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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

 
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i do a lot of data entry for the place i volunteer for. often it involves keeping track of people, for which i have a natural affinity. we have a lot of people in the database who don't have phone numbers: they often have email addresses or physical addresses, and sometimes they have both. on monday my volunteer supervisor told me they were thinking of asking me to look up the phone numbers for those people online or in phone books and add them to the database.

this made me extremely uncomfortable. i figured if the people wanted us to call them, they would have included their phone numbers. plus, i'm one of the few people there who knows all the switches that have to be flipped to truly keep your name off the calling list: once your phone number is added, it will never come out again, and you will repeatedly request them to stop calling you to no avail.

when i mentioned the ethical delimna of adding people who had specifically made it difficult to contact them via phone, she paused, but then justified it by mentioning what a potential "pool" of people they were unable to solicit. she said they could ask to be taken off when they were called. i've very much enjoyed volunteering there and feel i've done well for them; i'm reliable, detail oriented and flexible. but agreeing to this seemed like i would be destroying my own ethics. after being unhappy about it for a few hours, i realized i was a VOLUNTEER and i could refuse this! that's the best part about being a volunteer! i find it very difficult to say "no" to people who want me, but there are other ways of getting this information other than surreptitiously adding it to their files. so i told them i'd gladly send each person an email or snail mail requesting their phone number, track and add them to the db myself. i would even look up numbers for people who have had prior numbers listed for us in the past but have since been disconnected or otherwise failed. but i won't look up number for peope who haven't given them to us.

setting that boundary went better than i thought it would. i suspect they might do what they originally wanted to do, but at least i protested and refused to be a part of it.

***

on the bright side, i love playing valentine fairy, which i did tonight before having dinner w/ michaelmas at wildwood. i delivered a few of the handmade valentines i created during the valentine-making party on sunday. happy valentine's day, everyone!

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