Chief encounters: volunteering changed Jason Schroeder’s life

Web shed
The chairman of the Scottish Men's Sheds Association doesn't own a shed and asks why anyone would when a community one is much more fun
Paul Cardwell's photo

21st July 2015 by Paul Cardwell 1 Comment

How many hours do you work in a day?
Innovation and vision is timeless and 24/7 for me, let’s just say more than my contracted hours.

What makes a good day at work? 
Achieving what I set out to do, forgiving myself for the things I didn’t, knowing tomorrow is another day, laughing at least three times a day (normally at myself), and being surprised and supported by the unknown.

Why do you work in the third sector?
It was a career change which is turning out to be a life opportunity.

What are you working on just now?
Creating a national Scottish Men’s Sheds Association which inspires and supports a grassroots community movement for an emerging healthier and vibrant nation.

What do you procrastinate over?
Reading jargonistic policy documents.

Chief encounters: volunteering changed Jason Schroeder’s lifeJason Schroeder

Volunteering within your community can start a life changing habit, like it has for me

Do you have too many meetings?
No, just not enough hours in a day.

Do you prefer working with volunteers or paid employees?
I have no preference, I like working with people.

Do you own a shed?
No, why would I when I can have so much more fun and receive mentoring in a Community Men’s Shed.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever done?
Selling newspaper advertising space door-to-door and cold canvassing a harbour area in South Africa at 19 years old. That taught me a lot about tenacity, thinking outside the box, aching feet, kindness and the value in being mentored. 

What was the last thing you did that scared you?
Abseiling with a youth group on an international youth exchange. I don’t like heights.

Would we all be better off if charities did more in our society?
I feel we would be better off if individually we did more for our society. I am for solution-based thinking and taking individual responsibility on all levels of my life rather than looking to structures to make things better. The day of the lone wolf is over, if we all look after each other, we to will be looked after – I like that thinking. Volunteering within your community can start a life changing habit, like it has for me. Social investment gives a far greater inner return and benefit than a commodity, monetary driven one. Everyone’s a winner, every time.

Is it better to work for a big charity or a small charity?
I have never worked for a big charity but working with a small one like ours is effective, hugely satisfying and rewarding.

Should there be a cap on charity chief executive pay?
Yes.

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
Take the time to find out the difference between the wisdom-thoughts that come from your heart and the fear-thoughts that come from your mind. In my experience when I’ve followed my heart everything works out fine even if my mind tells me differently at the time – but you’ve got to be able to discern between the two. Make the time and learn the skill. It has been my best investment, thank you John Kehoe.

Brian Denis Cox or Brian Edward Cox?
Oooh a tough one … I like them both and what they creatively bring to our world. Brian Denis Cox is a legend and Edward is in the making of becoming one. Denis it is, I like legends a little more.

6th October 2015 by Allan Hogg

Reding this I felt empathy, on so many levels. I look forward to meeting in the near future.