Do you want to be successful? Do you want to climb to the top of the ladder? Do you want to be the person in charge?
There is plenty of advice on how to become a leader. We all want to rule the world, or so we are told. But what if this isn’t your goal? Want if you just wanted to get something done?
Let’s start at the beginning…
I joined a college club, the Paralegal & Legal Assistants Club (aka PALS), because I thought it would be nice to socialize with people who shared a common goal – to earn an Associate in Applied Science Paralegal Degree.
At the time I joined during the Fall 2014, the club had barely risen from the dead after having been abandoned by its previous members. The new officers were putting forth their best efforts to get the club back on its feet. Being a newbie to the “member of a club” scene, I sat back and watched as we made last-ditch efforts to be an active club. Things would change in the Spring 2015 semester.
The club struggled on two fronts – keeping members interested and getting the word out about the club. I saw an opportunity with the latter issue. No one person seemed to be in charge of promoting the club, informing the college community of our activities, or publishing our accomplishments on our Facebook page. We had become a more active club by then.
I gathered together all the little tasks associated with letting people know what we were up to and created a new officer position – Social Media Officer – in an effort to have some authority to get flyers printed for free from the college printing office. The club’s four officers agreed with me and, in my second semester as a member of the club, I became the fifth officer. But the position was never “official” because it wasn’t in the club’s by-laws. A technicality that I dedicated myself to fixing.
I started with writing the officer into the by-laws, but I couldn’t quit there. There was a redundant clause at the end that annoyed me, so I struck it out of the revision. I thought that we had something to present to the Student Senate at that moment, and the revisions were affirmed by a unanimous vote.
The revisions were not presented to the Student Senate that semester, nor was that the end of the revision process. The revision of the by-laws sat on Facebook and in my files, unaltered and unofficial, for an entire semester and a half.
Mid semester of 2015 Fall, our club president resigned to concentrate on his internship. After much prompting and prodding, I accepted the nomination and the club elected me as their new president. It was an opportunity to finally present the by-laws to the Student Senate and get them approved.
This was my second time in a management position. I was determined not to let the Peter Principle win this time around, but I still felt under-prepared for the responsibility. I managed to not embarrass myself before the Paralegal Advisory Committee, which I still felt awkward presenting to despite being ready.
During the 2015 Fall semester, I learned that the official copy of the club by-laws could be accessed online through MyNCC. And the set that I found there differed from the set of by-laws that had been published on PALS Facebook page. After incorporating a missing paragraph into my set of proposed by-laws, I took what I had to the members.
They were all for revising the by-laws – even enthusiastic about it! And revise we did. We included the goal of providing scholarships to Paralegal students as part of our mission statement. We defined membership in the club as being more than just showing up for meetings – but also helping out with fundraising and other club activities – and included what some of the benefits to club members would be.
The title of the officer position that I had created was changed to Publicist within this revision of the by-laws. Election of officers, resignation of officers, and removal of officers would also be revised in the new document. And the club name was officially shortened to Paralegal Club, with the club acronym being retained for its recognition among the local community.
On 2016 March 1, I stood before the Student Senate and presented the new set of by-laws for their approval. They had a problem with the Removal of Officers section. I listened attentively to everything they suggested to make the section acceptable and made notes on my copy. The Student Senate then tentatively passed the by-laws, requesting that I get back to them with a corrected copy at a later date.
And this is my sticking point: I can’t abandon what I started. I want to finish this, but I will no longer be club president when the next opportunity arises to present the final (I hope) revision to the Student Senate.