Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's 4 AM and my head is spinning

I haven't done this in months. It's 4 AM and I can't go back to sleep. My head is spinning with all of the things I'm trying to keep track of, so here I am talking to you. I used to do this a lot when I was working a stressful job. The wee hours of the morning (of in the shower) seemed to be times when suddenly an idea could work through the usual clamor in my head. If I got up, jotted it all down and then went back to bed I could sleep.

I am beyond frustrated with people who resign from community boards when they hit a rough patch. I've seen it happen repeatedly. Someone goes on a board thinking it is going to be an easy gig - just an hour a month. You get your name on the letterhead and a cool name badge and get to be associated with a good cause.

Then something not fun happens. The money dries up. There is a media issue, a personnel issue, a leadership change. Embezzlement. Something yucky and not fun to deal with. Suddenly there are more meetings, more responsibilities and they are all about things you don't want to deal with. This isn't what you signed on for, so you quit (leaving the rest of the group to take on more!)

I understand the why. People go on a board because they want to make a difference. They want to help prevent child abuse, or save animals, or feed the hungry. They didn't know about the yucky stuff that can be hiding behind the scenes.

I've seen boards turn over as many as half the members when times get tough. It's too bad really. Out of the yucky times can come some amazing new energy and growth for an organization. It can be an opportunity to create and come away stronger.

Unfortunately, I'm in the middle of a shrinking board with a huge community event coming up. The chair just resigned and volunteered guess who to co-chair. Thankfully those who are left are giving this their all and we will get it done.

I need you to help keep me focused on that. I think I've been hanging around some of you for too long. When I get frustrated and overwhelmed my normally politically correct public persona says things she shouldn't. And then I'm laying awake at 4 AM wondering how to fix that verbal oops :-)

Thank you for listening. I'm now going back to bed for another restful 1/2 hour before the alarm goes off. Don't you just love mornings?


Roxie said...

Your politically correct public persona needs to take a break now and then. Nobody dies, do they? Well then, it's fixable.
I have found that profound groveling apology is the best way to fix a faux pas. No excuses. Immediate admission of full culpability, acknowledgement of the injured person's right to be angry, offers to make it better, and promises never to do it again.

Ann said...

I think Roxie has the right idea. The committee I'm currently chairing has had many of the problems you mention--including me saying something dumb--and my policy is always to try to nip the drama in the bud. Drama is counterproductive, so a big ol' mea culpa might be called for. Good luck!

Amy Lane said...

Wow-- that IS stressful. I think you need 4 am projects--you know, simple stuff you can do when work keeps you up. You work on it for 1/2 an hour, feel a sense of accomplishment, and then you can go back to sleep.

I am not politically correct--I would have snapped and then snapped off noses already. It takes REALLY strong people to do what you do.