I believe all the things you are saying
What if I believe everything you say about your job AND I still think you can be happy at work?
Even despite the unreasonable expectations of your administration, or your staff.
Even with the long hours and emotionally draining patients.
Even when your coworkers aren’t pulling their weight, or are toxic, or quit.
Yes, all these things can be happening at your job and you can still be happy there.
And I’ll tell you why.
Because you are in charge of you .
Here’s a question that my business coach asked me, and now I am going to ask it of you.
How many good reasons are you going to let stand in the way of getting what you want?
If you want to feel good at work, stop letting all the good reasons that you have to be unhappy stand in your way. You don’t have to negate those reasons, or change them. You just have to decide to pursue happiness despite these things.
If you want it, you have to go for it. It’s as simple (and as difficult) as that.
Deciding to be happy at work takes some chutzpah, it isn’t all rainbows and daisies.
I think Jen Sincero said it best,
“Enthusiasm is a kind of social courage.”
Admittedly it is a little daunting to be courageous when we are worn down or when we have plenty of good reasons NOT to be happy. But if we are going to be uncomfortable either way, uncomfortable being unhappy or uncomfortable being courageous, let’s pick the route that ends up in a net positive. Let’s choose the discomfort of trying a little bit of courageous enthusiasm. If need be we can back it up with a healthy dose of spite and use the “I’ll show them” approach to being happy at work.
Yes, I agree that healthcare has plenty of “room for improvement” right now. I agree that it can be overwhelming. I agree that you probably deserve more money, recognition, and time off.
You don’t have to let go of these things to feel better, you just need to be willing to do the work.
Here’s what that work looks like.
Step 1: Watch for all-or-nothing/cause-and-effect thinking.
ie: “This all has to change or I can’t do it anymore.”
This may feel true but the drama makes us feel worse. How about “there are parts of this that kind of suck but there are parts that are ok?” Can you soften the everything/all/never/nothing words that you use? If that is tricky, just try catching yourself when you are thinking this way and acknowledge that it isn’t really helping you get what you want.
Step 2: Determine what part of your job you are dedicated to. For me, it’s patient care and decreasing patient suffering. This is why I got started in pain management.
How many times do you think of this dedication during the day? It’s easy to forget when someone pushes your buttons and you feel ready to combust. I find if I bring everything back to the care of the patient, the other frustrations can fade to the background.
Remind yourself what you are there for.
Step 3: Remember that patient care doesn’t need to be perfect to be valuable.
Step 4: When in doubt, use humor to catapult a shift in energy.
Let me give you an example. Over the last 2 days, my medical assistant got slammed with prior authorizations for pain medications. For some reason, one specific medication is getting denied for multiple patients. It’s like the insurance companies banded together and said “let’s decide to stop paying for this medication and see what chaos ensues.” For anyone who has ever had to do prior authorizations for pain medications, your chest is probably tightening and you are a little nauseous just thinking about it. Records need to be sent, appeals written, and forms filled out. Over and over and over. Just to get a medication approved that the patient has been stable on long term and will have serious repercussions if stopped abruptly. And of course these need to get done quickly and in the midst of all the other normal responsibilities of the day.
So my MA got 3 approvals and a denial (which needs a higher level appeal) and just as she was getting ready to end for the day, another rejection/prior authorization request came through. I thought she was going to explode (which would be a completely reasonable response). She was tapped out, done, frustrated.
“I cannot believe I have to do this again. WHAT IS WITH THESE INSURANCE COMPANIES!?!?” She asked.
Here’s the thing. These prior authorizations are really, really important. These patients rely on them to get through their basic activities.
But it’s hard to do over and over.
So I defaulted to humor. “Good thing you’ve had so much practice today. Good thing you are SO INCREDIBLY EFFICIENT at getting these done. Good thing we have YOU to get us through this. Good thing you are THE BEST” said with complete sing-songy sweetness.
It was a gamble- the social courage to not rant and rave on the state of insurance companies but to rather try silly encouragement.
And it worked.
She laughed, flipped her hair back, and told me I needed to say it all again, but louder. So I did, this time with a dance in the middle of the clinical area.
And we got another patient the care they needed.
If you want to be happy at work, go for it, Go after what you want. It’s going to take some doing, (we can’t just manifest it) but it doesn’t have to be hard, just intentional.
Little things make a difference.
You can be the encouragement for yourself.
Remember why you are there and look for ways to keep that in mind when the other drama is vying for attention. Talk about the patients you are helping.
Be a little ridiculous, in a positive and uplifting way,
and dancing is optional (but highly recommended).
If you are struggling with where to even start, reach out. There are still some spots open for my end of the summer "help all the people" free coaching. As a way to give back, I am doing a free hour individual coaching session for 10 people. No sales pitch, no strings. Just coaching. Amazing things can happen in one hour, amazing things can happen for you. Send me a message if you want in.