Monday, June 18, 2007

Asking For Help

I used to be really bad at this. In fact, I remember the first time I asked for help in a professional situation, while I was working at Letty Owings. I don't remember what it was that I asked for help with; I know that there were several things that needed to be done at once, and I remember realizing I can't do it all myself and It will be okay if I ask the children's counselor to do part of it. Recently I have been reminded that I have gotten better at it, because I asked for help.

It's summer and we have been getting a lot of produce from the Alameda Farmers' Market. There's a lot of it on Mondays and it has to be gone through pretty closely to pull the stuff that turned overnight. When I went in this morning there was plenty of time to deal with it all, but then I noticed ants all over the bread table. Just dealing with the bread and the ants took the time of four volunteers, the FBD, and I working all at once to get everything cleaned up (and we had to throw out many boxes of bread, unfortunately), which not only took an hour but meant that the things we would have been doing otherwise wasn't getting done.

As it happened, two of our usual Monday morning volunteers didn't come today. We had over a dozen boxes of produce that needed to be sorted and organized and when the Trader Joe's delivery came there was more stuff to display or put away, and bread and pastries to lay out on the table. I was sorting produce and was watching the clock, wondering, as always, whether we were really going to get done for service to start on time. Then I realized that I hadn't done the inventory on the front meat freezer and didn't know what was in the back meat freezer, the one where we store the meat when it comes in, and that the egg cartons still needed to be looked through and broken eggs tossed.

I asked the FBD if he could do the meat freezer for me. It's my job to make sure the program happens, and it wasn't going to happen without another body to tote and haul. Of course he agreed, even though I knew it was pulling him away from director-type stuff. Two other volunteers were helping with the produce already, and another volunteer was stocking up the set bags and boxes. Another volunteer arrived and offered to go through the egg cartons, a job I usually do because I'm not squeamish.

It's really really nice to have so much good fresh produce to offer people, even though it usually overwhelms me for the first few minutes. I just pick something to start with and I do it, with a running list of what else needs to be done in the back of my head. That MO is what has always led me into just handling everything myself. Now I remember that I don't have to.

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