The Riggs Blog
How My Work Makes a Difference - Part 3
Austen Riggs held a blog competition among staff members where we asked them to write about the topic: “How My Work Makes a Difference.” This is the third blog in the series written by Terry Owens-Gilbert, Senior Admissions Coordinator.
I’ll be honest. I don’t always feel like the work I do makes a difference or matters. I get bogged down in the daily grind. There is not always a waterfall of good feelings at the end of a day. Maybe it’s the times we live in. All that immediate gratification we have at our fingertips. Want to see a TV show you missed? Just hit the button on your Tivo. Want a weather projection for your upcoming vacation? Look up the forecast in a matter of seconds. Sometimes it seems like everything we want or need is within our reach and with little effort. Want it? Get it. It’s so easy. This is the intoxicating fantasy we live in. So then, why can’t my work be like that if I am sincere about wanting it? If I am doing all the right things? Pressing all the right buttons? Why, at the end of every day, don’t I feel like I’ve made a difference in someone’s life? Where is my reward?
This has been my journey of discovery and realization: that a positive result takes more than a minute or a day or any specified amount of time. It takes consistency, patience, learning, thinking, listening, and compassion. And then it may not come in the form we think it will.
What may start out as call from a parent asking if Riggs may be appropriate for their child can turn into listening at length as they release their fears and concerns for someone they love. Their child may or may not be appropriate for Riggs, but in that moment the opportunity to make a difference is not about an eventual admission, it’s about my willingness to offer them give them my time in a way that is unconditional listening to their painful struggle. I think this matters. It makes a difference.
Occasionally when I am not realizing the rewards of my work, and am not cognizant of the days’ events and the impact they may have somewhere in time, I take a piece of paper out of my desk drawer and re-read something from Tom Challies that moved me when I read it a while back:
Work is not significant only when it utilizes my full capacity or full capabilities. Work is not significant only when it offers unusual challenge or special opportunity. Work is not significant only when it is measurable in dollars and cents or praise and compliments. Work has intrinsic significance because it gives me the opportunity to do something for others.
I think that's how my work makes a difference, too.
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