It’s easy to complain about stuff. In fact, without trying to hard, you can find something wrong with almost everything. So, when one stops to think about it, complaining doesn’t take much skill, art, or imagination. And yet, everyone seems to want to outdo everyone else in their powers of complaint. Why is this? What is it about our culture that makes complaining so ubiquitous? What is it about our lives that make us unable to appreciate the good and instead focus on the negative?
If you are reading this, most likely you live in the United States – the most prosperous and richest nation in the world. According to some researchers, even the poorest Americans are richer than 99% of the world’s population. Yet, we still grumble, bitch, and moan.
We attribute our lack of happiness to our employers, our spouses, or our government. We seem to think that if we made more money, had a better job, or had lower taxes, our lives would suddenly become pristine journey’s of joy. I don’t believe this is true however. I don’t think higher wages, a better boss, or the perfect government is going to solve your problems. Indeed, the issues of happiness probably go much deeper than this – and I’m not going to try to address them here. However, I would like to propose one simple idea that we can all employ to better our home, work, and social lives.
It seems as if the younger medics have the highest level of resentment.
The other day we responded to multiple calls that really did not require Code-3 ALS response. You know the drill: complain on the way to the call, treat the patient with disdain and contempt, and then ritually disembowel the system that sends highly trained, super-important paramedics like us to take care of low-life system abusers like these. Grumble, grumble…. and then we all join in on the chorus. It’s a well rehearsed and popular song and dance – performed in EDs, fire stations, police cruisers, and ambulances across the country.
It seems as if the younger medics have the highest level of resentment. Somehow they thought the job would involve more lifesaving and less social work. Their expectations of adrenaline highs and heroic accolades were overblown, and now, the resentment is overwhelming. Older medics have either become cranky and cynical, or have resigned themselves to the grind of trudging forward until retirement. Either way, it seems as if for many, the joy of the journey has been lost.
Occasionally we meet people who are a breath of fresh air. They are a pleasure to be around, a pleasure to work with, and seem to find pleasure in their jobs. What is it about these folks that makes them so, um, pleasurable?
For many, they have learned to not sweat the small stuff. For others, they have learned to accept the things they cannot change, and the courage to change the things they can. Still others have learned to be the change they expect in others.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Do you want your place of work to be more fun? Then start the revolution? Do you want your spouse to be more joyful? Try creating that joy within your own life first. Would you like having more discretionary spending cash? Take charge of your finances and use better discretion. Would you like your patients to be less abusive and to better respect the system? Why not respect them and have more compassion for circumstances you would never understand. Would you like other healthcare providers to treat you with the respect you deserve? You’re going to have to earn it.
It’s time for EMS Professionals to step up and lead by example. It’s time for us to be the lifesavers we can be. It’s time for us to step up and be respectable. Don’t wait for your employer, your spouse, your patients, or your coworkers – take the lead. Show others how it can be done.
- Be the change you want to see in others.
- Be the example you want your employer to show.
- Be the example you want your patients to exhibit.
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~Anne Frank
- “What I give up to be a FF/paramedic/EMT” poems (firefighternation.com)
- 5 Ways Customer Service Should NOT be like Politics (customerthink.com)
- Empowered Employees Generate Great Customer Experiences (customerthink.com)
- “Values” (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- Using servant leadership to teach medical students (kevinmd.com)