Tuesday, May 25, 2010

what happened to my online job at that cool good-will movement about giving? (this post is so damn LONG!)

I was pretty involved in the giving movement at a particular good-will site for, well... almost 2 years. Originally I was just a member, then a volunteer who helped moderate the site, and eventually the founder asked me to become the community manager, and put me on the payroll. That position actually spun off into a Virtual Assistant position, and it also netted me other clients, for whom I filled various roles. It was pretty lucrative for a while, but in the back of my mind, I knew that all of my other online work was a spin off of (and somewhat dependent on) my involvement with the site and its founder.

That was cool, the site founder and I became pretty damn close, and the movement was one I believed in whole-heartedly, and practiced daily without fail. It worked - not just for me but for, well, roughly 11,000 people now. Never once did my faith in the philosophy ever waver.

But in the course of my involvement 'behind the scenes' I became uncomfortable. Seemed to me that profiting from it tainted the base concept, and twisted my motivation for being/remaining involved. I was doing things that (while not at all illegal or dishonest) made my inner voice scream, "This is all wrong!"

I was doing it wrong. The movement is totally legit, but my involvement became more and more about monetary gain. Don't get me wrong, whenever you give, you WILL receive, but I don't believe that you should give *just to* receive, and I was. I was remaining involved so I'd keep receiving that monthly pay check. I remained involved because I felt that if I was no longer at/with the site, I'd lose my other clients, and an entire line of income. And it was the biggest part of my income for many many months, hell, for a while it was my ONLY income. But my income relied on doing things I wasn't comfortable doing. Things I didn't *actually* know how to do, or... things that for reasons too complicated to explain here, just weren't me, and didn't fit into my personal philosophy. Things that, like I said, made me feel like my motivation was twisted, made me feel greedy, which flew in the face of my original reason for becoming involved.

I stayed emotionally drained, stressed out, anxious. It just didn't feel good anymore, and I had to weigh my prospects. Was it worth losing $1000+ a month or so (when you add up all the income I was receiving due to my continued involvement) to stay true to my self and my beliefs as to what was right for me personally.

Yes. Yes it was. Being true to myself and following my own heart about what was right for me is worth more than any amount of money. So I quit.

Don't get me wrong, it was hard. H-A-R-D!!! I was shooting myself (and possibly my family too) in the foot financially in the big picture, as well as walking away from someone I loved dearly. But I *had to* walk away, because she had her own interests to look out for, and despite how much we cared about each other and the cause, we just weren't on the same page anymore - and her personality is just stronger than mine, and I knew she'd talk me into staying, or coming back again.

I had to cut the strings and walk away... mostly without so much as an explanation.

But here's the thing. I miss the movement. I walked away and STOPPED PRACTICING THE PHILOSOPHY. So not fair - the movement is WONDERFUL, and it brought SO MUCH joy and gratitude into my life. It improved my attitude, my outlook on life. It made me a happier person with a more fulfilled spirit.

So I'm no longer involved with the actual official site anymore, but by g-d I'm recommitting to the practice, and started last night, by donating $10 to a charity cause a friend is supporting.

Feels good to re-start. And thank goodness, it feels good again, and maybe I can give myself the opportunity to redeem myself in my own eyes.

1 comment:

  1. E, the thing I love most about you is that you alway and unwaveringly stay true to yourself. That is so much more important than any movement or paycheck. Just yesterday I looked to your philosophy for strenght when faced with a tough decision-- do something that completely goes against every bit of my own moral fiber, or risk losing my job. I opted to stand up for myself and my sense of right and wrong, despite the fact that I NEED that paycheck. I can't earn a living by screwing someone else and live with myself, but historically I've done just that because I haven't found the strength to stand up for myself. Thank you for the inspiration in that regard. You can still practice giving and gratitude without your afiliation.