Sunday, October 23, 2016

"Just a job"

My brother sent me an email with a link to an interesting blog.

To summarize, this ER physician, speaking at a conference of nurses and doctors about burnout, said "It's just a job."
I think his purpose in this statement was to say that if you get so consumed by your work, burnout is the likely result.
He was met with more than a little hostility.

You see, truth be told, those of us "in the field" feel a bit special.
We often look at our "profession' as more than a job, as a "vocation."
I have written about this often.
I feel it too.

The truth is that I also feel the same passion about my work as a unionist.
I feel fighting for "the little guy," "the working class." has dignity and brings more fulfillment than "just a job.".
As I have come to know union members in education and public service, I have come to believe that they also feel that their "work" is also their "vocation," and I can see and totally agree that it is.

I'll be honest, I have had jobs earlier in my life that have felt like "just jobs."
Nothing wrong with that, they provided for my family.
When I found nursing though, I felt fulfilled, and I continue with that fulfilled feeling in my union work.

But looking back, I have always felt a certain sense of pride in any job well done, whether I was working in a textile mill, a lumberyard, or elsewhere.
When I built airplanes, I knew my knowledge, my skill, and my caring, literally made a difference in people's safety.
And certainly, the person picking vegetables in the hot sun is providing just as valuable service to society as the nurse and doctor.

On the other hand. I have known people in nursing and unionism who "mailed it in."

Perhaps all "jobs" can be "vocations."
Perhaps., as the old saying goes.....
All work has dignity.

Perhaps, it is how we approach our work that matters.
Maybe that's what defines if "it's just a job."

And perhaps, those of us who feel "special" because of what we do, should get over it and realize that it is both a "vocation" and "just a job" at the same time.

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