Through an ethnographic field study of the River Valley, a rural rape crisis center, we explored how volunteers experienced and expressed emotion as it relates to temporality in the volunteering process. We sought to map the relatively unexplored terrain of emotion work among volunteers and disrupt dominant disciplinary and lay notions of what counts as “real work.” Narrative theory offered a lens through which to observe the interconnected nature of volunteers’ stories, organizational and societal scripts, traumatic events, and conceptual narratives of emotion work developed by scholars. A narrative perspective, with its emphasis on how characters reckon with others across time and space, revealed the varied temporal nature (a priori, during, post hoc) of emotion work for volunteers. For River Valley volunteers, their status as unpaid workers shaped the nature of their emotion work prior to, during, and after calls.