Sherri Stigler

Sherri Stigler

Lean In

by Sherri Stigler

I was excited to see the story in The Journal highlighting the art of motivation (Nov/Dec 2015). Let’s face it, there are lots of mornings, afternoons, and nights when we wake up and wonder why we do what we do. The crazy schedules; the overtime; the horrific calls we take; the sometimes-ungrateful agency personnel we encounter; the bosses who really don’t seem to get it. A dispatcher’s world is vast and busy, and it’s tough to muster motivation in this environment. It’s a jungle in there.

Truth be told, when you accepted the job, you agreed to become part of this jungle community. And while you can bemoan that nobody really prepared you for what lies ahead lurking alongside the path of this profession, you’re here now. Time to develop your survival strategy and set out to discover where your own motivation is hiding.

How do we find motivation in these primitive surroundings? Where do we begin to look for it, especially when we are so distracted by those big elephants stomping all over the dispatch room? By that I mean huge issues that never seem to go away, despite the number of times you poke at them. This is the stuff that you absolutely find to be de-motivating—ordered overtime, difficult co-workers, management inconsistencies, technology that keeps changing, callers screaming at you, growing expectations of your position, and seemingly unending scrutiny over how calls are handled. Man, this is a noisy jungle! Who has the map that shows the “X” where my motivation is buried? Ask the questions and consider the challenges:

•Will I find motivation when those co-workers I have trouble with move off my shift? After all, some are lazy, some are constantly picking at me, and others are just plain crazy.

•Will I find motivation when I find the buried treasure? Nobody gets into this profession to get rich, but it sure would be nice to earn more, have more benefits, better insurance, and a sweeter schedule with more days off.

•Will I find motivation when our “King of the Jungle” (director/manager) decides to leave? After all, I don’t like the leadership style.

•Will I find motivation when supervisors stop looking over my shoulder and stop correcting me on every move I make? After all, I know what I’m doing, and I don’t need them to remind me. I’m an adult; I don’t need supervision.

•Will I find motivation when all of the assorted bugs, flies, mosquitoes, and gnats (callers) stop biting at my skin? Rude callers, insolent cops, and fire personnel who have absolutely NO idea what a dispatcher has to go through are constant sources of irritation.

Respectfully, dear travelers, the answers to all of those questions are an easy and undeniable “no.” You won’t find motivation if those things happen because there will always be new monkeys, new lions, new giraffes, and more bugs. Hidden treasures are meant to stay hidden. Remember, jungles have a way of proliferating, which is why they’ve been around for centuries. But never fear—all is not lost. There is one place in the jungle where you will find the answer, where you will find motivation.

I’ll suggest the answer lies in the very center of the jungle hidden among the thickets of the deep green forest. It is on the shores of the still and glistening watering hole. If you make your way up to the banks, lean over, and stare deeply into the calm, clear water, you will discover the source of every motivation you’ll ever need peering right back at you. Motivation can never come from other people. It can never come from accolades, money, or power. Motivation must come from someplace deep inside you and only you.