Okay, at first glance you might think that I’m all set to wax eloquent about the merits of Bruce Springsteen verse. I’m not, though I certainly appreciate the man’s way with words.
Others among you might think that I’m looking to curry favour with my superior for a) more money, b) a promotion, c) more perks, or d) all of the above. While I would certainly appreciate any and all of the above – who wouldn’t? – they have little to do with the point I am about to make.
As I have written in this space before, I do a fair bit of volunteer work in my community. I also volunteer in a number of capacities with our national industry association. Many of you do the same, and more. The spirit of volunteerism is alive and well in this industry – this community – we call the automotive aftermarket. It adds value to our lives, our industry, our communities, and it helps set an important example for those who are coming along behind us.
And none of this volunteerism would be possible without the understanding and generosity of the folks we work for. For my part, I try to keep my community activities’ load on my workday to a minimum, but I do need to make a few photocopies for handouts and simple flyers from time to time. It’s not a big load on my company, but my boss doesn’t have to let me do it.
The boss also doesn’t have to let me spend all that time at association meetings. Sure you can make the argument that it’s good for business to be in the same room as so many others in the industry, but the reality is that together we really focus on the industry issues at hand and don’t talk at all about our individual businesses. It really is a time to set our individual concerns aside and focus on the bigger picture.
And, sitting around those boardroom tables reviewing reports and what have you, I am reminded that everyone there also has a boss that has allowed them the time and resources to be there.
So as an industry we owe a lot to the individuals who make the time to work within their communities to build a culture of caring that defines this industry, and we owe a lot to the individuals who volunteer so much of their time and energy to advance the industry through learning, research, government relations, and consumer awareness.
But we need to recognize too that without the willingness of those to whom we report, much less would be possible. So let’s hear it for the bosses who say yes to volunteerism. And, while I am at it, a hearty thanks should go out to so many of our coworkers who also shoulder some of the load while we’re off doing these other things.
In so many ways volunteerism makes the world, our world, a better place. And it takes all of us to make it happen. So thanks to all those who volunteer, and all those who support them.
— Andrew Ross, editor and publisher firstname.lastname@example.org
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