Monday, September 18, 2000

DAILY GRIND


Job means more than a paycheck

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        They find inspiration in a sometimes challenging workplace. They dedicate time, cars, sweat and concern at the workplace for people who need the attention, and when they head home from work at a retirement or convalescent care center, most can't wait for a new day and new shift to begin.

        The handful of workers to be honored Friday at the annual banquet in Cincinnati for the Association of Ohio Philanthropic Homes and Services for the Aging are models for the rest of us. They show what a day on the job should be about and why there is more to a job than the task at hand.

        “It's a good question: Why do some people in any field have a sense of dedication that has nothing to do with money?” asked Clark Law, president and chief executive for the association, a 330-member group of nonprofit retirement facilities and senior housing services.

        “I'm of the older generation and when you see this stuff among a new generation, it's a reminder of the past when people approached their jobs as a vocation.”

Dedicated to people
               As employees of convalescent and retirement communities — many with Alzheimer's units or units where the aged with dementia live — these people work lousy hours in thankless jobs for usually meager pay.

        They go beyond the call of workplace duty in subtle ways to make life a little easier, a little less troubling for the people in their care.

        At the ceremony at the Albert B. Sabin Cincinnati Convention Center, Maureen Reagan will be a guest speaker. The program was developed and the list was compiled by the Sasha Corp., West Chester consultants on employment and work force issues. Most are being honored for easing the plight of others.

        Esther Ari Olomajeye, for instance, brought a sewing machine to Deupree Community to mend clothing in her downtime. On another occasion, when asked if she would work Easter day rather than Easter evening, she agreed but only if she could work without pay.

        She was not delirious at the time, either.

Beyond the call
               At Mercy Franciscan at Schroder on Millville Avenue in Hamilton, Paul Nasiatka, an occupational therapy assistant, asked his mother in California to ship him some equipment.

        A resident needed it for his therapy but he could not afford to buy the piece.

        Money or lack of it would not be the reason for this patient to be deprived, Mr. Nasiatka decided. Another time he helped move furniture for a client who did not have the money to pay for the move.

        Nursing assistant Julia Anderson once went with residents of Llanfair Retirement Community to look for pet cats. Nobody told her she had to go find the cats. They didn't have to tell her. She saw the service as part of her job.

        She has also escorted residents to family gatherings on her own time and has assisted during get-togethers at the facility.

        Workplaces are time-clock places for most of us — and there is nothing wrong with that. You punch the clock. You work. You punch the clock. You go home with a check once a week. No blame in that.

        Good deeds do not put juice in the refrigerator and cereal in the cupboard. But that's not the way it is for the people receiving this award. Their work is as much calling as vocation, and society is the better for it.

        E-mail jeckberg@enquirer.com or call (513) 768-8386.
       

       



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