Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Volunteer Addiction?

Been away, back now. Sorry. Life sometimes hits like a ton of not-so-proverbial bricks.

I volunteered at a food pantry yesterday instead of sitting at a desk all day hating the words "work" and "order". (Job related stress seeping into the happy hatch.)

Anyway, the company I work for, an awesome company by my measure, offers all employees the opportunity to spend two blissful days a year working for a charity. I have had the good fortune to work with Habitat for Humanity and Heat Up St. Louis! Yesterday, I worked at the Food Bank.

Good karma for me. Good karma for the company. That's a win-win.

This is a really cool company policy for other than good karma reasons. First, you get to do something that you know is going to help. And that offers a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. For instance, I know that my teammate, Mar and I can haul drywall for a grateful future homeowner fast enough to make the big construction dudes raise their eyebrows. I know I can perform like a circus barker in front of eager football fans heading for a game and actually convince them to part with twenty-dollar bills to help pay heating bills. And, along with 15 co-workers, I can help feed more than 6,000 people in one day.

Secondly, you get an opportunity to get to know people from other departments, people you know only from the hallways. Wow, I work with some incredible folks. It is amazing to see a large group of people put some elbow grease into it, as my mother would say. We don't know each other, but suddenly we are a rock solid team. We'll do what it takes and we'll make it happen. I feel like the Rosie the Riveter, "We can do it!"

Thirdly, you get one day away from whatever it is that is pushing you to reach for the phone to call in sick because you need a bloody break. Amen.

The crazy thing about these volunteer days is that they get me so pumped up that I forget my limits. I forget that I ever had limits. I sleep like a kid that swam all day and wake up grateful to be able to help.

It could be an addiction, I tell ya.