Choose Passion Over Paycheck For True Happiness, and ‘Word Crimes’!

Soul Crushing Work

First off … THANK YOU. What an amazing outpouring of support, awesome comments and emails, and just general incredible kindness and fun this week! After robo-posting through vacation and coming back to a whirlwind week of very busy days, I have been reminded in an overwhelming way why I love this community so much! I apparently forgot to mention one step in my blog process, which is to stop and drink in the great support and use it to power me through writing my next post.

OK, today’s topic … If Your Paycheck Isn’t Fueling Your Passion, Maybe it is Time for a Change!

This might seem like an odd topic for me, since I work for a large traditional company in a very corporate role (senior level statistical and measurement engineer with Corning) and have been here 6 years, after having spent 15 years with ANOTHER large traditional company after a couple of short stints for smaller companies. And there is little chance that I will NOT work for a company where I am just an employee helping further the goals set by managers and executives.

Yet I tell my boys to follow their passion rather than a job; to seek happiness over employment. The reality is that there are very few careers that are a ‘sure thing’ (aside from perhaps nursing, which could possibly saturate by the time they could get their degrees). So instead of chasing a ‘safe paycheck’, we tell them to figure out what drives you and inspires you and grab hold of it with both hands and never let go.

Turning Passion Into Profession

Over the last several months I have loved watching some of my favorite bloggers do some amazing things to follow their passions:
Lisa and Michele recently completed RRCA certification on Cape Cod, and before taking a right turn into a different job Suz also became a NASM Certified Personal Trainer. I know there are others who have fitness job sidelines (Sara), as well.
Danielle left a solid job in order to co-found Ramblen with someone who lives half-way across the country, meaning she is now engaged in one state and living in another while working really hard to see her passions and dreams become reality!
Laura left her job (for very good reasons) and is now living the ‘starving grad school life’ in women’s studies and is REALLY putting herself out there for her cause by running across America next summer!
Megan quit her day job and has gone ‘all in’ as a health and wellness coach, which I think is a natural fit because she is so inspirational and earnest and nurturing and freaking smart.

All of these women have taken steps out of their comfort zone to follow their passions. Megan and Laura and Danielle have made major life changes – and none of them took the easy path! I think it is an incredibly brave and strong thing to do – it is one thing to put yourself out there on a blog, but to make your entire life about putting yourself out there? Wow.

The Professional World Has Changed Forever

When I was going off to college in the early 80s, IBM had never had a layoff, and the tech industry was really just getting started. Money was flowing into the field, and in general the work world looked very much like it had since the 60s:
– You go to college for a degree that more or less sends you to a professional job or a life in th euniversity system.
– You get a job with a small or large company.
– If small, you ‘upgrade’ until you get to a large company.
– You progress from technical to managerial ranks over the decades you stay with that company.
– You retire and life on a decent pension.

That seems like something from an old-fashioned movie at this point. I remember when IBM emptied out buildings in the early 90s, I had friends there talking about waves of people being escorted out.

I bring up IBM because in that era they were a real beacon, one of the last places where if you got a job you had lifetime employment guaranteed … until 1994 when they changed that policy. In that moment the Americal workplace changed forever. Throughout the 90s ‘downsizing and Dilbert’ ruled, and the ‘dotcom bubble’ burst in 2000, and just as things seemed to be ramping again the bottom fell out in 2007 and has never really returned.

Your Passion … is Your Passion

In my ‘behind the blogger’ post, and many other posts, I have talked about my passions – family, music, tech, running, and my job. I have talked about how my AP English teacher thought I should go into writing and had me submit pieces he thought might get accepted into the Atlantic; I have discussed how I won a great award at the huge national high school jazz competition and my band director thought I should pursue music. And I talked about how I ended up at RPI studying electrical engineering.

It might sound weird with everything else I have just said, but the ultimate reason I chose NOT to pursue music (writing was never seriously in play) was NOT about fear or risk-aversion … but because I truly love math and physics that much.

Fast forward 30 years and I STILL love those things – my publications and patent apps all speak to math (data analysis) and physics (optical engineering). I love tearing apart a data set to find meaning, working with measurements and equipment and analyzing and optimizing a process. Sure, I would love to be back in the semiconductor world, but Corning’s massive support for RD&E (research, development and engineering – they spend 10%, most companies are ~2%) means working on exciting projects with really talented people.

That is MY passion.

Chances are it is not YOUR passion.

Intermission

OK, this is feeling rather dry and serious, so how about some mid-post fun? I talk about the ‘pre-internet’ days quite a bit – referencing them in terms of IBM from a completely different era today. And in that spirit – I love this xkcd comic

before_the_internet

How Modern Corporations Work Against Employees

As I mentioned, things have never really fully recovered from the 2007 neo-depression. What has become clear is that many, many companies used that as an opportunity to cut wide swaths of employees, and forever change the balance of power so they wouldn’t find themself disadvantaged like they did in the mid-90s and mid-2000s.

As a result, here are 5 ways you are disadvantaged working for a medium or large company today:

1. Loyalty Makes You Less Marketable

As I said, when I was entering college, life-employment with a single company was a goal, and in general job-hopping was greatly frowned upon. Loyalty was rewarded and was seen as mutually beneficial.

Now we hear about people in layoffs being penalized for staying with a company more than 5 years, “many people have told me I’m disadvantaged by having stayed with the same company for too long.”

The problem? Sometimes loyalty and inertia look the same – in other words, when people were interviewing me in 2007, how could they tell how much of my 15 year tenure was due to a passion to thrive, and how much was just falling into the wake-work-home-sleep cycle and lacking incentive to find something to better fuel my passion?

2. Your Company Uses Your Loyalty To Save Money

A new Monster article shows that staying with a company more than two years can cost you up to 50% compared to people who change companies every couple of years (and perform equally well, of course).

How does this work? Think about it – when we read about Apple hiring a certain skill set indicating they are working on something … it means that they are seeking specific skills they can’t find internally – and are motivated to pay highly skilled people to fill that role. When Intel needs another wafer fab process engineer because someone is retiring, the desire is for another (talented but generic) body to fill an existing role. If they can get that from inside they can give a nominal raise, while the internal candidate gets a job-refresh without having to go through the risk-change cycle of a new company. Win-Win in a way … but over a decade or two suddenly that can add up to big money.

Flip this around – by getting people to stay, a company can save big money over time. So naturally they will try promote and fill open positions from wihtin wherever possible. By giving periodic incentives like stock options and other company-tied perks, they can create further ties to tether you in place for relatively low cost.

3. You Will Never Get the Raise You Deserve Within a Company

This was interesting when I first heard about it, but seeing it again and now more recently it makes sense – if your company knows that you could already get by on your current salary, there is less incentive to give you more money unless they are concerned about you leaving the company … and as I noted, companies used the 2007 recession to slash workforces and create a flatter structure and leaner workforce.

The outcome of this is that the same workload is spread across fewer employees – and those employees work in fear of losing their jobs and know that the job market remains abysmal, with more qualified and experienced people constantly vying for fewer and fewer jobs.

That isn’t to say NOBODY is getting rewarded … but think about it this way: the average wage increase last year was 2% … which is about the same as the rate of inflation. That is actually the first time in several years that wages have seen a ‘real’ increase. This nominal increase even held across many Fortune 500 companies who were seeing double-digit growth in sales and profits over the last couple of years. In other words, someone is getting the money … just not YOU.

4. Your Mobility Decreases With Age and Life Circumstances

A company knows a lot about you – marital status, children, family situations, etc. And they know the reality – that when you have gotten married, had kids, bought a house, and so on … you are less likely to want to change companies.

As I say, companies KNOW this, and as a result they have less incentive to work very hard to keep you from leaving … because simply by giving an average raise, keeping your benefits nominally competitive and otherwise keeping the barrier to exit just high enough to make your inertia kick in and have you stay.

Because risk and change are things people generally stay away from. And the greater the potential risk (losing your home, inability to feed your family), the less likely you are to make a change.

5. Your Employer Is So Used to Holding All the Cards They Don’t Even Pretend Anymore

There are so many articles about all of this it is hard to choose, but I love these quotes:

“Workers are so desperate for jobs that managers can take off the kid gloves without worrying … employees put up with mistreatment in the workplace because managers have made it clear that staff are dispensable, with many other applicants more than willing to take their place.”

Look at how things stack up:
– More workers than jobs – after nearly 7 years of this, it impacts corporate culture.
– More competitive marketplace – narrower profits (due to lower real wages and higher joblessness and underemployment) and faster product life-cycle turns (new iPhone & Galaxy ‘must haves’ every 12 months!).
– Job seekers don’t even get basic respect anymore.
– Unless you are in one of a very few ‘tech centers’ (Boston, Silicon Valley, Austin), chances are you are almost immediately replaceable.
– Rapid company failures in recent years makes moving to a new company more risky than ever.
– Lobbyists pushing hard for corporate-centric laws … and getting them in the name of ‘global competition’ (outcome is also freedom to act against employees without consequence).
– Supreme Court regularly ruling ‘business friendly’ even if it curtails personal rights, and don’t forget their ‘gay marriage’ ruling was really based on business impacts.

And it is clear … most companies don’t need to work very hard to maintain their workforce. And as a result, my LinkedIn feed is filled with articles demonstrating that they DON’T.

OK, THAT was depressing … what is the POINT?!?

First, some of the things above make it seem like executives and HR people scheme all day about how to screw people over. They do NOT. They are people with families and mortgages and plenty of replacements mailing in applications every day. Heck, after I got laid off and then hired at Corning, I was having breakfast at the Staybridge Suites before my family moved out and met a former VP from my old job who had just started with Corning and was waiting for HIS family!

My point? Every company is filled with people, and in general people want to do well by one another, avoid conflict, and avoid hurting others. But corporate policies are about minimizing cost and maximizing profits. Over the last few decades, the term ‘resources’ for employees has been cemented in place, illustrating how people are similar to raw materials used to make products – they have a cost, and a value-add to the company. If they can get the same value add for less money? Do it.

There are many ways running a family is like running a business … but there are also many ways it is not. One of the key items is focus – the executives of a company are focused on the overall profitability and ultimately serve shareholders. In a household it is the members who are the focus, rather than the material items or anyone outside of the household (well, most of the time).

This is why following your passion matters: the CEO of a company doesn’t want to fire anyone (let alone 18,000 like Microsoft did yesterday!), but they don’t have a driving passion about how each individual employee will realize their dreams.

YOU have that drive, that passion, that focus. And so it is up to YOU to determine if what you are doing is serving your passion or just keeping your wallet full. Of course, if your passion is something that doesn’t pay enough money to feed you, perhaps you need to work at a ‘non-passion’ job to fuel your passion – but that is also fine because you are STILL fueling your passion.

My advice? Look to strong women like Danielle, Laura and Megan as examples, seek out your passion – and whether it is your own bakery or working as an accountant … follow your dreams and passions to make the most of your life.

Bonus! Fun Stuff!

Hey – any Weird Al fans? I loved his stuff back in the 80s when MTV was young (yeah, and it played music … ), and have liked some of his stuff through the years (White & Nerdy). He has a new album out this week, and has released a couple of videos. One is a parody of the Pharell William’s ‘Happy’ called ‘Tacky’, and one I thought was more appropriate to share in a blogging context! Enjoy!

What are your thoughts on the ‘corporate world’ versus ‘following your passion’?

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36 thoughts on “Choose Passion Over Paycheck For True Happiness, and ‘Word Crimes’!

  1. This is so interesting and relevant to me. After graduating with my BA I got into a law school with a scholarship. My then boyfriend and I had been teaching skating in Central Park and on the side started teaching sports classes to young children. My parents almost killed me when I told them I wasn’t going to go to law school because I had a “feeling” about this. It took them years and I still think they aren’t thrilled with my new job. But now he is my husband and we can live in Chicago and spend our summers are our house in MI and go to NYC in the spring and fall to teach children for a few weeks. I got my RRCA certification because I had another feeling and now I am coaching 135 marathoners through the MDA. It truly is about passion and this new job is my dream job. Sometimes you just have to go with that feeling, even if it scares the hell out of you. Good for you for teaching your children this.

    • I think that is awesome! That is exactly what I was talking about! I totally get what your parents were thinking – that is why I put all of that history and context into it. My parents had my English and Music teachers talk about how they were encouraging me to pursue each area which kind of flipped them out because they were very much of the school=career mindset.

      Ultimately it is all about happiness.

  2. This is an incredible post. I might have to email it to everyone I know….

    This is all the stuff that’s been stirring in me since I quit my job as a social worker for NYS 5 years ago, dove in fully as a mom while at the same time watched my husband struggle working for large companies (universities in his case) for a lot of the reasons you discussed. You managed to take all of that and put it in a blog post – awesome. I am taking a new path, I know I am. Social work may play a part but not the way it did when I left. So much for me to think about today!

    • Thanks so much Michele! I am amazed at how this resonated with everyone … but glad it did! I definitely see you heading in a new direction – and I think it is great that you are in a position to shape that path, and look forward to seeing it happen for you!

  3. My problem is that I haven’t really found that passion yet. I always thought that theater and performing was what I wanted to do, but the older I got the more I realized that I didn’t want to make a career out of it, because I was starting to be stressed out by something I loved. I’ve toyed with the idea of a career in the fitness/nutrition field a couple of times, but haven’t taken any steps yet. For the moment I’m happy working in a job that isn’t necessarily right for me, but at a company that is definitely a good fit culture and value wise. I hope that eventually something will resonate enough that I’ll know it’s what I want to spend the rest of my life doing.

    • A bit of unsolicited advice, DarlinRae! Feel free to ignore :). I was ALWAYS that person who sat through business school lectures and said “I don’t have a passion,” despite the fact that I constantly talked about nutrition and was always reading and absorbing as much as I could. The truth was that I didn’t have a real idea for how I could make that into a business that I loved. I am so glad I didn’t leave the corporate job (which, like you, involved a good fit but maybe didn’t get me shouting excitement from the rooftops) until I was truly ready and had not only a business plan, but a vision for how I wanted to feel every day in my new life, what I wanted to accomplish, what I could offer to the world. Entrepreneurship is quite hard, and I think there’s a fine line between loving every single moment (which I honestly do) and feeling like you’re a hamster spinning the wheel in order to get to some abstract version of passion. I guess my point is … hang in there and keep listening to that inner voice … it WILL come if you have patience! I can’t wait to see what you accomplish!

  4. After my soliloquy above, I’ll try to keep this fairly brief, but I truly want to THANK YOU for posting this. First, I’m incredibly flattered by how you described me – and if I can live up to that description, I’ll have accomplished what I set out to accomplish. Second, due to all the changes you mention, it’s so important to have people talking about the possibility to follow your passions. It’s one thing to have people like me talk about it, but it’s another to have people like you, who have successful, ‘traditional’ corporate lives, giving permission for others to think big.

    My parents were both lifers with one company until retirement (which, for my mom, came as she had kids, and for my dad, came at standard retirement age), so the idea of doing something so off the beaten path was a bit shocking to them at first. I’m grateful that they came to understand and support me, and I’m so glad you’re encouraging your kids to do the same. Honestly, I wish that management consulting was my passion … I worked for a fantastic company with incredibly smart people, and I do believe in the work we were doing. Even though they treated us well, I saw so many glimpses of the points you make above, and it was clear they had the upper hand and knew it. OK, I’ll get off my soapbox, but THANK YOU!

    • It is a very different world than when our parents were finding jobs and even when I was … I’m glad your family supports your passions, and that you were in a position to take that leap – because it is sometimes true that we can find out passions but be financially unable to pursue them.

  5. This was an amazing post, and something I think about quite frequently. I am so happy that I took the first steps to become a running coach, but there is still a long way to go in that process in order to make it work for me.
    I chose the psychology field when I was in college because that’s what I loved learning about. I realized I needed a masters in order to make a career out of it, but I also knew I loved working with kids. I found a job field that I thought was my passion- providing mental health therapy to kids with emotional and behavioral problems- but in the meantime I learned I have another passion involving running and overall health. I would love to combine these two areas at some point, but for now at least I need to keep earning a decent paycheck. I can’t help but feel guilty at the thought of changing fields considering I am still paying off student loans.
    I feel like it is a journey and I don’t need to do it all at once. I started blogging as a hobby involving my passion for running and relating to other runners. I got certified as a coach as a step in the right direction as well. Maybe one day I will figure out a way to combine it all -or not. I give so much credit to those who can make a huge change all at once!

    • It really isn’t easy – especially the thought of an abrupt change when there are things dependent on your current paycheck! But I get the feeling you are working towards something – and that once you get there you will know. Everyone approaches change differently.

  6. First off, OMG WEIRD AL. Bad Hair Day, anyone? Amish Paradise? (All the words..)
    I am a bit stupefied by this post because it feels so close to home. So I’m going to go off on a tangent and hope that it comes back to where I mean it to.
    What is so funny about my right turn and left turns here and there is that, I both followed my passion, architecture and history, and it got me to an incredible place. But it is when I tried to pursue marketability (by going to Columbia and getting a different degree), that I veered off course, and was left to then have to throw everything out only to have something fall into my lap. I am incredibly happy at the company that I am at–I would love a few more people to chat with, sure, but I love being right in the middle of the action, yet off to the side. And I know that I have the respect and attention of my employer.
    Alex’s situation is so different, and so unique. On the one hand, he is kind of guaranteed his job, but on the other hand, he is worked hard and long for it. I told him, early on, that he needs to find the specialty that speaks to him the most–regardless of the pay. We will find a way to make it work. But if he doesn’t want to get up and go to work (85% of the time, he is going to lose that “Alex” ness that I love so much about him. The past 7 months of straight inpatient have been really, really tough. I won’t lie. But I think that he is starting to realize a) that he is AH-MAZE-ING at what he does (really, truly, he is), b) that he can survive anything, he just has to admit when he is getting worn down c) that we are truly a team–I step up where I can, he does where he can (like meal prep and laundry) d) further–we are a team–our happiness is incredibly important to one another. When I was really down and out, it deeply affected him. But when I took that leap, got my certification, he was so, so proud of me. And jesus, when I got my now job… he was giddy and texted me multiple times during the day saying just that.
    Soooooo as I said off topic. But I think that what I have to say is this: at the end of the day, do something that makes you tick. Surround yourself with people that nourish (thanks Lorna jane) your mind, body, soul, and spirit. Don’t beat yourself up when you find that certain things are no longer working for you (like I did with the horses), but don’t give up on them–one day, you will be back to them, and until then, think of them with fondness.
    And always, ALWAYS, be true to yourself, true to your family, and true to your friends.

  7. My husband works for a company in fact one of the biggest and most well known in the world and it’s sad to say so many of the Modern Corporations list fit this company to a t! My husband is so loyal and has a work ethic sometimes to a fault. Me? I love my job and can’t imagine not doing it (I’m a psychologist btw) but it’s not my passion. Does that make sense? I’m working on how I can combine the love of my profession with my passion for health and fitness. With 2 teens, a 4th car to buy and both headed for college in the next 2 years making a change professionally is an overwhelming prospect. Can you tell this has been on my mind a lot lately 🙂

    • You make perfect sense – and I felt like I was reading our life in some ways … my boys are 16 & 17, headed into junior and senior years of high school … 🙂

  8. I don’t even know what to say to all this. At 55, I find my experiences with this topic very depressing. I realize it’s all my own doing though. But, bottom line is, I’m not employed and struggling to know where to turn (what my passion is). I have let my passions get easily squashed, again by my own doing and for various reasons that usually seem good at the time. Incidentally, I’m a EE also and this was a passion of mine, but no longer. Which brings up another point. Would you think a person has only one lifelong passion or would you think they can change their passion? Or does that mean it was not really a passion if they don’t hold onto it? Something I often think about.

    • I definitely think it is never too late to change direction or focus if you find some new passion to pursue. Who knows – maybe when my kids are out of college and we have freedom to move, maybe we’ll do some different things … I really don’t think it is ‘one and done’. I know I have a load of interests, and think it would be fun if I could really try to spend time crafting a novel, or dedicating more time to music or something else … who knows! Life is full of possibliities!

  9. Robyn and I were having a strikingly similar conversation about this topic last weekend (did you bug my house??) 🙂

    I agree with all your points, especially about hiring from within, not paying internal candidates the same as external etc. I have been on the “receiving” end of this many times at my current job, however, I still LOVE what I do, and its that passion that keeps me here. However, I also agree with the fact that the longer you stay at a place, sometimes that works to your detriment, which is something I have been struggling with A LOT lately. I KNOW I need to make a move soon, but I LOVE my company and my job and I should be getting a promotion in a few months, but the longer I stay, the harder it is to leave. It also doesn’t help that I work in the “golden handcuffs” industry and if I make a move, I want a job closer to home. The 3+ hours of commuting is wearing on me. I don’t know, I am rambling, but all the things you have discussed are things I think about often and am trying to find my path forward while still being passionate about my work.

    • haha … don’t check the kitchen light … 😉

      But I was wondering what many of my ‘normal job’ peeps would think, and you have a heinous commute, so I that is already an investment you are making into the job. It is never easy either way! Thanks again!

  10. You have given me much to think about with this one. I said as much in my quarter life crisis post, but I’m not particularly happy where I am right now anymore, and I’m not quite sure how to change that. I’m a huge believer in doing something that you’re passionate about (for me anyway…not a work to live person), but as much as I love the boys, they aren’t my kids, we have different child interacting strategies which can make things rough, and this isn’t a job I’m overly passionate about (and the fact that we’ve had a rough few months with growing pains doesn’t help). But I also don’t know quite how to figure out my next move either. Nothing can be done till November when Joe is done and we move where we’re going, so I technically have time, but I don’t know where to begin to figure out my passion or what to do with it. I love to run, but I’m not going to get paid to do that ha. I’ve been looking into different volunteer things too, but nothing fits well with my schedule which stinks. I just wish I knew where I wanted to go. Thank you for the information here. You’ve definitely got me thinking

    • I remember your quarter-century post, and know it is hard. Being in a holding-pattern is rough – you know you are not where you want to be, but don’t know what to do now, nor where you are going. The upside is you have a partner to help you through it … and just keep your mind and heart open and see what life brings your way 🙂

  11. Corporate world vs. Passion? I think those of us who can follow their passion are truly lucky. I have a need to feel secure financially and take care of my family, so I stay in the corporate world. Besides, I always feel like I don’t have a “passion”. What am I truly “passionate” about?

    Lately I have felt that I have found the right career and have more balance in my life in other areas. I have a great family, I’ve taken up running and I am achieving goals there, and I’m kicking butt at work. While it would totally suck if I was laid off – I have other things in my life to keep me happy and lifted. All my “happiness eggs” are not in one basket. I guess I am passionate about all of these things – as they make me feel whole.

    • Awesome! So glad you have found some happiness balance! When I got laid off in 2007 my thyroid was dying at the same time, so for me it is hard to really isolate how I felt. But now, aside from raw financial panic, I would be OK for the reasons you mention. Thanks!

  12. Once again you hit me with the exact post that I need to read at the exact time I should be reading it. I love many things about my job, but you hit the nail right on the head when you talked about loyalty to your company and the company saving money. Let’s just say that I’m still trying to figure out the best way to approach some things on my end.

    Also I laughed out loud at that first graphic, saved it, sent it to my office mate and then printed it out to stick on our wall. It is our new marketing office mantra. So thank you. 🙂

    • I don’t recall what I was searching for when I first found that image … but it has been stored for a day just like today! 🙂

      I think the reality is there is no perfect job, but there are really lousy jobs or good jobs that are lousy situations, or everything is perfect except the person you work for (seeing someone I am friends with go through that right now) … so I really wish you luck in figuring out stuff with your work!

  13. I don’t think I’m fast enough to fuel my passion. I’d love to be a Rita Jeptoo — a professional marathoner winning major marathons and paying the bills that way. Working out and running for 4-6 hours a day, sleeping 10, and reading, studying, swimming, getting massages, etc. for the rest. I’ve been a certified running coach since about 2011, and while I enjoy doing that, I don’t want to do it full-time, plus I actually do love being a lawyer. I didn’t love life at a law firm, but that decade plus was necessary to land in my current role, I’ve had no desire to look back. The years of sacrifice working at a big firm were worth it for me in the end — paying off debt, making solid connections, but more importantly, getting the training and experience that let me land in my current job, where I’d be thrilled to stay until I died (I’d love not to retire, maybe just move to Italy and work remotely and have someone else handle the travel for mediations and settlement conferences). And I have to admit, I like the paycheck and stability, which both let me get to see the world slowly, one big trip per year, and have enough money to feel like I can do other domestic trips whenever we’re inclined.

    • And that is where it is tough – where our dreams, passions and abilities don’t always coincide … or when we have multiple skills and passions, and some things need us to make money and other things don’t provide us money … 🙂 Like most things, it is finding the compromise that works best for us.

  14. I loved reading this post and all the comments so far. I am more like you, in that I have found my passion in corporate America. I love running, working out, and blogging about it, but healthcare administration is my first passion. I work for a huge academic medical center (it is my state’s largest employer) and have been there since I was a fresh nursing school graduate. I love taking care of people and my company strives to provide excellent care to everyone that comes through our doors. But when it boils down to things, healthcare is a business. Taking care of people is what we are passionate about, but we have to have the money to do this. With healthcare reform causing hospitals to take huge hits, my organization is experiencing things that we haven’t felt in a while- pay cuts, no raises, no yearly bonuses, and elimination of other amenities (like educational allotments). I have always felt like I worked at the mecca for healthcare in the southeast, and even while other hospitals were closing due to their inabilities to keep up with new healthcare standards, I never thought I would actually feel the effects of them. Even in healthcare (nursing, specifically)- a very stable career path- you just never know.

    I remain loyal to my company. Partially because I will be vested in the best retirement system in the state in 5 more years. But also because while they are huge, they try very hard to treat their employees right and make them feel important. As a member of management, I try to do the same thing. Everyone is replaceable- even I am replaceable (shocker!). But we still want to keep the people we have around. We invest in them, and we want them to continue to invest in us. And while I know higher administration will do what they have to do to keep up with the ever changing policies in this business, it is good to know that in a time where things are very uncertain, they are doing everything they can to take care of their people and refrain from laying them off. Their loyalty has made me not just have a passion for healthcare administration, but a passion for my organization, as well.

    • Wow … incredible commend and thanks so much for sharing. I am always glad to hear about people finding their passion helping others, it is a very difficult and draining thing! So glad it has been stable for you … and like you say, even with thestability there is pain we all feel!

    • Ugh! I HATE that (I know Carmy had WordPress commenting errors last week as well!), and generally copy the comment in case there is an error (of course, it only fails when I DON’T copy!)

  15. Pingback: Randomly Random Stuff of Randomness | Running Around the Bend

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