Work work work work…

Ugh.

Even though this has been a short week for me (going out of town until sunday) it has been a stressful one. I don’t know if it’s the lack of sleep or too much coffee or the depressing stories I hear at work (I interview patients about traumatic life events – heavy, I know) or some combination, but this week has been a lot tougher to get through than I anticipated on monday. The stress level combined with the conversation I had with some co-workers yesterday has got me thinking about careers and happiness, which is my topic for the day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thoroughly enjoying my job! I’m a big people person, so being able to give the participants an ear to listen (or a shoulder to cry on, as the case may be) as they relay what is sometimes a horrible part of their life histories is a privilege for me, especially because I know that even if they never read the results of the study, getting it off their chest helped, a LOT. And each person is so different; they may have similar parts (physical, emotional, sexual abuse, loss, injury, what have you) everyone has their take on it, their version, and they’re all completely different (which, at it’s core, is the purpose of the project: to see what makes different people cope with stress differently). It reassures me that this is what I want to do with the rest of my life, because even though the actual surveys and interviews may be repetitive, it’s rewarding to see people’s responses.

Yesterday my co workers an I (one of whom is a medical student, the other an undergrad, and me? Well I’m in the middle lol.) were talking about job satisfaction and how some of the physicians we’ve encountered define it for themselves. For some, it’s all about the money, unfortunately. Unanimously, we all saw the flaw in that line of thinking, especially at a hospital like the one we work at; these people aren’t just coming here to be sewn up, prescribed and sent home, there’s a lot of hardship behind the constituency here, and to end up working at an inner-city hospital like this “for the money” seems like such a waste. These people have so much to say; a lot of people get excited at the prospect of someone, anyone with a badge talking to them doctor or otherwise, because they have more to tell than just their symptoms. But if that’s all you’re trying to get out of them is what’s wrong so you can send them home, then why are you at this hospital in particular? Why here, when you can go to a big 5 Star resort-esque, over-funded hospital, instead of one where the majority of your patients don’t have more than a medical need to be fulfilled?

Maybe i’m over romanticizing the situation, or maybe not. Either way, i think that who you’re serving, not just what you’re doing, should determine how satisfied you are with your work. Because at the end of the day, people go to work and do something to help people. Some go to work to help themselves, some help the rich, some help the poor, etc., but no matter what you’re doing, somewhere along the line, a person is going to benefit from it. Why not do the best you can towards that end, instead of the bare minimum? Especially in health care, I think that’s what it comes down to. Treat the person, not the ailment. If that’s a problem, maybe you shouldn’t be interacting with other human beings lol. Healthcare shouldn’t be a self-serving industry, and I have endless respect for the doctors around me who prove that fact everyday. I hope to join their ranks one day (maybe lol. Still haven’t made my mind up about that one… *sigh*). But anyways, that’s my deal for the day. Job satisfaction=how well you serve others. lol

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