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I come from a family of artists, and was raised in "ennobling poverty." My father did what he loved - acting and singing, while my mother did what she loved - raising her children. Their parents did much the same We never had much, but then we never wanted much, and we paid our tithing in church and lived frugally within our means. They were fortunate to fine a lovely, albeit tiny home in a beautiful part of southern California, and we have been here for 30 years eking out a living on what some would call "crushing poverty" but which we simply call "lesser means." We weren't poor - we just didn't have any money. And frankly, our indigent circumstances had nothing to do with our happiness as a family, our opportunities as children, or our ability to participate in wonderful programs growing up. We took advantage of financial help when needed, but worked hard to earn our part when we could. My parents simply taught us that if we ever wanted to go anywhere or do anything, we had to earn it. Of the seven children in my family, all seven went to elite universities on academic scholarship. And all the while, we were told again and again by my parents to DO WHAT YOU LOVE and that will make your living for you. Money has never been a motivation for any of us, and so far, it's brought up three generations of happy marriages, successful careers, and fruitful homes. 


So, if this kid really wants to go into Scouting, he should be encouraged, not turned away from it. I commend him for being able to put up with the monotony of the program for a while in order to follow a career that he really loves.

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I was a professional for a little under 2 years as a DE, and a little over 2 years for national supply. While the national supply gig was OK, but there was a lot of pettiness there. 


But the DE gig was hell. My council went through 9 DEs, a Field Director, and a Finance Director while I was there. One of my coworkers had a nervous breakdown while I was a DE, 3 of my coworkers got divorced either while I was working or while I was volunteering. One of the three divorcees also had a nervous breakdown due to the work stress and the divorce, which was caused by work.


My wife, who was dating me and engaged to me while being a DE, saw what it was doing to me, and our life together. She gave me an ultimatum within 6 weeks of our wedding: her or the job.  Needless to say I made a good decision.


I was active on the district and council level prior to becoming a DE. I shadowed them multiple times. And it did not prepare me for the reality.

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I worked part time as a professional and found that it wasn't for me.  Only those with a fortitude of a mule can make it through.  Non-profit organizations all tend to be the same, whether it be churches, community based help group or educational settings or volunteer programs like Scouting.  Resources are always wanting and to make the most of it will rely on short-changing their workers.


Public school teachers are always complaining about low wages, but a church school teacher gets paid even less.  Is it fair?  Nope, But is that the way the world works?  Yep.  In today's fast paced world, getting to retirement without burnout, divorce or financially having to work past 65 is how things work now.  A schoolmarm used to be able to handle a couple dozen children of various ages in a one room school.  Today's teachers have the same number of kids, all the same age, all working on the same thing at the same time, and they are burning out.  What's with that?


The key to the whole process is knowing one's limits and knowing when to walk away.  I read a couple of books "back in the day" that made sense ("The Peter Principle" was one of them).  I have gone through college to the master's degree level, but I flunked out in the beginning.  I went through 4 parishes in 15 years before walking away completely from the ministry, went through a divorce, left a good paying job because my blood pressure was 250/150 due to stress.  Yet even knowing the pitfalls, I stayed healthy mentally, emotionally and physically.  I now am reitred, been remarried, have an 8 acre hobby farm and enough money to live quite comfortably.  It's called life.  I knew when to walk away. 


So the boy goes into professional BSA, who are we to point out what others did with it?  He might do just fine, if not, just walk away.  If he goes into conservation, he might do just fine, if not, just walk away.  The pattern is always the same until one finds that which works.  There are those that can't make the adjust to retirement and have serious complications because of it.  Me?  It's the best time of my life.  I have volunteering going on in my church, in my community, in Scouting and if I want to go on a trip across country all I have to do is find the car keys and go.  It was worth the journey, every step of the way and don't let burnout catch oneself off guard.  It's coming Be Prepared.

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@@The Latin Scot, agree we should encourage the young man. However, he should go in with eyes wide open that he's entering a hierarchical, low-paying career.

Personally, I don't think it would be my place to encourage or discourage.  Not my life.  But making a decision without knowing where it is probably going to lead ?  If the facts are deemed "discouraging," so be it.  At least, as you say, "eyes wide open."


In 1998, law school graduates who had passed the Ohio Bar Exam  (perfectly normal in appearance and demeanor), some  from in the top 10% of their classes at perfectly respectable law schools (some in the national top 50) were asking to come to work at AT&T Legal for no pay - so they could add experience to their resumes. Supply vs. demand.  That suggested to me that one needed to go to a really top school and graduate Coif, unless daddy was a senior partner in, or major client of, a firm that was hiring.  ED: the new law graduate employment rate has dropped very year since.

Edited by TAHAWK
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