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Ten Reasons I was Wrong about AmeriCorps NCCC.

February 7, 2011

I was wrong.  You may be shocked.  I know I am. I’m essentially flawless, so this really comes as a surprise.

A few months ago I posted about my experience in NCCC.  The post was something like Ten Reasons to Cut Americorps NCCC. OK. It was exactly that.  But life has been bitch slapping me with some lessons recently, and I thought I’d publish some take-aways. So here are the Ten Reasons I was wrong about NCCC:

Reason 10The Youth of America are worthless Almost all working Americans are worthless. I thought that my teammates were some of the most useless people I had ever met in my life.  Then I started my new job, where people have Master’s Degrees and are adequately compensated for the work they do, and had a revelation. Everyone is stupid and lazy. When I really reflect on it, I can count the people I think have legitimate worth in the workplace on one hand. Everyone is worthless; it’s not just the youth.

Reason 9: There is very little work to be done. I admitted in the original post I thought this wasn’t true.  I just thought I wasn’t doing those really important things that needed doing in AmeriCorps.  I neglected to reflect on some of the really meaningful service that I did with organizations like the St. Bernard Project. I had to wade through a lot of terrible other projects, but when I reflect on my year I think of how I did get some work done. I will probably spend the next 90% of my working life doing inane shiz, but thank goodness it looks like I can get off on the other 10%.

Reason #8: Government vans. Hmmm… that one stands. Government vans are pretty wasteful.  But I’ll spare lectures about the environment and dependance on foreign oil.  When I hear people spouting that mess I just close my eyes and imagine running them over in a hummer.

Reason #7: Cargo pants Another year of hoodies! 🙂 In the original post I said the uniforms are ugly, which they are. Also that my team was an ugly and mishappen bunch, which we were. But it should probably be mentioned that I wear my hoodie to the gym on the reg, and not because it’s the only one I own.  It should probably also be mentioned that I am a lot less mishappen than I was before AmeriCorps. Those d’bags forced me to workout, and now I’m training for a marathon.  It probably wouldn’t have happened without them.

Reason #6: Team Leaders Bosses. If you ever have a good boss, hug them. A lot.  Because I have only ever had one.  She made me think they were normal.  They’re not.  Everyone hates their boss because of the aforementioned lack of basic human knowledge and skills mentioned in Reason #10. Team leaders are just idiot bosses. Get used to them.  They’re here to stay.

Reason #5: Teammates. Friends. I only keep in touch with two people from my team.  This has a lot to do with the fact that I thought they were stupid, lazy, and worthless. It probably has more to do with the fact that I’m a control freak and a bitch. My bad. I wouldn’t endorse that behavior if you’re looking for a good time in AmeriCorps.  But I did walk away with a handful of friends that weren’t on my team.  And I love the wide range of places they’re from and things that they do. I’m really glad I met them.

Reason #4Unskilled labor. I learned ish. I probably would have been more helpful in NCCC if I was a carpenter, but now I feel fairly confident I could finish a basement. I don’t know one of my friends that can say that.

Reason #3: We’re volunteers, kinda. Volunteer. I guess since I always surrounded myself with people who volunteered I didn’t understand how much I don’t like people who don’t do it. Volunteer, a-holes. Now I work with people that like to bitch about social injustice, and won’t give blood because it is anti-gay.  Very few people stop bitching and actually take action about things they don’t like. Filling out a NCCC application shows more civic engagement than I’ve seen from my annoying “social justice, liberal, I boycott Shell so I’m better than Jesus” co-workers.  If you volunteer, even if you’re a lazy schmuck, at least you put your money where your mouth is.

Reason #2: Government employees. Lazy people. Federal employees don’t have a monopoly on sucking balls.  I work for a state now, and they manage just fine. And from what I can see there are a loooooot of idiots working in the service sector. Is it so hard to deliver me the correct contact prescription, Atlanta Optical?

Reason #1: $308,000. That’s a lot of money to spend on one team for one round. But now that I make money (more than the teeny stipend), I see that it’s actually not a large sum at all. If I tried my hardest during NCCC  (which I’m pretty ashamed to say I didn’t always do) I could say that I did my part in making that expense worth it.

So here’s my thing… NCCC is far from perfect. It could be a lot better.  A lot. But so could almost everything I see around me. People are lazy and apathetic. It drives me insane.  But just because I have decided humanity blows at striving for excellence doesn’t mean AmeriCorps should be cut as a program. It means that someone with more patience than me should make it the awesome program I believe it could be.

So go do it. Get things done.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Ben permalink
    February 14, 2011 11:06 am

    I found your original post while I was searching for info on the proposed 2012 budget’s elimination of Americorps, outright. Glad to see some time spent away changed your mind. I, for one had an almost completely positive experience at an Americorps program that wasn’t NCCC but was a lot like it. I certainly was one of those people who was just trying to get away and figure things out, but the funny thing was that was exactly what it helped me do. I liked the work I did on trails for Americorps so much, I turned parks and open space into a career. So take it from me that Americorps can change lives, and write your congressional reps and tell them not to cut what are for the most part great programs!

  2. Stefanie permalink
    February 15, 2011 11:57 pm

    Like Ben, I found your original post while searching for some legitimate reason to the proposal to completely cut AmeriCorps. Like you, I served in NCCC. I believe you exactly described, through both your posts, the thought process of every NCCC graduate. I like to think I learned patience, but now when I work on group projects (I subjected myself to grad school so I might have poor judgment anyway), I realize that I really learned that people are capable of more than they think they are and now just have high expectations and just get irritated when people don’t live up to them.

    P.S. I was also a TL. I applied to be a TL because of circumstances I thought were unfair for some of my teammates and a I thought I could create a better experience for a new team. I nearly had an anxiety attack on my way back for TL training because I could not come up with a good reason why I should put myself through another year of service. But I’m glad I did. I learned a lot about a lot that year. I think it was halfway through my first round that I realized why my TL was the way he was. I think it took me a year to actually tell him that. TLs are given responsibility way beyond their training with impossible expectations to both follow the rules and do what’s best for the team and individual sanity, all of which were not exactly necessarily complementary. I like to think my team did not consider me a nazi.

    I also think NCCC has amazing potential and hope it evolves as former members take on more administrative positions.

  3. Tiff permalink
    April 9, 2011 12:51 am

    I had a lot of back and forth during my time in NCCC. I spent some time questioning why I was with some of my teammates and the extent of the apathy they had was horrific. That being said, I had an AMAZING team leader. He and the projects I had made the experience worth it. I really felt like I got to do things that made positive changes in people’s lives. I, like the author, worked for the St. Bernard Project and absolutely loved it. Liz was absolutely wonderful woman and Zack was..well Zack. My personal and professional life has forever been changed by that organization. My professional goals completely changed after spending a year as a Corps Member and a year as an UDA. I definitely think changes should and can be made because there is waste and inefficiency to a degree, just like every other government program. I can’t speak for all of my fellow N’Trippers, but this particular person appreciates the investment made by the American Public in the future of the youth.

  4. Amber permalink
    April 10, 2011 3:39 am

    I, like everyone else here, found this post trying to get information on whether or not Americorps has been cut. I’m really worried that it will get cut and people like me won’t have this option.
    I left for NCCC a poor 18 year old, supporting myself but just enough to get by. I really felt like I didn’t have a lot of options. When looking into the military, I stumbled upon Americorps; I flipped out. Here was something that would pay me to travel, help people, and hopefully gain some life skills and experience.

    I joined and got really, really lucky. I had a great team, an awesome TL and I learned a lot at every project. That’s not to say I didn’t have bad moments, ridiculous sponsors, or extremely over-dramatic fights about, say things like what snacks were going to have on the roadtrip. But all in all, I got what I was looking for and I got to help people. I think the most important thing I learned was how to be a proactive member of the community. I set up a lot of ISPs making sure I sought out womens shelters and nursing homes. Places that I know needed help and didn’t get a lot of volunteers. Just helping those people on my own accord made my year worth it.

    Now, out of the program I’m in the same financial spot I was in when I came in. The major difference is that I have the confidence to relate to just about anyone I meet and I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of helping my neighbors and doing the whole supporting the local community thing. I don’t know where I’ll end up but I know for a fact that I won’t be any worse off because of NCCC. I guess after all that my point is, don’t cut Americorps, punk-ass 18 year olds like I was need a kick in the right direction.

  5. February 8, 2013 5:38 am

    I actually think this amazing article , “Ten Reasons
    I was Wrong about AmeriCorps NCCC. So here’s my thing”, highly interesting not to mention the post was a superb read. Thanks a lot,Norris

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