One of the greatest attractions of moving to a second career is the opportunity to do what you want to do. There is no family placing you under a financial burden and if you are fortunate enough to receive a pension you have the opportunity to consider the voluntary sector as well as paid employment.

When financial considerations are removed from the equation (ie your expenses are covered but you are not ‘paid’ for your time) then it is all about the work your colleagues and the management. The role you choose is your choice – it may be a stepping stone to something else or something you find fulfilling. Depending on your choice your new colleagues ‘go with the territory’, but it is the organisation and management of the activity that makes the difference.

Managing volunteers is a different skill set to managing employees. Volunteers are there because they want to be and they want to do a good job. If they do something wrong then the chances are it is the management who got it wrong. I am reminded of the Management Consultant who bought a dairy farm and on day one stood in the field berating his herd for not producing enough milk. The cows tolerated the abuse while they were well cared for but when the big stick came out there was a stampede for the gate.

When you are being interviewed for a voluntary role remember who is making the decision…