Late last night (early this morning actually) the last item up for bid was presented, the last board closed and I fell into bed a little after 3am. This is how I spent my Mother's Day. This is how I CHOOSE to spend my Mother's Day and have chosen for the past 3 years, at least.
I love the auction. I love the people at the auction (whom I typically only get to see once or twice a year). I love bidding at the auction (this week I have been the high bidder on 4 items - more on that later). And I love working the auction.
Of course, it is exhausting work. It's not like I am physically exhausting my body by doing manual labor, but, most every night that I am working I am on my feet for over 6 hours. This auction I was trained to do a different job. Not only was I on my feet for 6 hours but I was walking the majority of that time.
Last night there was a bit of drama on the set. I am a firm believer that if you are not having fun you shouldn't be there. This is a volunteer position. Nobody forces you to show up...if you are not enjoying yourself, LEAVE.
Another woman and I had been discussing this very thought all week long. We were both there to have fun (or so I thought) and I was not going to let anyone or anything get in the way. I am an adult, with 3 kids at home and a business of my own - I have enough drama without creating more.
It turns out that as I was "supervising" I made a comment that pissed her off. She had been a board marker (which is exactly what it sounds like - she marks the board with the high bids that are called out to her from a "supervisor", the phone operators then know what the highest bid is, in turn helping the phone bidders make their best bid). Of all the jobs at the auction, board marking is my least favorite. I had already marked on the earlier shift (happily because we were short handed). When my comment pissed her off, she threw her pen at me, told me she was leaving and I would have to mark.
Needless to say, I was shocked! My comment was made all in good fun and I couldn't believe that it had been taken otherwise. I also couldn't believe that she would just walk out on the last shift of the auction with only a couple hours left.
My punishment: to mark the "Q" Board the rest of the evening. (For those of you that do not watch the auction, the "Q" Board is also known as the "Quickie" Board because it is just that: Quick. Being so quick that makes it the hardest board to mark and last night was no exception as we had 20 boards rather than our normal cycle of 14.) This "punishment" was not given to me by anyone but myself. I knew it had to be done, I knew that I could handle it (or at least work my butt off trying to handle it) and I felt incredibly bad about what happened.
Of course, this was not all my fault, I was not the cause of this situation. There was no punishment aside from the one I gave myself. I feel badly that she misunderstood my joking and I feel badly that I was not able to read that this was not a time to joke with her. I also feel badly that we may have lost a volunteer that works double shifts the entire auction and comes in to help prep for the auction.
Having said all that, I will repeat: THIS IS A VOLUNTEER POSITION. YOU ARE NOT FORCED TO BE THERE BY ANYONE BUT YOURSELF. IF YOU ARE NOT HAVING FUN, GO HOME!
I don't know what will happen if/when I see her again. I don't know if she will return next year or for the "Mini Auction" (which is an auction for only the volunteers from the auction to bid on anything that didn't sell or was never picked up or they were overstocked with) or at the volunteer BBQ. I don't know what I will say...I want to apologize, but, for what? For joking with her? For her actions? Hmmm....something to think about.
Last night's drama aside - this year's auction was wonderful. I had a great time with my new "job", I lost 10lbs (most people gain weight at the auction because there is SO MUCH wonderful food), I loved seeing the people that I adore so much, I love being part of such a great cause and I loved showing my kiddos the set yesterday.
I did overwork myself last night and I am feeling it today. Board marking is a workout! I have Achilles tendon issues anyway and I re-injured it last night...I worry what it will feel like tonight when I start my first night of running...
It has been decided that in order to be a good auction volunteer you need to be a little quirky. I mean, come one, who, in their right mind, would use their only week of vacation time to volunteer for 10 8+ hours shifts? A quirky person, that's who. Auction people are fun, loving and a little wacky :)
Last night's drama is not normal. The end of auction "week" (it is actually 10 days) is always bittersweet. We are all exhausted from the hours and the work but we love it enough to work our butts off and not get paid - we are family.
Do you think you are one of us? Learn more at www.nhptv.org/auction