If you are an avid reader of my blog, you will know that when I was working as an Internal Recruiter last year, one of my colleagues described me as a ‘do-gooder‘ and went on to further tell me that because of this I could never succeed in the recruitment industry. At the time, I took this comment massively to heart, I wanted to prove him wrong and show him I could work well in recruitment (which I could, and also proved that I could) as the thought of being labelled as a ‘do-gooder’ was something I portrayed as a being a huge criticism of my character and also on my work.
I look back now of course and realise just how wrong I was, and just how proud I should have been to have been given this title. The thing is my colleage may have gone about recognising my caring qualities and telling me this in the wrong way, but ultimately he was right. I have always been the kind of person that loved making a difference as I get a kick out of helping people and also find that it is my natural instinct to care, as knowing that I might have been the one to bring out a smile or a positive to a persons’ day is uplifting and motivates me. The fact of the matter is, I had been working in an industry where this quality was not appreciated, nor was it necessary to have! In August 2016 I knew I had to leave recruitment, I recognised, as my colleague had, that I was just not cut out for the corporate world and that in actual fact there was so much more I could be doing with my time and so much more I could give to people, so I made the rather brave and somewhat risky decision to hand in my notice and pursue my dreams of working in healthcare.
Hoping to find my way into the healthcare sector I applied for various NHS positions, believing that with the passion I had for this sector and natural caring qualities, I would be working in this industry before I knew it. Unfortunately for me, this was not the case. I had many interviews where I would very nearly succeed, but at the last hurdle, I would continuously fall, as the ongoing belief was that I should be in recruitment, as annoyingly this is where my experience lay. I will admit, I had moments where I felt like I should give up, that I would never get there and that perhaps I should go for the easy option and fall back into recruitment. I found myself thinking that in actul fact, ‘maybe this was where my destiny lay, maybe this is where I belonged‘ But for some reason, even when I hit my lowest points, I did not give up. I battled on and continued the struggle as in my heart I knew I belonged in a caring profession, and amazingly to my utter astonishment I actually managed to succeed.
The Christie Hospital in Withington offered me a job as a Patient Flow Facilitator, and for those who know me, they will know what this place means to me and just how much this opportunity was a dream come true for me. The Christie Hospital is a place that I hold very dear to my heart and is somewhere I have always wanted to work. Many of you may not know, but I grew up in the Algarve in Portugal and moved to the UK when I was just eleven years old. The reason for this move was a scary one, as my mum had been diagnosed with stage two breast cancer and this news massively shook my little family. We were at an absolute loss as to where we should turn and what we should do but thankfully for us, some family friends who lived in Manchester came to our rescue. They had heard about the Christie Hospital and the wonderful work that they do and highly recommended my mum to go and get here cancer treatment here. Discovering that this was one of the largest cancer treatment centres in Europe we were sold on this idea and made the quick decision to pack our bags and move to Manchester in order for mum to get treatment as soon as possible.
Mum received the most amazing care here, the chemotherapy nurses were excellent and I even remember her joy at buying her beautiful blonde wig at the Christie, to help cover her hair loss, something she had at the time been very embarrassed about. For ten years my lovely mum lived cancer free, however, in 2013 her cancer returned and not only came back but she was given the detrimental news that it was terminal. My family found ourselves returning back to the Christie Hospital, the place where our lives in the UK had begun, and to say we weren’t all scared is an understatement. My mum died at the Christie in June 2015, but the amazing care and support she and our family received was indescribable. The final week of my mum’s life, I practically lived in this hospital, my bed being a hospital chair, not daring to move from her side, terrified that she would pass away all alone, something I would and could not let happen. The nurses would sit with me at night, hold my hand and would look after my mum with such attentiveness and kindness. I was absolutely blown away by my time spent here and admit that this was the lightbulb moment in my life where I knew that in some shape or form my future career would be in healthcare, as I wanted to help cancer patients, just the way the nurses at the Christie had done for my mum. I felt and still do feel that I can somewhat put my feet into their shoes, as once upon a time, I was a daughter watching her mother battle this horrid disease.
Many of you might question, why ever would you want to return to the place that your mother died? For me, I hold no negatives of this hospital, only positives. My dream is to help patients and families battling cancer as I believe my experiences will resonate and hopefully make a difference to these people, in what can only be described as one of the worst times in a person’s life. What’s more, lovely memories of my mum surround The Christie, with one, in particular standing out, as I recall sitting in the Christie’s garden with her laughing at the rubbish coffee that they had at the time and suddenly spotting a robin sitting on one of the benches in front of us. With mum being a massive nature geek she was fascinated by this little bird and told me to keep quiet and sit still as she did not want it to fly away. We sat there in wonder watching this beautiful and delicate creature, holding each other’s hands. It was a moment of peace and tranquility that felt like it lasted hours but only lasted seconds, and as the robin flew away mum turned to me and told me “everything is going to be ok.”
The thing is recruitment was never my future, and my colleague recognised that. I am not particularly fond at the way he expressed this to me as it did somewhat damage my confidence, but ultimately I would like to tell him that I am proud to be a ‘do-gooder‘ and hope that I do a lot of good for the patients and families that I end up looking after when I start work at the Christies. Being a ‘do-gooder‘ is not a bad thing in the slightest, it means that I care and I can safely say that I am proud to be the person that I am. I refuse to change my passions or to destroy my spirit for anyone, and working at the Christie is the beginning for me to become the person I always knew I could be. I want to urge those of you reading this post to never give up on your dreams and never change who you are, not for anyone. Life may be bumpy, and your future at times may look bleak, but never give up. We only have one life, so making sure you really live it is so important. As Dumbledore so wisely expressed to Harry Potter in The Chamber of Secrets, “it is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” So finally what I want to tell you is stop being scared to make that scary choice! I am a do-gooder and proud and my choice is to keep doing good for as long as I possibly can! If I can do it why can’t you?