The Ever Changing Meaning of Words

Continuing a bit with my grumbling from Monday, I want to ask you for your considered opinion. What does it mean to you if a person volunteers? defines it as: a person who performs a service willingly and without pay.

I belong to many, many writing groups and all of them rely on volunteers to keep the organization running. I myself volunteer for far too many things and find those tasks cutting into my writing time or time spent with my family. But I volunteer because it helps the group and I benefit from the support and knowledge of the group.

I suppose that is a payback, but I also see it as part of a social contract we need to keep our society functioning (and this belief is obnoxiously evident in all my books).

Recently, someone mentioned that the only reason they volunteered is so that they might receive a benefit given to them at the cost of others of the group. It also resulted indirectly in a monetary benefit to the individual.

I’ll admit it. The notion ruffled a few of my feathers. And it isn’t an age thing. This person was older than I.

So, my question to you is this—is the definition of volunteer changing? Is the new definition to be a person who performs a service willingly and with the expectation of some perk given to himself at the expense of others?


About Linda Andrews

Linda Andrews lives with her husband and three children in Phoenix, Arizona. When she announced to her family that her paranormal romance was to be published, her sister pronounce: "What else would she write? She’s never been normal." All kidding aside, writing has become a surprising passion. So just how did a scientist start to write paranormal romances? What other option is there when you’re married to romantic man and live in a haunted house? If you’ve enjoyed her stories or want to share your own paranormal experience feel free to email the author at She’d love to hear from you.
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2 Responses to The Ever Changing Meaning of Words

  1. danrshaw says:

    I actually think the word volunteer has changed. Look how many “grass roots protesters” are compensated now. An entitlement society would of course expect to be paid to “volunteer” since it’s not something they have to do after all. How many volunteer for the peacecorp but are actually compensated. The reward used to be a boost to one’s selfesteem and the feeling of having done smoething noble. I guess it all depends on why you volunteer and for what cause.

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