My job is….sort of prestigious sounding. I’m an analyst. At an Ivy League university, and they created this job to keep me. But what it really has been over the last five years has been thankless and a lot of “shit on Jenna.” I was mercilessly micromanaged, even though I had no work for one department to which I reported. I even got in trouble for speaking to someone from a different department on their time.
One of the things I had a tough time with was my location. I sat in a hallway. There wasn’t any office space for me, so I was in hallway reception area – and usually mistaken for a receptionist. This hallway was right outside the executive suite, so I managed all manner of angry patients wanting to speak to the CEO…which was never possible.
One day, a lady came to me, distraught. She was upset, in pain, confused. I tried to help her, and was about 15 minutes in, when a clinician (who was 40 minutes late for his meeting) came over, interrupted me, demanded why his conference room wasn’t set up. I hadn’t booked the meeting, I had no idea what he was talking about, and couldn’t really help him, but he was furious and adamant – while this patient was a wreck. Another admin walked by and took the clinician off my hands and I was able to help the lady. She stayed for another 30 minutes, talking. After giving her some email addresses and phone numbers, she left, seemingly better.
I went into the SVP’s office – whose sole job is to make sure our patients have positive experiences – and recounted the event. I was admonished for being rude to the clinician, for prioritizing something else when our own employee needed something from me. And she “wouldn’t think less of me, I don’t have to do it, but I should apologize to the clinician for not helping him as best I could have, and that in other circumstances I would have given him my full attention, and I’m so sorry for not getting him what he needed.” I walked out with my jaw on the floor.
A year later, I came into my new office, on my new floor, with a new department to report to. My coworker came in with a paper bag, and said “Someone came and left this for you.” Inside was a loaf of bread and a card.
I’ve never been thanked for helping, or listening, or even just being a compassionate person. You never know whose life you will touch, and this is enough to keep the cynicism from taking over. It’s all the motivation I need, and it makes that whole situation sort of worth it.