At what point does volunteer work begin to feel more like being taken advantage of?
That was the question on one Redditor’s lips when he penned a recent post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit.
The Original Poster, anonymously and temporarily known as tway123123234234 on the site, asked a simple, yet provocative question:
“AITA for laughing when my pastor/boss told me I wasnt getting paid for organizing an event?”
OP began by explaining how he got into the situation.
“I [23-year-old male] started working for my church this summer, its a fairly small one and is coming short on money and really need the extra hands right now.”
“I turned down an internship at an accounting firm just to work here because they have helped me thru so much (I was homeless before).”
“The pay is absolute garbage and isnt even close to minimum wage, but im doing it because they are basically the only family I have.”
Then he drilled down into specifics.
“I do pretty general work, cleaning up the building, but what I mainly do is budgeting their finances.”
“They asked me and some church goers to help out with planning a BBQ event to celebrate the phase 2 reopening of Ontario.”
“They asked me to find some money within the budget to make this happen, and to also help out with grilling and cooking the food.”
But a key detail was on OP’s mind.
“I asked my pastor how the pay would work since I usually only work during the week, he straight up told me it was for God and that I shouldnt be expected to be paid on a sunday.”
“so essentially, he wants me to plan the whole thing, cook like 100 patties, set up the place we are going to, and do it all for free..”
OP could barely control his reaction.
“i literally laughed in his face because I thought he was joking. He looked at me and I realized that he was being completely serious.”
“I told him hes crazy if he thinks im doing all of that for free, and he told me that being paid to work for the church is already a blessing enough.”
Then came comments from the peanut gallery.
“I quit on the spot and now im being comepletely ostracized by the community.”
” ‘how can he be doing this after all the church has given him?’ “
” ‘wow, really shows his faith in christ’ “
OP was stunned.
“Like what the fu**… Ok, I do admit im not the most faithful person, and I get that they have helped me out so much in the past, but I need to make a living too, I live in a garbage a** apartment and barely have enough to stay afloat.”
Nonetheless, OP couldn’t get the situation out of his head.
“My pastor shot me a text the other day to ‘give me another chance.’ “
“AITA or should I just suck it up and do it? I feel like Im kind of being an a**hole here but at the same time I dont think its fair to be doing all that for free.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors assured OP he was not the a**hole.
“Welcome to organized religion NTA”
“The pastor makes a living wage I’m sure everyone who has given you a hard time fully expects to be paid for their time at work.”
“This is your work. This is how you make a living so it’s not the same as these other people who donate their time”
“I’m sure if any one of their bosses asked them to run an event and give up their sunday they would all have a fit.”
“Time to check in on that accounting internship to see if they have room for you.” — mybossthinksimworking
“NTA They helped you previously, yes, but now they are just leeching your time and resources. And the community ostracizing you… wow. Just wow. Much ‘love thy neighbour.’ ” — No-Jellyfish-1208
“NTA. You may see them as family, but they clearly don’t see you the same way.”
“Charity is given unconditionally. You know who wasn’t at the last supper? The blind guy Jesus helped to see again, pouring the wine because Jesus said he ‘owed’ him something after everything he’d done for him.”
“These people are not real Christians. Forgive them, and move on to a job that pays you for the work you do.” — InconceivableUnless
Some turned the tables.
“NTA. Curious, what kind of car does this pastor drive? Also, how big is his house?” — ClutchingMyTinkle
“Le sigh… I am a pastor, you are 100 % in every way NTA. He is a narcissist and is using you. Being paid fairly for your work would actually be the Christian thing to do and the fact that they are not paying minimum wage is both morally and legally wrong.”
“He is lying to you and I bet he gets paid for his Sundays. Please don’t go back there. Find a faith community that supports you, empowers you, and pays you fairly for any work. Find a place where ppl don’t use manipulation as a tactic.”
“You can bet your a** and make sure that all of my people get paid fairly, and compensated for any extra work that they do, even if it means that I have to take a pay cut. There are many other places you can find with pastors who have integrity and justice as a mindset.”
“I have some amazing female colleagues in the Ontario region I could suggest if you ever need a new place.” — Revnorthwest
“Nta Recognition and blessings doesn’t pay the bills or fill your stomach. And it’s extra ridiculous when you know how much the church in general earns from donations and taxcuts.” — cultqueennn
“NTA Jesus literally flipped tables when church officials were taking advantage of the poor for their own monetary gain. Wage theft is still theft.” — bearlyepic
Empowered by the support of Reddit, hopefully OP can do what he needs to provide for himself.