“A smile is good medicine,” said a beaming friendly Manuel Sanchez, a 46-year-old lab technician at the Stanford University Medical Center.
Manuel is originally from Spain, where he held a wide variety of jobs. At different times he was a bartender, ran a fishing shop, and was in construction and held other employment.
He and his wife and their three daughters and a son came to America 10-years ago and settled in the San Francisco Bay Area. He did construction work and then got a manufacturing job with an electronics firm.
For six years, Manuel along with 200 other employees produced components. Then one day they all got terrible news. Their jobs were being shipped to China and each of them was fired.
Manuel was crushed. How would he support his family? Did his work and that of the others mean so little to that employer? Where would he find another job?
Determined to learn from that painful experience Manuel did a careful evaluation and decided the medical industry would remain an excellent source for high paying jobs, even in a bad economy or in one which coldly out sources many of it jobs to the cheapest labor market.
At the age of 43, he swallowed his pride and went back to school for six months to become a lab technician, joining many much younger students. When he completed his studies, Stanford hired him and he has found it very rewarding, far beyond a nice paycheck.
For 21/2 years Manuel has walked the corridors of Stanford Hospital often dealing with frightened and seriously ill or injured people and their families, desperate for some good news.
When he arrives to draw blood, “If I take an extra two minutes to tell them a joke or listen to them, it becomes people helping people. I’m compassionate to them.”
To Manuel they’re not just “the guy in 3A.” He learns their names and something about them.
“Anyone of us could be patients,” Manuel remarked. “That patient could be my daughter, my son, my wife, my parents, me. It could be you or someone you really love.” And so he treats people as he would want to be treated.
He knows we’re all just one accident or illness away from being patients.
“I’m proud of my work,” Manuel said with a grin and a sparkle in his eyes. “When I go home after an eight hour shift, I know I really helped people. I do this with all of my heart.”
As you seek job security and a stable income, may you too have a career that really helps people and you can do with all of your heart.