Oct 3, 2022

10 People With Emotionally Difficult Jobs Talk About Their Best Days at Work

What do firefighters, cops, nurses, doctors, 9-1-1 dispatchers, and other people on the front lines have in common?

The answer is that their jobs are stressful and emotionally difficult.

And you know that they deal with serious situations every single day…

But today we’re going to hear from people who work in these kinds of professions about the BEST days they ever had on the job.

Let’s see what they had to say.

1. Not guilty.

“Very early in my career as a criminal defense attorney, I had a Black college student charged with a shooting.

It was getting a lot of media statewide since one person involved was a professional athlete. After investigating, I became convinced he was innocent and that the actual shooter was one of the state’s primary witnesses. I’d only had a few jury trials at that point, and all were guilty defendants who refused to plead out.

I didn’t have a ton of faith in a jury or my own ability, but I worked my a** off in preparation. Once we started trial, I realized I was knocking down every piece of evidence the state presented. I was pumped with adrenaline and growing confidence. I tore up their star witness (who I thought was the shooter), and one juror actually laughed at him in disbelief of his testimony.

I gave a 30-minute closing argument without even looking at my notes, and the jury nodded along. After 20 minutes, they came back with a not guilty verdict.”

2. Good work.

“Paramedic here.

My best ever job was on a hot summer day in Australia. We were called to an 11-year-old boy who had dr**ned in his family pool. I was halfway through a foot-long meatball sub when it happened, and I d**n near s**t myself. We were about five minutes away, and when we arrived, the boy’s mother was providing CPR while his 8-year-old twin sisters watched, horrified.

I check the carotid pulse (non-existent) and started to take over on compressions. My partner started to unpack the defib pads while our student toweled the kid off. The defib came back showing ventricular tachycardia (one of the only two shockable rhythms), so we hit him with the lightning, and he instantly went back into a sinus rhythm (normal heart rhythm).

The kid then began to splutter, so we rolled him into the recovery position to help him get the water out of his lungs. In such a high-octane situation, it honestly felt so good to be able to successfully revive somebody.”

3. Life-changer.

“Psychologist here.

I did my year-long internship at a university counseling center. While we normally only saw clients for 8–12 sessions, we were allowed to have one longer-term client to give us more experience. Mine ended up being this wonderful young woman who was deeply depressed. She was an identical twin. Sessions were slow going at first, and there were a lot of tears.

She worked through a lot and was much better by the end of our 10 months together. My supervisor and I talked about her frequently, and she watched tapes of our sessions. The next year, I was on my post-doc, and I got a call from my former supervisor who’d just started seeing my client’s twin in private practice.

The mother of the two, not knowing who my supervisor was, started talking to her about how her other daughter had gone to therapy and how her therapist had changed her life. My supervisor called me to tell me this because, as she well knows, we don’t get to hear that very often.”

4. A nice story.

“I was a teacher in a low-income charter school: a recipe for disaster.

The school was poorly run, we had to provide most supplies ourselves, and we had unreasonable and unrealistic expectations placed on us. I was teaching first grade. We had a rule that only one child could be out of the classroom at a time, no matter what. I had 30 kids.

Eventually, one of my kids had a bathroom accident (I have to say, if I knew he had to go that badly, I’d have let him — rules be d**ned, but he didn’t give any indication it was an emergency). I got him a change of clothes and minimized his embarrassment as much as I could. His mom was furious.

She came in the next day and spent 10 minutes screaming at me. A dean finally escorted her away, and I thought that’d be the end of it. It wasn’t. She stayed at the school the entire day and just…watched.

She saw what the teachers were going through and had to deal with. She came at the end of the day and apologized.”

5. The best feeling.

“I work physical rehab in a skilled nursing facility.

I had a young, early-40s patient with a hereditary degenerative condition who had been in different hospitals and facilities for months. In addition to genuine pain and disability, she was being very self-limiting — unwilling to do pretty much anything for fear of it increasing her pain levels. Bit by bit, a coworker and I convinced her to first roll over, then sit, then stand, and then spend longer and longer periods out of bed.

Finally, we got to the point where we were able to do a home visit, and you could see her remembering what it was like to be in her own space. That light of desire to go home was in her eyes, and she worked harder from that point on. Two weeks later, she was discharged. Helping her into the car and waving it out of the parking lot was the best feeling I’ve had so far in my career.”

6. A twist of fate.

“I used to work at an animal shelter, and, honestly, had a lot of good days to pair with the bad ones.

One of the coolest things I can remember, however, was when a family came looking to adopt a cat. We had a cat that was having a tough time getting adopted, so we let him roam free in the shelter to schmooze with people.

Well, this family encounters the cat, and they don’t just fall in love. No, they breathe a huge sigh of relief. Turns out, the shelter cat was their cat that had gone missing five years prior.

They instantly recognized him and immediately readopted him. It was a really neat twist of fate.”

7. LOL.

“I was a dispatcher for a residential alarm company similar to ADT. I would call people when their alarm was tripped and ask if they were okay.

One day, I received a signal from a residence from a glass break sensor on a window in the bathroom. When I called, the lady was laughing so hard she could barely give me her safety password.

Turns out, she was cleaning her bathroom, and when she bent over, she farted so hard and loudly that it set off the sensor on the bathroom window.”

8. Small-town cop.

“I was a policeman in a small town.

One night in the early ’90s, I got a call to try and locate a woman who was on the heart transplant list. She wasn’t answering her phone or pager. It was the middle of a cold night in February, and I’d knocked on the door of every neighbor who lived in her cul-de-sac without success.

Finally, the neighbor in the last house I checked told me that the woman had gone out of town to her mother’s. I was able to get a phone number and contact her there. She got a new heart that night.

I’m retired now and still see her on occasion. She always makes a big deal and hugs me. She’d forgotten her pager and didn’t go back to get it thinking, What are the chances they’ll call tonight?”

9. The last breath.

“I’m a hospice chaplain.

One day, I got a call from a nurse. One of our patients was actively d**ng, and her husband and daughter would appreciate a chaplain visit for prayer. When I walked arrived, the daughter was pacing at the foot of the bed while the husband was sitting by the head of the bed. At this point, the patient was breathing slowly, but her eyes were blank and she didn’t react to anything.

I introduced myself, talked with the family about this woman and her life, and prayed with them. I then noticed her breathing rate was declining. I asked the husband, ‘If this were the moment that she d**s, what would you want her to hear from you?’ He paused, looked at her as he held her hand, and thanked her for all the years they shared and for being together even to this moment.

Through tears, he assured her that he’d be alright and kept telling her how she made his life something worth living. As he said this, she took her last breath.

That was it. The family asked if she had passed away, and I affirmed that I thought she had. I then offered them a quiet moment with her before we had a doctor confirm it.

The visit consisted of standard chaplain stuff, and I regularly work with all kinds of people and families who are grappling with the reality of d**th and how they will handle it. But for me, hearing the story of a life lived well and shared well, and helping that man both hold onto her and let go of her…that was a good day.”

10. Always remember that day.

“I was a case manager for mentally-ill adults.

I knew things were tough for this lady, Z. We were both in our mid-20s. When I showed up for our meeting, she had a clear hand-shaped bruise on her face and bruises around her neck. She cried when she saw my face, reacting. Neighbors had called the police, who’d made him leave, but it was a ‘he said, she said.’

Z needed a clearer report to get to a shelter on an emergency basis. She was scared, but we went to the precinct. On the way, I bought her breakfast. Z started crying because it was hard for her to decide what she wanted as she was so unused to making even small choices. She then told me he’d come back after the police left that night and raped her.

The desk officer initially said he couldn’t do anything because the report said it was purely verbal. I’m an angry crier, so I then burst into tears and told him to LOOK at the f**king HANDPRINT on her face and the bruises on her neck.

I tell him more quietly that there is more. He gets a DV specialist, and a chief from the county happened to be there. He happened to be a family friend, and he fixed things. We got the right report, and I took Z off to a hospital.

I called work to tell them what was going on and asked them to cancel the rest of my day. My supervisor had the f**king nerve to tell me not to get too invested, because I know that it’s likely she’ll just go back. I hung up on her. I had no idea, but a coworker overheard this and went to our director.

Meanwhile, I sat in the ER with Z and made plans for her future — what she wanted for dinner, what color blanket she would want for her new room, what her dream vacation would be. I held her hand while they did the rape kit.

Throughout the day, I’d been calling and working with a DV shelter. They picked her up from the hospital and promised me they had clothes and bedding for her. I went home and cried and cried. The next day, I was ready to escalate to my director but found out she already knew. She had flowers and apologies for me. My supervisor gave me a full apology as well.

Z never went back. I ran into her, her very nice husband, and adorable son about 10 years after. She had gotten her GED. She was working on her BA. She was safe.

On my very bad, no good days, when I am just destroyed, I remember that day. I was young, and it was so hard, and she was so hurt and broken. We kept going, together. It mattered.

And just to say: It would have mattered terribly and been entirely worth it even if she had gone back that very day. To be with her and support her as she did one of the hardest things a person can do — telling her in the face of her fear and (undeserved) shame — that was a privilege.

I don’t want anyone to think that they somehow wouldn’t be worth this and a million times more if they couldn’t leave.”

twistedsifter on facebook 10 People With Emotionally Difficult Jobs Talk About Their Best Days at Work