The announcement of the new Board of Directors slate in the IDUG monthly newsletter reminds me that my presidential term is almost over. Although the past year has been challenging and demanding from time to time, it was a very valuable experience—as has been most of my service with IDUG.
It's overwhelming to even try to grasp all the things IDUG brought to my life over the years. I cannot imagine what the past 14 years would have looked like for me without IDUG. Although I can't begin to share the totality of what my time with IDUG has meant for me and my career, I can share some things I've learned along the way.
Do It or Don't Do It—Some Things You Just Can't Prepare For
When I was first applying to volunteer, I figured that it made no sense to try to imagine all that it would take to make a good conference planning team member. So instead of asking myself if I could do it (the answer might not have been a positive one :) ), I just decided I wanted to do it, and I knew I would have to be open to learning along the way.
Looking back at that first year, I could not have imagined the amount of work I would invest. But at the end, being at the conference, expereincing this fantastic event, where I didn't want to sleep for a week just so I wouldn't miss a thing, was worth it all. Knowing that I had a hand in helping to create that expereince for myself and for others was an amazing feeling.
Working for a Volunteer Team Makes a Difference
Working on a volunteer team with people who are a part of it because they really enjoy it makes a huge difference. A positive atmosphere and mutually motivating team members who are open to new ideas help you open your mind and grow. Even the same old “real-life“ job might not look so gloomy and uninspiring anymore. The team around you brings a fresh point of view and inspires you to look for things to improve. For me, working on a team like this created a great balance in my working life.
Volunteering Brings You a Different Perspective
Being a volunteer can give you the freedom and agency to try new things. Since your life does not depend on your volunteering job, it provides a fantastic opportunity to test out ideas. It's the perfect playground to try out roles, tactics, and approaches you wouldn't necessarily want to try in your job, where you have to be a bit more cautious in order not to compromise it.
Guess what! Volunteering actually leads you to new discoveries and works wonders for your confidence. After all, what can they do, fire you? :) (That line is borrowed from one of my IDUG team leads—thank you for that. I treasure it dearly!)
To wrap up this time, let me announce that our new Board of Directors slate is online and open for voting. Please support these great people who have been and will be devoting a great deal of time into making IDUG the fantastic organization that it is :)