We saw a lot of patients, worked long hours, and had lots of documentation. The patients were a garden variety of outpatient orthopaedic patients -- not necessarily my ideal patient type. But I LOVED my job. It was fun to go to work. I remember saying “I could dig a ditch with these people and enjoy it.”
Thinking of memories like this got me considering, “Is it possible to love your job and not like the people you work with?” I think the answer certainly depends on the person. I would say in general, if you don’t like the people you are working with, you will have an uphill battle enjoying your job. If you don’t like the people you are working with, every other aspect of the job must be perfect. Even then, I don’t really think you can LOVE your job.
I believe for most people that what you are doing as a job pales in comparison to who you are working with.
Does your work family have the following?
1) You Develop Meaningful Friendships
I am talking about more than the 1 minute superficial conversation about how your weekend was. Everyone cares about each other's personal lives. You share your wins. You mourn each other's losses. You seek each other’s opinions. You laugh… a lot.
You would do anything for each other. I remember one time we had 24 hours to move into our new house. It desperately needed to be painted and it is obviously easier to paint when there is no furniture in it. Everyone from work came over to paint. Not only did we get it done, we got all of our stuff moved in. Even though we worked hard, we had fun and it is a memory we will always share.
2) You Have Each Other's Backs
You rely on each other. If someone is in a bind, you help with one of her patients. You stay late so that one person isn’t left with the burden of a lot patients at the end of the day.
In my best work environment, I never felt alone. I knew if I needed a hand or was overwhelmed, there were my co-workers to help get me through.
3) You Are Growing Professionally Together
You’re in an environment where your strengths lift others and other's strengths lift you. You learn together, make mistakes together, and grow together.
I still remember the feeling that my co-workers and I were getting better each day. We constantly asked each other multiple questions about how to best treat a patient. We co-treated patients. We problem-solved together. No one felt inferior because whether you had 20 years of experience or 2 months, everyone asked questions. When new information came out, we shared.
I think frequently we become bored with our job not because we don’t like it, but because we have stopped growing. As I look back on my career, I can point to specific times when I really loved what I was doing. Regardless of the setting or how difficult the job was, the one characteristic in common is that I loved the people I was working with.