A good mission is not enough

Striving for social justice is exhausting. This is what I’ve learned during my 12 years working for a large, youth serving non-profit. I’m tired. Not from the kids though. Working with them makes me come alive. It’s the endless hoops to jump through and glimpses of the good ol’ boys club that I find most discouraging and counterproductive. My frustration is nothing new. I actually left the non-profit world six years ago for a short stint, fed up with some of the same issues that I find myself wresting with today. But like an old lover who lures you back against your better judgement, I returned thinking things would be different.

They’re not.

From my perspective, the mission of the organization that I fully believe in has gotten buried under a pile of steaming hot bullshit. It’s disgusting, I know. Now I’m going to analyze it, like parents of kids do with their corn filled poo. Or beet poo, which is always alarming until you remember you ate beets.

Come! Dive in to the BS that I’ve been sorting through. First, I should introduce you to the head honcho. He was hired a little over a year ago by the organization’s Board of Directors. He beat out a highly qualified woman who I doubt would have made staff spend time and energy on a fear based emergency response app, as he is currently doing. Apparently it’s not enough that staff are trained to deal with emergency situations by calling the police and following the standard operating procedures. Head honcho insists on playing pretend crisis (homage to his previous days in the military?). He holds various meetings (that I don’t have to attend, but hear many complaints about) that distract a handful of staff from their primary job responsibilities. My guess is that during these meetings, he communicates the plans for the next pretend crisis. Someone leaked the storyline of the next pretend crisis to me (which I’m slated to play the role of a member who is taken hostage) and I found myself trying to calculate the time and resources wasted on this manufactured war game, created by THE MAN. I’ve heard people refer to him as the poop flinger, which makes me laugh because I imagine him walking through the office with a big smile on his face, flinging poop into people’s work areas, saying, “YOU’RE WELCOME and there’s more where that came from!” And there is. I could go on about what a large contributor he is to the mile high pile of BS I find myself being forced to swallow, but I’d rather not.

Let’s move on and see what else this BS is made of. Ah yes, the funding that determines the programming we offer. The funding that reveals more and more hoops to jump through just as you think you’re through the last of it. So much effort jumping through the hoops, distracted from the work that matters. Humans have only so much bandwidth, it’s a shame when it’s all spent on zero impact programming.

There’s more to the BS, but it’s rapidly becoming uninteresting to me. Instead, I like to imagine the organization out there that is led by someone who fosters a positive work environment that values its employees and encourages them to be innovative—authentically, not just lip service as one of the company values. I want to believe that this organization exists, that numerous organizations like it exist. I have to believe there are other fish in the sea, because I gave my boss my letter of resignation on Friday. My last day is October 29th.

I’d say the first objective of my PY35 is in good shape. I don’t feel stuck in the work realm, I feel free.

2 thoughts on “A good mission is not enough

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