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Not Fond of Criticism (Who Is?)
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Yesterday we were bouncing an idea off the wall, to hire a full time person to do our regional web pages, coordinate the PR, and manage our fund raising efforts.

The loudest voice in the group, the most demanding, insisted it had to be a full time job, that $50K a year wasn't enough to live on (so we had to be thinking about a minimum of $65K), and we had to provide benefits as well.

At that financial level, we couldn't possibly hire someone, taking the risk that the person might prove unable to raise enough money to pay him/herself, not to mention fund the projects we have in mind.

I pointed out that we have a huge reservoir of expert retired people in our community who would like to work part time (no desire at all to work full time any longer or they wouldn't have retired in the first place), do not need benefits because they have them through their retirement plan, and would have the insider knowledge about our project to be able to hit the ground running.

I thought it sounded like a win/win situation. I was soundly thrashed (verbally) for taking advantage of seniors and making them work for free (huh?) and not offering someone a full time job (that we won't be able to guarantee past one year, if even one year). The nastiest invective seemed to be centered on the idea of part time work.

I was told I was ageist, insensitive to people's needs and on and on. I listened, said I understood their concerns, and shut up. Once again, I had leaped to the solution before others had had time to work through their own understanding of the situation. Some day (when?) I'm going to learn to keep my mouth shut and let people meander to solutions in their own sweet time.

After about an hour of discourse--you guessed it--we decided we're going to look for two part-time persons (retirees or not), one position with possibly enough extra hours to qualify for benefits if the applicant is in a financial position to need it. The fury against part time work seems to have been one person's agenda--that part time positions are unfair to workers.

No apology was offered, nor was it necessary. I'm coming to understand that some people are driven by agendas (fueled by fear) that they do not understand themselves, and therefore they cannot compromise easily (hell, they can't even listen, let alone compromise). The first reaction is fury and attack, because the proposal is seen as warfare against their agenda, with which they have ego identified themselves.

So it is seen as an attack on them personally. It seems to come out of nowhere, if you don't know the person well enough to know what they are going to react to.

Ancora imparo. I am still learning.

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