Why I love what I do…

After two years of nursing clinicals in various fields, and now a full month of being a paid nurse in one of the Neonatal Intensive Care Units here in Calgary, Alberta, I found myself waking up at 530 this morning for a day shift as happy as ever. Now, some may say, 530 AM???? Yes, I hear ya. I hate waking up that early. But after the impossible first 5 minutes after my alarm goes off, when I try to think of ways to sleep in longer or even if I can make it through the day and on to the next night when I get to sleep again, I realize I look forward to my day. Call me a bright-eyed, optimistic newbie, but going to work and taking care of (often very sick) infants and their families is not only rewarding but also challenging and exciting for me. It took me a long time and a lot of school to get to this point, but work doesn’t feel like work anymore and I feel like I am making a difference that means something to me, so it was all completely worth it.

Now, this isn’t my personal plug for the profession of nursing - though if you feel it might be for you I can tell you right now that your passion and compassion really can make a huge difference- but rather my way of expressing my own passion to the world. It’s also my way of encouraging you to do the same. You may not exactly sing songs about the work you do, but my hope is that each person can find joy in some part of what they do and know that every job has value. Or perhaps you get nothing out of your job but a paycheque- now is the time to figure out what keeps you there and explore all of the ways you can either incorporate your passion or make changes to the point of following your true heart. This may sound mushy and unpractical- especially given the struggling economy. And believe me when I say I am not trying to encourage folks to leave their jobs. But if you’ve lost a job because of the economy it might be a perfect opportunity to think about what drives you forward.   Many intensely successful businesses and careers were built by people who had hit rock bottom with their jobs and finances, but found renewed hope and success with the awareness of their motivations and strengths. My point is that it’s worth it to take a few moments to appreciate what you do, day in and day out, because once you find the passion in your work the fulfillment is far greater than any paycheque and the rewards end up being financial as well as emotional.

If you’re lucky enough to love what you do, let somebody know, but most importantly let yourself hear it. Acknowledge the opportunity you’ve had to do something you want to do, rather than something you have to do.   Let’s be grateful for the privilege and doors that open for us simply by being citizens of Canada or the United States where we are able to pursue education and careers at relative ease when compared to our counterparts in more impoverished countries.