude and condescending treatment I’ve suffered thanks to [Paid Employee]. The owner apologizes, saying she will speak to the employee about her behavior, but also suggests I just work shifts the employee doesn’t take. I work up the nerve to return as a volunteer, and to my luck, I see the rude employee about halfway into my shift.)

Brother: “Look out!”

Paid Employee: *blanches as soon as she sees me, quickly looks away, and rushes to finish her task!*

(She avoids me as much as I avoid her, now. I guess she really didn’t expect anyone to report her discrimination!)

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