At different times in my life, I received this feed-back: I shouldn’t help X, X is using me.
That’s wrong on so many levels:
- I do something good.
- It doesn’t matter if X is using me or not.
- I get to do something useful with my time (in high-school I had lots of spare time).
Sure, there are disadvantages, it’s not all in good colors, but all-in-all, I do good if I help others for free, even if they use me.
Case study: I used to help some people install Windows on their PCs. It was quite a networking, quite a bond, I was doing something nice (& partially illegal), I was learning new things. Or, I intended to help a teacher do the DTP part for a magazine, although the time would have been better spent studying. In both cases, I was encouraging people not to do things themselves / pay something for this. But, still, it was an OK thing to do.
While helping others, I learn. I learn how to handle a promise, how to keep on working, how my work impacts others.
Volunteering is not all rose. Sometimes, you help people and bad things happen. But you still do it.
Coming back to the example of the teacher – it’s one of the things I regret I didn’t do. I did wrong. I would have learned, I would have done something nice, I would have helped people. Yes, I would have been taken as a fool, I should have done it nevertheless.