By Kent Mulkey
Consider the following question: If you could live your life over again, would you live it the same way?
More specifically: Would you pick the same career?
For me, the answer is yes. For many other senior living professionals, the answer may have been yes a couple of years ago … but it’s no now. It is sad for me to see so many senior living professionals experience a sort of burnout of what used to get them up in the morning.
The Great Resignation
You have heard it said that we are in the middle of the Great Resignation. People are leaving their job in record numbers, especially in health care.
Twenty-five years ago, I made a career transition to work in senior living, which was the best decision of my work life. It was a calling.
I loved the early years. Then it began to feel increasingly like drudgery. The regulatory environment became oppressive. Staffing schedules became next to impossible to fill. Competition became fierce. Consumers became a whole lot savvier and more challenging to deal with. Pay has often not kept up with other industries.
But I have stayed. You have stayed.
Please do not go anywhere! Our beloved seniors need you. Despite all the challenges and hassles, I have never been so fulfilled as I have in working with the senior population.
Hang In There
Here are a few ways you might go about being able to hang in there:
- Focus on why you are in it. It is for them, not for me. The more I give of myself to the enrichment of seniors’ lives, the more fulfilled I feel.
- Make sure you get away from it. Taking time to rest is critical. Turn off your phone, and spend ample time with family and friends to recharge.
- Do not take the work personally. Let us be honest, this is not at all an easy population to work with. Residents are angry about losing their independence, they may be in pain, there is a ton of loss they are facing. And, for some, their life is slipping away.
- Do it as a team. I do not mean just a group of individuals. Build trust and camaraderie with each other. Have fun and laugh … a lot.
- We will never get it exactly right. The work we do in providing senior care is impossible to get right even close to all the time. Keep striving, but do not beat yourself up for mistakes and failed initiatives.