Hospitals have always been the places that send shivers down my spine. Maybe because of the overwhelming presence of illnesses, diseases, white aprons, needles and drip-bags everywhere. It always scared me, the mere thought of being sick and treated, staying in a room with strangers without any privacy for a few days, sometimes weeks. I never wanted to end up in such a situation. Never in my life. Never say never.
When I entered this hospital I felt peace the very first steps I took despite so many people on the corridors. I knew deep inside that I was in the right place. I took the elevator to the third floor, the ophthalmology unit. That was it. Broad corridors, big windows, spaciousness, light, silence and peacefulness. If I’d had to ever stay anywhere, that was the place.
My post-surgery hospital treatment belonged to rather intensive ones and because of lots of limitations I had to abide, and because it was an eye surgery I could hardly use my phone, no chances to read or watch anything so, basically, most of the time it was just me and my thoughts. I spent my days overhearing other people’s conversations, reflecting on past memories, contemplating life and when my eye got a bit better observing the life in my ward. And such observations turned out to be life changing for me.
I work as a teacher. Typically, it is considered the service sector job among other noble professions like doctors, nurses, policemen or fire fighters, to name a few. Those are jobs that are considered socially useful and bringing value to the well-being and development of people. Their main role is of serving others to achieve higher purpose: rescue lives, treat illnesses, spread education. They’re here to bring good to the society.
For the first time in my life I wasn’t the one who gave to the others but I received the service from doctors and nurses and hospital stuff. For the first time in my life I had a chance to experience what it means to be fully taken care of, to be led by specialists and not have to worry about anything. For the first time I was on the other end of the serving process, I was being served. In the best way possible. Every day, I observed the nurses who patiently approached each and every single patient, always with a smile on their faces, always speaking in a kind and polite way, always being there whenever needed. I observed doctors who dealt with tens of patients on a daily basis. They always had time to answer even the silliest question, they always thoroughly explained the treatment, the surgery, the procedure, they’d come to take the patient to examinations in person, they took care of the tiniest details, just like the nurses, always with a smile and patience.
It made me think about my work. And my attitude. In some way the jobs are similar; serving people for a goal higher than the financial gain. However, it’s all about how the term ‘serving’ is defined that made me realize why I approached my work in a completely wrong way and why it brought so much frustration to me.
Serving – giving yourself to others.
Serving – dedicating all your time, energy and effort to enable achieving the goal.
Serving – providing all necessary resources to enable achieving the goal.
That doesn’t sound like me. And that doesn’t seem what teaching is about, at least not my style teaching. However, that’s what my all clients expected from me. To give them everything or even more, to find them ready made solutions for their learning, to provide them with all materials, extra materials and even more extras to give them all they needed to succeed in the language. The only thing they had to do was to show up in class, of course when they felt like. Very often I spent hours to prepare everything for the lesson just to hear at the beginning of it that the student changed their mind and preferred talking about the weather. But teaching English is no even merely comparable to saving people’s lives. Besides, language skills is something you are born with or not. If you’re lucky, you are like me. If not, you can learn up to some level but then there’s not much you can do about it.
I work with corporate clients who are hired by big multinationals. For them everything’s high priority. Every single detail is worth millions, at least that’s what they say. In reality, corporate employees do quite boring jobs, very repetitive and stupefying, and their bosses know about it. That’s why they send weekly newsletters telling their employees how important their job is, how impossible for the company it’d be if they weren’t their employees doing such a great job and adding so much value to the organization. Brainwashing, isn’t it? But for this reason, those people think this way and project this high importance onto other areas of their life, they make everything so important and exclusive, they talk in big words, they retell buying coffee in the morning as if they won a marathon. And they push such attitude on other people, as well. They push it on me. And they expect me to give them all, just like they give all them to their companies. They want me to serve them English, like pizza is served in a restaurant.
But I’m there to teach.
Probably, that’s the reason why my work was draining me mentally and emotionally so much in the past months. But I had to end up in hospital and have compulsory break from them to realize and understand that. I had to watch what ‘serving’ is about and why it’s not me.
That reflection was a true eye-opener to me. So many years I was pushed into the inadequate social role in my life, incorrectly defined profession/service by capitalistic expectations of some social groups. I am not a server, I could never be. I am a free spirit, independent, unlimited by anyone or anything. I could never work like the doctors or nurses, I can’t fully devote myself, or give completely myself to others. I need to keep space.
But I love people and spending time with them. I am an empath, I feel people, I read them easily. I’m the first to offer a helping hand, good advice or simply listen. I am a helper, a facilitator. I love to initiate the process, to bring about the change. But I could never do things for others. I am hear to give the fishing rod and explain how it works, but catching fish is not my task. I’m here to bring others light; that’s my life purpose.
The first big revelation during my stay in hospital – redefining my life’s path. A very important one that will help me level up professionally. And when it comes to my personal matters, I had a few thoughts as well.
– TO BE CONTINUED –
© Lusessita Kingsley 2020