In my constant interactions with people in different parts of the country, I very often come across stories that give me such a sense of appreciation for everything that I have – not the material things that I may or may not posses, but the life experiences that in one way or another have shaped me into who I am today. Recently, I became fascinated by someone whom I will call Mary. Her story moved me, her dedication inspired me, and her energy caused me to admire her. This is what she has to juggle:
Mary works 3rd shift, which means that her schedule starts at 10pm Sundays and ends at 6:30am on Mondays. There are times when she has to work overtime, extending her workweek to 7 days a week. This is where it gets fascinating:
- She also has 2 children under the age of 5
- She is also a single Mom
- She also is a Full-Time Student
After hearing this I asked her to elaborate on what a typical week looked like – it was then when she really inspired me. She shared that she arrives home from work (after an 8-hr night shift) at around 7am every day to get her kids ready for school. Once they are on the bus, she gets ready for her own school as her classes commence at 9am and end at 3:30pm. She gets home on time at around 4pm to see her kids get off the bus. The evening is then consumed by homework – that of the kids’ as well as hers – dinner, and a bedtime story as her 2 children fall asleep. It is then when she is able to sleep 2 – 3 hours before she has to go back to work at 10pm to start her routine again. Inspired yet?
Had she not told me her story, I would have never guessed that she slept for 2 hrs. Not for a second did she look tired, unhappy, or bored. Quite the contrary, she mentioned a number of times how much she loved her job, how grateful she was about being able to attend school so that one day she could become the RN that she is striving to become, which will give her a chance to have a better balance between her responsibilities and her family. When I asked her why she loved her job so much when it was a loud factory where men were predominantly the majority, she indicated that her management team makes a constant effort to recognize her work, which makes her feel valued and appreciated. Before I left her area, her supervisor indicated that Mary is the best employee on her team maintaining a perfect attendance record in the past 2 months.
Are you taking the time to recognize your teams? Someone much wiser than me once said that “recognition is the deepest craving of human nature” – a statement that I find full of truth.