Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dealing with Volunteers...It's a Tough Business!

"It's a tough business requiring ridiculous amounts of
resistance to self doubt and a skin made of Teflon."

Today's post will be more on the philosophical side (as opposed to pragmatic, how-to advice). The above observation surely applies (at times) to the association management profession and the challenges of dealing with volunteers. However, it came to me as encouragement from a successful author, not from an association colleague.

You see, in addition to being a consultant, I am also an aspiring author. My first manuscript has already been rejected by more than 150 literary agents. OUCH! This rejection rate is typical. It is also daunting, demoralizing and even heartbreaking. 

What should I do? Foolishly, perhaps, I just finished my second manuscript. Guess what? This means more rejections, lots of them. Each rejection hurts. But that's just the way of the publishing business; you gotta keep going! 

It does seem ridiculous for even as I write this blog post, I am planning my third novel!!!

I am sharing this experience because I see a number of parallels between the travails of dealing with literary agents and dealing with volunteers. It is just the nature of the business: it is hard to be appreciated and to feel valued for your effort. No matter how well you do, there will always be criticism. If you happen to catch an agent on a bad day, you can be rejected solely based on his mood. Likewise, volunteers get moody and, well, you get the picture.

The Bottom-Line: It's often tough going. Sometimes it ain't pretty. But when it comes to dealing with volunteers, hang in there. And when you're having a bad moment, just try to imagine my in-box filled with countless rejection letters from all those unappreciative literary agents. 

Until next time...onwards!

Related article:  Finding the Confidence to Deal with Volunteers

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