My husband, who was in the Navy, has told me that Navy stands for “never again volunteer yourself.”

I’ve been in the habit of not volunteering myself in the first place, let alone going for a second try. But, in a couple weeks, I’ll be giving not one, but two presentations at a work conference. Of course, one of them will be with a partner so that’s a good thing, but the other one I will be flying solo.

And I volunteered for this of my own free will.

What was I thinking again?

It seemed, at the time, that it would be prestigious for me to give a presentation, yes, but there was more to it than that. I don’t need a pat on the head as validation for my knowledge in my field. But I do have a passion for that knowledge, and I want to share it.

That’s why I volunteered, really. Because I know that I know this subject very well, and I want to help other people who are going to need to know this subject. Out of the several proposed sessions on this subject, mine was one that was selected – and I can’t entirely claim that it was the catchy title that made that happen. I also demonstrated in my proposal that I know this subject matter and treat it seriously.

I remember that one of the other proposals didn’t even give the correct name for the process around which the presentation would center. Words can be slippery things, and so when one is speaking technically, one must be precise. A file is not a record is not an id.

And when I present my session, I hope to bring my enthusiasm and my knowledge to the room, spill it out on the attendees and then go weep in relief at being done.

And only then will I decide if I never want to volunteer again.

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