Volunteer Responsibility Amnesty Day
December 1, 2021 9:19 AM   Subscribe

Volunteer Responsibility Amnesty Day
Lots of important things depend on volunteer labor - local civic groups, open source software projects, and more. But maybe you are getting exhausted, burned out, from trying to volunteer too much. So: every solstice (the next one is December 21st), it might make sense to take a look at your volunteer responsibilities, and see if it's time to pause, rotate, or sunset one of them. Feel free to point to the Volunteer Responsibility Amnesty Day page as a way of saying: I need to put a few things down. I hope other people pick them up and carry this work forward. But even if no one does, I need to stop, or at least pause for a while.

Several months ago, in my talk "What Would Open Source Look Like If It Were Healthy?", I told a story of an overwhelmed open source software maintainer in a hypothetical future where every solstice is a Responsibility Amnesty Day. He uses one to say "Sorry, I need to stop doing this."
Sean maintains a lot of stuff, right?...So Sean has taken on more and more, and he realizes one day that he's feeling a little more burned out, feeling kind of exhausted. And a friend of his, instead of sending him some list of 10 productivity hacks, does, perhaps, a kinder thing and actually takes some time to sit down with him and do a responsibility audit. Just a big list of “what are all the open source things that you're responsible for right now.” And there's a lot on that list. And Sean realizes that this [particular project] is just not where he wants to be putting his time, he needs to concentrate on fewer things that have higher priority to him.

And so at the next solstice, he uses the open source tradition that has arisen that twice a year at the solstices, there's a Responsibility Amnesty Day, which is the day when you can just say, “hey, I can't keep doing this anymore so I'm putting it down.” And everyone understands. So he does that at the next solstice.
Several people really perked up at that idea. So now there's a website: https://www.volunteeramnestyday.net/. I wrote the text and got some help with the logo, design, etc.

This might especially appeal to the folks talking about volunteer sustainability in this FPP thread.

The next solstice is Tuesday, December 21st, 2021. Maybe you should take a moment between now and then to list out what you're responsible for, so you can announce that you're setting something down.
Role: creator, writer
posted by brainwane (2 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This project was posted to MetaFilter by sibilatorix on December 20, 2021: Volunteer Responsibility Amnesty Day

Thank you for creating this!

A lot of my personal history is in an area where there is are ton of burnout & only-one-person-per-role issues (volunteer-run community bike shops) and I've been getting involved again after a hiatus. Maybe I'll try to share this with some people in that world...

So much of the original thread resonated, but I really like this tidy, straightforward presentation of the concept.
posted by sibilatorix at 11:36 AM on December 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

As someone who recently dumped a couple of volunteer roles I'd been doing long term and had outstayed my usefulness, this is a very welcome concept.
posted by scruss at 7:24 PM on December 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

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