Tonight was our volunteer recognition dinner, and it was held in a country club that looked a bit like a castle. Actually, it reminded me a lot of the country club I used to work in, so there was a weird sense of déjà vu going on.
I wasn’t positive I wanted to go tonight, just because things have been sort of uneasy lately (can’t really go into that), and also because it took me about an hour to get there. In fact, I tried to give my spot away to a friend who hadn’t RSVP’d, but she refused to take it. In a sense, I’m glad I went because two volunteers called me while I was getting ready, asking when I was planning to arrive – it seemed like a foregone conclusion that I would go, I guess. I ended up having a decent time, and I got to sit with a friend and two people I hadn’t met before. I tried to recruit them onto our team, even though that means poaching one of them from a team in another county. The employees in that county didn’t appreciate that, but I assume they know I was kidding. (Or was I??) 😉
The food was really good – we had filet mignon, cod, chicken piccata, asparagus, and some really delicious salads. I’m kind of hard to impress when it comes to banquet food since I usually eat it at least once a week when I bartend, but I was legitimately impressed – when the salads are as tasty to me as a dessert, that’s a good sign.
Speaking of dessert, we had a table full of them. I was weighing my options and conferring with another volunteer when I turned and found our CEO waiting to say hello to me – out of the thousands of volunteers that are under her care within the region, she remembered my name and she was even confident about it (she didn’t ask, “Lindsay, right?” It was “Lindsay! So nice to see you!”), which was a little unnerving (and nice). Granted, there’s a reason behind that (several reasons, actually), but still, it was nice (and a little terrifying).
After dessert, we were set free, so I mingled with some friends new and old. Three more volunteers asked me to apply for a job that I have no plans to apply for. Two employees brought it up to me as well, but still not the one person who could potentially make it happen. One volunteer, who started working with us a mere two weeks ago, told me that he can tell that I’m the type of person who will never willingly say no to the organization, and I do too many things for them, and that it’ll end up killing me. He wasn’t saying all that in a mean way; just in a matter-of-fact way, which was (again) unnerving because he’s only known me for two weeks. What kind of impression am I giving these people?!
Despite a couple uncomfortable conversations, which are quickly becoming a way of life for me, I had a pretty good time and I appreciated the invitation. I am a little concerned about all the attention people are paying to this job opening – I swear, if it were a popularity contest, this would be the only time in my life I’d be a sure thing. I’m also second-guessing how I interact with new volunteers, because although the new guy wasn’t scared off by me “do[ing] everything” (his words), I don’t want to give the impression to new volunteers that this stuff will take over their lives – I understand I’m kind of an anomaly, but they don’t know that just yet. And it freaks me out just a teensy bit that I’m in a position that I need to pay attention to that type of thing.
I did have one humbling moment, though, and it’s still making me giggle. Right before I left, I was speaking with one of the staff supervisors from another county and our government liaison person, and our mental health lead came to join the conversation. I was mid-sentence when she joined, and as soon as I stopped talking she said, “Excuse me, who are you?” I said my name and continued the conversation. She stopped me again and said, “Wait, who are you?” At which point the staff supervisor said, “This is Lindsay. She’s the DAT Lead for Allegheny County.” And with that, the mental health lead got a weird look on her face and mumbled, “Never heard of her,” and turned and walked away. Funny enough, I attended a class she taught at our training institute last May, so I know exactly who she is. This might sound really conceited, but this was the first time since probably March of last year that I’ve met someone within this organization who has zero idea who I am. My reputation seems to precede me, for better or for worse (my hunch is that it’s for the better, most of the time), so for someone to have never heard of me and to also just not care to get to know me in the slightest, it was kind of refreshing. Humbling, for sure, but refreshing. I find it a little funny, to be honest – I’m laughing about it as I type.
So if nothing else, I had a nice dinner, got to meet some new people, spoke with people I haven’t seen in a couple months, sucked up a little bit (unintentionally), enjoyed some flattery, and also got a little humbled. It was a whirlwind night, that’s for sure.
In the end, I did indeed have fun storming the castle.