Saturday, January 13, 2018

Post 3637 - More On Toastmasters

A couple of things.

It was nice of the person who wrote me privately and offered to send us some money so she could be a member-in-absentia of our Toastmasters club. Very nice, actually. But the club is toast. We have accepted that.

We took the club as far as it could go, and likely kept it going longer than it should have. Nothing lasts forever.

And another point. In any volunteer organization, be it Toastmasters, Lion's Club, Oddfellows, whatever, 20% of the people will do 80% of the work. Most of the 80% will go along with what the 20% are doing. Then there is the tiny minority of the 80% who stand back and complain about what the 20% are doing. They don't roll up their sleeves and pitch in. They just complain.

My goodness, I saw a lot of that. Over my many years in TM, again and again we would be doing our best to keep the club going and be healthy. And there would always be at least one member who would point out what we were doing "wrong". The person would leave and be replaced by another person, who would pipe in with a different series of complaints. The person/complainer would never think of joining the executive and help out. Not even once.

Being an arm chair quarterback has its place. It is fine to point out areas for improvement. But when you spend your time just finding fault with the folks who out there day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, it is dispiriting at best.

One member would, every time I did a speech, write me a detailed critique of it. She would not tell me this to my face, which is how evaluations are supposed to work. She would just write these long screeds pointing out every flaw she perceived in the presentation. I guess she expected me to thank her for that. I won't miss that.

I also won't miss the people who would sign up for roles on a meeting and just... not show up, making us scramble to fill the role on the agenda. Many years ago, as we came back from a Christmas break, a member called and told me he couldn't do Table Topics that night. I told him that would be fine, that he could just fax or email the stuff to me, and I would present it. "Well, I was kinda hoping you would do that", he said sheepishly. I threw something together that night. He called me that evening apologized, but I was so damned mad at him for putting me in that position. I won't miss that crap, either.

I won't miss the hard work, unpaid, the disappointment, the lack of organization that some members presented with. I could go on. And on. And on. But you get my point.

I will miss the members who gave a damn. Who showed up at every meeting and gave it their best. Watching them grow and improve was what made all that effort worthwhile. I will miss them, and wish them all well.

I have attended many hundreds of Toastmasters meetings. Very close to 1000, actually. For the first many years, and you can confirm this with Patricia, I would spend some nights and weekends also working on club-related stuff. Probably a few thousand hours of unpaid work to make the club "better". Other members would put in similar amounts of time.

I am weary from all this effort. I need a break. Those few of us who were in the club all need a break. We have earned it.

I cannot speak for the others.  I can just tell you that in my own case that I may return to Toastmasters down the road, but that is a fairly long road, and I plan to take my time walking down it.

The club is gone. Accept it. Move on. I have.

See you tomorrow.


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