Aug 15, 2018
Event Planning
Larry Cooper

When you started your school year this fall, I bet few of you gave much thought to how your school schedule would clash with your family/personal schedule. I would suggest that you do that as soon as possible, especially if you work in a situation where there are two or more staff athletic trainers.

You might ask, “Why? There are two or three of us, and we will work it out.” While I understand that concept, you need to be considerate of the other staff members as much or more than they are considerate of you.

That being said, if you have many conflicts with your work responsibilities, it is important for you to prioritize your needs. You don’t need to share your ranking with anyone except yourself or maybe your partner/spouse/significant other. There is no need to give away your secrets to everyone, but you do need to prioritize in case there are scheduling conflicts with your fellow staff athletic trainers.

If you show mutual admiration and respect for others’ time with family/friends/activities, than you are more likely to enjoy more of your activities than ever before.

“Why worry about the others?” you might ask, when you may think that they are myopic themselves in their view/approach. This is because they also have needs and responsibilities that might require them to take time away from work, AND it could conflict with your activities/responsibilities. You have to know that there will be multiple conflicts — it is inevitable.

For example, say you work in a position where there are two athletic trainers, and one of you would like time off on a Saturday for a family wedding. This is brought up in discussion, and you respond, “Well, my neighbor is having a block party that I would like to attend.”

Before you said that, you really should have thought it through and determined if the party is really a high priority when compared to a family wedding. I guess it would depend on what member of the family — if it is a niece, nephew, or cousin, that would take a higher priority over your second cousin who you haven’t seen in 12 years. That is why you should prioritize in your own mind: Is it really something that I have to attend, should attend, or would it be nice to attend?

Oftentimes, we look at our own needs when really, for all of us to get the maximum use of our time off, we must be considerate of the other staff members. This is similar to the old saying: “It doesn’t matter what you know until you show that you care.” When you show that you care about your staffers and their families, they will be more inclined to do the same toward you. This is very similar to Japanese culture where they think of others first, and it creates a culture of respect and admiration for others.

Keep in mind that we don’t always — and should not always — get what we want, no matter how much we try. But I do feel that if you show mutual admiration and respect for others’ time with family/friends/activities, than you are more likely to enjoy more of your activities than ever before.

So, go ahead and give it a try at your weekly staff meetings. Ask about upcoming scheduling conflicts and see how it goes. If it’s not going well, try this method out. You might be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

Larry Cooper, MS, LAT, ATC, recently retired after 27 years as Head Athletic Trainer at Penn-Trafford High School in Harrison City, Pa., where he also taught health, physical education, and sports medicine classes. Since 2012, he has served as Chair of the NATA Secondary School Athletic Trainers' Committee. Winner of a 2016 NATA Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award, 2015 T&C Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award, and 2014 NATA Athletic Training Service Award, he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers' Society Hall of Fame in 2014. Cooper can be reached at: [email protected].

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