This I Believe

Sheena - Virginia Beach, Virginia
Entered on December 3, 2006

NPR: This I Believe

I, like many others, have days where work is the cause of my headaches, heartaches, and body aches. I believe that the cure for work is humor. Laughter and a smile keep me from popping painkillers and lashing out at my loved ones from the daily stress of work.

I come from a family of wit, humor, and sarcasm. My grandfather purposely gave my father the initials D-A-M at birth and my father graduated from Smart Ass University. These jesting genes have been passed down from generations and now I hold the healing powers to help me in my profession as a kindergarten teacher.

There have been many days where the sound of my name being called for the infinite time caused a series of unfortunate reactions. At first a ringing would develop in my ears, followed by a cold chill, and then I would lose track of my current task. After many of these episodes, I found a cure. When my ears would begin ringing, I would simply turn to my students and explain to them that, “Miss Sheena is not here! Who is this Ms. Sheena that you keep talking about?” Of course the kindergarteners are too smart to fall for this trick, but it would get them laughing and eventually, they would forget why they were calling my name. Humor as little as this changed the whole mood of the classroom and my attitude.

As a teacher, the students are not the only stressors, but pressure coming from the boss and the feeling of being burnt out makes work difficult. In times like these, I always find comfort in a coworker that is also ailing from the infection of work. Our treatment for aches and pains is to jest back and forth about our job or each other. We also play minor practical jokes on each other like taping copies of embarrassing pictures in places only we will see. Having someone at work that can always make you smile makes work less of a job.

The remedy of humor has not only worked for me, but also my father and my husband. My father works on a boat and is not a big fan of his job or his coworkers. There is one coworker though, that he can joke around with and it makes his job worthwhile because that one person can make him smile amidst all the other stresses of his job. My husband also uses humor to make work bearable. He is also a teacher but educates high school students. Everyday, he comes home to tell me how fun work was because he was able to laugh with his coworkers and students.

I believe that during times of stress at work, the best prescription for the aches and pains is laughter. Putting a smile on my face, my students’ faces, and the faces of my coworkers lifts spirits and turns the toil of work into an amusing task.