Carry On

It’s been literal months since I’ve blogged last. A lot has happened, a lot worth posting about.

I took some time off, I went to England for a month, went to Paris for the day (walked way too much that day), came home, started a new assignment in Salem, had a hiccup or two that first day (I hate hospital orientation), and am now a month in. Each of those things alone could take up a whole post. Never mind the anecdotal things that occur to me when I’m at work.

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Except I haven’t wanted to post. I also haven’t wanted to get on Facebook much either.

I’m not going to go in on safe spaces, but I will say that even prior to the issues with data selling, Facebook wasn’t the best place. Politically and socially, it got nasty. People I believed to be strong believers have posted things that have made me sad. It’s escalated to the point where I’d rather be on other mediums than Facebook. The solution would be to delete it all together, but as a traveler I depend on the resource. Plus not everyone is on Instagram or twitter.

Restricting my visits to once or twice a week means I can see who just had a baby and say happen birthday occasionally. The downside being I don’t have as much to say on my blog as I hoped I would. Words fail where they hadn’t in the past.

I’ve been struggling with my view of certain institutions that were once very important to me. The church is one of those. The last year and a half has almost cemented my aversion to the point that the last time I was home I couldn’t bring myself to attend.

Like Facebook, I’ve had to ask myself, “who are these people I thought I knew?” The people who I thought would protect me when I said things weren’t okay have stopped being that safe place to land. I don’t want to make it all political, but when you’ve gone that way, I have to make sure I’m doing what I can to stay sane. Maybe some of that is on me, and that’s fine, but one has to wonder when people who trusted you don’t any longer things may be a problem.

It’s not all bad, but the bad is pretty stinking bad. My hope is it’ll get better if I hang in.

Anyway, I’m off. Hopefully ideas and thoughts burble up and I can continue to use this blog to babble about traveling. Watch this space!

Travel on, road warrior.

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Script and Narrative

Literally down to days left in Plymouth before my time off starts. I admit to being very excited to just relax. There is a smidgen of anxiety tied to it where I’m hoping I’ve saved enough to cover all my bills and the fun I plan to have, plus insurance and not getting sick while I’m off. But the thing I’m most excited about is rest, and having a full week of no politics.

So, I realize as I’m typing that, the level of difficulty is going to be high.

When I say I plan to have as little political news intake as possible, I’m serious as a mama rolling up on the maternity unit with one cheek on the wheelchair seat. That’s humor only someone from L&D will get so I’ll say serious as a heart attack.

No news on the phone, restricting tv news to local (if that), no reading and fretting over articles I pass on twitter, and the sidebar news articles on Facebook is a no go (if I get on Facebook at all). This is a full scale block, but not for the reasons you’d think.

Frankly, I’m exhausted by the news pouring in. Exhausted by the attacks, the fearmongering, the sadness, and the feeling of being totally beat down. Make no mistake, I don’t subscribe to the “fake news” propaganda because a free media is important to speaking truth to power, but I’m also a little tired of the overwhelming negativity that gets reported, ad nausem. In the past, even when things have been low, there’s been bright spots and positive moments to balance. There’s not been much to make me believe in my fellow human beings lately. Maybe that’s on me, to make the positive or be the positive or find the positive, but I’m so beat right now I just need to unplug it. *burn it to the ground!*

It makes me think of rhetoric, which I wanted to put in the title of this post. Rhetoric can have a negative tone as a person’s attempts at persuasion can come off as insincere and meaningless. I’m not going to argue politics as I don’t have the time or energy to view people I respect in a bad light. I will say that we should all be mindful the rhetoric we’re ingesting and internalizing, and how that’s aiding in rendering us unable to communicate across party/color/socioeconomic lines.

I went with narrative because I feel like it sounds better, even though it’s oft overused (and goes the way of privilege for the feeling it can induce). Narrative makes people consider a story they are telling or being told. What narrative are we working within lately? We need to talk about what we’re hearing. Take the changing language surrounding the DACA program. What started out as kids who were vetted, in school with jobs, longing to find an honest pathway in a situation they had no control over, turned into criminals/vandals/thieves overnight. How does that changing narrative make you feel? Do you find yourself ingesting and internalizing something that you know isn’t necessarily accurate? Furthermore, are you aware how your agreement (or disagreement) makes you come across?

Lets float away from politics, because the Lord knows I’ve cursed way too much over politics lately anyway, back into an area I’m more versed in. Medicine and nursing.

How does the things we think we know shape how we treat patient groups? Take the burgeoning drug epidemic. What narrative do we know about those embroiled in drugs? We have attitudes we develop and sometimes our willingness to treat them with care diminishes. Many studies show we don’t care for women or blacks at the level they deserve. What narrative have we ingested and internalized that makes this so? Think about those things. Do you catch yourself treating these groups differently? Watch your behavior the next time you’re at work. What do you say about them at the desk? Sometimes we don’t realize how our attitudes differ when the person we are dealing with isn’t the norm.

What we consume, we conform to. I’m not different. Things I watch and read shape me and my attitudes. It’s a struggle to be kind when my interactions are tainted by this narrative or rhetoric of badness. Bias creeps in and makes seeing eye to eye harder. I have a choice in what I consume and how I let it shape me, and so do you frankly. If you find your mood sour and your anger quick, unplug. Even if it’s only for a day, what kind of difference will that make in your attitude? I’m not here to change anyone’s mind except my own, but it’s worth asking those questions.

Anyway, countdown to time off! I’m hoping it’s full of relaxing, sightseeing, some visiting, and lots of getting back on track. If you see me out, give a wave. And a shout to my coworkers (both providers and staff) for a lovely 9 months. I hope I make it back to Plymouth to work with you ladies again very soon. You’re definitely cream of the crop.

See you on the other side of unplugged!

Travel on, road warrior

Team Player

Come one, come all. Settle in for your weekly bit of traveling nursing fluff to carry you into the next week. Frankly, and I’m surprised no one else realizes this, everything I post here are my general musings and things I think on or need to remember. I’m always trying to learn all I can to make navigating this travel life, life in general really, better. As you can tell, I manage it better some days and others I’m falling woefully short on the being a decent person bit.

In that same vein (and before I jump into my post), I try not to remark on the world at large because I’m all about sunshine and light here. Okay, I’m really about vacations and good food, same difference. It’s worth noting that being good to each other is an edict not taken very seriously. I find people are more interested in proving a point or being right as opposed to helping each other and building each other up. How far does being right get you in the end? Oh, you’ve succeeded in getting your point across, but have you lost the overall goal of drawing someone to your way of thinking? The writerly advice of showing and not telling (or beating someone to death with it) may offer a better approach.

But on to what you came here for…

My post itself is on the idea of being a team player, but maybe not quite in the way you’re imagining.

Recently, I was asked if I was free to come in to work. I said no at the time because I wasn’t. As many of you may realize, days off are a commodity to be hoarded with everything you have. Nurses are notorious for working their hours a week and then coming in because the floor has exploded and every pregnant woman in the area has decided to have their baby (or whatever your specialty equivalent is).

I was mentioning it to me mother, the saying no portion, and this is what she said.

“I guess you’re not a team player today.”

*record screech*

And then her head spun around on her shoulders and she exploded in a rage

Here’s why I don’t think the fair to use this phrase in conjunction with any nurse ever.

Nurses are carers and givers by nature. You can’t do this for any length of time unless your desire is to help people. Money won’t keep you because we don’t make enough for what we do.

We come in time and time again, at the expense of our wellbeing. If you work a night shift, you know that first day off isn’t really a day off. You’re a zombie. For instance yesterday, I had 2-3 hours of sleep post-work and woke up with zero desire to do anything. I don’t know how you people with kids manage. I literally laid in bed for hours after I opened my eyes debating what to have for dinner because cooking wasn’t an option. It’s hard to then think about coming in on your first full day off when you know it’s the only day you’re fully functioning before you have to go back to work again.

So we always come in when we’re asked, but it’s typically short on the floor. The nursing shortage is a known fact, and yet the expectation is that you’ve always worked short so if you’re a good unit you’ll pull together and find a way to make it work. It means working odd shifts, coming in on your day off for overtime, working unheard of hours of overtime to cover, and begging your coworkers to come in.

Why? Because you’re a team player. Be a team player

*rage*

When I’m at work, I give 100% of myself to my job. I’m here to help my coworkers, the providers, and care for my patients. Every travel assignment gets my all because I’m a nurse no matter where I am, and good care matters to me. But this be a team player bit has real consequences. People get burnt out, retire, or leave the bedside because they’re tired of always giving everything to the hospital without anything much to show for it. You’re not getting time off or away to revive yourself so you start to hate it.

Days off, distance, and balance matter. Don’t let anyone use the ‘be a team player’ gambit to shame you into giving up your days off. Its wrong and we need to stop it before we lose more good people. I will never be upset if you tell me you can’t come in extra. It’s your day off so enjoy it.

Self-preservation. Mental maintenance. Self-care. Call it what you’d like here, but honor it just the same.

So… there’s my rant for the week.

In other news, it’s NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. I’m trying to write a bit as I haven’t participated in a long while. I may even post a story here next week to give you something other than travel nursing anecdotes. Also on the docket is another comic con, this time in Rhode Island. I’m only going one day, but because I’m me, I’ve added a Rhode Island food tour in the mix. Exciting times here, folks.

Stay safe, stay warm, stay dry, and stay kind.

Travel on, road warrior.

Have I Disappointed You?

It’s break time! I’ve completed a contract and as a reward to myself, I’m on vacation.

The first one starts this weekend. The travel nurse conference officially starts on Monday in Vegas, but why wait until Monday to go to Vegas when I can head there early and take in the sights. I’ll be reporting on the conference itself next Wednesday once it’s completed, but I’ll do two things now: tell you to come if you’re travel nurse because of the things you’ll learn, and tell you to watch my instagram for photos.

As many people already know, and after I nearly had a nervous breakdown over it, I’ve settled on where I’ll be for my next assignment. I’m staying in Plymouth. I had a couple other options, including returning to Charleston, WV, a place I’d worked at around this time last year. It was a very difficult choice for me and it came down to being at a place where I liked the nurses AND the providers I was around.

(Quick aside: I will be in Plymouth until middle of January, which is danger zone of winter for me. Someone is going to have to hold my hand if it snows)

The hard part of picking between two places I’ve been/am currently at, is someone is disappointed by my pick. I had to be reminded of a few facts that I hope I can share with you.

Frankly, disappointment has been on my mind for a few weeks. Not only in conjunction to this, but in other things. I’d considered doing a vlog on it just to talk through some of my own personal struggle with the subject.

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You see, much of my problem is people pleasing. I want to make sure everyone around me is happy with me in every way. I seek others opinions and try to make decisions so others are pleased with me. You can see how that gets dangerous for me, don’t you ? Am I doing things to better myself because it’s what I need or because it’s what someone seems to think I should do? Am I running the risk of resenting someone because I made a decision for them instead of myself? It can get out of hand and lead to a lot of confusion.

I have to step back many times and examine what is best for me. What was my first response to the situation? Where is my mind at? It’s good to ask opinions, but I cannot let others possible let down affect what I do.

Lets talk about it in the context of a travel assignment.

I was reminded, by a very good friend, that I as the nurse am the commodity or good. I am there to offer service to a hospital. If I choose not to go there, they have the option to seek someone else’s service because there are others available to fill that spot. I have to pick what’s best for me in this search and I can’t pick a place simply because someone may get upset if I don’t come to their hospital. I won’t be happy. They can find someone else and I can go where I’ll have the best possible assignment.

So what can we all learn from this? People pleasing only leads to distress not satisfaction, go where you’ll be happy, consult others while trusting your mind a little more, and not letting everything unsettle you. Keep what’s important to you in mind

We all know the things I say here are for me to remember. I’m over here trying to be a life longer learner in all things.

Travel on road warrior

Mitigating and Managing

Hello and welcome to the circus!

Seems wrong to call life a circus, but at times it feels like I have no idea what’s happening next (in my immediate sphere or outside of it) and how I’ll react to it. Maybe gasps. Maybe cheers of excitement. Or crying hysterically. Apt, don’t you think?

Well, in assignment news, a decision has finally been handed down. I won’t say too much until I’ve signed my contract because in this circus, the act can change in an instant. Just know I’m glad to finally have something done with 4 shifts left in this current assignment. It took a lot of reminding that things weren’t out of control just because I didn’t know what was happening next.

Now that I know I can move on to more exciting things. I’ve got a couple big trips lined up on my 3 weeks off. Both trips I’m very excited about for vastly different reasons, but excited nonetheless. One I’ll tell you about next week (travel nurse conference) and the other I’ll spring on you last minute as I’m trying to keep other parties calm on that front.

Thinking about my second upcoming trip makes me think on ways I mitigate and manage things in my life. We all have people, jobs, forces in our lives that we try keeping calm and juggling around.

I have a tendency to be majorly influenced by those who rotate in my orbit. It’s something I hate and appreciate. Appreciate because I have people whose opinions I value a lot. Hate because if they disagree with something I’m planning on doing, I can’t always shake off their strong opinion. Is it my decision not to do this or am I being influenced too heavily by someone? And how do I manage when said strong opinion becomes upset that I didn’t heed their advice? It’s been a life long struggle of mine to find the balance.

Mitigation and management come in handy not just in those moments in my life (it’s better to ask for forgivensss than permission by the way), but in work.

Negotiating pay packages. Advocating for patients. Dealing with bonehead doctors. Trying to figure out changes in insurance. Or why my HelloFresh box was randomly canceled. All things that require the ability to explain what you need, see the best solution to the problem, smooth ruffled feathers, and get the best for both parties if possible. While not screaming like a crazy lady

It’s not always possible to come to a solution that pleases everyone. Someone is going to walk away unhappy no matter how you try appease or conjole. But… I hope to have left the situation having handled it to the best of my ability

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing 

from Proverbs 12:18 NIV

Frankly, my mouth gets the best of me. I’m trying to be levelheaded and calm because that’s what the situation requires, but the moment I’m affronted, cooler heads don’t always prevail. 🙈 Hey! Im trying to do better, be better, act better, but the tongue is a sword for a reason.

I need to heed the lessons I speak into this space. That means actually watching my mouth and trying to grant dignity to others. I just need to remember to not do those things at my personal expense. Sacrifice is important, but I tend to give more than I should to others. Balance.

Life is a circus. I’m trying to tight rope walk/juggle/clown car my way through it. Aren’t we all though?

As always, let’s all try to do better, shall we? I’ll lift you up a little and you extend the same arm to me until we manage to get there.

Until next time.

Travel on, road warrior.

Dust in the wind?

I typed out that title because my mind was focused a bit on some of the things going on in my life. I’m still not 100% sure where I’m going to end up, and with just 2 weeks left in my current assignment, it’s getting to be a little disconcerting.

My thoughts turned outward though. Not in a, “these people have it so much harder than you right now” kind of way, but in a reminder that sometimes my crisis isn’t all that critical. My uncertainty will resolve soon enough where others have a long list of things that may never see resolution. Never minimize your own struggles, but refocus on what’s fixable and what is ultimately just going to take time to get better.

We are in a state of constantly shifting current affairs. So much heartache, violence, and strife. That’s the world right now, but that’s been the world since The Fall (for those who believe in biblical teachings) and many times history repeats itself in the most horrifying ways.

There are moments of hope. News stories of people extending their hands to others in need. Saving animals and people alike. Being moral, being kind, being godly. Those glimmers are life rafts in an otherwise sad state of affairs.

Does that mean the terrible things plaguing us will disappear overnight? No. There are going to continue to be things that outrage, grieve, hurt, and scare us. That’s just the facts of life and our existence on this planet. I believe there are things we can do to make it bearable. Seeing the sick, praying for and meeting the needs of the poor, marching for the big issues, speaking up against things that are obviously wrong, and being the very example God called us to be. Don’t just speak Christian behavior, be Christ-like. Or if that’s not something that jives with your world view, be a better person than the person you dislike, up to and including treating them with dignity even when you’d rather not.

Have a good meal with a friend, help a person in need, examine your biases, and stay connected. We are finite, but our lives are worth so much and are worth living to the fullest with purpose.

I’m rooting for you so promise you’ll be rooting for me too.

Travel on, road warrior

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This Before

Well hello there, friend. Thanks for stopping in. Sorry I missed last week. I was back to work and sleeping was far more important than pretty much anything else. I picked up a weird 11p-11a shift that made me a zombie nurse and I’m just recovering (okay I’m not recovered at all).

4 weeks left in my current contract. I’m in the very spot I’m usually never in for reasons I’ve already mentioned. I don’t have my next contract lined up yet.

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Things have either fallen through, didn’t feel right, or weren’t happening. I’ve been doing a lot of mental pep-talking to convince myself I have nothing to worry about. Nothing. At. All. Something will pop up that will be exactly what I need and I’ll be happy. And even if it’s not perfect (because no assignment is perfect) I’ll have learned something about myself at the end of it all.

Which leads me to today’s post…

I’m sure I’ve discussed this topic before, but it never hurts to rehash it. Let’s do some definitions.

Bias: a particular tendency, trend, inclination, feeling, or opinion, especially one that is preconceived or unreasoned

Prejudice: 1. an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.
2. any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable

Stereotype:  a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group

I don’t feel like I need to say anything more about any of those definitions apart from saying that everyone has preconceived notions. As humans, we classify things in order to have them make sense in our minds. It’s what we do, it’s not necessarily a bad thing… until it flips over into a behavior that causes us to treat someone else in a way that harms/disadvantages/holds them back.

The media, TV shows, and general news can reinforce them until they become rote in our minds. Bias hurts, prejudice hurts. Stereotypes I can work with. We can bust people out of boxes just by getting to know them. They become a person instead of an it because we’ve attached a face to their profession/addiction/sin/behavior. Then we find that, no, not all (insert people group) are like this just because I read it in a book. Unless of course you’re doing something truly awful then perhaps you are the thing you’ve been classified as by others. 🤔

As a traveler, I run into and try to overcome other people’s stereotypes concerning travel nurses. What’s a travel nurse? A regular nurse who travels. Haven’t ever worked with a good travel nurse? Wait until you work with me because I try my hardest to be a good nurse. Think travel nurses don’t care about the hospital or the job they’re at? Not true of every traveler. We’re there to work and be team players and I’ll work to show you that every time I walk in the door.

I’ve worked places that were hostile to travelers, where they worked to get them fired or ran them off. I’ve experienced places indifferent to travelers, where they didn’t care if you came to work or not as you’re just a body anyway. I’ve also worked at places that were grateful to each traveler who showed up. Everyone has an opinion about travelers; the work we do, the reason we do it, the money we make doing it, and I’ve seen the bias more often than not in the way they assign patients or treat the traveler in general.

All this to say, be teachable. Everyone is not the cookie cutter person you think them to be. It’s okay to have formed opinions and impressions, but give people the chance to blow your mind. You may meet a great travel nurse or friend that way. Admitting you have bias doesn’t make you a bad person, holding on to that bias and treating someone shabby does in my mind.

We can all do better, can’t we? Let’s start now.

Travel on, road warrior

The End

Sorry for the radio silence over the last few months. As time has ticked by from week one to week 17 of this last stint, I think I have a great idea for something to say, but then life would get away from me. In the end, what started out as something I wasn’t so sure about ended up being an assignment that I found enjoyable. Having not worked with the demographic common to my home state in a long time, it was good to be closer to home and get reacquainted with the issues of Appalachia.

But being done, the approaching end of the year, and life in general has had me thinking of ending.

Things always end. Always. The recent death of someone I knew drove home how sudden the end can come. Life is finite in ways I forget until confronted with death. How we don’t consider meeting our maker until we are step out of this life into the next. It makes me take account of how I’ve led my life so far. 32 years is long enough to make mistakes, have regrets, have great accomplishments, and joys. What can I say about myself in the end?

On a less morbid note…

I talk often about leaving a legacy. Even if I never return to a place I’ve worked at, I hope I leave behind the impression of a person who works hard. More than that, I hope I leave the idea of kindness in some form. I admit I gripe at work, but I hope my attitude with my patients and coworkers overall is one of helpfulness and giving.

There’s joy and sorrow in endings, but life continues on even in the midst of both emotions. 2016 (a not so fun year) will end. It’ll usher in a new beginning with its ending. It’ll have left its mark, for good and bad.

Remember me fondly even when my mistakes are unearthed. Remember my care, my compassion, my concern, my humor, and my smile. When I’m gone, remember those things because that’ll be all I can leave behind.

On to new beginnings. San Jose after the New Years! Too soon to be worried about anything except vacation.  I’ll try blogging a little more often now. Until then, thinking on your legacy.

The good and the bad of leaving home 

I’m off to my next assignment soon. Not heading far, as I’ve mentioned. It’s not at home, but it’s close enough to home that my mother is pleased as punch and is already planning visits. Other than pushing my start date back a smidge, it’s not been much that’s made me more worried than normal about beginning a new assignment. Except… 

One of the things I’m distressed/worried/wondering about is how my appearance will be received. My hair is natural and colored plus I’m proudly sporting a nose ring that I have no plans on removing any time soon. Will that cause issues? 

There’s talk of the appearance of the nurse affecting care, or the patient’s  perception of the nurse’s ability to provide care. I’ll save this topic for another post, but where I stand on that is if I treat you with the dignity, respect, and care you deserve, what does a nose ring and hair color have to do with it? 

This brings me around to the topic that’s been brewing in my head since I’ve been home. 

The Good and the Bad of leaving (and coming) home. 

Many new travelers struggle with leaving the first few times. One of the biggest issues travelers face is homesickness. You’re somewhere totally new with people who don’t know you or what your capable of doing a different routine than what you’re probably used to from home. Add to that being in a new city all a lone and you run the risk of spiraling into depression and succumbing to homesickness. Most people quit if it gets too bad. I’ve always loved being on the road so it’s never been too big of deal to up and leave. I battle the anxiety of a new routine, but have learned to remember what I’m capable of and that makes the first few weeks easier to get through. 

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been traveling for three years, and while I like being home, I find it exceedingly difficult. I’ve been examining why and settled on the conclusion that I’ve changed so much that being home reminds me how much. 

Some of the changes are great. I recognize my worth, I know what I can take on without getting overwhelmed, I know what I won’t tolerate, and I know I’m a good helper. I’m a good nurse. Even when I’m anxious about so many things, I know that. I also know I can be an independent person who goes out and explores without needing someone else there with me. 

Some of the changes haven’t been so good. I’ve grown impatient with others, I’ve fallen into some habits that aren’t healthy (physically or spiritually), I’ve developed a potty mouth 😳, and another of other things that I don’t feel comfortable splashing over my blog today. And let’s not talk about my backsliding as a women of God. Everything has consequences 

It’s also tough on relationships, traveling. I find it easier to move on than take a chance when dating is the way it is currently. It’s hard coming home and seeing everyone in solid relationships, having babies when not sure it’ll ever happen for me. Side note: I’ve wondering how my mother would do arranging a marriage for me. Hm… 

Working at home gets tough because I see clearly what needs changed and I can’t tolerate when I see how poorly the staff is treated by those high in leadership. Church is tough too because they know how I was before and I feel like I’m struggling too much to pretend I have it together like I used to. When you’re out in the world that’s when the test of who you’ll be is given. Who am I right now? Human. Admittedly, I know God can use everything and I need to let Him led. I’m still learning. 

Traveling has helped me become someone better and different. That’s what happens when you’re on the move. Am I where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing? Yes, I believe that in spite of the struggles I battle against on many levels. I’m stronger in too many ways and I feel like more strength (as a nurse, as a woman, as a Christian) are coming. 

Leaving and coming home is an experience every time. And while I’d much rather stay on the road, everyone has to come home to rest. 

Travel on, Road Warrior 

The cost of resentment 

Adios, Plymouth! 

I’ve made my way home which means I’ve completed another assignment. This was one of my best assignments even with the usual crazy staffing situations we ran in to. And after how difficult I found my previous location, I needed somewhere welcoming. 

Quick plug: any licensed Mass travelers, look into Beth Israel Deaconess in Plymouth labor and delivery. In 10 years of nursing, they have the best providers I’ve ever worked with in my career. Nothing but respect and comradery amongst nurses/doctors/midwives. If I wasn’t such a rolling stone (and didn’t possess such an aversion to winter), I’d put down roots. I never felt like “the traveler”. My help was appreciated and that made me feel like an asset. I do plan to return AFTER winter because I think it’s a good place to work. 

There was a little bit of a shake up right as I was leaving. It made me think of things that happen in our lives that breed hard feelings. 

No relationship is perfect. Things irritate us about our loved ones and its hard to not let resentment build up. In a love relationship I can be feeling unappreciated or taken for granted or not listened to. In a working relationship it can be making decisions without regard for staff or a lack of team work or punishing the whole staff for the behavior of one employee. 

But looking broader, resentment can come when someone voices a hurt, concern, trauma and instead of responding with compassion or action you ignore, belittle, or downplay the pain by pointing to something that has little to do with what’s being brought up. Looking at some of the issues facing our country today, it’s evident we have a serious resentment problem that’s exploding into something dangerous. People who aren’t heard tend to react with anger, sadness, violence. Why keep trying when you simply disengage and shout your anger to the world? 

So what’s the answer to resentment? Aside from Jesus and a bat to the back of the head? 

Listening: always the first step. If someone keeps saying they want something or are hurting, don’t add your two cents! Open ears and shut your mouth. 

Checking in: ask how they are and care about their answer.  Don’t let what they say be about how you feel. Let me repeat. DO NOT LET WHAT THEY SAY BE ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL. If they are talking about issues in their life, your response should never be explaining how you feel about it or how it has an effect on you. 

No excuses or apologies, but action helps: we want better relationships. It’s easy to say it’s not your problem and they need to open their mouths or fix their lives or stop complaining. That doesn’t change anything. You’ve added more anger and resentment to an already tense situation. Instead be an advocate, counselor, teacher to others on their behalf. Be a champion. 

That makes change. Listening and hearing and acting make change. 

Where to next? I’m actually headed closer to home. I’ll be in Charleston, WV until the beginning of December. So I’ll be in WV for a while for those in the area. They are going through and medical records conversion which increases their need for staff. 

I’m nervous because I’ve not truly worked in the state in over 3 years. I’m not used to the people or the issues anymore. I’m also not sure how I’ll be received. I want to be liked and seen as someone there to help. How will things be? We’ll see soon enough!

Travel on, road warrior.