“What’s your why?” It’s kind of a loaded question, isn’t it?
There is a truck commercial from 2012 where a man walks over to introduce himself to his new neighbor.
“So, what do you do?” he asks the man.
And instead of responding with his job title, like most of us would do, the man goes into a thought-montage of all the fun things he does in his spare time. Things like going out on a dinner date with his wife, swimming, and singing silly songs on road trips with his family.
It’s great to have passion for your job. But it’s also great to have passion outside of your job.
In pediatrics and school settings, we hear people wanting to address “the whole child.” We should also be concerned with “the whole SLP” – actually, no, “the whole person” (that’s you!).
Fun fact: Most days, I go to work because I want to earn a paycheck. 🤫😉⠀
One thing I’ve talked about with so many of my SLP friends is that in our field (and in education in general), most of the discussion around “what’s your why” or “why we are SLPs” seems to be SO altruistic. I will say, I do think most of us were at least initially interested in speech-language pathology because we wanted to help people in some way and be a part of something important.
At the same time, most people I know worked for life stability, the summer breaks, and of course… to earn money for ourselves and our families. 🤷🏼♀️⠀
If you’ve felt similarly before, this one is for you! ➡️ It’s okay if you’re not trying to save the whole world through your work as an SLP. ⠀
🔹 You don’t need an altruistic “why”. ⠀
🔹 You don’t need to try and save the world.⠀
🔹 You don’t need to be a superhero SLP, you can just be a regular one. ⠀
My job always made me feel good (I truly enjoy most of it) but sometimes I think it gets a little overblown on social media. I go to work because I want to earn money. I like to work, I like to be productive. Because it feels good to learn and grow and push myself.⠀
But, I’ve had very few days where I went to work feeling motivated by some inner calling to change the world. 😬⠀
When we feel like our only motivations can only be the grandest and purest goodness, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Change the world one voice at a time??? I can’t even get this kid to make an /r/ sound! If you expect or even hope that your days will be filled with life-changing miracles, you’re not going to feel a lot of day-to-day job satisfaction.
Now don’t get me wrong, I could sit here and cry thinking about some of the kids and families I’ve worked with. They’re the absolute best. I LOVE what I do and I hope everyone who has ever worked with me sees that. ⠀
BUT, I remind myself often that being an SLP is a JOB and I need to treat it like one. I go to work because it’s my job. I don’t need to absolutely love it every second. That’s okay.⠀
I don’t need to try and save the world.
Thinking in this way has saved me a ton of pressure, a ton of stress, and a side of burnout. Maybe it’ll help you too!