A few years ago, I was offered a position at another company. I had to make a decision whether to stay with my current job or to take the leap and accept the new position I was being offered. From the outside, it was pretty much a no-brainer. The new position was offering much better pay, better hours, and better benefits. As much as I loved my job, I felt like I had to take the new position.
So I made that horrible drive to my work to put in my two weeks notice. I told my manager, who in turn called her boss, who then asked to speak to me on the phone. This was one of those moments I can point to in my life where I can honestly say, “That moment changed everything.”
Her words were few, but they had lasting impact. She told me that she believed in me. She told me that she knew what a hard worker I was, she saw the love and care I had for our residents, and she believed I could go anywhere I wanted to in the company if I just hung in there for a while. I thanked her, and we hung up.
I put my two weeks notice in writing and handed it to my manager. On the drive home, I called her and asked her to hold onto it for a while before she turned it into HR. The next morning, I called and asked her to rip it up.
The truth is, I was looking for a reason to stay. I had grown to love my residents like family and my job meant more to me than just the money. But I needed to know that I was a valued asset to the company.
In the less than two years since those events transpired, I was made Assistant Manager of that particular home, and then this past September I was asked to manage a brand new home my company was opening. None of which would’ve happened without the positive reinforcement instilled in me by a well-respected supervisor.
Making the transition from regular staff to management has been both eye-opening and exciting. I now have the opportunity to instill the principles of positive reinforcement into my own staff and to listen to them as they tell me of their past experiences. Between this and also the many responses I have received from my letter to the editor (which can be found here: http://blog.directcarealliance.org/2010/10/3099/ ) the general consensus amongst Direct Care Workers is that most feel unappreciated, under-valued, and easily replaceable by their superiors. Could this be a contributing factor to the outrageous statistic that 11% of those employed in caretaking roles are diagnosed with major depression? (source: http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-204_162-10005838-2.html?tag=page;next ) That is the highest amongst any other career choice!
How sad that in a profession that is all about caring for those who cannot care for themselves, the caretakers feel uncared for. Whether it be by the State, by the company we work for, by the people we serve and their families, or by our co-workers, it is imperative that we appreciate and understand one another.
As we head into this new year, why don’t we make a New Year’s resolution to stay positive about the extremely important work that we do?
Here are a few things to try to help lighten your load in the coming year:
1) Laugh – Laugh a LOT. In our profession, seeing humor in the strangest of situations is essential to the well-being of our mental health Continue reading »