Saturday, March 14, 2009

Don't piss on my enthusiasm

I suppose that's the Riot Kitty way of saying, "Don't rain on my parade..." But 1) I live in the Pacific NW and there's nearly always rain, and 2) I don't like parades (it's part of not liking big crowds.)

So those of you who read this regularly know that my job has gone through some ups and downs. I have spent the better part of my time there doing damage control for my predecessor, and then for the previous executive director.

Fortunately, things are looking up. Yes, we are still struggling, like many nonprofits in this economy. However, in several areas we're also kicking ass. The event I am in charge of - a big fundraising, stigma-busting walk that seeks to draw attention to the importance of mental health care - now has more teams signed up than any of our national organization's spring walks, including NYC! (This is a big deal because our entire state has less than half of the population of NYC, you see.)

And the best part - people are excited. They are happy to get involved, inquiring about volunteer opportunities...there is a palpable enthusiasm.

Much of this is do to our new executive director (the one who lets me swear and wear jeans.) He is passionate about our mission and compassionate when it comes to other people, but not a wuss.

Anyway - why does this make me happy? Because when I took over this job last spring, worse than the bitching and moaning I kept hearing, and the apologies I kept having to make, was the constant thrum of voices telling me I should keep my expectations low.

Lots of people who had been involved with both the walk and the organization for years told me stuff like this:

"Keep your expectations low."
"I wouldn't expect much."
"People have lost their interest in the walk."


At the time, I said, "You wanna bet?", while thinking, "Up yours. Just you wait and see."

It's one thing to vent; it's another to try to squelch the enthusiasm and efforts of another person.

I am sure that all of you have run into people like this, and here's my comment to you: They suck.

Just because they aren't gutsy or ambitious enough to have dreams and plans as big as yours doesn't mean they should piss on your enthusiasm.

Along those lines, here are a couple of fantastic quotes from great achievers:

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can somehow become great."
- Mark Twain


"The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it."
- Michelangelo

I suppose he could have called it quits instead of painting the Sistine Chapel.


vivavavoom said...

That's awesome!! I am so happy for you. My husband switched stations and his new boss is one of the best he has had. It has made such a difference in his attitude because she is real, no bs and positive.
so glad your hard work is finally being rewarded and acknowledged. and you get to say fuck....right on!

Green tea said...

Good for you ! I hope things continue to look up.
It is so neat to have an understanding Boss.

I don't think people realize the pain of Mental Illness.
There are so many out there suffering silently with depression.
I have seen a few friends who have lost their kids to suicide because of their depression.
One was only 10 years old when he hung him self.
The parents didn't even realize until after wards what he had been going through.

Good luck with your fund raising.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you have a boss that respects you (and lets you wear jeans... I wish I could wear jeans). I'm also glad that you kept at it while other people verbalized their low expectations.

When I first started my current job, about four years ago, I had all sorts of ideas. My boss never really allowed much of them to go anywhere. So, for the most part, I keep a lot of ideas to myself and channel the energy to other creative hobbies outside of work. I hate working for a dream-killer, but I do like being able to work.

So, really, I'm glad that your management is a bit better than mine. Support and freedom from a boss is like a dream of mine.

Riot Kitty said...

G: That is horrifying. We work with a woman at the department of human services who specializes in youth suicide prevention - this is a big part of our message, because 1 in 10 children has a mental illness. And as you know, it was only about a decade ago that people started to acknowledge that children COULD have them.

V and D: I have had so many awful bosses - yellers, sexists, incompetents - that I made him promise not to quit anytime soon! I only wear jeans when I don't have meetings :)

Sidhe said...

Great news and the quotes at the end were right on. Seems like people are always ready to assist you into failure as if it will redeem their own failures, but they totally miss the point that success is not a solo-act and multitudes may benefit from the success of one. Your personal success with this fundraiser, if it helps just one person, will be a success for so, so many more.

Pouty Lips said...

This is great news and gives me hope that good bosses really do exist. I'd given up on that as a viable possibility.

Scarlet said...

Woo-hoo, Chica! You, Mark Twain and Michelangelo know what you're talking about.

I call people who piss on my enthusiasm "basement people" and those like you "balcony people." (It's from a book I browsed through once.)

Your attitude is awesome and admirable...and hopefully contagious. ;)

Claire said...

I'm applauding from over here! :-)


Fireblossom said...

Twin, are you mad at me for some reason? :-(

Riot Kitty said...

Fireblossom: Not at all! Why did you think that?

LL Cool Joe said...

Great quotes, and I couldn't agree more.

I'm a miserable git, that's why I work for myself, but I do try to surround myself wth positive people that believe anything is possible.

Your boss sounds cool.

Riot Kitty said...

Joey: I'd love to be a miserable git and work for myself ;)

Everyone else: Thank you!

Note: I don't reply to comments often...and if I do and I accidentally forget to reply to yours (ahem! Fireblossom!) it's not intentional :)

Darth Weasel said...

nicely done, jr. woodchuckette. keep up the good work. and how can you say it always rains? I mean, sure, Saturday and Sunday had a combined 37 seconds of non-rain, but Friday, thursday and Wednesday were all sunshine...

pheromone girl said...

All I can say is "You rock". Your enthusiasm is contagious. We should have dinner to celebrate. Oh, wait - we are!!!