If a large branch falls in the woods and there is no one around to hear it, does it make a sound? If I empty the dishwasher and there is no one in the house to recognize my significant contribution to the stability of the home, does it count? Yes, my contributions count and the branch does make a sound. The significance is in the events and not whether or not there was an audience.
If you as a worker in the animal care industry find that you are making significant contributions but are unsure if anyone hears or cares, I’d like you to know that we do care and we want to hear.
We want to hear your story, what brought you to such a noble profession, what made you stay when things around you made you feel less than secure, and what made you decide to be world famous at what you do.
Through the trainings that we offer we have the fortunate opportunity to hear people’s stories. And I must admit they are humbling and amazing and funny and we want to hear more. Just recently I spoke with a woman who was a chauffeur prior to coming into our industry. Another gentleman was a chef looking for something different. There’s also the story of the son who got into the industry because it was part of the family legacy. I believe people want to share their stories because it makes them more real. I believe we need to hear each other’s stories because it makes us more real and in doing so we care a little more.
I recently met with a lab animal group that had come under some significant pressure from animal rights extremists. Just asking them why they stayed at their job blew me away. Here are some of their replies: “Because I didn’t want to stop caring for the animals” … “the people protesting what I do still deserve the benefits of our research” and … “the people that I work with care about me and we need each other”. What great testimonies of commitment to purpose.
These are the stories we need to hear. These are stories that make us real to each other and spur us on to continue pursuits of excellence and dedication for the noble thing we do.
There will be branches in the woods that fall and no one hears, and there will be times you make significant contributions to the world around you with no audience. May this be of one of many forms of encouragement to keep doing what you do, keep creating chapters to your story. It still matters! And some day maybe you will have the chance to share your story with others.