DKG Fine Arts Gallery
Part 8: September 23, 2017, Meaningful Work
By Marylin J Nease, TX © firstname.lastname@example.org
“Last time I had an appointment with Dr. Pareek, he asked me why I’m still working,” my sister Luna, who has cancer, tells me.
We’re in her kitchen. She’s testing eggs for freshness, and I’m making cookie dough. We’re talking while everyone else is in the living room watching OSU/TCU football on TV.
I tell her, “I remember years ago when one of my coworkers had cancer, she chose to keep working. She wore a chemo pump on her hip and worked almost until she died.”
I add, “I know you said early on that you don’t know what you’d do with your time if you weren’t working. Do you still feel that way? Does working at the bank still feel meaningful?”
She hesitates, then answers, her voice cracking a bit, “After my diagnosis, when I talked with Chris, my boss, about quitting or continuing to work, I told him I know I’m not at my best. He told me, ‘50% from you is better than 100% from other people.’”
“That’s quite a compliment. How he feels must mean a lot to you. Are there other things about the bank that make working feel meaningful?” I ask.
She tells me about opportunities to mentor younger workers, not only in banking but also in maturing and making good choices.
I learn of a young woman uncertain about a relationship and a career. The girl told Luna her friends were advising her to break up. They’d also told her to go into banking instead of teaching because she could make more money.
Luna listened and then asked, “What do you want to do?”
The young woman said she wanted to teach. So, Luna and she sat down at Luna’s computer and looked up the closest college to research courses she’d need to take and whether she could work at the bank while taking some of them online to get her degree started.
Luna told her, “You’re taking off work tomorrow.”
The next day the girl and her mother went to the college and enrolled her. She broke up with the boy, too. She’s in school and working, and Luna remains her bank supervisor and her mentor.
Luna tells me about another young woman she’s mentored through rough patches at work. Recently, after seeing enough signs of maturity, Luna assigned her to supervise the bank’s drive-through employees. That move has eased Luna’s work load and is offering the young employee more opportunities to grow.
Remembering my years of mentoring high school students, I tell her, “What you’re doing sounds meaningful and satisfying. That has to feel good. And you’re making a difference in your employees’ lives, too.”
“Let’s go rest awhile,” Luna urges, and I follow her into the living room, where we catch up on the game. We’re a mixed family, some rooting for OSU, and some for TCU. No matter; being together is all we need for now.
To be continued…