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18

“Someone Else Will Do It” Syndrome

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 The “Someone Else Will Do it” (SEWDI) syndrome seems to be all around us. A perfect example is at the parking lots of the local supermarket or Walmart. People seem content to leave their carts scattered throughout a parking lot without returning them to the designated return areas. Granted, there are people assigned to periodically collect the carts, but people simply rely on someone else rather than take the few extra minutes to put them where they belong.  

Every day, I am reminded of SEWDI syndrome. There are dishes left in the sink, the paper towel dispenser is not refilled and the toilet paper roll is left with only a few squares left.  Its someone else’s job must be the assumption, yet the someone else seems to always catch me.   Sometimes, you just have to take it in your stride and laugh! Arghh, but I’m usually the one washing the errant plate or refilling the toilet paper!

The SEWDI syndrome is evident in associations too. People inevitably are happy to contribute their ideas at a meeting. It’s the implementation that’s a challenge. When people are asked to volunteer and maybe chair a committee, handle registrations, etc., the room is quiet, just crickets! They are hoping for someone else to take responsibility. I also find it common in legislative efforts, some employers and members just expect SEWDI but sometimes, you have to be the someone else!  

Last week was National Volunteer Week, and we recognize our volunteers at AAHAM and say thank you for your contributions. Volunteering and helping our fellow human (and animals) has long been seen as altruistic, but volunteering has many more benefits. Whatever the motive, volunteering has been found to improve health, happiness and in some cases, even longevity. Children who volunteer are more likely to grow up to be adults who volunteer. Communities with volunteers are considered more stable and better places to live. Nothing in society says that someone is mandated to help others, but people who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being and happiness. Our country has one of the world’s highest rates of volunteerism.

AAHAM membership at both the national and the local level offers many opportunities for volunteering and being involved. I urge you to not only be a member in AAHAM, but raise your hand. And the next time you think of leaving that grocery cart in the parking lot; take an extra few minutes to return it!

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