It’s a bitter cold Sunday morning here in NH and I am sitting here, coffee in hand enjoying Day one of my weekend. I am comforted by how tired I am because it is a good tired, a culmination of a whirlwind week of doing good work for good people. I feel like I made a difference this week. For me that is the best of all possible feelings.
I can honestly say that I have been on top of my game lately. I have grown into the role I’m supposed to play. I’ve overcome most of the challenges that have kept me feeling less competent than my peers; the administrative tasks (which are formidable), the organizational pieces that make my job harder such as scheduling and overall time management, and I have learned to rise to the level of my biggest foe, myself, to a point where I at last long feel like I belong.
Let me drill down on that for a moment. I work in a high-pressure, high-turnover position. I have spent most of my career in such situations. One of the unfortunate realities is that people don’t accept you right away because the possibility of liking someone and investing in them and then have that person not work out is very real. In addition, I’m additionally challenging to accept because I’m awkward. Let’s call it what it is. I’m intense, hard to read at first, a little overbearing and somewhat neurotic. In short, I’m a lot. Now, the people that once cautiously said hello to me in the cafeteria are calling me to join them. People who left me out of the conversation now involve me and enlist my thoughts. My peers in my department and everyone else I interact with as we all work towards the same goal have recognized what I want to be my most visible and dominant traits: a good heart and a genuine desire to do a good job.
And I think I am. I’ve built the foundation and now I’m interjecting my own style, the culmination of years of dealing with people, my own experiences, and personal battles. Pepper in what I feel is a relatable manner and some small acts or kindness and I’ve found my niche.
Last night, on the way out the door I received a call from the tearful wife of one of my clients. She was missing her husband terribly and wanted to know how he was doing. He wasn’t due for a sanctioned call to speak with her but I told her I would get a message to him. I drove to Detox, found my client, pulled him downstairs to a private room, dialed the number and gave him my phone. Ten minutes later he gave it back to me and tearfully thanked me. He didn’t have to, it’s what I try to bring to the job. Small acts of kindness are, or at least should be, part of the job description.