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Feta's avatar

Should I stay in this club if I'm not appreciated?

Asked by Feta (925points) July 11th, 2014

I’m on the yearbook committee at my school.
I joined because I’m really interested in photography and journalism and I noticed that the preppy girls that were on it can hardly use their DSLRs and I have 6 years experience with cameras.

The teacher who runs the club knows about my experience and she is also aware of my ability to write because I put all of my experience on my resume for the club.

I’ll be a senior this year, I worked on the yearbook last year before I was even a member and did the senior pages and checked the horrible grammar on the pages I didn’t do.

I even corrected a few mistakes that the girls who have been on yearbook since they were freshman made.
I triple-check every page I do.
Once I was sick so another girl did one of my senior pages and I found 4 mistakes that would have gone uncorrected.

But this is all she has me do. Check grammar.
When I completed my senior pages she didn’t give me any other jobs aside from putting receipts into the computer while the other girls got to sit in the back and talk arrange pictures and design the pages.

I was commissioned by the teacher to work on the day that the senior photos were being taken.
I gave her my number, she was supposed to text me what time to be there. She said I didn’t need her number, that she would contact me, but she told me to be there at 6 AM anyway.

I never received a text. So on the day I was supposed to be there, I sat in the parking lot from 6–9 AM waiting for the photographers to get there to help. Any of the other girls wouldn’t have shown up.

When I got in, there was a boy from yearbook there. I asked him if he’d received a text. He said everyone had gotten a text the previous Friday.

I worked for an hour until the other girls had to be called to ask if they were even coming.
They all showed up 30 minutes later. They sat around for another hour and then decided that they were hungry and they all left for lunch and never came back.
For a fleeting moment one said, “Hey, maybe we should stay and help her instead of all leaving at once.” But then the leader said, “No, let’s ditch.”

So I was left alone to do all the work. I worked from 9AM to 4PM dressing students and leading them to the photographers and I wasn’t even reminded to be there.

I’m questioning whether I should remain in this group if I’m always going to be doing the work with very little recognition.

Should I?

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14 Answers

snowberry's avatar

On the one hand you can detail everything you’ve done and put it on resumes and on college applications. ]

On the other hand, no, they don’t appear to appreciate you, and will continue using you. So knowing the projected outcome, are you willing to put up with the BS to look good on college and job resumes? If you stay, before you start the school year, make the teacher put in writing (and have them sign it) all the stuff you’ve done and will do this coming year so you have evidence to support your resumes in the future. I suggest you think twice if you’re going to all that work and not even get acknowledged for it.

And of course, assuming that next year goes like the last one, consider the personal cost of the rejection you’ll feel if you stay on. Only you can answer these questions.

Aethelwine's avatar

I think you should stay to get the experience. I was also on the yearbook staff in high school as a photographer, but I slacked off after the first year. I wish I hadn’t done that. The people who are losing out are the slackers, not you. First hand experience will only help you in the long run.

JLeslie's avatar

I think if overall you love photography and working on the yearbook you should stay. However, learn from what has happened. Never just rely on someone to contact you. Always take their number also. This is good to know for school and for the future. Never wait for three hours, at the most at 45 minutes I would have told someone you had been there and are leaving. Being able to complain is not a good scenerio in school, work, or relationships. Take control of what you are willing to do. If you want to do some of the page layout, make it clear up front.

Yearbook is a good thing to have on college educations, so since you are inclined towards it I think stick with it. The teacher running it sucks as a manager, what I can say. You can protect yourself though as a volunteer by standing up for what you are willing to do and want to do. I don’t mean never stay a little later than you ideally would want or even show up at 6am when you rather sleep in, but I will remind you that a lot of the time you are not making it easier on the other students but for the teacher who doesn’t want to do the work either. Since you will be a senior, maybe you can organize the yearbook team since you will have seniority.

canidmajor's avatar

You will encounter numerous circumstances in life where you are not appreciated. I hate to sound cynical, but this is excellent training. Do good work for its own sake, and stick with this. The shelf life is finite, and it says much better things about you, whether applying for jobs or college or anything, that you followed through on this project. Because this is not a career or a job where you will be for years, you can benefit from the experience, then you’re gone. How the others behaved is not your responsibility, how you handle all of this is.

The faculty advisor is taking note of your involvement, and may be willing to write a good letter of recommendation when the time comes.

CWOTUS's avatar

I don’t think that I will give advice regarding whether or not you should leave the club, but I will say that you should take some kind of positive action to dispel, reduce and avoid the feelings of resentment that you obviously have. I suspect that those feelings manifest in some ways that are not evident to you, and this is going to set up a positive feedback loop which will ensure that you are even more unpopular (at least in this group) in the future, hence more resentful, etc.

You need to take action to break that cycle, whatever form of action that takes:
– teach the others how to use their cameras when you see that they don’t understand fundamentals of photography;
– teach them about grammar when they express a willingness to learn (sometimes that can be encouraged by mocking anonymous submissions – so that no one that you all know will be the butt of the joke – and having them learn proper rules by demonstrating improper application);
– discuss with the teacher / monitor / group leader one-on-one in a candid discussion what you want to do and why you already feel slighted, disparaged, put-down, forgotten and ignored;
– realize (and I say this with all the good will in the world) that your own grammar could use a lot of improvement – develop some humility.

dxs's avatar

I had a similar experience in high school.
I was in fall marching band and the instructor of my section (who was in college; two years older than me) was a b*tch. She was an all around jerk, saying nasty things to me (and everyone else) but also throwing me personally aside while playing favorites with the sophomores and juniors. I think that it was because she found me intimidating—unlike others, I wasn’t unquestioningly obedient and passive, so she abused her authority to quell my pleas for justice. She cursed at us, wasn’t constructive with criticism, and called people names. I was the only one courageous enough to say something back to her and talk to the band director. Anyways, I ended up quitting and didn’t do winter band either because of her. I loved being in band, but it wasn’t worth my stress. I understand your situation is a bit different, but I still think I went unappreciated like you.

Communication is key. I talked to the band director, but it did nothing, so I left.

If this job causes you too much stress, it’s not worth your time. The instructor I had caused me too much stress, so it wasn’t worth my time.

When I talked to the band director about her, he laughed and shooed me away, so I gave up. But in winter band, the instructor got fired because one girl came crying to the band director about a comment the instructor said to her. So I guess I should’ve put more emotion into it haha.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I agree with @jonsblond and @canidmajor. Learn from the experience, and also that this can happen in volunteer positions, so you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Perhaps you’re making them look bad (or that’s how those who are shutting you out perceive your activity)? This is a life lesson. Sometimes you may be doing a fabulous job but by doing that fabulous job you show up the shoddy work being carried out by others. That’s not going to make you popular and yes, sometimes it will lead to you being isolated and excluded.

As has been said, do the work because you enjoy it and because it will look great on your resume when you apply for journalism and communications jobs in the future. See it as an opportunity to hone your skills and evidence of why your skills are important. Take photos, offer them and try not to let your nose get too far out of joint if they dismiss them and use inferior work.

We didn’t have yearbooks where I went to school but I’d say the process is as much about being part of a team as it is about the final product. Some of your peers may not have your skills but I doubt the school would want only those who are fabulous writers, photographers etc. to be involved. It would result in a very small team and perhaps in some years, no team. The goal is probably to get the best product possible while encouraging a group of people to be involved.

Feta's avatar

But they’re not involved. They sit around and talk. They use it as a “free period” to get out of class.

For several years now people have complained that the yearbooks they pay $80 for are trash.
One year they forgot to put page numbers in and left out an entire page of sophomores.

JLeslie's avatar

@Feta The blame really goes to the teacher/supervisor. She/He is terrible at managing and she should do the final edit of the yearbook in my opinion. She is not creating excitement among her volunteers nor loyalty to the project, she is just letting them be apathetic. Will those same girls be in yearbook again next year who just goof off?

Feta's avatar

@JLeslie Yep.
They’re her favorites. She even lets them leave school to get lunch (against the rules) when they’re supposed to be working on the yearbook.

snowberry's avatar

@Feta If that’s the case, report her every time she violates the rules. Make sure the principal knows you want to remain anonymous. This teacher is a predator, and it’s a matter of time before those kids get in trouble.

JLeslie's avatar

@Feta I would just have a candid talk with her about what you are able to do this year. Set the guidelines and try not to get taken advantage of. Don’t be a bitch about it, just say it matter of fact and tell her how much you are looking forward to yearbook (if you decide you are going to do it) and wear a big smile. If you specifically want to do page layout tell her point blank. As far as editing, more than one person should be editing anyway. However, if you are the editor, you should get it acknowledged on the yearbook.

I wouldnt tell that she lets some girls go off campus, that might be a nice perk you want to take advantage of some days.

fluthernutter's avatar

Yearbook is notorious for being a slacker class. Doesn’t seem like your school is an exception.

Work hard for yourself. Don’t expect the others to be appreciative of it though. At least not in this situation.

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