Volunteerism and Service
As we all continue to recover from shortages we have lived through recently, including shortages in our products – heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration equipment – in vehicles, lumber, copper, PVC, flex duct, toilet paper, baby formula, or you name it, it might seem reasonable to develop a sense of pessimism or even helplessness due an apparent lack of control over our lives.
It would be easy to fall into the trap of worrying about what we will be lacking next due to the many things over which we have no control. I propose that we, our families, our coworkers, our employees, and even our dog might be better off if we focus on the things we do have control over. One of these is how we spend our time.
We dream of being in control. Even our sports team names reflect this desire. Raiders, Pirates, Senators, Cowboys, Chiefs, Commanders, Mavericks, Bulls, Titans, and Rangers signify strength and control. Still, there also exists another called the Volunteers that has perplexed me. What were they thinking? Let’s
Did you know that most elected officials across the country are unpaid volunteers? Yes, that is true. Back in my mayor days, I recall a few times that people said, “I pay your salary.” However, they were misinformed because I received no salary, and serving the small town cost me, my business, and my family a lot in expenses and time. That was more than 20 years ago, but there are still significant remnants around town, clearly showing how my decisions and efforts improved the town, and these signs give me a strong sense of satisfaction.
Across the country, there are unpaid volunteers, including mayors, city council members, school board members, PTA officers, civic club members, children’s sports coaches, arts patrons, disaster assistance volunteers, and many others who help make life better for everyone. We could not afford to pay these people, and even if we could, this would turn their volunteering into a job.
But these people who volunteer may be better off due to living longer lives, having more satisfaction, and experiencing other benefits than those who don’t. And yes, I should probably squeeze in a statement that many areas in ACCA and our allied contracting organizations could use more volunteers.
Evidence exists that there is a lower mortality rate in occupational workers who volunteer; some label this “a healthy volunteer effect.” Also, it may be unclear whether volunteering causes a higher sense of well-being or whether those with a higher sense of well-being are more likely to volunteer. Still, evidence shows that those who volunteer do indeed have a higher sense of well-being. The aspects of a personal well-being studied included: “Happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem, sense of control over life, physical health, and depression,” and found all of these were enhanced in volunteers compared to non-volunteers.
Another study concluded that volunteering by adolescents led to “reduced rates of course failure, suspension from school, school dropouts, and improvement in reading grades; to a reduction in teen pregnancy; and improved self-concept and attitudes toward society.”
As technicians, owners, and salespeople in the air conditioning, heating, ventilation, and refrigeration industry, we are not exempt from the responsibilities and rewards of volunteering. Whether we are the chief over policy or at a lower level in our organization, we all can benefit by giving of ourselves and volunteering for a cause you can identify as leading to a better workplace, a better community, a better neighborhood, a better church, a better environment for children, or even a better world for yourself.
It just takes time, and there are benefits for your sense of well-being, your health, and the community in which you live if you volunteer! Now that we have thought about it, our friends from Tennessee might be on to something big: could it be that being a Volunteer may lead to providing us all the much-needed control we need for living the best life possible?
Posted In: ACCA Now
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