October 12; Take Over Work From Your Manager
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


Chapter Ten: Deciding 12 October

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,

“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said,

“Here am I. Send me!”

Isaiah 6:8

Take Over Work From Your Manager


“Never volunteer” is the ancient Army truism. The reasoning is simple: you won’t get paid more. Competence will only increase your workload. You won’t get any more rank. Keep low. Keep quiet.

dog_tags_yoestThe old military maxim demands that the soldier does not step up and do anything extra because you are not likely to get any more stripes or immediate promotions. So keep a low profile and do no more outside of your assigned duties. You can’t get hammered if you don’t get noticed. No mistakes are made if nothing is moving.

This is, of course, a lie.

Every school semester, Your Business Professor will instruct the students that each attendee will introduce themselves to the class. I give them a few minutes to collect their thoughts.

Then I ask for volunteers. I wait. And wait. And I know to outwait them because no student has ever jumped in and immediately volunteered.

And so one brave soul will eventually volunteer to go first. This is after realizing that a long, silent, boring class will follow unless somebody says something. Because it won’t be the professor who is patiently awaiting.

As soon as the student is recognized and speaks, I interrupt. Rudely. But with a smile. I go into didactic mode and launch a lecture. (Sometimes I create my own “teachable moments.” This is something best left to us professionals.)

I congratulate and compliment the heroic pupil. My message is to “Always Volunteer.” Especially in a forum where everyone will be required to participate.   Because everyone will have a speaking part, speak up and go first. This has several advantages.

  • No one is paying any attention to the First Person. The rest of the class is rehearsing their lines that they now know they will have to give.
  • The standard for acceptable performance is low. No one can be critical of the early speakers—who are likely to be forgotten as the others drone on. Let’s call it the First Mover Advantage.
  • The followers will take the early cues and add and expand on previous speakers.
  • Finally, remember: no one is listening to the first guy any way. He will be quickly forgotten by everyone. Except me. He will get an ‘A’ in the class and he doesn’t know it yet. I can make things like that happen. I am the boss.

Dr. Henry Mintzberg in his book Management, quotes Jonathan Gosling, University of Exeter, U.K., who touches on standing up,

The best way to predict who will take initiative and serve as a leader is to see what young people do at school.

Participating in sports, school clubs and volunteering in the community are all strongly correlated with activism in later life. Strengthening our youth organizations is a real and proven way of growing leadership…[Management: It’s Not What You Think, Henry Mintzberg, et al, American Management Association, 2010]

Volunteers are natural leaders. Always volunteer.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8




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38 Responses

  1. Isabella says:

    Growing up I was always encouraged to volunteer, so it was odd to hear about this Army truism, “never volunteer.” It seems almost like a head game, much like the head game of who will talk first in class. Yes it is easier to just keep low and keep quiet, but the one that stands up and shows competence and takes upon themselves the responsibility of others is the one that you want to stand next to on the battle field and during that final class presentation. That person has the nerve to take a stand and make a difference.

    I do not think the Army is actually supporting this idea of “never volunteering” in fact I think it is quite the opposite. As I said before, I think this truism is a head game, used to weed out the people that will keep their head down. Nothing extraordinary will be expected of these people, they are the conformers who will take orders and only take orders never trying to be more or attain more. There is nothing wrong with these people, they’ve simply fallen victim to conformity. The people that speak up, take initiative, and volunteer are the extraordinary people. Those are the people that are often found in leadership positions in the Army.

    It is simple; volunteering is more than sports, clubs, and giving back to the community. It develops a person’s morals and induces hard work. It incites personal growth and teaches humility. A person, who volunteers, is a person who knows his or her limits, and that is a key factor in leadership and success.

  2. jack says:

    Isabella, you are exactly right — this should read that ‘some in the Army say’ rather to imply that this is military doctrine.

    Well done,

  3. Robert Walsh says:

    Volunteering should play a major role in everyone’s life. Whether it be helping out at your local church or choosing to speak first in class, volunteering is a behavior that can benefit an individual throughout one’s entire life. As it stated in the article, people that volunteer demonstrate qualities of leadership. These are the people that others look up to in their community.
    Volunteering can also establish great connections and give you the chance to meet people who share similar qualities. You never know, there is a chance of meeting someone who can land you a job. The great thing about potentially meeting someone like that while volunteering is that his or her first impression of you is that you are an individual who serves others.
    The portion of the article that discusses the benefits of speaking first in a class is something to take note of. I believe that having the confidence to present a project or an idea to fellow students or co-workers before anyone else can show one’s strong personality. By becoming comfortable speaking before anyone else in a room can cause someone to become a natural leader. By showing these leadership skills through volunteering will enable an individual to be promoted faster or, “rise up the ranks” quicker than someone who doesn’t.

  4. Aubrey Gierlatowicz says:

    As a kid I never liked the idea of volunteering and being first in class. It would make me nervous and I felt like being the last one to present would take away my nerves. Little did I know it made my nerves so much worse. Everyone before me did so well, which made me feel like mine would be awful. In these cases I felt I needed to expand my point in order to do extra well. But, time and time again I would hide in the back hoping my name wouldn’t be called on. Quickly I began to realize that I needed to volunteer first first to get it over with. It was always a struggle to get anyone to go first anyway and with me going first there would be no expectations which this article pointed out. When I started doing that my nerves subsided.
    It is true in saying that no one pays attention to the first person. I was so nervous of my presentation that it was hard for me to listen to anyones, even if I tried. My mind would race as I began re-reading my notes. So, now when I have the opportunity to go first I can actually listen to what others have to say and not be caught up in my own thoughts. It is also true that followers have to expand on others thoughts. You can not just reiterate others points, it has to be tailored to you specifically. And unfortunately people before you have the same ideas. So, then you sit there wondering what you can say differently.
    In saying this, going first builds your confidents and makes you feel comfortable in situations when your asked to do something. You will quickly realize what you are capable of doing and start pushing yourself. Sometimes being uncomfortable is the way to build your comfort in a situation.

  5. Paige Melley says:

    Trying to stay under the radar will get you nowhere. Whether it is being the first to introduce yourself, joining a club or activity, or taking an extra step to be involved in a class discussion you will benefit. You never know how the volunteering will help you or who is listening. My Business Professor brought up some good points about how being the first person does not matter to anyone in the class except the professor and the one speaking and that was something I have never really considered.

    An argument can be made by simply saying, “I am going to submit my assignments like everyone else and just get through the semester with minimal contact with my professor or classmates.” That might work for some but that mentality will not lead you to success.In fact, it will probably make your grade lower in reality because you are essentially a nobody to your professor.

    Although the classroom is just one example, not volunteering will do more harm than good in your academic and professional career. Be smart, be outgoing, volunteer even when it is hard. These things will bring you recognition and the leadership skills that will get you far in life.

  6. Devon O'Toole says:

    The idea of volunteering is one that I have always tried to take advantage of. Whether it is at school, at work, or at home, I am making a constant effort to better myself for the good. Volunteering is a way to stand out in every setting and to go from being “that kid in the back of the room” to “the student who was the first to take the chance and stand out.”

    I love the idea of being the first to volunteer is like “the first mover advantage” because in a sense you get a chance to try it first. You can make mistakes and have errors because no one has done anything yet to prove you wrong. Volunteering is about being selfless and stepping out of your comfort zone. In a business setting, employers will look to you first because you were not afraid to make a mistake and grow from it. This helps you develop a sense of work ethic that creates productivity, happiness, and strong morals.

    Volunteering is always something that should be a part of life. In some cases you are helping others and in others you are helping yourself for your future and beyond.

  7. Claire says:

    I really enjoyed this article. I think that many times we sit around waiting for things to happen in our lives instead of taking the initiative and volunteering ourselves. It may be hard for us to take that first step, but it will really benefit us in the end. I really liked your points about the advantages of speaking up first. Even though it may be hard to take the first step, but our classmates will be busy figuring out their speeches to pay so much attention to us and it will make the Professor really recognize us as a leader. I think this is a great message for anywhere- especially the workplace. We will be shown as leaders in the workplace if we volunteer, it will help us gain recognition and many lasting. We will not be seen as a follower but a leader. Lastly, we should always go the extra mile, participate in extra curriculurs, volunteer, seek out your professors, bosses and others because it will truly help us succeed and bring us recognition from everyone.

  8. Sam Galvin says:

    It is easy to stay under the radar and do the minimum. But leaders are not born out of doing the least expected. For college students, all it takes is to start a conversation with a professor or peer that can make a huge difference in the long run. It doesn’t hurt you to volunteer and put yourself out there. Take a look at the CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies. You will find that most, if not all, volunteered or stepped up in some way to take on more responsibility and put themselves out there.

    Did they ever expect themselves to become CEOs? No. But because they were the type of person to volunteer and take initiative. These are the qualities of a true leader. These also are not qualities one would be born with. So you can work towards attaining them throughout your academic and professional career, as I expect many executives do.

    So start volunteering yourself earlier. Whether it be speaking to the class, running an errand for a professor, or taking on a leadership position. It will all pay off in some way. Start small and in time, you will be volunteering for an opportunity that could be life changing.

  9. Allison Alduncin says:

    In the classroom, students are given a vast number of chances to volunteer. When I enjoy a class a lot, I am always eager to volunteer first or even at all. But sometimes I feel pressure from myself to not to volunteer first all of the time and to wait for another student to speak first at the next opportunity. I perceive this pressure of resisting to volunteer as negative because it is motivated by my embarrassment that I am acting differently from my peers and thus I should speak less like them.

    Reading this article reminds me that I should tell myself that at times those peers are not volunteering because they could not be paying attention or understanding the discussion that I am actively listening to and engaging in. Although I restrict myself from always volunteering when I want to, I take advantage of the pause by gathering my thoughts and thinking about the important points of the discussion. I try to see where the discussion is going and what the professor will say to prevent saying something that will be repeated without additional insight. I pause from volunteering to do my best to say something that will be meaningful, relevant and can add another good insight to the principal points of the discussion.

  10. Brenden Amanto says:

    The article on being the first volunteer is the most meaningful and life-proving article I’ve read in a long time. Being a volunteer in life is so important because it shows how much you care about the community or activity that you are participating in. One isn’t doing it for the money they are doing it because they care and are willing to take their own time out and give back! In the classroom, it is even more important to volunteer because it shows the professor that you are a leader and that you take pride in being involved in the classroom. Also, as someone who volunteers there is not going to be a wrong answer. Although, even if there is, there will not be consequences because it is the act of giving back to the community or an organization that matters the most to them. I believe that volunteer work is extremely important in today’s society and can be a path to success when applying for a job or when searching for a way to give back. Finally, a lot of the time places that accept volunteers will often lead to full-time positions, which is a goal we all aspire to have!

  11. Zarima Greco says:

    I love this article. It shines new light towards the act of volunteering. I would consider myself an active volunteer but I wouldn’t consider myself the first to volunteer. I grew up as a very talkative child, who often got in trouble for talking too much. But as I matured I learned to respect other when talking and giving everyone a chance to share their ideas. I dislike being wrong, so I get shy in class when I am unsure if what I am going to say is right. As a junior in college, I have grown to learn that it is okay to be wrong and taking the risk is the hardest part. I believe that networking and communicating is all the act of volunteering yourself. The adult world is not going to be handed to us, we must go out to seek it and take action. We can not sit in silence and wait for the teacher to make things happen. The business world is a fast pace industry and doing the minimum will not cut it.
    My parents encouraged me to get an internship and guided me, but it was my job to apply, interview and speak for myself. Here I am now, working 20 hours a week.

  12. Bernardo Guillamon says:

    This article outlines the importance of volunteering first. I like this article a lot because many people do not volunteer to go first but volunteering to go first says a lot about a person. It displays courage, that someone is willing to step up and be the first to go, not fear what others think and say about them. I agree that in class, when the first person volunteers, everyone is rehearsing their lines of what they are gonna say and building off what the first person said. No one gives the first volunteer much criticism because everyone in the room is unsure of the task at hand and it takes enough courage to volunteer first, so it definitely has its benefits. A benefit of volunteering first in the workplace is that it shows your boss and peers that you care and are driven. A boss likes someone who will step-up to a challenge, someone willing to do what has to be done and not have to ask and assign. Volunteering helps yourself grow. It teaches one to learn how to be independent. Sitting back and letting things come to you won’t happen for very long, once you go into the real world you have to go out and find things on your own, volunteering to go first is a good way for one to learn to become independent and do things on their own.

  13. Zachery Tashjy says:

    Being the first to do something always comes with its advantages; however, there are many risks. In my MGT 475 class last semester, taught by Professor Smith, we went over the possible strengths and weaknesses of first mover advantages. The obvious first advantage is being able to be the first to market, and drowning out competition by possibly buying out suppliers to move your products, and only your products. Thus, you will have a sustained competitive advantage. However, say you are the first mover, and your product tanks. Then you are stuck under contract with suppliers, supplying you a bad product, which is costing you even more money than the product just tanking alone. Comparing this to volunteering, volunteering always comes with its advantages. You are helping people, and you are doing it usually for a good cause; therefore, it’s a win-win right? Unfortunately, this can be wrong.

    In the article it states, “The standard for acceptable performance is low. No one can be critical of the early speakers…”. This is the problem with volunteering. People won’t bat an eye for the person saying he/she volunteers time every day to the local food bank. You follow that person to the food bank one day, inspired by his/her volunteer work; however, you are disappointed to find out that his/her “volunteering” consists of sitting in the kitchen surfing the web on his/her phone. I am in no way saying that volunteering is a bad thing, in fact it is a great thing! However, while I feel that one should always volunteer whenever they can, it is paramount that the individual does a satisfactory job. Otherwise, it would probably be best if the individual did not volunteer at all.

  14. Morgan Druce says:

    Volunteering is extremely important as it exhibits initiative, especially as a first impression. By being the first person to contribute your own ideas to a discussion, you set the tone for the entire conversation – creating precedent for not only yourself, but also your peers. In this regard, it often does not even matter if you are right or wrong, because the act of volunteering to go first automatically sets you apart from everyone else in the room. This is especially important when you are trying to establish your personal character among a large group of people.

    This article reminded me that volunteering is not just about performing a service without pay, but also being comfortable enough to put myself out there and step out of my comfort zone. As my internship begins tomorrow and the planned agenda includes icebreaker type of games, I plan to benefit from the “First Mover Advantage.” I think that in doing so; this will help to set the tone for the rest of my internship experience. As I will be in a setting with 30 other interns, I think that by setting myself out from the beginning, it will allow me to build a strong reputation with those superior to me.

  15. Gregory Holodak says:

    I love the idea that the first volunteer is never actually heard by the students around them. Volunteering first seems like such a big deal in the moment, but your insight is spot on. I always end up thinking of something to say rather than listening to the first volunteer. If students are able to keep this message in mind and volunteer for things, not only will their grades improve, but the class discussion will as well. This will lead to an all around better class experience and an increase in the education that students receive from the class. Such a simple idea can create a snowball effect like that and have a large and lasting impact. The message is important to understand and motivating for future instances. As someone who does not like going out of their way to be the first to raise their hand in class, the message really hits home and gives me motivation to be a more eager student in the future. I will certainly be sure to volunteer much more often.

  16. Anna Lucius says:

    Volunteering has always been a passion of mine, just not necessarily in the classroom. Through my years in high school I would often find myself donating my time to those who were in need. This form of volunteering came natural to me and I was comfortable with it. However, if you were to ask me if I like to volunteer in the classroom, specially be the first to speak up, I would say no. Like so many, I am intimidated by the crowd to be the first to speak up. Fear of being wrong or looking stupid, crosses my mind so I back away from volunteering. But is there a clear difference between volunteering inside and outside of the classroom?
    Examining it more clearly, no, there should not be a difference. Either way, one is putting them self out on a line, being a ‘heroic’ one by offering up something. Because, as you have pointed out, for the first volunteer in the classroom, no one will remember them since they are rehearsing their lines. All in all, I think that it is important to keep in mind that volunteering is a good thing. It improves confidence, it shows the teacher that you are engaged and that you care and it is a good way to practice for a job one day. Also, it doesn’t hurt to be the first one if you may or may not receive an A. Always volunteer, always be the next man up to take the challenge.

  17. Dan Cannon says:

    It is impossible for someone to find themselves in a position to lead if they never volunteer and take action themselves. After all a leader is most often looked to as a person who steps up and does something which often inconveniences their personal lives.
    I think having the motto of always volunteer is something that could help a person get further in life than they otherwise could. Pending extreme circumstances, you really have nothing to lose by putting yourself out there. I enjoyed your example of how being the first one to step up in a classroom introduction can go a long way with making a strong impression. I believe it is the first people who step up and do something that really get the credit for doing so, even if 30 other people stand up behind them and do the exact same thing. This is because doing something first takes courage, you don’t have previous performances to base your actions off of, so what you do truly requires bravery and some original thought. I think this is why people who go on to become very successful have a past history of being the first to volunteer. This is because they have made a habit of being brave and thinking on their feet, so when they come across a situation which requires such skills in life, they are able to rise to the challenge which ultimately leads to their success.

  18. Jack Murphy says:

    Growing up playing sports all of my life, I was always encouraged to volunteer and be the first one by my coaches. Being the first volunteer taught me a couple of things. First, it taught me that it shows bravery and dedication to your coaches and teachers. Showing them that you are eager to volunteer and even if you fail you are willing to learn. Second, it showed me that this is how you become a leader and get better. If you’re always volunteering, your peers around you look up to you as a leader and as someone who knows what they’re doing. Volunteering made me want to look like I knew what I was doing which translated into making me better at the sport. You have to put yourself out there to get noticed and even if you look stupid – at least you’re showing everyone that you had the courage to at least try. Being that I’ve taken two of Professor Yoest’s classes in the past, it is in fact true that he loves volunteers and does make the whole class wait until someone volunteers. At the time, I thought it was kind of a ridiculous practice, although over the semester I saw myself and others volunteering more than I or they would have if Professor Yoest didn’t implement this method.

  19. Andrew Wade says:

    Volunteering is such a simple concept. However, finding someone to volunteer is typically a difficult task. When a person volunteers in front of their peers, it speaks to the integrity and character of the individual. I say this because it displays leadership and a willingness to learn. These two qualities are rare to find and very appealing to professors and potential employers. It shows that the individual is not afraid to fail as long as they learn from the situation. An individual willing to volunteer is an individual who will take chances within your organization. They will likely seek to set themselves apart from their peers in terms of leadership and forward minded ideas.

  20. Nicole LaRusso says:

    The most important part of any structured class or event, really, is participating. If you stay at lengths of time just keeping to yourself and not speaking out loud to what is being discussed, you will learn half of what you should be. You are able to process what is being discussed to the highest extent when you participate. Volunteering is always a difficult thing for individuals to do, but it should be the easiest. You don’t need to do anything but speak your mind. Half of the time, your input doesn’t even need to be correct. It is OK to not always be right. The most important thing to do is speak your mind and let it be known that you are thinking through what is being discussed. You should want to be the first one to participate because it shows your eagerness and leadership. In addition to this, participating may cause another individual to want to participate after you. And that is just as important. You all must work together as a group and go off of one anothers thoughts.

    Volunteering in a work type environment is most important. This has a lot to do with internships. A lot of the time (atleast I experienced this) you finish the work that has been asked of you and you think that there’s nothing left. However, something so important that I learned is that sometimes, you must make work for yourself. And being able to realize this and do this on your own is something that is difficult, but important to carry with you through your professional career. Someone cannot always be telling you what to do. You must take action on your own and figure out something else to do. There is always something that must be done. If you can realize this early on in your career, it will take you lengths.

  21. It seems as if the most difficult task for any individual is to volunteer. However, volunteering should be (and is ) the easiest task that an individual can do in any class/group activity in general. Staying in the shadows and not speaking up is not effective at all. When you are learning and thinking about the things being spoken about, the most effective way to learn and retain that information is by speaking about them out loud. If you only sit and keep those thoughts in your head, you are only going to learn half of that information. What is important to know is that volunteering and speaking your mind is always a beneficial thing. Even if what you are saying isn’t always the “correct answer”. The important thing is getting out your train of thought and speaking your mind. Not only that, but volunteering may alter the thinking of other individuals thinking as well and make them volunteer afterwards. All conversation is interconnected and you all must work together to reach the ultimate goal at the end, which is to retain that information. Staying back and low is never going to be the solution. Individuals must stand out and take leadership roles in order to make a difference in the world, wether that be in the classroom or out in the real world.

    In addition to this, it is so important to participate and volunteer in a work environment (like an internship). What happens often is that individuals may finish the task that they were assigned and think they have nothing left to do. This is never the case. There is always work that must be done. What good business people must realize is that sometimes you must make work for yourself. There is always something else to be done and if individuals finish the task that were assigned, they must make work for themselves to do. This is a very difficult skill to attain but once attained, it will take a person to great lengths, both individually and professionally.

  22. Jamie Regan says:

    I love this article and agree with it a hundred percent. Growing up my parents always told me to volunteer, not because I am going to get rewarded for doing it right away but in the long run if I keep on volunteering good things will happen to me. If my grade needs to be rounded up at the end of semester and my name comes across the teachers mind they are going to think about all the times I volunteered and will most likely round up my grade. Volunteering is also a great way to show that you are confident in yourself and like you said it makes for great leaders. If you volunteer a lot people are going to notice and are going to wan to be like you and volunteer for themselves

  23. Robert J Bonasia says:

    I think the basis of this old army truism is true. If you lay low and do the bare minimum to get by no undue burdens will come your way. This applies to a lot of things, if I do not leave my home for anything beyond basic necessities, I am less at risk for anything bad happening. However, where the logic breaks down is although you will bring nothing bad upon yourself, you will not bring any good upon yourself either. You will impress no one and will not be remembered. In any given firm or organization hundreds if not thousands of people will come through and just do their job. They will come out with the basic ability to do that job and in the future, will probably do the exact same thing for the same compensation. They will not be remembered and will not learn to do much else. Those who go the extra step will learn other jobs that they can also do and their superiors will take note. They will be remembered and when its needed they will be able to do a multitude of jobs for more compensation. When deciding whether to volunteer, there is one question to ask yourself. Do you want more to expand on what you already have? If the answer is yes then do not hesitate.

  24. Michael Marn says:

    This article did not accomplish what it set out to achieve. To explain, I will expand upon the four bullet points:

    According to the first bullet point, the benefit of volunteering first is that no one will pay attention to what you have to say. In this example, the point of the exercise is for the students in the class to become more familiar with the other students so that participating later on in the course is more comfortable and less intimidating. If no one is listening to you, your fellow classmates still do not know you, and no one is better off because you have decided to speak first. According to this article, by volunteering first, what you say essentially doesn’t matter.

    In the second, by volunteering to speak first, you can get away with an unimpressive performance. By simply going first, you can receive an A for saying something that will ‘likely be forgotten.’

    For the third, you completely avoid having to come up with a creative answer and put in a bit of effort. You can say anything and it will be the first time anyone in the class had made that contribution. You said it first so you are the cleverest—you didn’t simply repeat what someone else had already said because no one had said anything at all before you. Again, you can put in minimal effort and be compensated as if you had thought about your answer deeply and sincerely.

    Lastly, rather than receiving an A because you worked the hardest or improved the most, the professor will give you an A because you were the quickest to steal from your fellow classmates the most mediocre of answers.

    I see no benefit here other than, by speaking early, you no longer have to face the fear of speaking later. ‘Simply get it over with’ is what this article says. If this is the approach, why have the exercise at all? This seems like speaking first for the sake of speaking first. Your classmates will forget you, and you’ll get an A for it.

    This article takes the approach that whomever speaks first will be rewarded the most. Following this logic, let’s make a race out of turning in homework assignments and completing exams. The first to submit them will receive an A—regardless of quality and without the professor even looking over the work—and the last receive an F for exactly the same reason. Your answers don’t matter—the professor isn’t going to read it anyways, and you’ll get an A. The professor can make things like that happen. He’s the boss.

    With that being said, you should volunteer. However, you should do it because, regardless of how frightened you are to speak aloud, you have conquered that fear and overcome your anxiety of public speaking. Rather than waiting to speak against your will because you are forced to in order for class to be dismissed, conquer your fear and overcome your weakness. This intrinsic motivation will be much more beneficial than some superficial benefit of receiving more points for having contributed less and avoiding the true hindrance to your success and genuine personal growth.

  25. Stephen Terenzio says:

    “Always volunteer” can sound like a thought straight out of a boss’s head designed to get workers to do more work. However, especially for an intern it’s very important. It’s hard to find someone willing to volunteer, which is why as an intern when you do volunteer it can turn heads in your company. The person who volunteers will see an increase in expectation as well. Not only is it important to volunteer, but to deliver on the quality of work. When you volunteer and don’t deliver on your work, it can create problems with your boss. Another part of volunteering is that it displays that you are confident in yourself to put yourself out there. Having confidence in the workplace can be a key to getting noticed and promoted. Additionally, being extraverted can make volunteering easier. As someone who is naturally outgoing, it would not be hard for me to put my name out there for something, versus someone who isn’t as comfortable being that outgoing, it can be tough. Volunteering also shows that you can be a leader in the workplace. Showing your bosses that you are willing to lead is a sure way to be considered for promotion.

  26. Patrick Ridings says:

    If you don’t step up or stand how can you make change in your life and others. I was told as a kid “If you get a feeling of satisfaction or importance in your chest then it’s the right thing to do.” Someone needs an extra hand and you see someone struggling you don’t stay low and bury your head you step up and go help. Doesn’t matter what’s going on in your personal life, if you had a long day or just don’t want to be bothered you do it because it feels right. Stepping up to volunteer has nothing to do with personal gain. It is all to benefit for the greater good. You want to be a leader, you want to show that you have what it takes to get things done you stand up and volunteer. When I volunteer for something I do not think of what I can eventually get out of it, if it could be a move up the cooperate ladder, a reward or anything to benefit me. I think of the team and how can we all be better. if I have to step up and volunteer so my team can rise then that’s what I will do. Offensive line mentality “lead the way” you get no credit, you make everyone look good, but all you care about is helping your team. Volunteers are not weak they are the strongest, most prepared and intelginte people because they know what it takes to win and be successful.

  27. Casey Stoyell-Mulholland says:

    The concept of always volunteering first is a great idea. Never volunteer may keep you under the radar and out of trouble or give you less work to do, but flying under the radar isn’t the way to be successful or feel fulfilled. Everyone has a passion and is designed to thrive. Following your passion makes it easier to be the first volunteer or want to rise beyond expectations, despite perhaps not being compensated or outright recognized for it. Staying silent or never volunteering may keep one in their comfort zone and enable them a cheap sense of accomplishment since they aren’t getting reprimanded. However, risk is a necessary part of a fulfilling and successful life. Without putting yourself out there you may never fall down but you also will never reach your full potential. Being frightened to stand apart from the crowd is certainly more than understandable. Fear cannot be allowed to run your life, because if it does you won’t be able to accomplish all that you want to and all that you’re meant to. Volunteering first may seem like a big risk with the potential to fail and be ridiculed, but if it pays off it could be oh so sweet.

  28. Chelsi Marcellana says:

    As a Navy intern for almost 2 years now, I have heard of this very popular “truism.” In fact, when I volunteered to lead the Intern council on base at my hometown, my supervisor (who was a former Army soldier), told me to not to volunteer. This saying is very popular among all branches of the military. However, since I volunteered to lead the Intern council, it has linked me to important connections and set me apart from the other interns. Since I took on this leadership role (even when my supervisor told me not to, because it will be extra work with no reward), I was able to use my connections to score an internship at the Navy Yard during the school year. So I say, forget the saying of “never volunteer!” I was able to prove this “truism” wrong directly and have reaped the rewards of stepping up. Especially as an intern, students must do whatever necessary to set them apart from the rest. Bosses are always impressed with interns that are proactive. Volunteering often leads to networking which leads to great opportunities, which it did for me. That being said, I will always take the military saying of “never volunteer” head on.

  29. Julia Barakat says:

    This article makes some really good points on why people should volunteer first. It listed some relatable advantages. It really is true that no one is paying attention to the first person who volunteers because they are too busy thinking about what they are going to say. Whenever I think back to the situations in class where everyone in the class had to speak, I don’t remember ever actually listening to the person who volunteered to go first.
    I used to think that staying under the radar was the best way to get through my classes. Just do your work, keep quiet, and pay attention. It wasn’t until my sophomore/Junior year that I realized volunteering is actually very important. Volunteering allows you to make an impression and set the tone of the discussion/conversation. Professors really do remember the students who consistently volunteer and speak up during class. It makes a good impression on them and they will remember that later. Making a good impression on a professor can lead to an internship or even a job. Making a good impression on your professor isn’t the only reason a student should volunteer though; volunteering should be made into a habit that can be carried on into one’s career. It can lead to multiple good things in a work setting as it does in a University setting

  30. Sean Holleran says:

    This an interesting perspective for a student. To learn the boss’s and or teachers view on volunteering, gives more insight to how important it is to volunteer. Whether it be in school, your community or your job; taking action and being the first person forward shows initiative and courage. Often times others will end up following suit and volunteering after you, they may not remember how much success one had, because like the article says, “no one notices the first person anyways.” That is true, until others start following and then the first person will be credited with being a trailblazer. After reading this article it makes me more inclined to leave my comfort zone in the class and with my personal life, and to start taking initiative to put myself forward and volunteer more and speak up more in class.

  31. John Finbar Kantor says:

    I am not too convinced by the author’s arguments in favor of volunteering. Should one really volunteer because the standards are low and no one is paying attention. That is exactly the same argument that was made in the example of the Army, not to stand out not to be noticed. Volunteers should do so because they have confidence in themselves and their ability to accomplish the task at hand. Most of the time, I find that the first volunteer isn’t motivated by courage or a desire to blaze a trail, but a heightened awareness of their own abilities and the desire to have those abilities recognized.
    On the other hand, you cannot develop that awareness without first practicing by volunteering blindly and taking risks. Those are the types of volunteers that are desired by leaders, because they are motivated by growth not glory. Those are also the type of volunteers who benefit most from the experience.

  32. eleni haberis says:

    I think this article illustrates the benefits of volunteering very well. The main message of the article is to demonstrate the importance of being a leader, and how sometimes the smallest actions are the ones that indicate leadership. I enjoy the example that he gives about when he asks people to volunteer to do a task, where people do a short self-introduction, first. Even if it is mandatory, most people are hesitant to volunteer. It is natural for people to be nervous, and that is why the people who work past this fear are the ones who appear as leaders. He is exactly right in the fact that it does not even matter what you end up saying because people will not remember what you said, but they will remember that you went first. Some people think it is better to just skate by and remain under the radar because with less open participation, there is also less chance of getting noticed and getting in trouble. But, while not getting noticed and staying out of trouble, they are also blocking themselves off from further positive opportunities. It is interesting and important to see a professor notice this trait in students, because it reveals the true essence of the student beyond their test grades.

  33. Emily McGuire says:

    I have never heard the Army truism “Never volunteer”, before. It seems logical. I mean why volunteer for something dangerous, or exhausting, for no return? But then, I think of the great heroes in history who courageously volunteered and changed the course of history. For example, I just watched the movie, “Hacksaw Ridge”, about Desmond Doss. Doss was an American medic in Japan during World War II. After an extremely fatal attack on Okinawa, the Allied troops retreated, but Doss remained in enemy territory to help the wounded men. No one asked Doss to do this, but he voluntarily went above and beyond his duty to make a difference. So maybe if you “keep a low profile”, you will do your duty, but you might not make a significant difference.

    I think volunteering is an act of courage, and a leap of faith. Whether it be in the military, in the classroom, or in the workplace, volunteering displays confidence, leadership and a will to succeed. The most admired men and women of history were the men and women who went out of their comfort zones to make a difference.

    It is definitely easier said than done. When I am in class, I am not always the first one to raise my hand to answer a question. I can completely relate to the classes where is at least 5 minutes of silence after a professor asks a question. That being said, I will definitely go out of my comfort zone to show my professors that I DO care and I am excited and eager to learn.

  34. Steven Neville says:

    When I first began reading this I had to go back and make sure my eyes weren’t fooling me, as I felt volunteering was always the positive, and better, thing to do. Growing up in my household I was always taught that volunteering acts as a form of emotional and mental healing. A pure work ethic reasonably results with a pureness of heart. However, I must admit that I often times — especially in class — find myself unwilling to take that first step ahead of anyone else when it comes to speaking my mind or offering my assistance freely without a promise of recompense. I don’t find myself to be selfish, just reserved. Yet I still find myself sitting here questioning how I can call myself a true Christian if I am unwilling to give without the promise of receiving. After reading this article I am positive that I will be a more active student, citizen and friend. Through volunteering I would not only be helping those around me but I will grow as a Christian soul. Never again will I sit by quietly as others take a step of action.

  35. Mary Delaney says:

    Outside of the classroom, I have always been very involved in extracurricular activities and would appear as someone who “volunteers” to do many things. But inside the classroom, I’ve always shied away from being the first to raise my hand or to participate. I remember the first day of class when my business professor conducted this exercise. As I read the same points today, they are still just as relevant (and true) as the first time I heard them.
    After hearing these points made by someone in an authoritative position, it seemed so blatantly obvious that you should always try to go first, especially as a student. Taking this concept and applying it to a work environment, it is clear that your supervisors would rather see employees who are willing to volunteer – especially when everyone else is reluctant. This is what distinguishes the driven leaders from those who will eventually begin to slack off. It is a time for you to stand out, and to separate yourself, in a positive way, from those around you.

  36. Alec Abbate says:

    This article resonates strongly with me. Everyone in class is almost always to coy to raise their hand to volunteer. Why? Who really knows…maybe it is fear of failure, embarrassment, or whatever worry it may be. It never turns out poorly when someone steps up and volunteers. More often than not, the majority of students sigh in relief as their courageous classmate stands up and volunteers. This article sheds a light on the very importance of volunteering and how it can actually propel you into a realm above the rest. From an in-the-office, work mentality, volunteering is definitely subjective to your bosses managerial style. For example, some bosses would love for you to get out of your comfort zone and learn about something outside of your specialty; however, some bosses may see it as a threat or a connotation that you do not like the work you’re given, or that you do not have enough work. This can end very poorly unless communicated well between you and your superiors.

  37. Anna Lucius says:

    I have never heard of the Army saying, “Never Volunteer.” Thinking about it longer, it makes more and more sense. Volunteering doesn’t always mean that you are going to get anything in return and in fact, it most often means nothing will ever come your way. Even though I will never receive anything from volunteering it still provides me with something else. I have always loved to volunteer, the feeling of helping people makes me happy, and that is what volunteering gives me. Similarly, with my acts of volunteering, I get rich in the heart but never I the pocket, and that is satisfying enough for me. The same idea applies in the classroom example.
    I think that in the world like ours today, volunteering is quite important. So many places and organizations would not operate without volunteers. Moreover, volunteering does good for the soul, just like being the first one to volunteer in the classroom. It improves confidence, it shows the teacher that you are engaged and that you care and it is a good way to practice for a job one day The most simple acts can me so much and that is why I think volunteering matters the most.

  38. Robert Strissel says:

    I really think this article has shown me a lot about how the business world works, and it really shows how important it is to volunteer in an everyday atmosphere. Whenever you are able to volunteer you should try and attempt to do it because it is able to get you noticed by the teacher or boss. We are all always worried about volunteering because we are nervous of what our peers might think of us, but they are not the ones who matter it is the people we are trying to impress that matter. It is the million-dollar question why people chose to not volunteer for things rather than the fact that they are just nervous, but that is not a good enough excuse. You need to be bold in whatever you are doing in life because if you are not bold and do not want to stand out then you will never be able to get what you want. I have learned this a lot throughout life, and it has really struck me how important it is to stand out in the business world. If you do not stand out in the business world no one will want to hire you because you are nothing special, volunteering to do things is the start of people that want to make themselves stand out.

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