#wolweek Day 2: Volunteers

International Working Out Loud week is from 17-24 Novemember. To learn more see wolweek.com

I have a Melbourne Chamber Orchestra board meeting tonight so I will close my reflections of my experience day 2 of #wolweek a little early today. I remain blown away by the generosity of those involved in #wolweek.


The future of work demands volunteers. Quality knowledge work, effective leverage of personal relationships and discretionary effort are not things that can be demanded.

Working out loud is a voluntary task. Nobody had to work out loud this week. The vast majority of people won’t. People participate when they can and because they want to be involved. We have had people apologising that they can’t contribute more which speaks to their personal desire much more than our request.

International working out loud week comes together based of the voluntary efforts of people all around the world. There is no coordination and no leverage to get anything done other than a shared sense of purpose. At best there are a few polite invitations and casual conversations around people being involved in some task.  Everything is optional and yet we have people adding to the activities and adventures all the time.

Here’s an example of how we work. The founders were discussing a tweet chat as part of #wolweek. We thought it would be a great way to get everyone in one conversation. We mentioned it to people and kept discussing ways.  I suspect we were waiting for someone to volunteer to do it. As we started to think about logistics, the team who run #ESNChat let us know they are devoting their tweet chat Thursday US time at 2-3pm ET to #wolweek. They are much better at tweet chats than us and have an existing audience interested in the idea.  Perfect solution to the tweet chat dilemma. All it took was a volunteer.

We cannot and we should not make people work out loud. It won’t work and it is counterproductive. Working out loud is part of the process of work growing up. We are no longer children who speak when spoken to. We are adults who share what we want to share of our work, our challenges and our lessons.

What other tasks in your work could you move to a voluntary model?


Volunteers give of their time, their effort and themselves. They do so to help others. 

What are you going to give?

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