Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Where do I fit in?

I was very recently critique by a good friend. She is all aware of my recent impatience and irritation with a civic organization I once belonged to (and she still maintains affiliation). She said that I can't be both super critical and non-participatory. It just isn't right and frankly doesn't my personality. I don't play the side lines well. I like to be involved, feel useful, the whole nine yards. My impatience of the the organization is based on what I interpret to be a whole lotta mis-communication, mis-interpretation, mission drift, and some serious weak infrastructure. Now, as a scientist I need structure. If it isn't provided, I will create it.

Interestingly, we both agree on many of things.
1. We both agree with and subscribe to the mission and objective of this organization. If you're curious about it, click here. It's a fantastic sounding organization. Great ideas, good people, etc.

2. Not all participants in this organization (individuals, chapters, and overseers, etc) are fully aware of the organization's purpose, history, mission, goals, etc. I would apply this strong critique to the officers of the organization as well. When asked individually, you get a broad range of answers. They're not off the mark, they usually get in the neighborhood or focus on one plank and describe the spirit/intentions of the organization, but nothing consistent.

3. The local organization has really poor professional diversity. It is professionally and intellectually homogeneous. Most everyone is in the same field (entrepreneurs/business owners/corporate commission types) They mostly think the same. They see the goal and work of the organization the same. There is very little (if any) critical evaluation of plans, goals, etc. The ability to discern which tasks the organization should pursue is non-existent. I'm amazed, because these are some well-educated people.

4. The general membership is poorly engaged and the turnover rate of members is embarrassing. It's to build, let alone maintain momentum in a volunteer organization if you can't keep people on board. Plus, old officers almost never stick around. (She's the only old officer, still on board). Plus, the average general member is anonymous and seem complacent to stay that way.

5. The overseeing organization is way off the mark. It offers absolutely no support to the organization in question. (It is a senior-junior organization relationship.) The main purpose of the senior organization is the mentor and prepare members of the junior organization to become leaders in society and in the senior organization. Furthermore it should be actively mentoring and guiding the junior organization in organizing its goals, tasks, and professional development and recruitment strategies. But it's not happening. But the senior organization has been very clear about the junior organization meeting financial benchmarks - raise money for papa bear. Crazy

So, where do I fit in? How can someone, like me, who cares about social & individual responsibility, education, diversity, self-determination, human & civic rights, eliminating poverty and discrimination find a place to serve in an organization like this? But she's right. I can't criticize from the sidelines and offer nothing to the solution. But I'm too frustrated to deal with that mess as it is now. I've got to find other organizations to share my talents (and loud mouth opinions) with.

Wish me luck. Wish them luck, too. We all need it.

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