Volunteer Burnout Once Again Rears Its Rude Head

Wow. She just hung up on me.

My entire family overheard the phone conversation I had with
the “mom volunteer” (MV) who answered the high school attendance line, and they witnessed my dropped jaw reaction. I wondered if she always treated callers theway she treated me or if she was simply having a bad morning. 

You know, I consider myself an “unapologetic beyotch;” however, I don’t feel that gives me the right to be rude. What I mean by this description is that I don’t apologize for my beliefs—be they political, moral, humorous or intellectual in flavor—and if they disagree with yours, well then, I suggest we agree to disagree. And in general I don’t have a problem when people disagree with me. Unless, of course, they’re RUDE about it.

Seriously, this MV was curt from the start. I didn’t even get to finish my first sentence when requesting to speak to someone about my daughter’s detention. “Hold on,” she said, cutting me off. I waited on hold for two minutes before she came back on the phone and said she couldn’t locate an assistant principal to handle my issue.  “So what’s the problem?” she asked. 

Yesterday was a registration day and my elder daughter attended her appointment then left school to come home and pickup her younger sister to bring her back for the 9:35 a.m. start time. I approved this, but I didn’t write a note. And my surrogate chauffeur failed to get a pass to leave campus, thinking the same rules didn’t apply because their start time wasn’t until 9:35. The Detention Ticket, in fact, designates the period of the violation as“before school.” 

Keep in mind that this is a kid who currently tends to make a lot of her own rules and she’s faced some pretty severe consequences for doing so. But I felt this was as much my fault as it was hers, and I simply wanted to share the responsibility and talk to someone about it. I only just looked up the bell schedule for the registration process and it CLEARLY reads: STUDENTS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO LEAVE CAMPUS AFTER REGISTERING. So my daughtermade a mistake, but I wasn’t a very responsible mother either. 

“Well I know what the principal is going to say to you,” said MV. “I’m a mom at this school, too, and your daughter is a junior and should know better by now. She got caught sneaking out and that earned her adetention.” 


Whoa! Sneaking out? No one was “sneaking” out. Obviously she
had given her name to the parking lot monitor and said what she was doing. He issued the detention because he was following the proper procedure. We understand this. And frankly, she deserved the detention. Again, I just wanted to communicate my role in the violation. 

“She wasn’t sneaking anything,” I said. “She had mypermiss—” 

Interrupting me again, MV said, “I’m writing this all down andsomeone will call you.” 

“Shall I give you my phone number?” 

“I have it. BYE.” CLICK! 

Repeat: Wow. She just hung up on me. 

I called back, she answered again, and I asked for her name. When I conveyed I felt her behavior was both abrupt and inappropriate, she askedwhy I would think such a thing. “Well for one, you hung up on me!” I said. 

“That’s probably because I had 20 phone calls waiting,” shesaid. 

“I understand you’re busy,” I said, “And I appreciate the volunteer work you do; however, I’m just a mom like you and I was simply calling to speak to someone about my daughter’s detention. I didn’t deserve tobe treated like that.” 

“I’ve already told you I wrote down your concerns andsomeone will call you.” 

“That’s it?” I asked. “No apology?” 

“I already apologized to you at the beginning of theconversation.” 

Gee, I must have missed it.It made me think. Bad day? Busy day? Whatever the problem, if you’re suffering from volunteer burnout, by all means do us all a favor and take a day off. 

Bottom line? I think I have a new definition for “unapologeticbeyotch.” 

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