Pro Bono Projects & Ego

January 2, 2024

From time to time, you may get asked to help out on voluntary projects, some thing I have been involved on quite a few occasions over the past 20 years.

It started off with helping out at a local cat rescue organisation which comprised 8 self contained units with the ability to assemble extra crates when there was an influx of kittens. My daughter and I did this for about 3 years, at least three times a week, including over holiday periods, easy to do when you both love animals. And somehow we managed to resist adopting any, although we did come close at times… !

The pro bono roles we take on in business tend to come from networking with others and either being invited to join committees or volunteering to do so. I’ve done several of these over the past ten years and have experienced “the good, the bad and the ugly”

It’s was a pleasure to be asked to take on the role of branch secretary for the FSB in Cheshire; I organised local meetings with guest speakers on a wide variety of topics which we felt would be of interest to our local members and also attended quarterly meetings in Liverpool with other branch members. This role migrated onto being an Area Lead for over three years and participating on other regional and local government groups. It was fun meeting new people and I know that over the Covid period, attending zoom meetings and connecting with others meant a lot to many.

Some groups start up with a lot of motivation and quite a few sadly die out, mainly due to pressures of life and work. We all have good intentions, but I do feel that unless you have enough people there with good intentions, things seem to stagnate or just lose the initial impetus which people can misinterpret as loss of interest.

Other groups sadly seem to deviate from their original good aims when monopolised by people who appear to be primarily motivated by their need to be seen as “leader” of the pack. These people hate to be challenged, don’t like anyone who they see as popular or, god forbid, more good looking than they are succeed. They love surrounding themselves with “yes men”, and will actively go against anyone who they see as more popular, intelligent or handsome/attractive.

If you ever come across people like this in an organisation in which you are volunteering, the best thing to do is walk away as fast as you can. Let them rule their little kingdoms safe in the knowledge that it will eventually crumble because real people see through this.  It’s no point staying on to fight for what you know is right; their yes men will make sure your voice is not heard and you will only end up getting frustrated and stressed.

People like this will rarely change and it’s not your job to help them see the error of their ways!

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