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Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm Responsible for This

When you think of people on non-profit boards, you probably picture white women in their fifties wearing meaningless pendants, artistic eyeglasses, severely styled short gray hair, and perpetually thin lips. Maybe the odd homosexual in a pink Ralph Lauren shirt with a white collar and cuffs.

At thirty, although I own no pendants (meaningless or otherwise) and wear only moderately artistic eyeglasses, I sit on two non-profit boards. Unlike most people who sit on boards, I am not in it for the prestige or the ego-massages, I'm actually in it for the work.

Or so it would seem.

I am the president of one of the boards on which I sit, and I have singlehandedly created, stuffed and mailed a fundraising appeal, edited a public relations video, as well as write, edit, create, and disseminate the quarterly newsletter. For the other board, I am in the process of working on creating an advisory committee.

Being on boards isn't easy, and it isn't fun either. Clashing with people, or standing idly by whilst people clash with other people isn't really my thing. Then again, stuffing six hundred envelopes isn't really my thing, either, but, when you're on a board, you find yourself doing things that may not be your thing with great frequency. Like, going to meetings.

Going to meetings is definitely not my thing, and yet, I find myself doing it at least once a month. These meetings last for three hours, and, during any three-hour-long meeting, unless it is being run by a particularly funny clown or a masturbation-happy mermaid, even an emotionally stable board member will seriously ponder suicide at least every twenty minutes.

I would suggest waiting until around forty years of age to consider being on the board of directors for any organization, no matter how passionately you may feel about it. Unless you're the kind of person who is on a board so that your name appears on the organization's website, and you're somehow always busy whenever a meeting rolls around. The idea of being affiliated with a board in name only is something that never occured to me, and I'm just not the type of person who would do that.

At least, I wasn't, before I realized how much work was actually involved in being on a board, if you're young and stupid enough to actually do the work.

And that ain't no crazy mermaid talk.

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