January 13, 2019

There's an 80/20 theory for any endeavor which depends upon volunteers for its success. The theory is that 80% of the needs will be fulfilled by 20% of the volunteers. I've seen the theory played out countless times in organizations dependent upon the talent, labor, and financial support of those whose commitment was voluntary. 80/20 is actually the best I've ever seen. Some might call it the 90/10 theory.


When the puppy program was instituted here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, each puppy was provided with a primary and secondary trainer along with a few volunteers. My primary trainer position is a full-time, grade 1 job paying $64 each month. It's supposed to be 160 hours per month, but it's much more. Now I'm not complaining about the time commitment, because it's the best job I've ever had, even though the pay is roughly equivalent to the cost of Freddy's monthly intake of Eukanuba dog food. We were promised an extra $32 per month bonus, but that unfortunately never materialized, a story for another day. The secondary trainer position is a 30 hour per month, grade 2 position, earning just over $8 per month. Obviously the camp is taking a heavy hit to the inmate personal budget with these salaries.


Team Freddy started with 6 volunteers. Within 2 weeks, it was apparent that 2 of the volunteers were worthless. A third was even worse. He was a liability, as I found him twice asleep in the chapel with Freddy scavenging for leftover food and bug spray off the floor. Thankfully this volunteer soon flaked out completely, making my job easier. The good news is that 3 of the 6 have been consistent, fully engaged, and extremely helpful. Freddy and I couldn't ask for better volunteers. I believe that 3 out of 6 is still 50%. Even using Bureau of Prison math, it's close to 50%. That's not too shabby, certainly shattering the 80/20 theory.


If I ever find myself to be an 80% dead-weight volunteer of any organization, I hope I have the honesty to simply find something else to do.

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© 2016 by Charles D. Jones