Sunday, September 13, 2009

Who's in charge?

So here’s the thing…

Whenever I’ve started a new job, I always seem to come in on some sort of crisis situation.

Naturally, no one lets on about this until I’m signed and committed to the position. During the interview it’s all peace and harmony and everyone is smiling.

When I was hired, the development director was also hired. Shortly after this everyone else with the company went on leave. Well, a lot of them anyway. My boss will be back next week.

Needless to say, it’s been a trial by fire. This weekend we found ourselves with 50 willing volunteers and no idea what was ready to be picked and no way of finding out. Fortunately, among the numbers were two Unitarian Universalists who volunteer regularly and they knew roughly what to do, making me love the Unitarian Universalist Church, even though for all I know they could worship cauliflower and advocate the eating of puppies (not, of course, the two UUs who helped me out – it couldn’t be…)*.

I guess I should explain that most of our volunteers come from churches, so we tend to refer to our groups by their denomination. I know enough about the various Christian sects to get me into trouble if I talk about it too much, but the Presbyterians get points with me for laughing when I took their picture and told them to “Smile and say ‘predestination’!”

Other than that, the job is pretty low-key, though I’m constantly forced to talk on the phone and in a perky voice at that; because we want our volunteers to know we’re ECSTATICALLY HAPPY to hear from them. And I am, actually, seeing as it’s my job to keep them happy and eager to come back and do more back-breaking field work for us. But it’s a little hard to muster that enthusiasm every freakin’ time that phone rings.

Oh, and by the way: I don’t want to talk about okra anymore, okay? We grow it, we send it to the food banks and that’s going to have to be the end of it. Please – please – when you see me, avoid listing the people you know who love okra and all the recipes you can think of that contain okra. This has the same effect on me as the guy in Forrest Gump listing all the dishes you can make with shrimp. I repeat: I do not want to have an okra conversation.

*I do know enough about the Unitarian Universalists to know they would find this funny.