People do a lot of things they later regret when they are tired.
A lot of people are tired much of the time.
One of the things I've come to realize in the seven months I've worked in the human services field is that the pay rate for people in this field is so low that most of the people have to take second jobs to avoid having to live in a dumpster. The result is that many of these people burn out quickly. Those who went into a field where you work with people in need believing they could help and devote themselves end up being tired, cranky and bitter. They fight through a life where they rarely get more than four hours of sleep a night and work hard to manage a smile and a positive vibration for those they work with. Sometimes they come undone. In the short time I've been in the field, I've seen a couple of people burn out hardcore. It isn't pretty. They start to snap at people, make outlandish decisions, become paranoid and convinced they are the only ones who know how things need to be done.
Mostly it is because they are tired.
There was the one woman I worked with who became borderline obsessed with her importance to the shelter we work at. She always wanted to be called when anything went wrong and always felt she was the one most capable of dealing with any crisis. She came in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, and in the middle of the night. She also had a second job cleaning houses so she could afford her two room apartment and her second hand car. She reached the point where she was almost an empty shell of her former caring and devoted self. She ended up being asked to resign after too many questionable choices. She did not have trouble finding work elsewhere, given her experience and her degree, but I envision a cycle that will soon begin again.
I've seen it before, when I used to work in a nursing home and rehabilition center for the elderly. Most of the people providing direct care and being asked to show compassion and understanding towards the client were paid little more than minimum wage, asked to work multiple double shifts in a row, and most had to hold onto second jobs to afford to live. It was rare that anyone outside of the registered nurses lasted more than six months. Often they ended up yelling at patients who were difficult, neglecting them when they needed help, and walking off the job in the middle of a shift that was already short on staff.
It is more ugly than you imagine, but also more beautiful.
There is no money to be made in the field, which is part of the problem. The owners of the nursing home I once worked at were obsessed with turning it into a profitable holding and paid the workers as little as they could get away with. Our society is set up in such a way that profits are the most important part of any real business. The fallout from this mindset is that most people turn a blind eye to the human residue of profit at any cost, preferring to believe that everyone is taken care of in some way because we are an enlightened people.
Most of the time there just isn't any money to pay people with.
I met a volunteer firefighter who burned his arm because he had been called in on a fire in the middle of the night after a week of working twelve hour days at his regular job. He just wasn't thinking when he reached into that window. He was tired. I met a EMT who screamed at a badly injured woman who was being difficult because she was working her third double shift in a row. She was tired. I talked to a woman who worked on a suicide hotline who just called the police everytime someone called because she was too tired to deal with anyone. I used to live with a woman who was working on her doctorate in psychology while working full time at a residential center for the mentally challenged. She pushed a mentally retarded man down a flight of stairs because he was being obstinate. She was tired.
On the other side, these people are devoted and caring. People mean something to them. They decided long ago to give themselves to a difficult and challenging line of work. They were idealistic. They believed they could make a difference in the lives of people who did not have it as good as they did. Some devoted themselves because of trials and troubles they faced in their own lives and wanted to help others avoid the same pain and misfortune. These are the beautiful people.
I made more money at a job where I packed bottles of shampoo and hair care products into boxes to be shipped out to salons than I do at my current job. All I did there was make certain I carefully packed the product so it didn't open or leak all over the inside of the box. It was all I did all day. I make two dollars an hour less working with teenage girls trying to recover from abusive parents, drugs and alcohol and self-destructive lifestyles. Our society puts more value on packing shampoo into boxes.
I think that is pretty interesting.