By Steve Moran

It is a heartbreaking reality that so many people who work in senior living dread going to work every day. I am not sure it is true, but I was recently talking to an owner who exited the senior living space, and he says of all of the hundreds of people he knows in the senior living space, only one person likes it. Yep, that’s me.

I am pretty sure that is not quite true. But it is a lot easier to find people who are bummed out, burned out, and frustrated than people who are in love with what we do.

It is easy to blame it all on the pandemic. But an honest assessment tells us that even before the pandemic hit, most people felt like they were running on empty and not sure they would be able to make it to the next fueling station.

The Pandemic Made It Better

This is a crazy truth. Early in the pandemic one of the most amazing things that happened in most communities, most organizations, was that teams rallied like nothing ever seen in our industry. This is something that only happens when there is a common enemy that everyone can rally around fighting.

It happened during 9/11, it happened during WWII and WWI, and it happens in the Middle East today.

That uplift is gone, and for way too many people, working in senior living has zero joy left in the experience. From leaders to the front line, people are rightly burned out, frustrated, exhausted, weary, and wondering if they should quit. In this environment, it might seem imprudent or disrespectful to talk about making senior living fun. Except we know that fun is … well, fun, and it makes pretty much everything better. 

A Practical Idea

Every once in a while I get a chance to hear leaders tell their “wounded warrior stories” from the front line of the pandemic. They are often heart-warming, sometimes funny, and sometimes tragic. Telling stories, war stories, is one of the best ways to build up your team. Telling stories is fun; listening to stories is fun.

Way too often when meetings happen, there is a rush to get to business, because no one like meetings; they feel like an unproductive waste of time. But if you are willing to “waste” five or 10 minutes doing storytelling at just one meeting a week, you will be blown away by the stories you hear.

They don’t even need to be work stories. They can be stories from the evening, stories from the weekend or vacations. Stories about kids, grandkids, pets, adventures.

Stories will capture the hearts of your team, and they will put you on the same page.

Try it. Results guaranteed.