Positive ReinforcementĀ 

My work life has not always been wonderful. I have struggled to learn how to deal with coworkers, patients, and teachers fairly frequently. Maybe I should have read that damn book my Grandaddy gave me when I was 8. Carnegie reportedly had all the answers for how to get along better. I’ve read it since and it basically boils down to being nice and considerate of others. 

I have a rather polarizing personality. You either like me a lot or you can’t stand to be around me. I don’t inspire much apathy. It has taken me years to mellow out and stop carrying a chip around on my shoulder. I also had a horrible inferiority complex. I knew I was different than other people and I assumed that was a bad thing. I never felt competent, nevermind successful. I just knew I was not good enough. 

So, I worked hard and tried to prove myself. Well, actually I turned into an insufferable asshole. People thought I was judging them, but the person I actually despised was myself. So, I overcompensated. I was a jerk. A completely unhappy jerk. 

It made work difficult. I own it. I made lots of mistakes. I just wanted to be better. I wanted to be worthy. 

I was shocked when my dream job didn’t solve the problem. All the people I had pissed off throughout my career were not impressed. All they saw was an asshole who apparently thought she was special. Little did they know I was wracked with self-doubt and insecurity. 

I loved my job though. I wanted to be good at it. I wanted to make the people who had invested time and energy into teaching me proud. I just wanted to deserve their respect. Unfortunately, I had left a trail of people behind me who remembered the wreckage of my feeble attempts to prove my worth. So, they were watching and expecting me to fail. They viewed every single thing I did through a lens clouded with disdain. There was no way for me to earn their respect. Who the hell did I think I was? So,  my insecurity grew. It became a cycle. I cried a lot. I think the most confusing part for me was the incongruity between my sincere love for my job and my misery. 

I suffered from mood swings and my attitude was completely unpredictable. I was either sullen and snarky or overly sweet and disingenuous. I reeked of insincerity. I was moderately paranoid that everyone was out to get me. To be honest, some were. Not all though. I was losing my mind. I could not understand why getting exactly what I wanted had not made me happy. 

I don’t mean to make it sound like it was all bad. It wasn’t. I had some people take me under their wing and coach me until I was actually pretty good at my job. There were many times I was included and made to feel like I was a valuable member of the team. I had people give me their time and expertise freely. They didn’t have to do so much for me. The physicians, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers who invested their energy in developing my skills are the reason I can do this job now. I am so grateful. I hope they know how much I appreciate them.

Fast forward past a very dark time when it became apparent I was not going to be able to overcome all the challenges associated with the job I loved so desperately. I started working as a Locum. I love a lot about this lifestyle. I get to decide when and where I work. I get to move on when I am bored. I have met people all over the country. 

I think I have gotten better at my job. I am able to walk into new situations with confidence. I am not competing with the imaginary person I think I should be anymore. This is important. This confidence has allowed me to stop trying to prove myself constantly. It’s a relief. I allow myself to talk to my patients like they are people instead of patients. I am so much happier. I am a better provider because of it. 

I wouldn’t trade my past for anything. That experience was wonderful and painful at the same time. Now there are times I miss my old job. I miss the familiarity of being with people who have known me for all these years. Sometimes I feel untethered and unattached. So, I keep in touch. My former coworkers have not left my life, they just have a different role. They are my friends. A couple are my best friends. They have seen me at my best and my worst. They are on my side. 

It feels weird to receive compliments, especially written ones. This patient and her family were a joy to work with. It was an honor. This little note gave me some positive reinforcement to keep doing my best. Not because I have a past to atone for, but because my patients, coworkers, and I deserve my best. 

Journalists are first responders too.

My heart is heavy today. Another senseless act of violence perpetrated in the most public forum possible. This shooter apparently had a long history of feeling persecuted, and he suffered professionally as a result. According to an article in Newsweek, Flanagan had sued a previous employer for discrimination in response to reported comments disparaging him because of his race. The case was settled for an undisclosed amount of money in 2000. A copy of the complaint is available on the Newsweek article. That’s enough about this dude, I want to talk about the parts I understand.

Yep, that is me- in the dog suit. Went to the fair, pep rallies, and even the MDA Telethon. The ice packs only helped a little. I complained bitterly about it, but who does not secretly dream of wearing “fur” in 100 degree weather? I secretly enjoyed it, but don’t tell anyone that.
I was incredibly fortunate as a teenager. I had a news director at my local TV station allow me to complete an internship in the news department. I was the first high school student to be granted this privilege. I learned so much during that semester, and the opportunity allowed me to gain employment as an associate producer at KLBK when I was 16. Most of my responsibilities were similar to my responsibilities when I was an intern, I ripped scripts, ran the teleprompter, pulled a few stories from the AP wire, and edited some of the video. Sometimes I got to tag along for special events, and I was the mascot (I actually wore a dog suit) for a short time.

I loved my job. It was exciting and fun. I learned a lot of skills which have proven useful in my current career. One of the most important skills I learned is how to deal with people who have (for lack of a better word,) strong personalities. I believe performing on air requires a certain amount of self importance, and self confidence in order to be convincing as a talent. Most of the people I worked closely with were (and still are) amazingly generous people, and I am a better person for having them in my life at such a young age. Tensions ran high frequently in the newsroom, and it is not a place for sensitive people. There are deadlines that cannot be missed, and you have to please a fickle public and more importantly, you have to please your advertisers. The ratings have to be considered, AND you have to use integrity and ethical reporting while not offending the public. Sure, it is a high stress environment.

While our journalists are not often considered “first responders” in the way healthcare providers and police officers are, they do put themselves in harm’s way in order to provide a public service. They are the information centers of our society. Even in our social media crazed society, we still turn on the local news when the weather is ominous. When there is a developing story involving active shooters or bomb threats (just an example), our journalists do not seek cover, they rush to the scene and deliver the most current updates. I like to believe they are acting to keep us safe.

Journalists are tasked with gathering information, and the public is constantly demanding more. We expect in-depth reporting, and exciting video to stimulate our constant craving for adrenaline. We reward the most daring journalists with our hits, tweets, and shares. Only the most exciting (or perhaps adorable) video goes viral.

I am one of the worst critics, and I tend to hold people (especially professionals) to high standards. I frequently forget to express my gratitude, and in light of this public tragedy, I want to now.

I don’t know what this guys problem was. Frankly, I don’t care. I think he is most likely an asshole with a mental illness. Keep in mind, not everyone who is mentally ill is violent. I could spout a bunch of crap on here about the need for gun control and reform for mental healthcare, but I am not.

I just want to thank all the journalists who provide this public service for me. I appreciate the work you do. I also appreciate all the people who took me under their wing when I was just a kid, and taught me so much about looking for the story. You were my first mentors.

Lastly, my thoughts are with the coworkers, families, and friends of the victims of this crime. I am so sorry for your loss. I appreciate the service your loved ones provided for the public.


I am beyond ecstatic. I got asked to do a guest post and I think it went shockingly well! This is the second time my words have been on someone’s blog, and I am so happy that others like what I have to say.

This has been such an eye- opening experience for me. I love writing. I have found something that makes me really happy, and it is proving to be so good for me. The problem is that I am becoming obsessed with it!

I want to write a book. I am beginning to get my thoughts together, and searching for the best way to articulate the message I want to present. This is often a challenge for me. I tend to veer wildly off course when I give myself any room to explore.

So, I want to leave you with this…

For anyone who reads my blog,

Thank you so much! I am humbled and thrilled when you enjoy my point of view. I strive to be honest, and to only share things that are true at that moment. I strive to be respectful, and to not waste anyone’s time. I enjoy feedback, and promise to take your thoughts as seriously as I do my own. I will consider what you have to say, and see how it fits into my view on the particular subject. Thanks for giving me room to grow and learn as a writer. I sincerely hope that I do not let you down.

Sincerely yours,

Lady Quirky