Solution Saturday: Unappreciated and Disrespected

Hello Dan,

Thanks for reading my email.

I volunteered to help at an event where the industry leaders who ran it had been paid well.

They spent the day socializing while another volunteer and myself did all the hard work.

Turns out they hadn’t planned the event well so we had lots of problems caused by them that we had to fix on the hoof.

Now, they’re putting out pictures of the event saying how amazing it was and not referencing all those who also played a part – and all their friends and contacts are lapping it up and congratulating them.

It’s not right and very frustrating. I’d love those people to know what really went on but I don’t want to stoop to the event organizer’s level. Any advice?

Frustrated

Dear Frustrated,

Congratulations for volunteering. It stings to feel unappreciated and unrecognized.

Your email is a heads up to all leaders.

Appreciation and recognition don’t require money or lots of time.

Just being included in some images and a public thank you would transform a downer into a rewarding experience. A few suggestions follow.

Authenticity:

Serve because it’s who you are, not for what you receive from others.

You don’t get ahead by tearing others down. (There are some exceptions to this, skillful backstabbers and politicians may get ahead for tearing others down at least for awhile.)

You served them well. Pat yourself on the back for contributing to their success.

Do things that make you proud, even if others don’t appreciate it.

Let go:

The tough suggestion I have is let it go. You were unappreciated. Wash your hands of the past. Tell yourself the truth.

“I gave them my best and they didn’t appreciate it. I’m moving on.”

When hurt feelings return, let it go again.

Discuss it:

You might go privately to the organizers and tell them you feel disrespected and unappreciated. It takes courage and vulnerability to stand up for yourself, but it’s a good thing.

Avoid accusations. Speak the truth. “I feel disrespected because I wasn’t included in the after-images of the event.”

You might ask the organizers to write you a recommendation. Take a few pictures with the leaders and post them on social media.

Publicize the event where you volunteered and celebrate your involvement. You did a good thing. Don’t let bad feelings rob you of this opportunity.

You might say, “It was a privilege to serve the attendees of xyz event.”

Benefit:

Reflect on what you learned about running events. You’re better equipped to run a great event today. You’ll recognize volunteers and organize events better.

Focus:

In the future, serve people who appreciate you. Focus on them, not jerks. Life shrinks when jerks become the reason you pull back.

Future:

If you are inclined to volunteer for this event again, take your own pictures. Publicize the event and celebrate your involvement on your own social media channels.

Thanks for your email. 

You have my best,

Dan

What suggestions do you have for frustrated?

*I suspend my 300 word limit on Solution Saturday.