What's it Like to Work at the Institute?
What's it like to work at the Institute? I get asked this question a lot.
This is the toughest work I've ever done. There is a lot of a chaos, there are a lot of sad and challenging things that happen, there is stress. I think anyone who works here would tell you that. I think they would also tell you that working here is worth all of the heaviness and difficulty. That the rewards of helping people to truly change their lives, the rewards of creating meaningful community engagement, the rewards of working toward change in broken structures that cripple opportunity - make the toughest work we've ever done worth every single stressful moment.
Our work is founded on the principles and steps of nonviolence. When we say we teach by word and example, we mean it. Those of us who choose this work also choose a nonviolent lifestyle. We care deeply about one another and the clients we serve, we make investments in our growth as people, and we treat those around us with respect and kindness.
Our model focuses on four components of a Beloved Healthy Community: Education, Sustaining Life, Celebration, and Grieving. We expect of one another that we are each working on these components on three levels: In ourselves, with our clients, and in our community. We don't swear an oath, but we take seriously the importance of consistent and dedicated effort at strengthening the components on each of those levels.
How does that work?
As individuals, we are mindful of how we develop ourselves - professionally, emotionally, and spiritually. We take time when we need it to decompress. We laugh together every day. We cry together in difficult times. We share the ways our work is changing lives. We talk to one another, to our confidants, and when we need it - to outside professionals to ensure our personal health and well-being.
As a team, we are mindful of how we foster goodwill, respect, and kindness. We encourage each other, we address difficult issues or conflict as they arise through the steps of nonviolence, we talk openly about our challenges, about how to grow our programs, about the obstacles we face. Again, we laugh and cry together.
As professionals, we invite our clients and our community to discuss challenges with us, to propose solutions, and to help us to change the lives of each individual we encounter in the most positive ways. We welcome everyone to celebrate with us and we provide a safe space in difficult times for open and honest expressions of grief. We understand that sometimes we will make mistakes and when we do, we own those mistakes and move forward with positive intention and lessons learned guiding our way.
So, what's it like to work here? It's a little like climbing big mountains. The struggle can be great, but as you rise, the view is beautiful.