Volunteer Sabbatical! Give-Away! The Art of Persuasion! All in Chaos Chronicles Podcast 513

by Lian on May 10, 2012

Say it with me: Volunteer Sabbatical. I made the decision in March, but only this week did I feel the enormity of my actions. Right there in the frozen foods aisle of Smart & Final when I couldn’t find the frozen meatballs I’d been planning on passing off as my own for the International Heritage Day Picnic,  I knew I was done. Toasted. Burnt out after years of raising my hand to say, “Yes, I’ll do that/bring that/run that.”  The lack of meatballs was a metaphor for something, but I couldn’t figure out what because I was too spent. The time to walk away had come and I’d already take the first major step.

Volunteer Sabbatical, here I come.

After a year(s) of outside commitments at two schools and my college, I decide to step away from all binding volunteer activities starting in June. When I said my first “no” in March to remaining on the PTA board at my son’s high school, I felt an enormous weight lifted from my shoulders . It was such a life-affirming feeling, I thought I should take a deeper look inside at what all my various volunteers commitments has wrought.  The hours weren’t huge and I did love the sense of camaraderie with the other volunteers, but I had lost my zeal. Even 3 or 4 hours a week was starting to bring me down when I paired it with work, home, family time and a growing need to be a caregiver. With a son applying to college in the fall and a father entering the final stages of Alzheimer’s, the upcoming year looked like the perfect time to take care of family first. Like a tenured professor who needed recharging, I cooked up the concept of a Volunteer Sabbatical– a year off with the promise to come back renewed and refreshed.

Do I feel guilty? Not a bit. Someone will step in, they always do.  And when I’m ready, I ‘ll start raising my hand again and putting my name on the list. But count me out from June 15, 2012 to June 15th , 2013. I’m counting the days until my last commitment is completed. Volunteer Short-timers, I guess.

Hear the full story on this week’s podcast Chaos Chronicles 513. Like the concept? Let you friends know about the Chaos Chronicles Podcast at Stitcher Radio and iTunes.

Also on the show this week:

Lian reaches her breaking point and declares a Volunteer Sabbatical!

Communication News: How to get what you want; Smartphone tech for home use; and we like twitter more than what?

Plus, Mothers Day Give-away and  To Do List

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Bek_Mac May 13, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Love this idea, Lian! Best wishes to you during your Volunteer Sabbatical. May it be everything you dreamed of! Thank you for another entertaining podcast!

William J. May 13, 2012 at 6:33 AM

Loved the podcast and laughed out loud when someone said they would pray for you as you go to the dentist!

Happy birthday to your Mom. May it be as special as she is.

And Happy Mothers’ Day to your Mom, you, Sheila, Julie and all the Moms in the Chaos Crew. You all have made the world a better place. You have stood next to us when we needed a friend, behind us when we needed a shove, and ahead of us when we needed direction.


Joan May 12, 2012 at 8:33 AM

I, too, took a volunteer sabatical when I became a caregiver to my Mom after she developed dementia. It was the best decision I made–it was difficult enough taking care of a parent, being a parent and being a working mom. I never regretted being able to help my mother when she needed me. The one thing that I really did miss was the interaction with other parents. Listening in the car to your podcast and the Satellite Sisters podcast helped fill a void during that time as I had less time for social interaction. The podcasts made me feel as if I was part of a conversation with my neighbors. Keep up the great work and know that you and your family are in my prayers!

pat in o.c. May 12, 2012 at 5:57 AM

Just attending all the events involving your sons, their schools, the sports, the special events & days, the carnivals, etc. is a major commitment! That’s a full calendar 12 months a year.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Susan in Iowa May 11, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Lian – I hear you…I had two major volunteer commitments this year along with smaller projects and assignments here and there – I always feel “spent” in the weeks following. Why is volunteering so exhausting and energy zapping? A “Volunteer Sabbatical” is a wonderful, liberating concept! Happy Friday!

Annie Goodrich May 10, 2012 at 8:54 PM

Love the sabbatical idea! I’ve been room parent at my boys’ school for three years and last week, I finally told the teacher I won’t be signing back up again. You’re right, someone will step in, and the next time I volunteer, I’ll be refreshed and ready with great new ideas. Thanks for the confirmation.

CLSD OPEN May 10, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Amen, Lian!! I have gotten way better at saying no to volunteer assignments—and it’s very liberating, isn’t it? Unlike you, despite my glee at saying no, sometimes I still feel a little guilty. Gotta work on that. But in the end, when the event to which I said no rolls around, I can tell you that it’s a HUGE *sigh* of relief that I breathe…while really feeling for those who couldn’t or didn’t say no! :)

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