How to turn a bad day into a fantastic one

Posted on April 15, 2016

On August 6, 2015, Stantec sponsored a Superhero Party at Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta. Nine Stantec employees and volunteers came to the House for the event. One employee, Julie Bailey, wrote about her experience in the company’s internal newsletter. It is reproduced here with her permission. 

It was one of those really crappy days. I think we’ve all had them.

In general, I love my job. But this one day, I felt drained and coffee just didn’t seem to be working anymore. I felt I had so much work on my plate, I didn’t even know where to start. Why can’t things just be simple?

Just as I was getting ready to leave the office, someone came over to tell me I had another exciting new project that needed to be completed in a short timeframe. Normally I would have been excited about it, but at that point in time it just seemed overwhelming to add another big thing to my workload.

To be honest, I was feeling pretty defeated, exasperated, and just plain irritable. Happy hour was calling. But, part of my job is to coordinate and attend the Community Engagement events that Stantec supports across the Alberta South region, and that night we had an event. A team of Stantec volunteers and I were helping run a Superhero Party at Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta for the families that were staying there. So my day wasn’t over.

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Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Ronald McDonald House Charities Southern Alberta and the amazing work they do. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go THERE. I was just selfishly feeling grumpy and wanted to go home. But of course I didn’t. And I’m so glad I didn’t.

The Superhero Party was an amazing experience. Batman, Spiderman and Supergirl were all there to interact with the kids, who were awestruck. There were games and activities, which our volunteers manned, giving us a chance to talk to the kids and their parents. These kids amazed me. Some of them were sick; some of them were siblings of sick kids, staying in this strange place while their brother or sister was being treated. All of them were happy, excited, and grateful for this cool event.

I made a point of interacting with the parents, too. I’m a mom, and I can’t imagine being in their situation. Yet, they were all smiling that evening, and some of them, I’m sure, haven’t felt like smiling in a while.

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It wasn’t until after the event, when I got in my car, that my eyes filled with tears as I thought about what really just happened in there: We gave these people a much-needed break from worrying, praying, talking to doctors, and trying to figure out how this happened to them. And I took a moment to notice that all those feelings of stress I was having before were completely gone. I can’t even explain how impactful it was for me. It was truly therapeutic.

A lot of people have said to me, “I’d like to volunteer, but I’m just so busy.” To them I would now say: Just do it. Make the time to make a difference, and YOU end up feeling a heck of a lot better too. It really puts things in perspective, and you’ll feel inspired and reinvigorated.

So here’s an easy one. Sign up to volunteer with the Ronald McDonald House Charities. You can thank me later.

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