I am noticing something interesting with regard to my non-profit brain-injury recovery organization job.
While I do NOT enjoy the long commute, including a toll payment, it means the world to me to be welcomed and treated with kindness, sensitivity, and respect each day that I'm there. It makes me realize how other jobs really lacked these things and how there was always some stress and disconnection while I was there because of it. I experience stress at the non-profit, but it's the good, normal kind of stress where you're working hard to accomplish your assigned tasks; tasks you know are helping people receive the services and support they need. And people are always ready to help.
Also, I actually receive *appreciation* for the work I do. Imagine that! Three specific ways I have received appreciation: first, my supervisor is totally awesome, funny, and sweet and she says, "Thank you very much" all the time. Part of this I think is her Japanese culture, and sometimes we joke around and she says it in ironic ways. :) But often it's sincere verbalization of thank you, which feels good.
Secondly, as staff at a non-profit that provides much needed services, our Executive Director and the Board regularly appreciate and recognize us. On birthdays, the tradition is to buy a cake and recognize staff by singing happy birthday. When our Office Manager got engaged, the ED bought her flowers. When a staff member recently left, we were all taken out for wine and hors d'oevres, and we have an upcoming staff retreat and appreciation day, which I'm looking forward to - not everyone loves interactive games and activities but I do! :) - and we will go out for dinner afterwards.
Thirdly, yesterday my boss said she wanted to share appreciation with me. She said that this is the first class cycle for the ITCP (Individualized Thereapeutic Computer Program) that has been full with a waitlist. She said she was talking with the ED about how she thinks it's related to how I connect and communicate with our new clients. She also took steps to respond to my concerns about not having enough time to do intake appointments, including changing a key process with how we do intakes, and saying that I could start to work a few hours from home soon (!).
Is it strange that part of me wants to stay there, despite the commute and making half as much money as I do at a college? The larger part will take the short commute and more money for what I know are good reasons (plus I don't love all the forms and tracking requirements), but when I leave, I will be losing some really great connections and the best work culture I have ever had.