Well, after six months without a volunteer job in my local Mormon congregation, I was recently called to be an assistant ward clerk. This means that every Sunday after sacrament meeting, I report to the clerk's office to sit at the computer and input donation information, with the first counselor in the bishopric sitting by my side handling the money. This past Fast Sunday, the job took three hours, and the deposit was about $30,000, which makes me see how the Church could have so much money. (Part of the reason it took so long is that we had to wait for five teams of boys to bring in their pouches from door-to-door fast offering collections. Usually it takes more like an hour.)
I really enjoyed not having a calling. My last job was assistant Cub leader, which I really didn't like. (I was to the point where I'd just show up, sit down, and watch the proceedings, sometimes reading magazines.) However, at the same time I also had an uneasy feeling, wondering if the bishop had been instructed by Church headquarters not to give me a calling. I've done some writing with The Sugar Beet and Mormonism For Dummies that could potentially trip a wire up in Salt Lake, and I've heard of this kind of thing happening to other writers, if not worse. Fortunately, it does not appear to be the case.
During this break, I was dreading what my next calling might be. I have so many writing and editing projects going right now that I was really hoping I wouldn't get a teaching job, which would put yet another demand on me to provide content. (Plus, I'm really burned out on teaching a night class every semester at UVSC.) Also, I dreaded getting a calling where they would ask me to shave my beard, stop wearing sandals and jeans to church, and start wearing white shirts or even a suit. (The sandals are fairly dressy with the toes covered, although they show a lot of ankle; the jeans I wear are fairly new black ones, so they don't look like blue jeans or anything.) I even rehearsed saying no to requests to shave my beard, because it drives me nuts that the Church puts so much stock in all the males looking like corporate bank executives.
When the stake executive secretary called to set up my appointment with the stake president, I probably would have been very uneasy and nervous. However, a few days earlier my neighbor had walked over and asked if he could put my name on a list of possible assistant ward clerks, and I knew that calling is issued through the stake. I thought the stake president might ask me to shave my beard even for such a low-level calling, which I've heard happens quite routinely in Utah County, but he didn't say anything about it, thank goodness, or I really think I would have politely said no, it's none of your business if I wear facial hair or not.
Anyway, I really don't mind the calling. I get some satisfaction out of doing bookkeeping work such as this, and it's really interesting to see who gives how much. On the other hand, I sometimes feel bad that I don't make very much money compared to many, especially since my salary dropped by $9,000 this past December (I got laid off and rehired by another company). I'm a little irritated with the other assistant ward clerk, who has made it clear that he's pawning off work he doesn't want to do, and the ward clerk mentioned that they want me to help with providing data for the ward newsletter and administering the ward website, so there may be more work to do. But at least it ain't teaching, and at least now I don't have to wonder why I wasn't being given a calling.
Currently playing on iTunes: "Too Little Too Late," Hoobastank