Volunteer WTF: Could You Transport Some Drugs For Me?


ILIA2From: Ilia

I'm volunteering at the hospital with Wonderful Lady, and she asks me to answer the phone from Dispatch since she's half buried in a hunt for a file that has gone missing.

Me: Volunteer Services, how may I help you?

Dispatch: Hey, we just got a strange call from A-3. Apparently a patient's medications are being held in the Pharmacy, and they want to know if we can retrieve them.

Me: O_o Uh, no. No, we cannot.

Dispatch: They seem to be under the impression that we've done it in the past, but I'd never heard of it.

Me: Once upon a time, yes, but that was in the late 80's. Now, due to health and safety concerns, volunteers may not handle, transport or otherwise come in contact with any medications for any reason. You can wheel the patient down in a wheelchair and THEY can sign off for it, but since we aren't health care professionals, we cannot have anything to do with that...

Carolanne doctorWonderful Lady freezes in mid hunt and stares at me with wide eyes. *mouthes at me* "Tell them *I* say 'no'!"

Dispatch: Oh... so I should call them back and let them know that we cannot do that and to have a nurse handle the request.

Me: Absolutely. And if they have a problem, they can call Wonderful Lady.

After I hang up...

Wonderful Lady: Are you kidding me?!

Me: Nope! Apparently A-3 thinks that an unlicensed, unpaid, joe schmo from the street can access somebody's meds in this hospital...




Ilia's Got Everything But The Position


Bookstore SlaveUuuugh...

Work to do? Yes.

Have Experience? Yes.

Good Boss? Yes.

Dream job? Damn near.

Position available? Nope. 

If ever you were to strike everything but the Mega on the lottery, you still wouldn't do too badly; getting a good chunk of money in the process. In this case, everything but a position available means I'm still SOL.

To those who most likely don't remember, I'm volunteering at the hospital Volunteer Services Office with Wonderful Lady.

This is an office that has enough work for four people, and they have one full timer (WL) and a new Part Timer (PT) and me.

Apparently, PT is having some difficulty getting it through her head (in the last two months, 30-something hours a week) that prospective volunteers don't get an interview till they clear the background check. Whereas I, (on two days a week, four hours a day) had learned the ins and out of volunteer file processing in a matter of weeks (been there for years now and could do the job half asleep).

It is my greatest lament. All HR has to do is wave its pretty little wand and create a position (even part time would be awesome) for someone to Manage the Volunteer Files.


  • Check applications for completion
  • send off to background check
  • contact volunteers for interview date.
  • create Interview packets (updating info, copying sheets, assembling the packet)
  • do interview
  • take completed paperwork.
  • schedule Orientation. Carolanne book2
  • create orientation packets (updating info, copying sheets, assembling the packet)
  • do Orientation
  • take further completed paperwork
  • create physical file
  • create digital file
  • follow up for last of the paperwork (reference letters, TB test completed etc)
  • assign volunteers to a department based on availability
  • done.


It's all easy work, but really time consuming, and it's quite a big job to take on despite the low actual list of tasks to do. If I were to be in charge of JUST this work, it would fill my day; part time, or even full time. It would take a huge ass workload off WL and PT (they still have a LOT of crap to get done on their own even without this workload) and it would give me a paycheck.

All I need... is for the position to exist.... argh! And it's not a make-work job either; I know the work, I can get it done, and WL already knows first hand how good I'd be at it. And it's a position that, logically and realistically, really SHOULD exist in one form or another, because the workload in the department exceeds the staff currently working there AND leaves the department perpetually behind in everything.

I am totally okay with tedious, time consuming, or even "paper pushing" work. Hell, a lot of people would be bored as hell with the stuff I do as a volunteer, but damn did I feel like King Kong on Steroids when I tackled a huge project and got it done, even on my limited volunteer hours.

*sigh* Tripped up by HR. -_-;

May all your HR know what the business really needs,



Lamenting The Loss Of A Great Retail Slave

Bookstore SlaveOh RHU, this may seem like a silly lament, but please indulge me. You know that I volunteer with Wonderful Lady in the hospital. As her sort-of payment for all my help, she usually buys me lunch in the cafe. November 1st was when they implemented a permanent change; the grill was closed down.

This grill was a simple thing; hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, etc. Add a panini or a BLT as a "special" of the day and you could have a good time at lunch. Then... closure. The claims stated that they would following the way of "health" by shutting that down.

Now the grill was kind of the catch all for all staff. Every Friday without fail was fish. Which meant the soup was clam chowder. Never a shrimp gumbo or other alternative. Sustainable catch of the day in some sort of sauce for Fridays, pastas, Asian style bbq pork, iron flat steaks and various other things depending on the day of the week. There's a sandwich bar, fruit, chips, pizza, yogurt and ice cream. Add cookies and pastries. All in all, the selection is actually quite good.

But when you just want a damn burger and fries, the Grill was your go-to. Quick, hot, and tasty. The ingredients were fresh, not that crap they sell at places like McHells or Burger Peasant. And get this; they went 'healthier' by closing the grill, but there's still chocolate chip cookies, pizza, ice cream and chips. So really they're just taking one thing away in the name of saving money (i.e. they don't have to pay the grill cook anymore).

Losing the grill cook was really quite sad for me. He is a really sweet guy; always had a friendly word for me when I came in, and he would bend the rules a bit if it wasn't busy. This rule bending was nothing extremely big; the rule is, you place your order for grill food at the cashier and pay for it, then wait for your order number to come up. He would sometimes ask me if I was planning on a grill munchie on that day, and he'd take the order early and get started on it while I went up and paid. Like I said, nothing big, but it was a gesture that I appreciated, knowing how anal bosses can be about rules.

And since I was usually getting Wonderful Lady's lunch at the same time, my hands would be full with a tray. He would put the food clamshells on my tray for me so I didn't have to juggle anything. It was the little things that made having him in the cafe a treat. Now it's closed, and I'm missing his presence pretty hard. He was my regular retail slave who I enjoyed interacting with.

On the plus side, HR was the first to voice their objections to the loss of the grill. Not that it prevented the grill from closing, but it's nice to hear that many staff members, higher ups even, lament the loss with us.


May all your Awesome Regulars stay regular,

Territorial People: Don't Touch Their Stuff Even When It's Not Theirs

Carolanne diveWell RHU, something came to mind recently and wanted to see which of you have noticed similar things. People get territorial, sometimes about really trivial things.

They don't cock their leg and scent mark it, but there's still that nth degree of ownership that makes hackles rise and attitudes suddenly cop out of nowhere. An example:

Volunteering with Wonderful Lady at the local hospital has me doing all sorts of chores. Across the hall is our meeting room, where volunteer interviews are held. It is also where the Tender Loving Care department stores magazines to bring to patients, and carts to help volunteers to make bulky, awkward or heavy deliveries (vases of flowers and the like).

Come once a month, the volunteer newsletter gets printed and I must go retrieve a box of like 200-300 of these things from the printing room in the basement. Why me? Because Every. Volunteer. Ever. will stop Wonderful Lady in the halls to bring a problem or other task to her attention. Now granted these aren't really trivial whining or bitching fests, but it really makes it hard for her to get any work done.

So, I cross the hall, snag a cart (which coincidentally is marked "TLC Volunteer") and trot off downstairs. I snag the box of newsletters and trundle them back up to the office, deliver them, then take the cart back to the room where I got them from. Note: this takes me 5 minutes only if the elevator is slow.

And there is a hissing, irate-as-a-wet-cat, elderly volunteer from TLC, glowering at the empty space where the cart had been.

Doing my best not to roll my eyes, I return it to its rightful proper place and put everything back into it the way it had been.

But the volunteer isn't pleased.

TLC: You took the cart?!

Her puckered expression makes her look like she was weaned on a lemon and I swear if she had fur, her hackles would be raising like an angry dog's.

Me: Yes I did. I needed it for a delivery.

And I'm not sorry. So either climb on your broom and fly away or I'll hit you in the face with a cup of water and watch you melt!

TLC: What department do you work for?

Carolanne doctorMe: ...Across the hall... With [Wonderful lady].

You know... your boss? The one who keeps this place running? The one who busts her ass to follow up on every little problem that you and 300 other people come to her for?

She's still looking at me with the same level of friendship that a cobra gives a mouse.

Me: *sigh* She asked me to take a cart and bring up the [Newsletter] for all the volunteers.

TLC: Oh. *She lets out her breath and the attitude of "don't fucking touch my stuff" slowly fades.*

Dudette? What? You are a volunteer. Chill the fuck out! Yes it's annoying when you can't find things that you need for your work. But I was returning it exactly to where it had been after my chore. Don't get pissy at ME for following orders from our BOSS.

For heaven's sake, why are you so territorial? You don't own anything here unless you brought it from home, and the cart is not one of those things. It took me about five minutes. ZOMG you had to wait five minutes when your shift lasts 4 hours! What a terrible loss of time! Also: there are other carts in the room. If you absolutely had to have one, you would NOT have been left bereft.

May all your coworkers get over their possessiveness,

Dumbass Volunteer Breaks Two Rules In A Single Visit

Bookstore SlaveIt was an ordinary day in Volunteer Services at the hospital. Wonderful Lady and I have a system in place; she hands me projects and I do them. A sticky note gives instruction, and I don't need any further prompting.

This system is usually due to the (practically) revolving door to her office with people needing Wonderful Lady's. To their credit, nothing that's needed her intervention has ever been trivial or ridiculous, but the sheer volume means that without me, lots of office work would never get done. She sings my praises daily to make sure the universe knows she's grateful and doesn't decide to take me away.

One such revolving door walk in was a new volunteer, walking in to do some training with the volunteer chairperson in the Emergency Department.

There is a knock, and the door opens to reveal a volunteer who isn't even wearing her uniform. No uniform, no training. We send volunteers home if they're not up to code. Then she steps into the room.

Oh Thrognar, no. No no no no! What are you wearing?! Why are you wearing so much of it?! God of retail save me! It's a physical entity! Kill it! Kill it before it devours the world!

This veritable CLOUD envelops the room, and I'm hit full in the sinuses with my sneeze trigger. I swear, if I ever find out what the name of this shit is, I will nuke their production site!

I turn my back to her as she passes my desk to get to Wonderful Lady and take shallow breaths. My nose is running, I'm on the brink of either a sneezing or coughing fit, and my brain just fogged over. Thought processes; no, bad, error 404.

Wonderful Lady's greeting sort of half freezes and she tactfully says, "Oh, and I'm sorry, but we cannot let you volunteer while wearing perfume. Especially not in the ER."

This is stated in the handbook, which the girl has already signed as having read it.

Shallow breaths.

"Oh well I just came here straight from college. I forgot. So where do I go to meet the chairperson?"

Forgot my ass. You didn't even fucking read the book you signed (a common headache we have by the way). The book is very direct. No. Perfume. No heavily scented deodorant.

I reached over, seized a tissue from the nearby box and quietly clear my nose of snot while still breathing shallowly. Don't cough. Don't sneeze. Once you do, you won't be able to stop.

"Well unfortunately you're not in uniform, which we require, and we cannot allow you into the emergency room wearing a perfume. People there are already sick and hurting, which makes them very sensitive to smells. Any smells at all. Perfume can make it worse. We're going to have to send you home and re-schedule your first training day." Wonderful Lady is being quite firm. "And, as the handbook says, and as we went over with you in the interview, beige or white pants and one of our polos or jackets."

Finally, the girl leaves.

Carolanne peeyewOur windows don't open, and for some reason this part of the hospital is freezing cold even during three digit temperature days. In order to disperse the smell, the door is opened wide, and Wonderful Lady turns on the heater full blast to get the air moving. She rubs her temples with her fingertips.

Wonderful Lady: Oh my God Ilia, her perfume is giving me a headache! What was she thinking?!

Me: Oh believe me, I was sitting here with a mantra of; "Don't cough, don't sneeze."

Another volunteer appears at the open door and stops as though he hit a wall.

Volunteer: What the...?! I thought perfumes were forbidden!

It took a long time to clear the air in the room. May all your customers read the damn rules,

Reasons For Volunteering: A Rant About The Big Green Portion


It is one of the greatest laments of Volunteer Services and Wonderful Lady that volunteer work is the bug zapper glow for society's dumbest, cheapest and most self centered. The "Looks Good On A Resume" crowd is largely composed of no-shows and abandoners; so much so that it serves as a huge ass filter and money sump.

We have paperwork for you to fill out; more than just an application. We have to do a background check. WE PAY FOR THAT! If there's a hit, we cannot take you on. Yes, you have to have a social security number too.

Then there's an interview. It's light, easy, and not at all necessary to drum up your list of job-interview questions. We ask how you heard about us. We ask what makes you interested in volunteering. We tell you a bit about what is expected before you can volunteer full time, and go page by page of what we need to have you fill out. That's it. We can't make it any more painless. Boring? Can be. Tedious? Sure. But you came to US. Normally that implies that you are willing to do what needs to be done.

Then, if most of the paperwork comes back as complete, we set up an orientation. This is the last of the paperwork that must be completed, and you have a chance to bring in the stuff you took home to complete. You get a tour of the campus, and we tell you about the departments. You give us your availability and we place you in the department you asked for if we can.

RHU rantsIn a perfect world, this is awesome beyond words and takes only a few weeks. Most of that is waiting on an interview or orientation to be scheduled. One Orientation a month, Interviews every Tuesday and Thursday at 2pm. Some flexibility allowed.

In reality, most of the people don't complete the paperwork, and we try to contact them to get it complete. Seriously, we're one thing short. Get that TB skin test done. We told you their hours. We gave you a sheet of paper in your packet. YOU SIGNED A SHEET SAYING YOU READ AND UNDERSTOOD EVERYTHING WE GAVE YOU.

We need the second reference. Yes that reference has to live in the USA...and understand English... the form only comes in one language. YES WE SENT IT! It came back as Return To Sender. NO WE WILL NOT CALL THEM TO GET THEIR NEW ADDRESS! It's your reference, you are responsible for giving us up-to-date information.

All right, you came to the interview. You got everything filled out. You did the orientation. You showed up to your first day of volunteering... and we never heard from you again. What part of "minimum two days a month for six months" did you not understand? We have departments that work on weekends. We schedule you around YOUR availability. If you come every other Tuesday for a 3-4 hour shift, you are golden. Why did you disappear? Why do you not respond to our calls? Turning in your badge and saying "oh I got a job" or "oh, I've started school," leaves no hard feelings because we know life intrudes. Why jump through every hoop, fill out every piece of paper, and then vanish?

We need a minimum of 100 hours from you before we write a reference letter. We also need a month to get everything together. Why? Because believe it or not, there is one person doing enough work for three full time people. There are a lot more immediate things to do than a letter. 

You completed 1 hour of interview, 4 hours orientation, and you need a letter of recommendation by next week, and it's Friday!? Ahahaha!



Carolanne facepalmMeetings. Surprise visits from the boss/surveyors/health code regulators. Other new volunteers with paperwork to process. A brand new manager of the gift shop that needs to be trained. Complaints of a volunteer breaking the rules. Some psychotic mother who calls every fifteen minutes demanding to know why X hasn't been done on precious boopsie's paperwork yet. Because it's precious boopsie's fucking job to do it himself, and the background check takes 3-4 days. You submitted it yesterday! No it won't be done yet when you call in an hour... or tomorrow morning at 7am sharp when the office isn't even open yet. Then there's 24 bajillian phone calls asking our office hours. Bitch, you heard the recorded message telling you that before we even picked up the phone. 

You know all that shit you filled out? I have to have every piece, and I have to put it into the computer, because Wonderful Lady is handling people who walk through the door with a problem. The door doesn't close on the ass of one person before the next opens it with something of their own.

You know that packet of paperwork you had to fill out? I have to copy the sheets onto the colored paper, put them in order and staple them together. They have to be ready for the next batch of idiots who only partially complete it, then whine about not getting calls saying when they can start.

You know that uniform we give you to wear while you're with us? I have to take Wonderful Lady's keys, take you to the closet in the room across the hall and make sure you get one that fits. She can't do it, because her boss just called with a question or had sent an email and didn't get an immediate response. (Seriously, if she sent an email, it can wait. She shouldn't send an email and then call on the phone to discuss it 30 seconds later...)

You know the confidentiality agreement you and 350 other people filled out at the beginning of the year? A new one is coming out for next year. Everyone who completes it has to have it in their files if they want to volunteer. And since Wonderful Lady is cross campus, she-- and I-- only work two days a week at this campus. So it kinda takes a while (read, months) to get it done.

You know those wheelchairs that are supposed to be available for patients who can't walk a friggin quarter of a mile to the right department due to their health? Yeah they're all missing, their GPS battery is dead and nurses in departments are arguing with volunteers who try to retrieve them, claiming that they belong to the department, not the lobby. The department already has wheelchairs of their own, specially designated. The nurses are just being greedy. The caregivers for the poor patient who can't walk are furious, and so are we. Wonderful Lady has to take care of that personally, because volunteers don't have the authority to call the nurse a liar, even if the identification numbers on the chairs back them up. 

Need I go on?

In short, Volunteer Hell is an unpaid JOB. We need just a smidgen of professionalism and maturity from volunteers who want something shiny for their resume. We don't have the time to hold the hands of 20 people per interview, and most of those disappear before the minimum requirements for your resume are even reached.

May all your customers, and volunteers, be competent adults,