Helping an independent cuss- 8/17/15

For almost as long as I can remember, I’ve liked my independence. As a child, I astounded my parents and cousins when I walked five and a half miles to a cousin’s house. In retrospect, I’m surprised I didn’t get lost, but that’s a different topic, for another day.

As an undergraduate, I majored in Mathematics, in large part because it would allow me to complete my degree in three years, and I was eager to support myself.

In my 32 years of employment, I was an individual contributor, and though I worked well with a team of peers, my favorite bosses were those who left me alone to do what I needed to do.

Now, here I am leading a non-profit, and I’m in the lucky position that I’m starting to get asked “What can I do to help?” My initial reaction, like when I’m trying to open a door while carrying a stack of plates and four glasses, tends to be “I’ve got it on my own.”

Fortunately, I know enough about the size of the problem and enough of the motivation of those offering to help that it would be foolish to refuse them. They key is finding the best match between the list of things to do and the skills & time being offered by the volunteer.

And to keep my “independent cuss” inclinations to myself.

It’s great to have a project people are motivated to help with. It’s great to have a good idea of tasks that will help us achieve our goals. And it’s great to be working with people near and far striving to make digital technology accessible to everyone.

I look forward to the next steps.

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