Ever have a day where it could be better? You get out of bed, go to work and you find yourself doing the bare minimum to get by?
I had a day like that last week. The morning starts out normal. Get up, get dressed, drive to work, and hope for a good, productive day. Yet, when work started, things felt against me. I’m a zookeeper, and that day I was tasked to care for our cheetah and tortoise buildings as well as check in on our aviary keeper who’s training. We only have one cheetah so it’s not a hard building. I could knock it out in less than an hour, but I’m in love with cheetahs. My goal is to build relationships with them, maybe even go to a cheetah breeding facility someday. But, for our now, with our cheetah, I just want him to know he can trust me.
Sadly, our cheetah was a terrible mood that morning. He challenged me at every turn. We work protective contact with our cheetah, but that doesn’t mean he won’t swipe at the mesh to get me to flinch. Or hiss when I passed over his morning meal. I held my ground, but it was discouraging to see him acting that way. I thought we were making progress together.
After that, it started raining, and it rained all day. My area is mostly outside, so I got pretty wet. Normally, when I do these routines, I can knock them out, but that day, I fell behind. The disinfecting ended up being the tort barn and that’s most challenging out of all of them. There’s no way to get it perfectly clean, and while you’re trying to clean, the torts walks through it and leave a trail of mud in their wake. Cleaning the barn will never be perfect, but we do what we can. It took me most of the morning to get that barn clean, and periodically, I had to pause my routine to check in with the aviary.
Something that bugged me that day was that I knew I was on my own. We were short staffed and had people training in certain areas. I didn’t need the help. I got it all done, but knowing there’s people ready to back you up grants a certain peace of mind.
I even forgot things for that day. When you’re an animal caretaker, and you forget something, it makes you feel terrible, because it usually effects the animals. That day, it was going to drop below 50 overnight and it escaped my mind that the torts would need to come in since it was too cold for them. Thankfully, I had teammates reminding me, but it was just another thing to gripe at me. Getting the torts in took a while. They’re 400lbs+ so you have to coax them and be patient. Safe to say, if I was soaked already, I was soaked after getting the last tortoise in.
Have you ever gotten help from someone and it makes you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, or that they kinda took over what you were doing? That happened that day as well.
So, what do you do when your day just isn’t going for you? When all you can do is the bare minimum and not accomplish your tasks? Unfortunately, those days happen and there isn’t anything that can be done about them. What you can do, though, is control your outlook on them. One bad day doesn’t spoil your accomplishments. One interaction doesn’t define who you are to someone. Days like that happen. What you can do is keep your head up and look forward to tomorrow. Keep focusing on the positive. Make the best of everyday. You got this.