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Memphis Daily News
Doubting Your Job’s Impact? Take a Ride
December 28, 2017
By Dr. Mary C. McDonald

The new year often brings thoughts of change, of starting something new, something different. Perhaps you have grown a little jaded about what you do now and feel that tug to reinvent yourself. Maybe you’ve lost some of that enthusiasm, that passion, and long to recapture that magic that once made you bound out of bed in the morning excited about what the day would hold. Maybe what you really need is a ride on the Polar Express.

The movie “The Polar Express” was released in 2004. The Christmas fantasy film is based on the 1985 children’s book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. On Christmas Eve, a boy who is beginning to question Santa’s existence sees a magical train known as the Polar Express pull up in front of his house. The train is headed for Santa’s workshop at the North Pole. He wants to believe again, so he seizes the opportunity and boards the train.

The train trip was fraught with adventures that ranged from stirring feelings of compassion and caring to hair-raising feats of heroism. But the transformational part of the journey came from within the boy himself. What he learned was not so much about believing in Santa as it was about believing in himself, regardless of the situations or people around him.

Every workplace has the potential of being like a ride on the Polar Express. Everyone wants to work in a place that makes you feel good about yourself, that makes you know you can make great things happen and that your work makes a difference in the world. Everyone wants a boss who understands the value the workers bring to the organization and who appreciates how hard they work and their focus on customer satisfaction. They want a boss who knows it can’t be done without them. Everyone wants to believe that what they do matters.

And every now and then, everyone doubts.

The passengers on the Polar Express can be found at workplaces everywhere. There is the know-it-all. The annoying co-worker who is the smartest person in the room. And just in case you forget, s/he will let you know it. S/he doesn’t always appreciate an idea unless it was hers/his. And then there’s that positive co-worker. All workplaces need that upbeat, glass-half-full person who has an instinct for making others feel good, important and respected.

People don’t come to work alone. They bring all that goes on in their lives with them. At times there are co-workers who feel alone, lost, even hopeless. They just want to feel accepted for who they are and what they do, despite their conditions outside the workplace. And, of course, every office needs a conductor, that person who focuses on the details, the schedules, the job and the rules, because someone must do it.

So, if you’re having a few doubts, if the magic is gone and you find yourself in a major struggle to regain it, take that inward train ride that will reconnect you to your dreams, your vision, your passion for what you do. Believe in yourself.

Contact Dr. Mary C. McDonald, a national education consultant, at 574-2956 or visit

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