Volunteer Work Stress and Parents

Hi all, sorry for being so inactive on HS lately (just been pretty busy).

Anyhow, today I’m looking for a little advice (if anyone has ideas) or support.

For context, I’m in an upper leadership position in an all-volunteer nonprofit and I’ve been considering leaving for quite some time. I’m just burned out from dealing with constant issue after issue after issue. The constant stress and amount of time for volunteering is just too much (I have an average of 10-20hrs/wk of work from it).

Sidenote: If anyone here has read my previous posts on issues with the organization, the incident I mention there contributed to but isn’t the primary reason that I’m planning to leave. At this point, that incident is resolved (other person involved sent out a five-page apology and is still in the organization, being cooperative now) and isn’t massively contributing to my thoughts here. While I still don’t like him and do believe that he should be removed, if he was removed, I would need to compensate for the work that he was doing, which is another 5hrs/wk of work on my plate and that is simply too much, so removing him isn’t that viable and I’m sick of the incident so I’m ready to move on.

Even when I’m not dealing with issues within the org, even good things have started really frustrating me. Like just the other day we got a massive grant – the biggest one we’ve ever gotten (roughly equivalent to half our annual revenue) – but it’s restricted for a program that we had been scaling back (due to lack of funding and leadership) and we can’t hire staff with it given the grant’s restrictions (and we’re an all-volunteer organization anyways so it would somewhat break our identity if we hired someone).

So, I know that I should be thrilled to be awarded such a large grant (it’ll enable us to expand our services to around 200-400 additional students per year), but because of all that, I’m going to have another massive workload trying to figure out how to expand this program again – something that I’m not looking forward to. Basically, what I’m trying to get at is that even good things for the org feel pretty bad to me.

So anyhow, with all that in mind, I made the decision to leave (starting now, my timeline has me fully transitioned out in October). The board was understanding of my decision/plan and likes my transition plan (though a few people tried convincing me to stay).

Now here’s the issue: I discussed my plan with my parents a few days ago. I’m still a minor and my parents strongly don’t want me to leave the organization (college stuff…). We’ve discussed it many times over the past couple of days and they won’t budge. However, my mom did offer to try taking some of the work if I stay in the organization. I just know that she doesn’t have time/capacity for it, and it’s the one area of my life that I’ve been truly independent in, so I strongly dislike the idea of accepting her help.

I also have people tentatively interested in my position right now, and there’s a high chance that I will have fewer/no qualified people interested in the future.

So now I’m stuck at a sort of crossroads. I strongly do not want to stay in the organization, but it doesn’t seem like I really have a choice to leave. Does anyone have any advice on this? Do I just take my mom’s offer (as much as I hate it)? Do I keep arguing with my parents? Or do I just ignore my parents and quit anyways (I have the legal authority to do so, though there would obviously be repercussions)?

If there’s no advice available, I totally understand. Any support is appreciated regardless. And, as always, thank you so much for reading my post!

Edit 6/30/22 7:55 pm PT: I talked to my parents again and while they expressed strong preference, they said that I can make the end decision, so I’m going with an end date that’s a few months longer than I’d like, but a few shorter than they would want – what seems like a reasonable compromise (and it ties into the end of our fiscal year which works well organizationally speaking). Helps a lot to have a plan to leave in place.


that’s a lot of responsibility and grind daily, and it’s hard work!

First of all, thank you for all that you do out there to make lives better! Secondly, could you take a few months off? I see you had a transition plan, but what about a nice clean break for a couple of months, and then you come back and see how it feels?

You say you strongly don’t want to stay in the organization, and that’s a key aspect to it. Burnout is REAL and it makes everything harder! I’d still say a clean break could be a good thing to try, as it would give you space away from it entirely, not just scaled down. Would that be possible? Say for two months of summer (if you have that there) and you can use your time to rest, relax, enjoy yourself, do fun stuff, self care etc, and just recover from the duties and responsibilities.

You matter, and you’re awesome. Hope you find a solution that works best for your mental wellbeing friend! We’re here for you! :hrtlegolove:



Hi Friend, It sounds like you have made a good decision and I hope that it makes you happy in the long run. You know, there are lots of places you can volunteer with that would look good on your application. Do things that make you happy and excited to get out of bed for. Take care! ~Mystrose


From: Lisalovesfeathers

Hey Tuna, Its so good to see your post and to hear from you. You never have to apologise for being busy friend. Having read your post I was going to say that you are such a wonderful person and although your parents clearly love you and want the very best for you, they have lived their younger lives and now you must live your however you choose to, looking at your notes it seems that you have all come to an agreement and understanding that you are going to leave which is what you want and I am so pleased for you. I am happy that you are not going to be under that pressure anymore. I look forward to hearing how it feels to be out of all that and free from the stress and struggle that goes with it. You are awesome. Much Love Lisalovesfeathers x


From: Mamadien

eagertuna0 - It’s good to know that the previous situation at the non profit has been reasonably resolved. It sounds like you have quite a bit of responsibility on your plate for a young person. That is quite a load to take on while still in high school. I’m impressed with your maturity and diligence in doing all of this. With that said, I also am glad that you were able to negotiate a compromise with your parents over leaving this position. You need to do what works best for you in managing your time, energy and ability to do all that you have in front of you and still be a teenager. I’m proud of you! You are going to likely do what you set your mind to. I miss seeing you on the boards but I know that you are doing what you have to for now. Please take care of you through this transition time and keep us posted on what you are doing and how life is going. You are an amazing young person.


From: ManekiNeko

how have you been going since your last update? I know that your parents had wanted you to hang in there, but do you think that this decisions is the best for your mental well being? It sounds like you did so much work for this organisation, and I’m sure you contributed so so much to it. Regardless of whether it looks good on a college application, you have poured a lot of time and resources into this, and I’m sure the people you’ve helped will be so grateful! Maybe one day you’ll have opportunities to do more work like this in the future, but it sounds like you’ve got a very smooth transition plan, which shows great maturity on your behalf. Hope you’re doing well!

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From: I Am Reclaimer

Hey Friend, it’s incredible that you’ve been putting in as much work as you have, especially being a minor. Though, the burnout factor is especially real and i’m glad that you’re making the executive decision to step down. It’s also really mature that you have a plan in place instead of just giving your two weeks and suddenly exiting. This way you’ll be able to continue to help the organization while seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. With the college stuff, the work you already have done would still add signficiance to anything that you do in the future - giving up your time to work on things like this is seen as a major plus regardless of when you leave. Overall, your happiness is what matters and if this is starting to suck your soul into oblivian, it’s a good move to move on. Proud of you, you got this!

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