As a sidebar, about a year ago, I started looking for a part-time job, realizing I shouldn’t let the potential of my mother needing me, keep me from doing what I wanted to do. Beginning mid-March of this year, I began working part-time for a horticultural non-profit. At the same time my own business ramped up just enough to find myself working full-time.
The non-profit position has been like herding slippery cats. There are 34 board and committee members, 32 of them being volunteers. The founder and president of the organization lets everyone have a say in order to keep them happy. I get this. She really, really needs them to continue to want to be part of the organization. She’s demanding. They receive no compensation. The only sweetener she can toss into this poor equation is to encompass everyone’s ideas; make them feel important.
As the general manager I am tasked with running this outfit as determined by the ever-changing mind of the well meaning board. Give me a project and I will efficiently, elegantly, and economically attend to executing it. As a matter of fact, it’s best you stay out of my way while I get your project done less you slow me down. The manner in which this non-profit runs (everyone gets a say) makes it impossible to complete anything other than rote tasks without the input of at least two people, often times more. Even rote tasks are now getting held up as the class schedule for next year hasn’t yet been set by the Education Committee.
The straw the broke my back was when the founder left town for a week in July. Payday fell in the middle of that week. When I called the other board member, who can sign checks, he too was out of town. My one employee then told me that our boss had told her it was ok to sign a check by writing a facsimile of the founder’s signature. To sum it up, our boss told one of her employees it was ok to commit forgery, which this employee did because she needed her paycheck. I opted to wait until our boss returned to town for a proper signature and a conversation. While my boss ‘fell on the sword’ and owned her screw-up, I know from experience, nothing is going to change. 2.5 months later, a third signor hasn’t been added to the account, for example.
3 weeks and 6 days is my last day! I couldn’t be more relieved to be out of there. One more staff meeting, one more board meeting, one more committee meeting… No more huge events. No more slippery cats.