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MovingOnToOtherThings
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,300

« on: July 19, 2018, 05:22:34 AM »

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During several recent conversations with a couple of safety peers I was asked about the Professional Volunteer or Volunteer Professional status.
 1) Is there a difference between the two positions or jobs?
 2) What is the point at which you reach the Volunteer Professional or Professional Volunteer status?
 3) Can you be one without the other?
 4) Is there such a thing as a Qualitative or Quantitative category for this concept?
 5) If you have the KSA’s and no position can you have the same impact of someone that has the position but no experience?
« Last Edit: July 19, 2018, 05:26:10 AM by movingontootherthings » Logged
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,074

« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2018, 08:56:20 AM »

1) Is there a difference between the two positions or jobs?
Yes, but they aren't "jobs", per se, they are attitudes about the participation.

2) What is the point at which you reach the Volunteer Professional or Professional Volunteer status?
10,000 hours / ten+ years, which is a fundamental reality that flies in the face of a generation that
believes you can watch three YouTube videos and consider yourself an "expert" in anything.

3) Can you be one without the other?
Many are.

4) Is there such a thing as a Qualitative or Quantitative category for this concept?
No opinion.

5) If you have the KSA’s and no position can you have the same impact of someone that has the position but no experience?

No - neither are optimal.  The former wastes talent, invites dissension, and is negative factor in retention,
the latter fuels the first point and is generally a recipe for failure.

In my experience, a "Volunteer Professional" is someone who brings either specific or generalized KSA(+E)
to an organization to the betterment of both the organizaiton and the individual. (It also might describe
my business some years).


A "Professional Volunteer" tends to be someone with a lot of free time who is generally "around" and gives
time to a lot of areas, but never really engages highly with any of them. They can be important on the
mean, especially to organizations that need a lot of hands, like the ARC, or local community organizations,
but aren't generally counted on for leadership or technical KSA(+E), and sometimes their
lack of self-awareness of their low KSA(+E) is a detriment to the situation as they believe they can do things they
actually can't.

CAP tends to appoint a lot of "Professional Volunteers" because of the reality of volunteer organizations. The
"Volunteer Professionals" are a much smaller population, but are the ones who have meaningful, longer-term
impact on the organization (not always positive, and assumes they stick around).
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EMT-83
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,881

« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2018, 07:31:57 PM »

"Professional" has nothing to do with pay status. It's all about ability and attitude.

A volunteer can be the most professional person you'll ever encounter, even though they're not being paid to perform the task at hand.

A career person being paid to perform the same task could be the most incompetent jackwagon on the planet.
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etodd
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Posts: 1,247

« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2018, 10:24:37 PM »


 2) What is the point at which you reach the Volunteer Professional or Professional Volunteer status?


I would never call myself either.  Is someone you know, waiting on pins and needles until they can add one of the phrases to their resume and online signature?  ::)

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TheSkyHornet
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Posts: 1,467

« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2018, 11:36:13 AM »

Quote
1) Is there a difference between the two positions or jobs?

I would consider a "Volunteer Professional" to be someone who specializes, or has a great deal of experience, in organizing volunteer programs/activities. This would be the go-to person for information on setting up or managing an organization or event.

A "Professional Volunteer" can mean a number of things: one who contributes their own time and dedication to service under a volunteer organization, acting professionally (i.e., conduct) within that organization, being widespread and participating in a number of volunteer service capacities, etc.

Quote
2) What is the point at which you reach the Volunteer Professional or Professional Volunteer status?

That's subject, but I think it's how you present yourself and "earn your way up the ladder." Essentially, it's time and experience.

Quote
3) Can you be one without the other?

Well, you can most definitely be someone who contributes to an organization but is not the person I would consult to lead a project. Being great at comms doesn't makes you the person to put it charge of a training exercise, and maybe the person in charge of the training exercise doesn't have the skill to perform a fine-tuned technical task. They're both professionals in their own right, but not necessarily the same function.

I would think to be a "Volunteer Professional" that you would need to be a "Professional Volunteer" first.

Quote
4) Is there such a thing as a Qualitative or Quantitative category for this concept?

Qualitative, absolutely. Your qualities will make you shine in a volunteer organization, not the number of times you contribute. Someone who shows up to everything but doesn't offer anything is useless. An activity that has 100 people but nobody is trained isn't much an activity, especially if it isn't adequately organized/managed.

You need quantity, yes. But not at the cost of quality and effectiveness in what you do.

Quote
5) If you have the KSA’s and no position can you have the same impact of someone that has the position but no experience?

"Position" may be another subjective term. If referring to a specific assignment, generally, the person without the position may be someone of influence, but they won't have the authority. They have to tackle that challenge of influencing and convincing others (i.e., buy-in).

Then again, maybe someone with the experience can be assigned as a mentor for someone with the position. We do this all the time in the cadet world---cadets "run the show" while seniors "supervise and mentor."

This is a chicken vs. egg scenario. What comes first: Experience or opportunity?
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MovingOnToOtherThings
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Posts: 1,300

« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2018, 10:21:02 PM »

The intent behind the questions is strictly research and opinions. I do not have anyone waiting to add anything to their signature line. One of the schools I teach for has discussion opportunities for the Part-time Professors. We have questions pop up that we chat about and I like to get outside opinions on.

The discussion originated in a class I am teaching now. The Socio-Psychological Nature of Emergency Management. This question was specific to Volunteer Impacts and their roles in Emergency Response.

The class information and description.

EMG 4050: Socio-Psychological Nature of Emergency Management

Description

Students will analyze the social and psychological nature of working in emergency management. Relevant theories will be incorporated to display how humans prepare for, respond to and recover from vulnerabilities, risks, emergencies, disasters and catastrophes.

Outcomes

1.Identify and discuss the concept of social vulnerability.
2.Analyze the post-impact behavior of individuals and organizations within a society during and after a disaster.
3.Analyze and discuss ways that the implications of disasters produce social change.
4.Describe and discuss theories of thought that can be applied to emergency management scenarios.


https://www.waldorf.edu/academics/degree-programs/bachelors/bas-emergency-management

https://www.waldorf.edu/faculty-staff/directory/by-faculty-staff/james-shaw,

This is kind of like Field Research for me and sharing with my students.

Hope this clarifies the intent a bit more.
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NIN
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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2018, 10:07:17 AM »

Not strictly related to emergency management,  but when I was involved with the American Cadet Alliance, the chief of staff used to frequently use the term "unpaid professionals" to describe our  volunteer staff members.

It was a subtle but intersting way to term it. When speaking with General Officers and Undersecretaries of the Army, he'd always be quick to turn "So all of you are volunteers?" to "All of us are unpaid professionals, donating our time and expertise to the organization" or something like that. It cast a different spin on the conversation, thats for sure.

Sent from my SM-T550 using Tapatalk

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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
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The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2018 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
MovingOnToOtherThings
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,300

« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2018, 03:42:24 PM »

Not strictly related to emergency management,  but when I was involved with the American Cadet Alliance, the chief of staff used to frequently use the term "unpaid professionals" to describe our  volunteer staff members.

It was a subtle but intersting way to term it. When speaking with General Officers and Undersecretaries of the Army, he'd always be quick to turn "So all of you are volunteers?" to "All of us are unpaid professionals, donating our time and expertise to the organization" or something like that. It cast a different spin on the conversation, thats for sure.

Sent from my SM-T550 using Tapatalk

I am glad you mentioned the "unpaid professional" description. The description brings up the next part of the question.

In recent years many volunteer organizations have changed its direction somewhat to requiring their members to build their professional development programs from that of a "volunteer" (glad you are here and participating) to that of "meet or exceed" the same requirements as those "paid jobs".

Does that adversely effect either perception of the Unpaid Professionals or Professionals Unpaid?
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etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,247

« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2018, 04:54:54 PM »


In recent years many volunteer organizations have changed its direction somewhat to requiring their members to build their professional development programs from that of a "volunteer" (glad you are here and participating) to that of "meet or exceed" the same requirements as those "paid jobs".

Does that adversely effect either perception of the Unpaid Professionals or Professionals Unpaid?

Anyone mentioning 'time' in this equation? A retired person might can make their volunteerism into a full time job and dedicate their all to it. Moving up in Professional Development, etc., etc.

Many working folks, still might consider themselves as professional, but due to time constraints of the paying job, family and more, might not be able to dedicate as much time, and not be able to "meet or exceed" what the retired person can do. Are part-timers less professional?
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,074

« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2018, 05:01:09 PM »

Does that adversely effect either perception of the Unpaid Professionals or Professionals Unpaid?

It depends on the situation, and what the volunteer is doing.

If it's an "all-hands come help" community thing that isn't very technical or requires much planning,
formal PD might be overkill, however if its technical or life and property, as is the case many times with CAP,
a different story, since the members have to stand next to paid professionals who have much higher education
and training requirements often wanting to do the same tasks.

Many working folks, still might consider themselves as professional, but due to time constraints of the paying job, family and more, might not be able to dedicate as much time, and not be able to "meet or exceed" what the retired person can do. Are part-timers less professional?

Not necessarily less "professional", but commitment and engagement have to be factors when choosing
leadership and doling out assignments.

You're either there or you aren't, "why not" is irrelevant.  Outside experience and abilities
are always a factor, but there's no substitute for reps.
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NIN
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2018, 05:29:01 PM »

There's the context of the volunteer firefighters, or even unpaid reserve cops.

Just because you're a volunteer doesn't mean there aren't standards and expectations related to the environment.

My wife is the volunteer coordinator for the thrift store run by a local nonprofit that does transitional housing for families. Their volunteers are all background checked and have to be trained before they can step foot in the back room or the sales floor to put clothing out or organize housewares. 

People complain "But I just want to volunteer.." 

Sure, but they have a certain set of needs and rules. Want to volunteer? Great, follow the steps, please.  Until then, sorry.

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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2018 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,467

« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2018, 10:29:23 AM »

You're either there or you aren't, "why not" is irrelevant.  Outside experience and abilities
are always a factor, but there's no substitute for reps.

Heavily agree with this.

There are a number of people who get air and ground mission qualifications, but do not put themselves into the call tree. Effectively, that's of minimal use.

An issue with my role in this organization is that I'm limited to evenings and weekends only. I cannot, with some exception, take time off from my work day to participate in training exercises let alone actual emergency response operations. I have no protection in my state to do that. So I'm not going to be someone that someone expects to show up for a real-world assignment when I can't commit.

That's an issue with CAP overall, but that's the nature of this type of organization. Most middle-aged and under individuals are not capable of dedicating time during the weekday. And many "family men" (and women) cannot dedicate time during the weeknight outside of the one unit meeting per week.

You may not be any less professional in your skill or personal conduct, but you aren't as valuable in the sense of availability of that skill, and it can contribute to a lack of practical experience and mission readiness.

There are some people who can take off a week or two each month and staff three Encampments plus two NCSAs. These are people that I would expect to be the project leaders because they have the time to commit and hopefully the experience. Maybe that leaves me out of the pool as the go-to for planning and managing those types of activities but once a year, but that's where I have to fall in line because I just can't make that commitment. It is what it is.

People complain "But I just want to volunteer.." 

Sure, but they have a certain set of needs and rules. Want to volunteer? Great, follow the steps, please.  Until then, sorry.

Absolutely this to the max.

You being a volunteer doesn't excuse you from standard operating procedures. It doesn't excuse you from screwing up the assignments you volunteered to conduct or take part in. People are counting on you to execute, and if you fail, it has consequences. Putting in your best effort (Excellence = Core Value, right?) means that you aren't finding a loophole or an excuse in case it goes south.

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MovingOnToOtherThings
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Posts: 1,300

« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2018, 04:48:08 PM »

National Commander Maj Gen Mark Smith does a series of videos that are shared with the members. In one of the videos I believe "Professionalism Briefing 2" he describes his 5 pillars of professionalism. He highlights "safety & compliance as the bookends of professionalism and then lists:

Aircrew Professionalism
Self Improvement
Leadership Training & Education

I like the way he has put it together and agree with safety & compliance being the bookends.

So here is the question. Does the Professional Volunteer / Volunteer Professional status of the member have any impact on the bookends as he has so elegantly put together?
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etodd
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Posts: 1,247

« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2018, 08:08:07 PM »


So here is the question. Does the Professional Volunteer / Volunteer Professional status of the member have any impact on the bookends as he has so elegantly put together?


I get a headache trying to figure out what you're asking in this thread.  Its CAP.  A group of folks from all walks of life, who see something they thought might be interesting to get involved with. Some can be rag tag squadrons, some can look more "professional" (whatever that means), but in the end, both groups and all those in-between, get the job done.  Why this need to label folks? If you must, call us civilian volunteers.

My view is that if you want to use the "pro" word, its not a title that anyone can give themselves or should be officially given.  Its an adjective, its a compliment.  "He handled that situation like a Pro!"   Very subjective.

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MovingOnToOtherThings
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Posts: 1,300

« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2018, 08:51:28 PM »


So here is the question. Does the Professional Volunteer / Volunteer Professional status of the member have any impact on the bookends as he has so elegantly put together?


I get a headache trying to figure out what you're asking in this thread.  Its CAP.  A group of folks from all walks of life, who see something they thought might be interesting to get involved with. Some can be rag tag squadrons, some can look more "professional" (whatever that means), but in the end, both groups and all those in-between, get the job done.  Why this need to label folks? If you must, call us civilian volunteers.

My view is that if you want to use the "pro" word, its not a title that anyone can give themselves or should be officially given.  Its an adjective, its a compliment.  "He handled that situation like a Pro!"   Very subjective.

I am not trying to label anyone. My questions are subjective as they are intended to be. I am looking for different opinions and simply asking open ended questions to spark a little discussion. Nothing more nothing less.
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SarDragon
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Unit: NAVAIRPAC

« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2018, 09:39:31 PM »

Here's an article I happened across this morning:
  Column from Vertical911, Summer issue, 2018

Focus on Professionalism // Tony Kern

WHERE DO OUR DREAMS GO TO DIE?

Have you ever wondered where the passion goes as we get deeper into our careers? Is passion a renewable resource, or something that we naturally burn up as we log hours and years? Is it only for the young and enthusiastic? Something we naturally grow out of?

These are important questions to individuals and organizations trying to improve their safety and efficiency in a demanding and dynamic environment. The reason passion is so important to first responders is that it drives performance above standards. When you are passionate about something, "good enough" is never good enough. When you are passionate, you seek to excel — the root word of excellence.

I've been doing some research on Levels of Professionalism across an aviator's career line lately, and discovered some interesting, but disturbing data points. As a starting point, I've worked from a model developed for Going Pro: The Deliberate Practice of Professionalism (2007, Northslope Publications). The quick overview is that Level I Professionals are mere members of a profession; Level lIs are fully compliant; Level Ills are fully compliant, actively engaged, and continuously improving on their own. These men and women are logging lessons, not just hours. Level IVs are Level Ills who have decided to take on apprentices and pass along their best practices and wisdom. They are the mentors.

My early analysis on career progression indicates that almost everyone enters our industry as a Level III professional, fully compliant, fully engaged, and getting better every day. They are out to prove themselves, to demonstrate to their peers and organization that they have what it takes. And perhaps most importantly, they are enjoying it. But somewhere between their second and fifth year on the line, something happens. A large majority of this motivated group slip into noncompliant behaviors and lose their passion to improve. By year seven, over half slide backwards from Level III to Level I — and many never recover. From this data point, one might assume that passion is indeed an expendable resource.

There are many possible excuses for this, but few good reasons. I've heard from a host of professional aviators that it might stem from a variety of factors: culture, poor role models, schedule pressures, boredom, complacency, or simply a lack of challenges after learning the ropes of the aircraft, organization, and mission. These are things that seem to empty our passion reserves at an accelerated burn rate.

There are certainly organizational factors involved, but few organizational solutions. In the final analysis, it is up to each and every one of us to see and avoid these traps. If we want to remain engaged in our passion to fly, the very thing that drew us to this wonderful profession in the first place, we have to work it out for ourselves. Many years (actually decades) ago, I got some advice from a mentor who gave me one question that, he said, would drive my professional development for the rest of my life.

"What shall I become — what can I become — in this endeavor by virtue of what I do here, now, with the resources at hand, to myself?"

This question strips bare the multitude of excuses we provide ourselves for not staying engaged, for getting sloppy, or for falling in with the rest of the lazy bubbas we might have to work around. It motivates us to take the situation as it is — whatever it is — and grow within it. Along with this wisdom, he gave me three techniques to use in staying engaged.

Look for the first signs of boredom, cynicism, or sloppiness.Passion is easier to sustain than it is to regain, so keep these passion thieves in your crosscheck at all times. Find new ways to challenge yourself and don't expand your tolerance for substandard per­formance, even if others are doing so.

Thrive in a negative culture by staying positive, no matter what. This is a tough chal­lenge as we encounter personal and professional setbacks along our path. View problems as challenges as opposed to road blocks. With, each small victory, our confidence grows and the passion low level light stays extinguished.

Become the resident expert at something, and then something else.When people begin to recognize you for your expertise, it adds a welcome responsibility to continue to exceed the standards and role model these behaviors to others.
Passion is a resource. It drives the engine of excellence.
What are you becoming?
 
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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret
MovingOnToOtherThings
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,300

« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2018, 10:02:16 PM »

Here's an article I happened across this morning:
  Column from Vertical911, Summer issue, 2018

Focus on Professionalism // Tony Kern

WHERE DO OUR DREAMS GO TO DIE?

Have you ever wondered where the passion goes as we get deeper into our careers? Is passion a renewable resource, or something that we naturally burn up as we log hours and years? Is it only for the young and enthusiastic? Something we naturally grow out of?

These are important questions to individuals and organizations trying to improve their safety and efficiency in a demanding and dynamic environment. The reason passion is so important to first responders is that it drives performance above standards. When you are passionate about something, "good enough" is never good enough. When you are passionate, you seek to excel — the root word of excellence.

I've been doing some research on Levels of Professionalism across an aviator's career line lately, and discovered some interesting, but disturbing data points. As a starting point, I've worked from a model developed for Going Pro: The Deliberate Practice of Professionalism (2007, Northslope Publications). The quick overview is that Level I Professionals are mere members of a profession; Level lIs are fully compliant; Level Ills are fully compliant, actively engaged, and continuously improving on their own. These men and women are logging lessons, not just hours. Level IVs are Level Ills who have decided to take on apprentices and pass along their best practices and wisdom. They are the mentors.

My early analysis on career progression indicates that almost everyone enters our industry as a Level III professional, fully compliant, fully engaged, and getting better every day. They are out to prove themselves, to demonstrate to their peers and organization that they have what it takes. And perhaps most importantly, they are enjoying it. But somewhere between their second and fifth year on the line, something happens. A large majority of this motivated group slip into noncompliant behaviors and lose their passion to improve. By year seven, over half slide backwards from Level III to Level I — and many never recover. From this data point, one might assume that passion is indeed an expendable resource.

There are many possible excuses for this, but few good reasons. I've heard from a host of professional aviators that it might stem from a variety of factors: culture, poor role models, schedule pressures, boredom, complacency, or simply a lack of challenges after learning the ropes of the aircraft, organization, and mission. These are things that seem to empty our passion reserves at an accelerated burn rate.

There are certainly organizational factors involved, but few organizational solutions. In the final analysis, it is up to each and every one of us to see and avoid these traps. If we want to remain engaged in our passion to fly, the very thing that drew us to this wonderful profession in the first place, we have to work it out for ourselves. Many years (actually decades) ago, I got some advice from a mentor who gave me one question that, he said, would drive my professional development for the rest of my life.

"What shall I become — what can I become — in this endeavor by virtue of what I do here, now, with the resources at hand, to myself?"

This question strips bare the multitude of excuses we provide ourselves for not staying engaged, for getting sloppy, or for falling in with the rest of the lazy bubbas we might have to work around. It motivates us to take the situation as it is — whatever it is — and grow within it. Along with this wisdom, he gave me three techniques to use in staying engaged.

Look for the first signs of boredom, cynicism, or sloppiness.Passion is easier to sustain than it is to regain, so keep these passion thieves in your crosscheck at all times. Find new ways to challenge yourself and don't expand your tolerance for substandard per­formance, even if others are doing so.

Thrive in a negative culture by staying positive, no matter what. This is a tough chal­lenge as we encounter personal and professional setbacks along our path. View problems as challenges as opposed to road blocks. With, each small victory, our confidence grows and the passion low level light stays extinguished.

Become the resident expert at something, and then something else.When people begin to recognize you for your expertise, it adds a welcome responsibility to continue to exceed the standards and role model these behaviors to others.
Passion is a resource. It drives the engine of excellence.
What are you becoming?
 

Dave, great read and thanks for sharing. I enjoyed the way he described it very much.
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