Who’s Doing What? Dealing with Uneven Distribution of Work in Clubs

Mary Kelley, Scarlet Staff

There are many different archetypes within the typical club, more specifically, the one who does all the work, and everyone else. At least that is what everyone tends to think, and typically that is how it tends to turn out.

In reality, there are many jobs within the structure of a group, some jobs require a lot more work than others. It depends on the actual hierarchy of the group and the sorts of people invested in that group. Unlike an actual job, clubs have little to no regulation, or that regulation itself is imposed by the group. Thus, it can be changed if the situation warrants it. 

There is no overtime in clubs and typically no harsh punishments for poor conduct, other than being kicked out of the group. Could clubs ever have total equal distribution of work among its participants? Would anyone be actually interested in doing more work? Is there any hope? Yes! The answers are yes, yes, and definitely yes.

Uneven distribution of work is the result of poor communication. The poor communication could be one person willingly taking on a larger portion of work, but not asking for help when needed. It could be one person getting stuck with more work that the rest of the group, with no regard from the rest of the club. 

Sometimes, it is just a genuine miscommunication. People are afraid to ask for help, and this hinders them. They could be stuck doing more than they can handle or could be afraid to ask for a chance to do more. 

There is a sort of hierarchy in most clubs, like “senior” members; essentially, these are members of the executive board, the Presidents, captains, or members with actual “seniority.” Most tasks fall to this group of people, understandably as they are dedicated to the group and have at least some prior knowledge. 

Typically, within the hierarchy, each position has a job. Sometimes this creates an uneven distribution, as they may adhere too strictly to their position and not share responsibilities. When the labels are removed, or the lack of adherence to the position is encouraged, people will volunteer for more. Even if they are just signing up for more to seem like they are doing more, at least there are more hands for each project. 

Opening communication helps create a better environment to foster volunteering and work management among the members of a club. Similarly, the martyrs amongst us, will always be willing to take on an entire project as to ensure that it actually gets done. Some lucky people are just anxious enough to be that motivated but everyone else they have to be tricked to a certain extent. 

Clubs that play into peoples’ passions trick them into doing work without even realizing it or working to educate and get members invested in a project tricking them to foster a new passion. Peer pressure comes in many different ways, and plenty of toxic variations, but the best way to get club members to do their fair share is by encouraging them and pushing them to work. If you want to be successful, and help your club be successful, take a kind approach, but anyone who has had to do an entire project alone, without the full support their club could offer, would understand the desire to use fear tactics. 

Most people are willing to work, and to work hard, they just need to be motivated. Sometimes just asking for help is the best way to motivate people to do more. There is hope for clubs to have an even distribution of work. It’s unlikely for that to even happen, at least not permanently. An emphasis on communication and relying on others more readily, could foster better work loads, but there is always some odd job that falls through the cracks. 

The important thing is to make sure it is not always the same person who has to fix that problem. Give people breaks, time to calm down after the last botched bake sale or the lack of profit from the most recent fundraiser. Never put people in a position where they feel that they have to be the “bad guy” and wave their arms up and down to try and convince members of their own community to help them.