Sometimes my job is really rough. Even though I’m not a clinical person, I am privy to many things that happen. You build a certain tolerance to it after some years, specifically the really awful things. You see things are a part of life. Not that you become desensitized, but you understand it differently. Then there are some moments that throw you a curve ball. Those are the ones that really test who you are. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that healthcare is still a business and that is where it shows its greatest weakness. For all of those moments of heroism, compassion, and love, there comes a time when you see healthcare as a machine like anything else we have. I had a moment like that the other day and it shook me to my core.
As a leader in healthcare, I’m responsible for bringing on team members. Again, I’m not a clinical person, so I deal with a lot of tech, insurance, registration, finance, and general navigation questions. I’m not looking for the person looking to care, I’m looking for the person developing a different skill set: people. We recently had a job fair because, like any market now, finding assistance is tricky. Healthcare is something you have to want to do, even at the entry level. One of my teammates was running the table and a candidate arrived. This gentleman was clearly struggling—he was a bit older, he had a walker. He was not your typical job fair attendee. As the conversation went on, my heart broke into pieces. He definitely was beyond retirement but he suffered a stroke in March and he was looking for work because his wife is in a nursing home.
I want to be clear, it wasn’t pity I felt. It was anger and sadness/devastation. How in this day and age have we allowed for things to get to the point where people are in such a position? I know people can say it’s a result of his own actions but this is beyond that. Yes, people make mistakes and get themselves in some rough patches (I’m definitely guilty of that). I’m not arguing that happens. But how do we live in a society where there is no peace? This man should be able to spend his days with his wife, making sure she is ok, making sure HIS health is ok. Instead he is looking for work to supplement the costs of healthcare and the cost of living now. This is a huge problem.
I’ve always rooted for the underdog and for those creating a new life for themselves, but this is beyond telling someone to feel better about themselves in order to find their life’s calling. And who knows, maybe this is part of the plan for this gentleman, but that still didn’t sit right with me. That still isn’t enough for me to feel better about the fact that so many people are in this position. The fact that so many MORE will be in this position with how things are going today. When do we collectively say, “Enough is enough!” and unite to change what is so clearly broken? This isn’t us against each other. This is us against a broken system.
We have to wake up and understand our part in it. We all have needs and we all have things we are told we need. We all buy into stories we are told about what it takes to survive and what thriving looks like. We are told that we have it good but we sacrifice our time for money and then give up to 40% of that money to a system that doesn’t care for us—it distracts us while it does what it wants with our resources, time, sweat, and energy. It pacifies us with things and the next latest and greatest, all as sleight of hand. If you’re looking over there, you won’t notice what I’m doing over here! We have to WAKE UP! Listen to the call of your heart and do what is right. I don’t have the answers, but I DO know without any shadow of doubt that we feel something different and we know this is wrong. We need something different and in order to do that, we need to get in touch with who we are and redefine what we need. We can all contribute to the answer through finding our place, our purpose, in a new line of functioning. Please, do the work you know is right, the calling. Please help however you can. Remember to be kind because there are so many battles you know nothing about.