Volunteer work can be rewarding and challenging. Discover the highs and lows of giving back to the community.

Defiant Babysitter: Navigating Family Rules and Freedom
Volunteer work

In our family gatherings, it's almost a given that I, an 18-year-old female, will end up supervising my nieces and nephews. It’s become an unspoken rule because my older siblings took care of me when I was younger, and now I'm supposed to return the favor.

I actually enjoy spending time with them—they’re a bunch of well-mannered kids when they're with me, mostly because I made it clear early on that I wasn't someone to be trifled with. When it comes to laying down the law, I'm pretty straightforward.

As far as babysitting rules go, I’m pretty lax. Some might say too lax, but my philosophy is simple: I ensure they're safe and happy, but I'm not about to enforce a mile-long list of do's and don'ts. For instance, if a parent insists on a vegan diet, they need to provide the food because otherwise, it’s going to be pizza or something equally non-vegan. And as for screen time, unless specific media is provided, my go-to might be anything from mainstream animated movies to popular kids’ shows.

My parents have tried to impress upon me the importance of sticking to the guidelines they or my siblings set, but my stance remains firm: why should I? What’s really at stake for me? If they decide to withhold babysitting privileges, that’d be a relief rather than a punishment!

We’re currently enjoying time in Jasper, where the weather's been scorching. To cool off, I took the kids cliff jumping at Horseshoe Lake, which they absolutely loved, despite returning home soaking wet and covered in dirt. This led to a chorus of complaints about my babysitting methods, to which I humorously offered a "full refund" of my free services before heading out to grab a beer with some new friends from the lake.

Financially, I’m set up pretty well. I earned a full scholarship for college and I received a small inheritance when I turned 18. It’s grown significantly over the years thanks to compound interest since it started accumulating when I was just three. Unlike my siblings, who received similar inheritances but haven’t seen the same growth, I don’t need to rely on financial support from my family. This independence also means their leverage over me is pretty limited.

My family views my attitude as entitlement, but I see it as self-respect, especially since I’m not being compensated for my time. I’m more than happy to respect any rule, as long as I’m paid appropriately to do so.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like if my family dynamics were broadcast on a reality TV show. Would the audience side with me for asserting my independence and standing my ground, or would they view me as the rebellious, ungrateful youngster refusing to respect my elders’ and parents’ wishes?

Panic Attack While Volunteering: Was Leaving Okay?
Volunteer work

Not too long ago, I started volunteering at a nearby community hub that's typically frequented by seniors for bingo nights, a fact I know because my mom is the head organizer. What I didn’t realize until recently was that the same space doubles as a center for teenagers during the day.

Finding myself surrounded by hordes of adolescents aged between 13 and 17, I felt immediate anxiety creeping in. The staff welcomed me warmly, though, showing me around before assigning me to a small, busy room upstairs filled with games like pool, air hockey, and various board games. Though the space felt cramped with about 20 to 30 teens present, the atmosphere was initially manageable.

However, things took a turn when my colleague, perhaps overestimating my confidence from earlier when I corralled the group during a noisy interruption, left me alone in the room. I reassured them, perhaps too boldly, "Yeah, I can handle it." That's when I was hit by what felt like an onset of an anxiety attack.

In one corner, a young girl seemed visibly distressed near a boy, while elsewhere, some boys got somewhat rowdy, though not violently. The booming music compounded the chaos, catalyzing what felt like a wave of panic washing over me. As soon as my colleague returned, I excused myself for a quick break, stepping outside to gather my composure. Still rattled, I slipped back in, grabbed my belongings, gave a quick wave to a staff member, and exited through the back door, leaving the scene to return home.

Upon sharing the ordeal with my mom, she concluded that I had suffered a panic attack, a diagnosis that my frantic Google search later confirmed. It left me wondering if I was wrong to leave without notifying anyone fully about my state.

Imagining how this situation might have played out had it occurred in a reality show adds another layer of drama. Reality TV thrives on heightened emotional responses and unexpected events. Viewers might have sympathized with my overwhelmed state or criticized my abrupt departure. The editing might even spin the scenario to highlight the chaos, using it as a pivotal moment to enhance the narrative tension of the episode.

Am I a jerk for sneaking out without proper notice?

Discussion with ex about volunteering
Volunteer work

A couple of months back, I had a conversation with my former partner, Dave, about getting involved in charity work. To his astonishment, I confessed that I had never participated in any voluntary services. I believe in being transparent and maintaining open lines of communication, so I openly admitted that the idea of volunteering just doesn't appeal to me.

Although I wouldn’t mind supporting a charity financially, my current budget makes that tough. Dave suggested that I try volunteering instead. Once again, I expressed my lack of interest, which led us into a heated argument about whether donations or on-the-ground volunteering were more impactful. I think both hold significant value, yet he found it contradictory that I wouldn’t volunteer. Despite my efforts to keep the discussion respectful, it was clear that he was frustrated by my stance. I understand his frustration.

As for my indifference towards volunteering, I’m really not sure why I feel this way. I certainly don't think I'm lacking empathy or that I might be a sociopath; I just don’t find myself drawn to it. This issue has been weighing on my mind recently.

So, am I wrong for not wanting to volunteer?

Imagine if this was brought up in a reality show setting, how would the audience react? Seeing personal confessions unfold live can intensify reactions. Maybe they'd sympathize with my honesty or maybe they'd villainize me for not conforming to the expected norm of volunteerism. Reactions could swing widely from support to severe criticism, depending on how the dialogue is framed and who's watching.

Is it bad I don't want to volunteer?

Wrestling with Motives: Volunteering to Boost My Resume
Volunteer work

Job opportunities had been slipping away from me recently, making it nearly impossible to secure a position due to the expanding void on my CV. To bridge this hiatus, I've started volunteering at a regional nonprofit organization.

Does this make me a bad individual because my motives aren't completely selfless? I mean, I'm trying to patch up my resume and keep my skills sharp too.

I wonder what would happen if this whole scenario unfolded on a reality TV show. Would the audience judge me for leveraging volunteer work to enhance my job prospects? Or would they support my approach to keeping active and contributing to society in whatever way I can, even if part of the reason is self-serving? It’s strange to think about how perspectives might shift under the spotlight of public scrutiny.

Am I Wrong for Not Helping My Wife with Her Volunteer Work?
Volunteer work

My wife is currently a teaching assistant for 7th grade while she's in college, aiming to become a full-time teacher. During summer, she enjoys volunteering at a camp for special needs students, which has never been an issue as our schedules matched. However, with COVID, I'm now working from home on different hours, and the camp is short on counselors. Lately, she's been asking me to help out in the mornings before my work starts, but I've been saying no because I prefer to relax before my job as a web designer.

This morning, after she asked again, we ended up in a heated argument. I told her that her volunteer "work" doesn't count as real work since she's not getting paid, and I'm the one bringing in money. I don't want to waste my energy on something that doesn't benefit us financially, especially when we have bills to pay.

She texted me saying she's disgusted with my behavior and plans to stay with another counselor at the camp for a few nights to think things over. Am I wrong here?

Imagine if this whole thing was on a reality show, how do you think people would react? Would they see my point or side with her?