I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had gone back to work. I’ve been kind of elusive about where I’m working and what I’m doing because frankly, I wasn’t sure if I was cut out for office life again.
I’ll admit it’s been a struggle as I try to keep up on email and writing and everything else that goes along with the world of social media. But I really had some clarity this past week about the job that I’m doing.
I’m working in social media (digital media, to be exact) for a local fire department.
But they’re not selling anything! Why do they need social media?
Through this role, I’ve really come to understand what it means to be a public servant. To work on the taxpayer’s dime. To educate, to protect, and to serve. In social media, we try to showcase what the fire department does, in terms of community goodwill and in the daily service and sacrifice that so many brave men and women give.
I struggled on Friday to keep my head in the game as I monitored and watched the events of Sandy Hook unfold. I listened to the 911 calls. I read accounts of first responders. I felt such complete and utter despair.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence, though, that just that morning I had a nice long sit-down discussion with one of the volunteer paramedics to talk in more detail about social media. It was mostly me spouting about using Facebook and Twitter and even some Instagram thrown in for good measure.
When we finished talking, I asked him about something he had said in a larger meeting earlier in the week. To paraphrase, he said that he had been volunteering for 20 years and had pretty much seen and done it all. So I asked him, in all personal curiosity, how and why he does it?
In my mind, I was imaging all the gruesome car accidents scenes he must have come across. How can you deal with that on a regular basis?
And his answer took me a little by surprise.
He says he does it because of all the people he saves. He talked about all the people he knew were alive because he was there to save their life.
What an amazing feeling that must be.
It reminded me of something I heard years ago. It was a speaker who asked if the glass was really half-empty or half-full, a typical metaphor for one’s outlook on things.
He gently reminded us that the glass is both.
Take what you want from this post but the words and thoughts that have been ruminating with me all weekend are this.
We need to be kinder to one another. We need to be good parents. We need to lessen our distractions from that which is important. We need to be thankful and appreciative and lend a helping hand when needed, even when it’s not convenient.
Hold open the door for someone. Buy their coffee at Starbucks. Help them with their groceries. Ask someone if they’re doing okay, even if you feel uncomfortable. Do it anyway.
And remember to stop and thank those people that have chosen a life of service. Those that make our lives easier, safer, more enriched. These are the everyday heroes that we need to recognize, especially today.
I wrote this post in support of Julie Meyers Pron’s movement to turn a day of sorrow into a day of thankfulness. Take the time to read her post on Thank a Teacher Day and lend your own support. I’m taking today to thank all those in public service who do what they do.