Is Life about ‘Me and My Family’…or ‘Me and Society’?

Over the Christmas-New Year period, you catch up with a lot of people.  Perhaps naturally, these conversations focus a lot on how families are doing.  When I mention that I spend a significant part of my week working with my environmental group and as a community bank director, there seems to be no interest.  Perhaps I’m a bad marketer of myself, a bad story teller!  But, as I reflect on this apparent lack of interest, it seems that people fall into two broad types:  those interested mainly in themselves and their families and those interested mainly in the wellbeing of society.  And the mix matters.  Here’s why.Read More »



In one volunteer organisation in which I work (let’s call it Volunteer Co), I have been trying to organise a series of meetings with a major organisation (let’s call it Paid Worker Co) which employs thousands of people to get a series of agreed tasks completed by them.

But I have had endless trouble arranging mutually acceptable meeting dates. Volunteer Co employs no one.  We are all volunteers.  Our committee meets on the weekend, as we are too busy during the ‘working week’.  At first,  Paid Worker Co managers agreed in principle to come to our Saturday meeting, but it soon became clear that the actual employees would only meet within ‘working hours’ (Ie Mon-Fri), whereas we volunteers were happy to meet anytime, anywhere.

How is it that Volunteer Co is so flexible while Paid Worker Co isn’t?

Read More »


I’m too busy’, most people say.

Yet the saying goes, ‘If you want something done, give it to a busy person. It is generally busy people who say ‘Yes’ when you ask for help, or when new ideas, or groups or tasks come along, needing resources to make them happen.

Why do people volunteer?

Why would a busy person – indeed, any person – ‘volunteer’ to undertake an unpaid task, such as president, secretary, treasurer or other responsible position of a sports club, neighbourhood association, culture or interest group?

Read More »