Can’t Get No Satisfaction

February 16th, 2013 Comments

stampsWhen I started working in EMS, it was for the adrenaline rush. It didn’t take long for me to find I enjoyed making a difference in the lives of people though. But 20 years down the road, it began to feel like I couldn’t make a difference. My hands were tied by protocols, bureaucracies, and a lack public understanding. So, I left EMS to pursue something else.

As I’ve aged and acquired some wisdom, I’m finding that paramedics aren’t the only ones who feel their hands are tied. I’ve talked to cops, pastors, civic leaders, factory workers, and people who work for some really cool non-profit public service agencies. Somehow, it seems universal, it’s really hard to make a difference.

I’ve always said that in my 25+ years in EMS, I can count on less than one hand how many lives I’ve actually saved. Though I’ve touched a lot of lives and provided a lot of care, lifesaving seems to be rare. A former cop friend of mine said almost the same thing to me the other day. But then he went on to tell stories of how the legal system above him has prevented a lot of his efforts from succeeding.

“Like I said, it seems to be universal”

I’ve heard the same thing from physicians, how the establishment above them – whether insurers, hospital boards, or government agencies – has prevented them from succeeding in their calling to make a difference in people’s lives. The legal and paperwork morass we’ve created is also a huge obstacle. ┬áLike I said, it seems to be universal.

Why is this? Is it possible to be satisfied with our careers? Can we still make a difference in the lives of others? Or is it better to just take a common job to pay the bills, and save our time and energy for our families, our friends, and our God?

What say you?

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