Last weekend Elli's school had their big yearly fundraiser - a fair with food, games, silent auction, raffles and sales. A week or so before the fair we got an email that said that the fair was desperately short on volunteers and that they needed huge numbers of people to sign up or parts of the fair would have to be cancelled entirely. I decided to volunteer for the entire day from 9 to 5. There are lots of small jobs that the school needs people to do but the majority of them require evening work or little responsibilities here and there and I have no interest in becoming involved in those; I would much rather just do a ton of work all at once. I also have absolutely no tendency to value clean jobs over dirty ones as I would be much happier cleaning up the trash than organizing the whole event since the pay is the same! I assumed that since the fair was in such dire need of people that I would be extremely busy for the day but that ended up not being the case at all and that lack of busyness ended up leaving me feeling pretty irritated.
When I arrived there was a ton of work to do to set up the fair and for the morning I was really busy. I cooked corn, carried things, made a last minute run to the store for supplies and generally was very busy and productive.
Once the actual fair started however they ran out of things for me to do. I was told to just hang around and do whatever... there was no more work. I got pretty irritated, which wasn't at all in line with the situation, but nonetheless it is what I felt.
Thing is, I don't mind at all working when it is productive and making things happen. Money doesn't have to be involved at all as long as what I am doing is something worth doing to my mind. What really gets under my skin though is doing nothing of use. Strangely this is true even though my default is really just killing monsters and taking their stuff. I could be smashing evil in some video game or other and getting twinky right now so if I am not doing that I had better be doing something of worth. I ended up working quite a bit after the fair ended taking things down and putting things away and such so I was pleased I stayed through to get that done but it was still a bit frustrating that I sat around cooling my heels for a few hours. Not to criticize the people organizing the affair - they are volunteers too and they hardly can be expected to micromanage everyone's time and expectations in running the event - but it didn't end up being what I had hoped.
This is something I experienced years ago when I was volunteering with other members of my family at Hymers Fall Fair. The fair has all kinds of things going on but once my work was done I wandered around the fairgrounds for a short bit with my friend The Athlete and we concluded at the same time that it was utterly boring to us. Working was fine but no longer could we enjoy the fair itself. Once the work was done we had no reason to be there anymore. I wonder how much this is true for other people? Once you volunteer for an event and have a hand in making it happen can you enjoy just hanging around at it anymore or is that spoiled forevermore? A similar sort of thing is certainly true in the business world as you don't often see people being demoted happily. Even if they have to take a lower position at a new company it is almost always preferable to being a peon where once you ruled on high. Heck, it might even be true of running guilds in video games like WOW. Once you have been in charge it is challenging to find fulfillment in just being one of the gang.