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Help Wanted

September 14, 2018



There’s that old saying: if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.


Greetings from sunny Southern California. I am honored to be contributing to the “Happy Friday” community and sending good vibes from this coastal community. Brian and I have a bond of friendship spanning five years, and as this summer came to an end, we found ourselves in similar transitionary periods. Brian was gearing up to move back to the East Coast, and I quit my job of seven years and was on the hunt for something new. This week I’m exploring work and some ideas to help make our days a little more enjoyable.


If you don’t like something, it’s never too late to change


Our identity is in part made up of our job, whether is be as a student or a member of the workforce. Teaching is one of my passions, but I’m not a teacher in a traditional classroom setting. As my opportunities to teach at the hospital where I worked became fewer, and negotiations with management could not resolve the problem, I left with no job lined up. New beginnings can be worrisome, bringing with them anxiety, self-doubt, and stress to name a few. At 36 years of age and after a 10 years break, I’ve returned to working as a paramedic: 24-hour shifts, 72-hour weeks, and sleepless nights make it essential to look for the good in every day. One way I stay positive is by taking a moment to enjoy the morning’s sun overlooking the harbor on the drive to work. Our jobs support us and our families, but it’s important not to prioritize getting the job done over enjoying the job we do.


Easier Communication, Improved Relationships


How we communicate speaks volumes. Our tones and demeanor go a long way when we speak to each other. It makes a difference to those that we communicate with on a regular basis - whether someone will think, “This day is going to be awesome!” or dread showing up. As a medic, I delegate a lot of tasks to keep the call moving forward. All eyes are on me and looking for direction. It’s important for me to ask for things in a way that feels urgent but still respectful to those I’m talking to - they are firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and other medics, after all.


I Appreciate You


Giving thanks goes a long way and is one of the simplest things we can do for one another. It doesn’t take any extra time out of our days to say, “thank you.” Not only will it make the acknowledged person feel appreciated, but it can also make us feel good.


“Just Breathe. We Have Time.”


Patience shows and has a profound effect. Things take time to improve on and we have to remember not to be too hard on ourselves and those who might be struggling around us. Patience is one of the hardest things for us as humans and is something that everyone can improve. It can help us overcome struggles by changing a moment that is stressful into one that is manageable.

Doubt came over me like a wave after my first trauma call back: starting an IV in the back of a moving ambulance after having completed a rapid trauma assessment, controlling life-threatening bleeding, checking vital signs, and placing the patient in a c-collar and on a backboard. I had to formulate what I was going to say on the phone when I called the hospital to let them know we were 10 minutes away. I paused. “Think about what you need to tell them,” my partner said. “Just breathe. We have time.” His patience made me realize I needed to slow down and that it was OK to hit a few bumps along this new road. In the city where I work, most medics quit or transfer within two years.


Give It Your All


As we approach the final quarter of 2018 and the year is on the tail end, some of us look at it as the wrap-up. For others, like students, teachers, or anyone starting a new job, your year may be just starting. We find it hard when we’ve had a bad day to want to return to work. We have this feeling that things won't get better. People see your efforts and attitude when you’re out there. This can be a revitalizing quality that extends to those around you. The excitement you give off makes those remember why they got into their professions. I talked with a newer medic and he told me, “I’ve been here six months; feels likes five years.” I hope to say, “Has it really been only six months?!”


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