After being on long-term disability for 17 months and 3 weeks, I finally went back to work on Monday, October 1st. After being back at work for the past week I can honestly say, I need a vacation.
I’m joking…but only kind of.
Ever since my last surgery I have been under a deadline to get myself back to work as soon as possible, without causing any new physical damage. My employer has been compassionate to my situation throughout this entire ordeal and was willing to hold my job for me until I was able to work again. Unfortunately, their compassion does have a limit (as dictated from a corporate office on the mainland) and that limit is 18 months. I do not like to dwell on the what-ifs or could-have-beens in life, so I’m not sure what would have happened if I had not been physically able to get back to work in October. I am extremely glad that we (myself and my employer) did not have to find out.
Going back to work was a treat in so many positive ways. Mentally, it gave me something to focus on for a good eight hours during the day. Physically, I was constantly getting some form of motion to my ankle (walking, bending, pivoting, standing up, sitting down) in order to help increase my flexibility. It was just as challenging as physical therapy, only I was making money while pushing myself. It was also kind of a treat to set my alarm in the morning for a reason besides getting to the airport for a doctor’s visit.
While working this past week I had the opportunity to see faces I haven’t scene in what seems like a long time and talk story with coworkers who thought I had left the island. I was also brought up to date on any physical changes to our property, any changes to our standard operating procedures, staff new hires and most importantly, I was able to interact with guests for the first time in a long time.
If you do not know me, I am a Guest Services Attendant (fancy title that translates into “Jack of all Trades”) at a high-end resort on Maui. On any given day/night at work I can be found performing one of a dozen different tasks, like; driving guests on our electric powered shuttles, moving luggage in or out of a home, fixing an engineering issue, preparing a home for future guests and even washing a van if need be. Every shift is completely different and my office consists of 30 acres (plus another 40 across the street) of amazing ocean view, breath-taking, beautiful-sunset-every-night goodness.
Being out of work hurt me financially, but we all know that money isn’t everything. Mentally, not working was a form of torture for me. I am a person who is constantly smiling at work, due to the people I work with and the guests I get to meet. Being so unproductive for the past year and a half has been harder on my well being than going through six surgeries, learning to walk again and dealing with lawyers and insurance companies.
I love the challenge of anticipating guest’s needs, coming up with solutions to problems that arise and turning a vacation around. I love talking about this amazing island I live on to people who have just arrived. I love sharing my thoughts on places to go and which sites to see. I love finding out where guests are visiting from and realizing what a small planet we live on. The families, the newlyweds, the corporate travelers, send them to Maui ’cause I love ’em all…and I’ll get 40 hours a week…a win-win.