Dignity of Work: Jobs provide more than a paycheck

Mom holds hands with her two sons on either side of her as they walk down a hall

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One Southwest Florida mom is particularly excited this holiday season. For the first time, Lindsy Lind can buy Christmas gifts for her boys with her own money.

It’s a great sense of accomplishment, she says.

Life hasn’t been easy for Lindsy. When her twins were babies, the man she was with got into drugs and became violent. Lindsy contacted the Florida Department of Children and Families, and they put her in touch with Better Together. She was one of the very first parents in the program. The years have been difficult.

“I had seen and been through some really, really, really horrible, horrible, horrible things,” Lindsy says. “But I’ve overcome them all.”

About a year ago, she started working as a sterile processing tech at Physicians Regional.

“I work in the OR, and I am responsible for cleaning the instruments after surgeries and getting them ready for the next patient, like making sure they’re clean or flushed out, they’re sterilized properly,” she explains.

Having meaningful work has given Lindsy more than money to buy gifts. It has brought structure to her life, support socially and a sense of purpose in the community.

“I’ve seen the most amazing things,” she says. “I’ve seen people come in with cancer and leave cancer free… I’ve seen people come in limping, and they leave with a brand-new knee.”

It feels good, she says, to know that her work is helping so many people.

“It makes me feel good because I know that they’re not going to get any infections,” she says. “I know that their procedure is going to go OK, because they have everything that they’re going to need.”

Studies show that meaningful work provides people more benefits than simply a paycheck. It gives our days structure, provides stimulation and social interactions. A 2006 UK study even found that people who return to a meaningful job after surgery or injury heal more quickly and have better mental health outcomes.

Lindsy recently celebrated her one-year work anniversary, and while her pay is entry level, she likes that the organization provides opportunities for advancement and the fact that her co-workers feel like family.

“Another benefit of working is that it gets you distracted. You’re busy. It helps with depression and stuff,” she says. “You know, you can be having a bad day, but you still got to get up for work. And that builds strength. … Anyways, it’s made me stronger.

“Whether it’s full time or part time, it’s good because it keeps you going. It motivates you.”

It feels really good, too, to be able to buy those gifts for her boys. Last year, she was reliant on presents provided by Better Together donors and inexpensive items from the Goodwill thrift store. This year, she doesn’t have to rely on us. Plus, she gives back through support to newer parents in the program.

“And now I have surgeons thanking me for what I’m doing,” she says.

That feels good.

“I love my job. I love what I’m doing.”


Posted December 15, 2021 | Pamela Hayford

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