I thought I knew myself better than that. I really did. I just don’t understand it. How can I have been out in the workforce for all these years, and not know this about myself. Especially since every job I’ve ever held was a customer-facing position. I adore working with people, so how could I not realize…
Oh, sorry, I’m not trying to be rude, I have just recently acquired the habit of mumbling to myself, particularly about…
I probably shouldn’t say, it is so embarrassing. I’d rather keep it a secret.
Okay. If you insist, I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you the horrible little fact I discovered about myself–if you promise not to tell anyone else. Agreed?
I’m too helpful, too empathetic for my own good. There, I said it.
What do you mean, what do I mean?
Okay, I’ll explain. Well, my current job is like no other I have ever had before. When I took the job, I had no clue that it would be so different. I certainly couldn’t tell from the job description, which read like a compilation of most of the jobs I’ve held in the past.
So I began the job full of energy and ready to learn. I loved it that the people I was to work with were so great. And the location–practically no commute at all.
Within the first week I discovered that this job brought with it stress-levels the likes of which I had not previously known existed outside of a hospital emergency room. The thought of the stress sends shivers through my body, so let us put it aside. It is the weekend after all.
Anyway, the main problem with the job lies within me. I am a fantastic librarian (humble, aren’t I), mainly because I love to help people. I get a kick out of helping people find what they need, solve their problems, and learn new skills. I adore the width and breadth of the problems, the creative solutions I must invent, the research, the face-to-face interactions.
Best of all, I could see happy faces when the need was met. It made my heart swell (in a good way) and relationships grew and were nurtured.
But in this job, the clients are never satisfied. Their insatiable thirst for more, more, more nearly drove me insane. Repeatedly I empathized with them, and bent over backwards to make them happy. Each time, it was never enough.
I wore myself out. When what I should have done was put down my foot and said ENOUGH.
Who knew empathy could be such a failing. Who would have guessed that the desire to help would be leave me frazzled.
Certainly not me!