It wasn’t until the past year or so that I discovered my dream job. This is the job I will do when I retire because it’s not quite lucrative enough to support the kiddos and I. My dream job is, (if I was tech savvy enough, I would somehow insert a drumroll, when your computer sensed you were at this part of the story), a professional baby snuggler. I would love to sit in the NICU with babies who need love or just a visit or a little lullaby. I would sing to them and pray for them and tell them all my great stories and share all of my jokes. And I could wear my leggings, a hoodie, a pony tail, and last night’s makeup – and I would not be judged. I wouldn’t be yelled at. It’s the dream.
Anyway – my realistic dream job, which I wrote about here, is helping people like their jobs. I have an eye for talent and passion. I love getting to hear about what makes people love their job, what their suggestions are to make it better. So often, as leaders, we task ourselves with the business of problem solving for our teams – when they are perfectly capable and excited to solve problems alongside us. And guess what happens when we involve them in the problem solving process? They are bought in. Their engagement goes up. Their loyalty increases. And guess what all of that can lead to? Less turnover, more retention, a high skilled staff and happy people. Woop, woop!
It may sound like cupcakes and rainbows. And for me it is. In January, as I sat with my defeat of getting fired(!) I kept repeating to myself that my undeniable “ah-ha” moment was coming. When the Director of Talent Acquisition for a healthcare company called me and offered me the job – I looked up to the sky and said, “um, God? Is this it?” It wasn’t undeniable. It wasn’t fireworks. It kind of felt more like, “this is the only person asking me to work for her and I have a family to support, so, sure, I’ll take it.”
And, I almost wrote about it then – but I was scared. To acknowledge the fact that I had gotten a new job left me feeling extremely vulnerable. In October, I opened my talent, my heart, my time, my passion and six weeks later, it was all taken away from me suddenly, in such a mean, unkind way. Would that happen again? If I pretended to be non-chalant, if I put up a solid, brick wall, if I covered myself in chain mail would the pain be less if it happened again? Would I be protected?
During this time, I kept thinking about my pregnancy with Charlotte. Just because I had experienced tremendous pain and loss, with the miscarriage before her, did it mean that if I approached Charlotte’s pregnancy with little to no attachment – would it be easier if she didn’t make it to full term? No, it wouldn’t have. Did I approach my pregnancy with her with joy and excitement? I really didn’t. And did that rob me of joy? Yeah, a little bit.
To approach new experiences with trepidation doesn’t protect us from failure or hurt or grief – it robs us of our moments of joy. Charlotte is an exceptional reminder to experience joy. I always describe her as the girl that sees a swimming pool and is filled with so much excitement that she runs and dives right in and experiences the joy instantaneously, whether or not the water is warm or cold, whether a towel is close by, whether the pH is balanced just right. My son, is more calculating. He sees a pool, weighs the pros and cons, licks his little finger and sticks it in the air to test the wind direction, dips his big toe in a little bit and makes an educated, informed decision. He is cautious and a little bit like his mama.
I have been in my new role for almost four months. And I can honestly say, that besides snuggling newborn babies, this is my dream job. This is my calling. It’s my realistic dream job. And I am so blessed and fortunate to be living out my calling. I have, with my team, had the opportunity to create programs and conduct research to find out what daily barriers our teams are struggling with, what suggestions they have for improvement and what drives them crazy. It is worthwhile work for me. It fills me with a purpose and a great sense of accomplishment.
I get to travel a bit. I get to work from home a lot. My boss is compassionate, kind and flexible. My partner and I get along well. She is funny and we are a small but mighty force with big dreams to change the culture in our company – a worthy goal, in my humble opinion.
It can be daunting. It can be annoying. But it’s also so fun. Every single person that I have had the privilege of speaking with tells me the same thing, “I love my residents.” (We are long term care facilities and rehab) And you know what? You can’t teach passion. We can teach and train people on so many things, but you can’t teach people to have passion for taking care of our seniors. It’s an honor and privilege to serve our residents and our team members in this capacity.
So I will throw myself in the thick of it. I will jump in the pool and enjoy every moment (well, not every moment, I am human). I will allow the fear of loss to take a backseat and allow joy to fill me up as I bask in the blessing that I am livin’ the dream. 🙂