Do you often feel unappreciated or disrespected at your job? I have been feeling that way lately. After choosing to leave a very lucrative career in telecommunications to work with animals for a meager salary and a much less “prestigious” job, I have occasional feelings of longing to be respected for the knowledge I have accumulated over the years in management, planning, marketing, and other skills that came with managing a department and budget within a large corporation. Instead, I am viewed in only the place that people see me now – a dog trainer, behavior specialist, a public speaker, a published writer and a media/marketing professional at an animal shelter . But all of that should not matter, because I consciously made the choice to leave the “corporate me” behind to follow my passion. True, however, it is very difficult to dismiss the talents that I once worked so hard to perfect and want others to know about. I guess that’s human nature, to want to be valued. 

I was having lunch with a friend last weekend and as we watched the wait staff work very hard, we got into a discussion about thankless jobs. Certainly, being a server at a restaurant is not easy work, and often is met with very unpleasant people. I worked as a server in a restaurant in college; I remember it well!  I mentioned to my friend that kennel workers who are scooping poop all day are not appreciated for their contributions, and my friend suggested that hospital aides have tough jobs. These professions, and others that are performing challenging work to serve others, are extremely valuable and must be acknowledged. 

Each one of us has chosen the work we are doing and I hope that others’ respect these choices. Working in the non-profit sector is a personal choice, knowing that the salaries are not going to be anywhere near corporate wages. We are all different and what makes you happy may not satisfy me, and vice versa. I may not be able to tolerate a job as a hospital aide but that person may not want to spend time in a stinky animal shelter!

For myself, I have followed my passion with no regrets. So that must mean that the respect of others shouldn’t matter to me. I’m in it for the animals and my own satisfaction. I hope that people will learn to look at others who have made similar choices and give them the respect they deserve.