Frequently Ignored Answers (or, addressing your volunteer census feedback)
Nowhere’s volunteer planning is, despite being run though one system, decentralised. For the majority of departments, what volunteers do and when is up to the individual leads and metaleads to decide what is required (the noteworthy exclusions being gate and malfare, which are required for liability purposes).
As your valiant Volunteers Metalead, I will try and address some of the common comments and complaints about why people do/don’t volunteer, given in the annual census over the last few years:
I want to have shorter shifts
Frequently requested by nobodies is an option of shorter shifts. Shift patterns are designed by the leads and the reasons for individual shift lengths are mainly down to two reasons: simplicity (longer shifts mean fewer overall volunteers needed and fewer handovers) and the ability to track problems; with people working for longer it is less likely any issues will be missed as things get forgotten in the churn of new people coming on and off shift. An example of this happening which could have resulted in a serious injury has been site leads unaware that contractors were on site digging toilet pits, which were left unmarked for several hours.
I Want Snacks!
Nowhere’s event-time fluffing has, for the past few years, been provided by the Werkhaüs barrio members pockets, don’t say they never do anything nice for you. Whether this continues is up to them. Alternatively please remember Nowhere is a self-reliance event (and that most times when you’re working you should be able to take a break to eat). The exception to this is Gate, who can’t move because the gate is big and heavy and carrying it over to the Cantina would be a challenge.
Schwag, AKA why did those people get nice things?
This is down to individual leads for how they want to thank their teams. The tokens of appreciation are usually made by the leads themselves, not Nowhere, as our departmental budgets usually are spent on stuff that’s really needed like food, lumber and other supplies.
Nowhere leadership has an attitude! >:[
This is unfortunately somewhat true. Nowhere’s leadership is 99% volunteer led, by people who are extremely committed to running the event. They do this in their spare time and naturally when you dedicate yourself to a project you get defensive of it. A lot of the people involved in running the event have done so for several years, and have seen what does work and what does not, which is why some suggestions will be dismissed out of hand if they have been tried before. This does not mean criticism and suggestions are invalid or unwanted, just that some things are not achievable through our limited resources and time. There are tiny things you can do which can revolutionise people’s quality of life on the work site, an example from fluffing team: many years ago they would get up very early in the morning to make coffee for all the set-up crew, the fluffers bought an industrial coffee percolator and a timer switch and now don’t have to be awake all hours of the day.
Werkhaüs Is Mean And Scary >:[
It’s not, it’s just full of people who have been working quite hard and some have been living on site for many weeks, which is why they might not be as welcoming of unicorn shenanigans as some of the other barrios. If you’re volunteering, come talk to us, we have strong opinions about the best kind of water bottle and tips on how to roll cigarettes in 80km/h wind.
I am nervous about joining in!
Jump in the deep end, the water’s fine! Thanks to Nowhere and just asking for help I’ve learned a number of valuable skills, from operating heavy machinery to joinery and incredibly rudimentary Spanish. If you don’t know how to do something people are, for the most part, willing to explain and teach you. As ever timing is everything, don’t walk up to someone who’s just cut themselves with a saw and ask them how you do sudokus, they won’t like it (and if you want to learn about numbers the Finance team are the people to ask).
I hope this has in some way explained why we work the way we do, and will help volunteers and leads in their decision making in the future as new people join the crew and come up against the same questioning,