But there is a ratio that can help you feel better at the end of an absolutely horrible day. And we all have horrible days. That one customer who got angry when you told them that you couldn’t accept returns from six years ago without a receipt. The boss who wants to know why his computer is acting funny after he ended a “suspicious process” in Task Manager. Here’s how to help keep them from getting to you – but first, a quick bit of backstory (the blog is about my life, after all).
It starts with my Dad (of course it does, right?). The whole time I was growing up, and actually still today (in his 60’s), my dad lectured/lectures to emergency medical professionals on various subjects, like treating patients with respect, and how to increase patient comfort. And he was good at it. He was damned good at it. And, as you might imagine, I got to sit in on lectures more than once. One thing I’ve always admired about him is that he knew how to keep the audience interested, laughing, learning, and interacting.
I mention this because I’ll be paraphrasing part of one of his lectures (sorry if I screw it up Dad). The lecture(s) in question were called People Care. They were about exactly what it sounds like they were about: Caring for people (and for yourself).
So, to the point:
Emergency medical professionals are especially susceptible to burnout, but they’re not the only ones that have to face it. We’re all familiar with it. Just so much stuff that keeps stacking up that you just no longer have any energy or desire to continue with it. You just don’t want to keep going. IT pros end up hating computers. Ice cream vendors start to hate Rocky Road. Drug pushers find themselves despising crack and meth. It happens to all of us.
So how do you balance all this out? The freakin TY/FY ratio (honestly, haven’t you been paying attention?). The TY stands for “Thank You” (here Dad would wait for the laughter that would come after the audience mentally filled in the blanks). The concept is incredibly simple. It’s a way to keep that ratio from dropping below 1:1, which is where burnout starts happening.
Ever get a thank you letter from someone who was really satisfied with your work? Get a heartfelt note from your boss about your awesome work? Recieved the key to a city for defeating the latest egomaniacal evil scientist? Save it. No, seriously. Save it.
Put it in a scrapbook, a specific drawer in your desk, behind the large portrait painting in your office, seal it in a ziploc and tape it to the dog’s stomach. Anywhere, so long as it’s easily accessible. Those notes and thank you’s made you feel good the first time you read them, no? The magic part is that they’ll keep doing it. Day after day, year after year.
It’s that simple, people. So start building those TY files. Build ’em up big and huge. And at the end of a completely shitty day, when all you want to do is go out and punch kittens, pull it out again. Take your time rereading it. And above all, remember that there are assholes everywhere, everyday. You’re never going to avoid them. But you don’t have to let them ruin your day/week/year/life.
If all this sounds a little similar to Richard Simmons’ daily affirmation concept, it truthfully is. But with one key difference. It works. So get to it. And have a good day.