Listening To: Sounds Like A Cult with Isa Medina & Amanda Montell
Reading: Bittersweet by Susan Cain
Watching: CNN Original Series This is Life with Lisa Ling
I don’t believe I’m alone when I say that my passion for local government stems from how much I care. I care about the community I have chosen to live in, the community of people I surround myself with, and the community that I serve. But sometimes I question how much I care. Especially when it seems like I am getting yelled at from every direction. But then I remind myself of the words of my favorite fictional public servant.
What I hear when I’m being yelled at is people caring loudly at me.
I’ve had more “people caring loudly at me” in the last two months than most of my career in local government because of severe weather incidents. These storms caused damage to property in our community and loss of life in other Iowa communities.
It’s not easy to separate the people who are “caring loudly” at a specific point from those who care about your community all the time. And, to be honest, I don’t want to. Because in the end, getting residents to be involved means listening to them when they are ready to speak up. We have to meet our communities where they are.
Not carrying the weight of the situations you find yourself in professionally is complicated. Add in some anxiety and dashes of imposter syndrome, and it just gets better. I have to remind myself that the yelling, name-calling, arguing, and just plain aggressive behavior is not directed at me specifically. But rather at the situation. I’m good at my job. I have the tools, the education, and the experience to do my job. And I have done it well on multiple occasions.
Trying to leave those caring loudly behind when you leave the office, especially when you live among the community you serve, isn’t always doable. Living in the city where I serve as a local government communication professional and a public information officer means I sometimes have a viewpoint and insight that I should never take for granted. By having those conversations at the grocery store, wine bar, or hair salon, I’m building relationships and creating a network of people who care just as much as I do.