Written by: Kazima
I never thought there would come a day where I would say I hate my job. I remember back when I was doing my internship at a children’s hospital in downtown -30 minutes away from my house-, I used to drive an hour during early morning rush-hour nearly every day. Which meant being up at 5:30 am and out the door by 7 during the dark winter mornings. But for some reason it never phased me.
I am not a morning person. I never have been and most likely never will be, but for some reason, waking up early while the rest of the street sleeps did not exhaust me. For some reason heading out the door while the birds chirped in unison waking up from their nightly slumber gave me an adrenaline rush.
Maybe it was the excitement from meeting a new child. Maybe it was the ability to touch a young life by helping them swallow without aspirating, or communicate their basic wants and needs, helping them with blessings we take for granted. Maybe it was the challenge of bringing a smile on a child’s face that had been so worn out from fighting a monster like cancer.
Whatever the reason was, I believed that there would never come a day where I would say I hate my job.
Until that one day.
For a couple of months prior, I had been struggling with work. The excitement I would have in the morning was gone. The adrenaline rush was non-existent. Yet, when I was face to face with the children I worked with I was in bliss.
Afterwards though, I would feel heavy as if there was a weight on me. I felt my work was the heavyweight and I hated myself for feeling so. I love what I do. I spent years of hard work to be able to do what I do.
Then why was I feeling like this?
One day, one of the coordinators at a school I work with told me, extemporaneously, that I had to see one of my clients for one hour. A little taken aback, I looked at her and asked, “What do you mean? I’m only supposed to see him for 30 minutes a week.” She said, “I know but we are falling behind and have to make up some kids so you need to see him for one hour.” Trying to control my rising emotions I told her, “But he’s barely able to sit through a 30-minute session with everything he has going on, how can I have him sit through an hour?” “Yeah I know but we have to submit this by the end of the month. Maybe you can just have him watch a movie or play a game.”
That is when I snapped. That is also when I came to the realization that I hate my job. No, I do not hate what I do. On the contrary, I love being a Speech Pathologist. I love being able to connect with those little souls in ways other professionals may not be able to. But I love doing it for the child. I wanted to make a difference in their life on their terms rather than arbitrary requirements set by a higher power. And sure enough, that child gave me almost nothing in that one hour and while I sat there with a smile plastered on my face I felt myself performing these robotic motions because I had to. It was as if my remote control was in someone else’s hands.
My passion had always been children and being able to help children for their sake but here I was, doing something with no consideration of the human being before me but rather for the sake of the “State.” My one hour with this child was no more meaningful than a checked box on a sheet of paper.
I began to realize that the weight I had been feeling for so long was a ball and chain around my ankles keeping me from doing what I loved to do. Simon Sinek stated so simply and beautifully in his book, Together is Better, “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.” There is nothing that could have summed up my emotional turmoil better.
Every ounce of energy I had was being put towards meeting these checklists and covered bases, overlooking the things I truly loved and cared for.
My work had become my stress.
Stress had become synonymous with my job.
And my job no longer equaled my passion.