Thursday, 28 March 2013

Trialing times!

As I said a couple of days ago, today I had a couple hours trial in a charity shop to see if I liked it. My reasons for finding some other voluntary work are to get me out of the house from time to time and engage with other people. The problem with being a carer are that isolation can easily set in. I do have my work with Samaritans but there is a limit to how much of this you can do because it is mentally hard work.

Off I went this afternoon in the expectation that I would be shown around the shop, the back and would do a few things to see if I liked it. The reality was much different. I was let in the back and taken upstairs to the assistant manager. She was a very pleasant young lady and I was shown to a table and then expected to help sorting out the bags that had been brought into the shop or collected by their van.

It quickly became clear that everyone in the back had their defined roles. I felt like a spare part to start with although one of the existing staff finished for the day and I was then left with another quite new volunteer. I at least managed to find some conversation with her but no one else in the room seemed to want to engage and seemed happy in their little cliques. 

There was also an issue with conflicting instructions and this is something I found hard to accept in paid employment, so as a volunteer this was never going to work. After two hours of pretty mundane sorting, I got my things together and prepared to say goodbye.

The question of "would I be coming back" was put to me. I quickly decided that honesty was important here and I say no. I explained that I would not want to do what I did all the time and was assured that staff were rotated, but my suspicions were that this was not the case - everyone seemed very comfortable in their own little places. 

I was quite disappointed all round with today. No attempt was made to try to make the job appealing to me. I am not against doing donkey work even voluntarily, but I want to enjoy it and the environment wasn't appealing. I expected a certain camaraderie, but there was very little of that and resembled more of a production line at a factory.

This is now the third failure at trying to secure work in a charity shop. The first never contacted me after I dropped in a form, the second had no opportunities and now this one. I still have some more to try but it is starting to get a little disheartening.

To add insult to injury, I had some silly teenage kid (probably 18-19 because he was had a car) shout across the street at me, "that's a man". I had observed him kissing a young school girl (certainly not of legal age) prior to this and was sorely tempted to throw a comment about that back. I am trying to move away from confrontation and common sense won this time.


  1. Lucy,

    What a thoroughly disheartening day, and well short of what you deserve. I know from experience that volunteers are often not given enough encouragement with the resulting high turnover. It's often down to the management of such places and I'd guess that it was sorely lacking here.

    Keep going girl, you'll find somewhere more deserving of you.

    Susan XXX

    1. Thanks Susan. I guess I have the feeling at the moment that perhaps it's a failing on my part. I stood there for two hours thinking how boring and uninteresting it all was. Whilst volunteering is about contributing, there also needs to be something in return for doing this even if it's just some sense of achievement but there was none of this.