This is the sentence one of my best friends and co-workers comforted me with last night.
I had spent an entire shift — all ten plus hours — in the company of a surgeon I have mentally labeled “The Dementor”. Their very presence, attitude, and level of neediness sucks the life force out of everyone in the operating room. By the time I got home, every cell in every muscle I owned ached. I had the start of a migraine and I barely had the energy left to feed myself.
I am not whining here — although the intro to this story might seem like that’s where we’re heading. I’m only setting the scene. I am an OR nurse by choice. And in twenty three months and five days, I will retire and choose something else to do. Nursing has been a very good to me financially and I have never regretted the decision that brought me there.
What intrigued me most about my friend’s comment was the first two words — Normal People. Nurses work our asses off, for sure. And when I had cable I used to watch the show “Dirty Jobs”, so I know I’m not alone. There are a lot of people out there who work hard at thankless, shitty jobs to feed their families and make ends meet.
But I also know who those “Normal People” are that my friend is referring to. The people in computer type jobs and who work at banks or real estate offices and other places that close when it snows. People who get to have coffee whenever they want, wear cute shoes to work, and have bathroom breaks without having to communicate with their supervisor. People who can call their boss on Friday morning and say “Look, I’ve decided to take a vacation day today. See you on Monday”.
You know? Normal People.
Does that make those of us who have careers outside that arena ‘Abnormal People’? Maybe.
There are a lot of us. I’m pretty sure. Thanks to Google I was able to look up some stats. Nurses = about 3 million. Cops = 1.1 million. Firefighters = 1.1 million. EMT/Paramedics = 800,000. Waiters and Waitresses = 2.6 million. Combining Mining/Construction/Manufacturing industries = 19 million.
I’ve only scratched the surface of all the down right awful jobs out there. There are a lot of dirty jobs, shitty hours, harsh conditions, and down right hard work to be had. HARD WORK.
To all my fellow Abnormal People — Thank You for showing up each day and coming to work. If your boss didn’t say it, if your coworkers didn’t say it, if the fucking surgeon who ran your ass off didn’t say it — I’m telling you now —
You matter. You make a difference. This country couldn’t manage without you.