Loving My Thankless Job

A friend of mine recently pointed out that I have a thankless job. As a bridgetender, I’m always shocked to discover the vast number of people who don’t even know I exist. People tend to assume that all drawbridges are automated. They don’t realize how lucky they are that most aren’t. People can easily die on drawbridges. We’re talking about millions of pounds of steel and concrete in motion. You really want someone there who can think independently; someone who actually cares about your safety.

But oddly enough, I’ve never really thought my job was thankless. Actually, thanks has never been something I’ve even considered one way or another. Granted, it’s a rare boater who thanks me for opening the bridge for them. Pedestrians and commuters certainly don’t thank me for slowing them down. In fact, I’ve had things thrown at me more than once.

There was one vessel captain in Florida who would give us gift certificates to Red Lobster every Christmas. That made me feel good, but I looked at it as a delightful surprise. It is nice to be appreciated, but for me it’s not a requirement.

When I think of what I need for job satisfaction, thanks doesn’t enter into it for me. I’m sure the criteria is different for everyone, but for me to be satisfied with my job, the thing I need more than anything else is to be left alone to work within clearly defined parameters. I do not thrive on drama. I don’t go in for office politics. I prefer to work independently. Of course, adequate compensation and benefits are quite nice as well. If I were only able to flourish in a career that gave me frequent opportunities for positive feedback, I wouldn’t have lasted for two days as a bridgetender.

I think one of the best pieces of advice I could give to someone who is making job satisfaction a priority is to find out what you need to feel content in the workplace, and then seek out a career field that will provide those things to you. There’s no right or wrong answer. Only you can answer that question for yourself.

What would make you happy? Being a caregiver? Producing things with your hands? Being creative? Once you know what rocks your world, you’ll know what to do. Ignore what your inner voice is urging you toward at your emotional peril.

the wedding photographer
Some of us actually LIKE working in the shadows.

7 thoughts on “Loving My Thankless Job

  1. lyn sutton

    It’s interesting that at work you seek isolation and a predictable environment yet with this blog…well you put yourself out there for anyone and invite possible chaos. You never know what your post will generate. You also create daily opportunities for positive as well as negative feedback. Ever feel like a saner version of Jekyll and Hyde? Actually, it seems like doing this keeps you balanced. 🙂

  2. lyn sutton

    Oh Barb, hate to burst your security bubble but you are so open about your life and your habits etc. that we loyal followers absolutely see you. And with your foray into the public spotlight recently you are no longer hidden. Thank goodness for the most part your followers appreciate, respect and admire you and aren’t unbalanced stalkers. 🙂

    1. Well, I do have one stalker who is extremely unbalanced, but I think he lives on the other side of the country, and only rattles my cage every few months or so. :/ But yeah, I know I’m wide open and easy to find. I just prefer to live under the illusion that right here, right now, I’m lying in bed, cuddling my dogs in a quiet house. Which is the illusion, which is the reality? Oh, I feel a blog coming on…

  3. lyn sutton

    Yes…Looking forward to that post which you can probably stretch out to several. There’s a lot of confusion on YouTube about a related subject. Check out the Mandela effect and how prolific videos on it are right now. Many think alternate reality. Others think memory glitch. Rabbit hole theories abound. My kids think I’m old and suffering from Alzheimer’s if we remember things differently. Have to be careful not to give them ammunition to have me committed… so I haven’t drunk the Kool-aide/ Kool aid/ Koolade… yet…put maybe that’s just my illusion. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Give Bridgetenders Some Credit – The View from a Drawbridge

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