Well, we certainly seem to be sailing in uncharted waters.
For starters, the economy has fallen and can’t get up. Plus most of us are forbidden to go outside and play. Then there’s the added enjoyment of trying to run a senior living organization while staff, equipment and other needed resources are in short supply.
Are we having fun yet?
I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to walk in your shoes these days. But please know you have my empathy and admiration. Also know this: You’ll probably get through these awful challenges — and you might just emerge better for the experience.
About nine years into this job, I began to wonder whether I was at the right place, or even in the right line of work. Our company was burning through a succession of dubious leaders. Operational changes were being made that clearly benefited their patrons more than our readers. And I was pretty sure that at least a few of the people in charge were not following the labelling instructions on their medications.
Then came what could have been the coup de grace: Several of us were marched into an office and told that our magazine was going to be sold. The bean counters had apparently decided that there wasn’t much of a future for a brand that served the sleepy eldercare sector.
For reasons I don’t fully understand — and probably had more to do with simple Irish stubbornness than clear thinking — I decided not to join the caravan heading out the door.
To be frank, it was not a particularly happy time. Several possible acquisitions fell through. Meanwhile, the suits in upper management did just about everything possible to make those who remained feel unwelcome.
I discovered an intense dislike — sorry, God — for people I once believed were publishing savants. Turns out they were just selfish jerks, and not terribly bright.
But I also discovered something far more important. I didn’t just enjoy working for a long-term care “rag.” I loved it. I loved digging up stories. Loved the people. Loved trying to nudge the sector along to a better place. Loved the competition. Loved the whole experience.
Then something nice happened. A publishing company that thought we had a pretty decent upside grabbed us for a pittance. That was nearly 20 years ago. The fact that I’m still here probably tells you something about how things worked out.
So try to believe me when I say this: These tough days are a great time to discover whether you have a job or something more fundamentally aligned with who you are.
If it’s the former, get out as soon as possible. Find something else that revs your engines, or at least pays better. At a minimum, you’ll create a position for someone who truly wants to do the things this sector requires.
If it’s the latter, then roll up your sleeves and grab a mop. There is no shortage of hard work that needs to be done, and done now.
Riding out this pandemic may not seem like a whole lot of fun. But it might reveal whether this is the kind of stuff you really ought to be doing. And should you decide to stick it out, there’s this added bonus: You’ll have some great stories to share later.