Everything in life should be balanced. If we had no bad in life with which to compare and measure the good, how would we differentiate our experiences? The stories of our lives would be painted with a single brush, and in a single color. When I find myself troubled, I try to take what's bothering me and measure it against the most horrible ordeal I've experienced. I count the day I sat in a psychologist's office, and heard his opinion of my daughter's chance for a normal life, as the worst day in my life. I measure all other bad days against this one. Some days and events come close, but few surpass the pure misery I encountered that day. For the record, it wasn't the news he gave me, but rather his cold and uncaring delivery of his remarks. He made me envision a bleak and horrific future for us all. In short, he was an asshole. At the time, I never told him so, but eventually, I did. See Andrew? You're still getting bad press for that rotten bedside manner you demonstrated 16 years ago.
With that in mind, I've waited to hear about my job for a month, while the entire time, I've been on pins and needles. I measured my feelings against my bellwether day, and although I couldn't match how I felt on the worst day of my life, I was still incredibly worried. With great relief and gratitude, I can tell you my job is safe. I've spent an agonizing month worrying myself silly. I've not slept through the night since we were given the news that we may be unemployed soon. I'm so thankful that I cried when I was told today, but now I'm concerned, not for myself, but for other employees of my health system. Surely, something's gotta give.
I've been reading Paul Levy's blog about running a hospital. He's proposed some interesting changes at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and a lot of what I've read makes sense. He's also opened up unique forms of communication with the employees of the hospital that fosters open dialogue and problem solving. These forums are for all employees, not just management. I'd embrace some of his ideas in my own hospital because I don't want to see any person that works for my health organization lose a job in these times. I would forgo my raise, and (some) personal time off if it made a difference for the financial health of my institution, and continued employment for my coworkers.