One of the many things I appreciate about getting older is that I no longer think I have to work in the worst possible environment, to make a difference. In my 20’s I worked at some ROUGH and often very unsafe environments. I wasn’t a nurse at the time, and I ended up primarily in the social work/human services field working with dual-diagnosed (typically meaning those who suffer with mental illness and some form of addiction) homeless folks.
Most of these jobs also paid next to nothing. But boy did they know how to recruit! They knew how to convince bleeding hearts to work for them for next to nothing with little to no benefits. But they did pay me in other ways…they fed my self righteousness that allowed me to delude myself into believing I was achieving martyr status. Oof, that was pretty embarrassing to write. Of course, there were some good things that came out of those jobs, but I also learned a lot of things I had to unlearn later on in life. Like that my safety and well being weren’t important and that I had no right to complain or set boundaries because I had it so good in comparison to my clients. So obviously that became problematic later on.
I think sometimes in our fields we are brainwashed into thinking that we need to suffer financially, emotionally, and physically if we truly care. Well I call bullshit.
If you are being told you aren’t truly a “team player” because you won’t pick up overtime every week, ask yourself is that the environment you want to work in? One that doesn’t value and protect your free time? If you are barely making rent every month because the company can’t afford to pay you “what they wish they could” is that where you want to be? A company that doesn’t believe you deserve to have your basic needs met? If your safety is in jeopardy because your company doesn’t want to pay for enough or any security therefore putting its staff and other patients in harms way, is that a place you want to stay?
You can still do good work AND have a life. You can still do good work AND go on vacations. You can still do good work AND not work overtime. You can still do good work AND say no. You can still do good work AND set boundaries.
Take care of YOU.