By Steve Moran
Five conferences in six weeks. Hundreds of wonderful conversations; dozens of business cards exchanged; countless parties, dinners and receptions, keynotes and breakout sessions.
There was one thing I heard from so many people — leaders I really respect and who are passionate about senior living, people who have dedicated their professional lives to senior living.
They kept saying this thing that is perhaps true, but only because so many leaders say it and believe it. I bet you have said it. A couple of versions of the same thing:
“Working in senior living is not a very good job.”
“No one wants to work in senior living.”
This Drives Me Crazy
This is simply a falsehood. Over the course of the last few months, I have had a bunch of conversations with people 30 and younger who could have done anything. They could have gone into a sector that was considered to be cool, cutting edge, sexy, and instead choose to live their life as a senior living professional.
I talked to one just this week who is spending a bunch of her own money and taking unpaid time off to attend a conference because she is in love with the industry. She has big plans to be a part of the next generation of senior living leaders. (It drives me crazy that her employer is not paying for her to do this. They will pay the price when she leaves for a better opportunity.) I talked to another at LeadingAge who is unbelievably passionate about what she is doing.
It is not just true with leadership but with frontline positions. There are many frontline workers who love what they do, who are passionate about their career.
Every time we say, “No one wants to work in senior living,” we degenerate those young people and those who have been doing this for years. We suggest they are not very smart, very cool to have chosen to work in this industry.
Most jobs that are available today, even those that pay exceedingly well, are mind numbingly tedious. You think being a video game developer is cool. It’s not. You work on some little bit of code that does some tiny part of some bigger game. You have deadlines and pressure.
And you do nothing to make the world a better place. About the best you can do, if you are lucky, is put that game up on the big screen, point to some little corner of a game and say, “See that animated mushroom? I made that.”
You work in senior living, and you every single day make the world a better place. You know that you impacted the lives of residents, family members, and your fellow workers. There is no better job in the world.
Oh, I long for each of you to believe this to be true.