Finding Peace at the Job I Wasn’t Supposed to Have

Gretchen Lee Bourquin
The Partnered Pen
Published in
6 min readMay 23, 2024


The Stress Built Up Like a Boiling Frog

Photo by Foad Roshan on Unsplash

When I went back to working a traditional day job after a decade of freelancing, I went for a position that would be somewhat similar to one of my favorite jobs of my working years.

In my 20s I was a resident counselor at a couple different group homes for disabled people. It was a job where I felt appreciated, and where I had to be always on my toes. Since most work with disabled people requires a driver’s license, and I don’t drive, pursuing that exact job wasn’t an option, so I looked into serving the elderly instead.

I applied to be a resident assistant (RA) at a senior care facility. An RA is a bit like a nurse’s aid, only with less medical training required. I knew it would be a challenge physically, my 20s are long gone, but I wanted to take a detour from freelancing with something service related where I could connect with a part of the population who are often overlooked.

I lasted about 3 months. I was physically and mentally exhausted each day I worked, and for several days after. I was in a ton of pain and had a hard time accomplishing anything but basic recovery on my days off. I had hoped to keep writing, but I lost my groove.

It Was a Valiant Effort, But…