Friday, January 6, 2012
PIRATES DON'T WORK OR VOLUNTEER!!!
Well, this pirate has actually done both, work for pay and piles of volunteer work. As with many people, my first paying job was when I was 16 and I was a library messenger at the Providence Public Library downtown. Because I was working for a nonprofit they could pay under minimum wage at the time, lucky me. (So I was sort of volunteering). My paid jobs have gone from library messenger, secretary, medical transcriptionist, attorney, and now, sometimes I get paid for writing.
However, some of my most interesting and fun work has been volunteer work. At 14, I was a candy striper (not the stripper you might expect from a pirate) at a local hospital. I worked in the pharmacy which was fun and made me want to be a pharmacist until I took chemistry and realized that wasn't going to happen. I came from a family that embraced volunteerism, my mother eventually becoming President of the Rhode Island YWCA. My parents took in refugees from Europe in the 1950s and did many other things pro bono, that's "attorneyspeak" for free. This stuck with me.
While I always needed to have a paying job, I spent many interesting hours knitting hats and making meatballs for school bazaars; running fundraisers; and even was a Girl Scout Brownie leader for a year (pirates do not make good Brownie leaders!). In this period of my life with a newborn, a 5 year old and a husband overseas, I met many good friends through this "work".
This blog is not about a pirate turned good person, (that never happened, still a pirate) but it is rather about the fact that some of the most fascinating work and people can be found in the volunteer sector. As an attorney, I did my pro bono through the bar association and elderly affairs being a guardian for people whose families were either living off them or disappeared. I enjoyed helping these folks through probate court. I also loved working with Lawyers in the Arts helping artists and creative folks with intellectual property issues. Once again I benefited the more than the clients from this work by meeting some great people and entering lives I would not have otherwise seen.
Today, too crazy to be a lawyer any more and trying to make some money writing, i.e. retirement to some, I am back at the library. This time as a volunteer, shelving books and meeting people in our very diverse local branch. This is excellent exercise and a great way to find books you might not have thought to take out, but the pay is even lower the before, just plain 0, but the world opened by volunteering is "priceless". Or in pirate terms, that's something with ARRH booty!