Last year I volunteered for a wonderful nonprofit organization. Little by little, I got more responsibility until it seems like I am doing more work than I can possibly handle. But if I don't do it, it doesn't get done and the people we serve suffer. I'm torn between feeling that I'm doing something worthwhile and feeling like I'm being taken advantage of. How do I fix this?
We've been there. The issue really is no different than for-profit work -- finding the balance between productivity and "the rest of life" -- but somehow the lessons learned don't transfer as easily as one might expect. Perhaps because in not-for-profit there are fewer responsible folk to hand off to. Or perhaps it's because we mistakenly think that we are the only person who can or will do the work. But try to remember that no one is doing this to you. Set your boundaries and communicate them cheerfully. People rarely thank a martyr.
Dear Short Answers:
My senior director at work (to whom I report) is intelligent, personable and well-respected. She often employs an incorrect word when speaking at meetings. For instance, when it is clear she means to say "semantics" she says "schematics," which are clearly different. She also says "Orientals" instead of "Asians." I'm looking for advice on the proper way to offer private feedback without creating any embarrassment for her. She would probably do the same for someone else.
-- About the Boss
Your intentions are good and that will be apparent. Find a moment to say "Hey, I think you were out of the office when they declared 'Oriental' politically incorrect -- now we are supposed to say "Asian." And see how that goes. Perhaps share your own moment of incorrectness, for example: "I said 'sex' for years until someone told me the correct term is 'gender.'" Wait for another time for the semantics/schematics thing -- "don't you mean semantics?-- it's no big deal."
Dear Short Answers:
My wife constantly asks me if she looks fat She is a little fat. What should I say?
Just say "no." This is not a request for constructive commentary.
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