(Minghui.org) I was released from prison a few years ago, then offered a management position at a retirement home, which I accepted. I went from not knowing what to do to getting the hang of everything by the time I left the job. During this process, I truly came to feel the empowerment of Master. I also came to realize that doing our job well was also part of validating Falun Dafa.

Becoming Experienced

I was persecuted for many years, so I was no longer familiar with how people thought and acted. I actually came from a technical background but now had to deal with a lot of interaction with people. I was at a loss.

I was offered the position of manager at a retirement home. In that position I had to frequently coordinate between the owner, caregivers, the elderly, and their family members. In addition, the day-to-day work in a retirement home involved many petty things. It was as if I had to lead a big family of a few dozen people to carry out their day-to-day living requirements. For someone like me, who never had a family, it seemed rather difficult.

At that time, my thoughts were that the owner trusted me, and her entire family knew that I was a practitioner. Regardless, I had to do well. But, where should I start? There was no one to tell me what I was supposed to do in terms of managing a retirement home. So I decided to make some observations of what happened around me.

In the beginning, except for the owner, no one knew I was the new manager. They thought I was a resident. Every day I went to each room to check on the situation. A few days later, I noticed a few issues. One was poor hygiene. As soon as I came into the hallway, there was a washroom smell. In addition, some caregivers didn’t treat the elderly nicely. But those who treated the elderly badly were treated well by the owner, whereas those who treated the elderly well weren’t treated well.

Right then, people started realizing what I came there for. I took a small notebook with me every day to write down the issues I noted. The situation of the elderly needed to be addressed with his or her family member. Also, issues needed to be communicated to the caregivers, which cleaning tool needed to be placed where, and so on.

One of the most important issues was paying the caregivers at the end of the month, I noted every small, large, and petty issue, and took care of them one by one. I often remembered an issue at midnight, which I noted in my notebook. It was exhausting, but everything needed to be resolved.

Improving the Working Environment

I decided to improve the hygiene situation first. I set targets for caregivers to lay out what needed to be done each day. At that time, I had three daytime caregivers. One was responsible for a few rooms downstairs with seniors who could take care of themselves, whereas another two caregivers took care of a few rooms upstairs with seniors who needed assistance. The hygiene situation downstairs had been fairly good. However, one of the two caregivers upstairs was the owner’s relative, Qin, who didn’t treat the elderly very nicely, but the owner treated her very well. She didn’t follow my instruction, thus, the hygiene situation didn’t change. Another caregiver, Yi, who was very nice to the elderly, was too tied up with other work to take care of the sanitary issues.

When I was at my wit’s end, Ying, a former hotel manager, accepted a position at the retirement home. After I assigned a few rooms to her, she did a great job of cleaning. She also washed the toilets every day. She helped a few caregivers improve. One day, the owner joked, “Ying was an angel sent by your Dafa Master. Didn’t you want to improve the sanitary environment, but couldn’t? Now the issue got resolved.” I took it as when Master saw my wish in doing my work well, he helped.

The elderly’s family members were very impressed with the sanitary situation, and so was the owner. This was between October and November.

Every month on the 15th was payday. On October 14 the owner asked me to do the payroll. I had never done that before. I learned by watching the owner’s daughter. I realized that one was paid by how many elderly they looked after, instead of the quality of one’s service. I thus decided to make changes the following month. I included one’s attitude towards the seniors as part of the pay criteria.

On payday, I explained the performance-based pay for the next month and which benchmarks would be measured to calculate one’s pay. Issues included were things such as behavior towards the elderly and so on.

From November onwards, whoever treated seniors nicely received a bonus. The seniors found out that Yi got the highest pay, whereas Qin had to change her attitude to be paid well. I thought a good atmosphere would result, as whoever did the most work and treated the seniors nicely received the highest pay. Qin was not annoyed with me, even though her self-interests were affected. I discussed the issue with another practitioner, who said, “It’s because you are honest and have no trace of selfishness that turned out like that.”

I noticed that the chef treated people by how he liked or disliked them. I was a bit shocked when I noticed that the chef did not treat Yi nicely. Yi was one of those very honest people, who treated the elderly nicely. She wouldn’t please someone for the sake of her own self-interest.

These unfair matters were all corrected later on. Before that, some caregivers used to use the elderly’s shampoo but subsequently stopped doing that. Sometimes, the elderly’s family members would give me gifts, but I refused to accept them. When I held a meeting with caregivers, I told them not to accept any gifts either. Because a caregiver would serve a few seniors, and some did not give gifts.

Some Situations Improved, But New Problems Emerged

My first payday was after three weeks on the job. According to what the owner had said, she would only pay me when the work was done well. The deal was that she’d cover my room and board, with no pay. I did not get upset and looked at it as gaining skills in normal society. Unexpectedly, the owner not only paid me a full month's salary but also gave me 100 yuan extra to cover my phone expense, which wasn’t part of the agreement. I assumed that this was because she saw how hardworking I was.

She later brought up the occupancy rate. When I first started, there were 32 seniors in the nursing home. I said to her, “I have no idea how to recruit more seniors.” She made some suggestions, including “You can try to recruit from hospitals, by putting up ads.”

Improving the Menu

It became cold in Northern China in late October, but the heating hadn’t yet been turned on. I then realized that the distance was too long for meal delivery. This retirement home was a two-story building with long hallways. By the time meals got delivered to the last senior the food was cold. For some seniors, since they had not much else to do, their meals became the biggest issue. If they were to have their food cold, then it’d affect their mood for the whole day. Then, I recalled an insulated container that I had seen. So I told the owner about this idea. She agreed right away and asked me to order them online. After I compared prices, I bought a few of them of good value but low prices.

After that, those seniors could enjoy hot meals. For that, both they and their families were especially happy. The owner was very happy as well, saying to her family that I put so much effort into serving those seniors. Actually, before I proposed the idea to her, I wasn’t sure if she would agree. After that, I also said to those family members, “It’s my boss willing to spend the money for those seniors.”

After the hygiene and service quality issues were resolved, the meal problem began to surface. The chef was a senior employee and had worked there for more than ten years. He not only cooked small quantities but also lacked variety. I wanted to talk to the owner to improve the meals, which required her to provide funding. Unexpectedly, she agreed right away.

Later I heard that the owner’s sister, who is also a Dafa practitioner, said to her, “Since you have her manage the retirement home you should listen to her in the overall direction. Otherwise, if you still want her to be under you in everything, then it would be status quo, and there wouldn’t have been any improvement.” I truly came to feel this was Master’s arrangement. As long as what I wanted to do was right, out of selflessness, and beneficial to the seniors, Master would help me clear up the obstacles.

At first, I wanted to discuss the meal issue with the chef, but he refused to cooperate, as it would have made his job more complicated. So I went ahead and set the menu with the owner. But he still refused to cooperate. We wanted to add bean paste steamed buns twice a week to the breakfast menu, which required preparing bean paste. He refused, so the owner and I decided to take care of this. He also refused to do a few other dishes.

When caregivers saw that, some of them hinted that no one could replace him. I revisited myself on the motive of improving the meals, to see if there was anything that didn’t comply with the Fa. Improving the meals would definitely be good for the seniors. I felt that to run a retirement home well, we had to treat the seniors well, and in turn, the retirement home would benefit as well. This was a good thing for the owner. Since my motive was on the Fa, I didn’t have to worry about whether the chef was willing to work with us or not. I also didn’t comment on the chef in front of the owner. Also because both the owner and I had dealt with several issues together with the chef, she understood what was going on.

One day, as soon as I finished work and returned home, the owner called and asked me to find another chef. She had gotten into an argument with the chef. Hearing that, I truly appreciated Master’s arrangement, since I had no intention of provoking a conflict and harming others.

I was a bit worried about finding a chef. My dad said that the chef from his company was looking for a new job. I thus quickly called to get in touch with her. After the owner met with the new chef, she was very happy.

There were also some conflicts between me and the new chef. At year-end, she called and said she had bought some meat for me and asked where I lived, so she could deliver it to my home. I didn't accept it. I also thought that if I were to accept that from her, our relationship would have been closer, then how could I manage the business fairly?

She soon reduced the menu without getting my authorization. As soon as I saw that, I warned her, which embarrassed her. As she'd always felt close to me, ideally, she thought I should have favored her. From then on, when she left some dishes for me, she didn’t purposefully save some delicious dishes for me like before. This way, I felt rather good. From then on, she no longer did anything out of line. Then, she began to learn Falun Dafa.

What I told the chef was: "Meals for the elderly must be in sufficient quantity." When I communicated this to the owner, I talked to her about “Pacify the External by Cultivating the Internal.” (“Pacify the External by Cultivating the Internal,” Essentials for Further Advancement). In addition, caregivers stayed at the home all year round. They came from the countryside and liked vegetables. If we provided these meals in sufficient quantity to them, they’d feel as if they were at home, and be more motivated in doing their work.

No Self-Promotion: Respected and Admired by People.”

Hygiene, service attitude of caregivers, meals, and morale have all taken on a new look. I had established frequent contact with many seniors’ family members, to let them know how the seniors were doing. At that time, we still used WeChat, so I set up a WeChat group with those family members, to update them in a timely manner regarding seniors and our retirement home. Though it was very time-consuming, the outcome was so obvious. It made those seniors feel at home, as well as their family members.

For those seniors who couldn’t take care of themselves, many had a bad temper and had trouble getting along well with their family members. The relationship between the elderly and their families was basically a vicious cycle. When I first arrived here, I ran into the situation where one elderly person cursed at her daughter-in-law in front of others. In addition, this person often ended up in conflicts with other residents, causing trouble for the caregivers. Thus, the caregivers didn’t like this person either.

In order to improve the relationship between the elderly and their families required us to care well for them. When holding a meeting with the caregivers, I sometimes mentioned stories pertaining to traditional Chinese culture. I would say, “Whoever treats the elderly well can have good fortune. Our job enables us to accumulate virtue easily. We not only make money but also accumulate virtue. What a good opportunity to cherish!”

After getting consent from the owner, every time when an elderly celebrated his or her birthday, we broadcast a happy birthday song and made special noodles for them, which touched the hearts of those elderly. Later caregivers treated the elderlies more and more nicely. Even the lady with the bad tempers could feel our kindness. With that, she improved her attitude towards her family. They became very happy and came to visit her more often.

There was a couple in our home. One time, the husband was admitted to the hospital. After he was discharged and returned, his children wanted the couple to move out and stay home. The wife said, “I don’t want to go home. How can you be like those caregivers, always so patient with me?”

There was a child who had cerebral palsy and was bed-ridden. I played Master’s video lecture recordings for her and also talked to her about the Dafa principles—how Dafa taught us to be good people. Later, that child could eat her own meals, which made her dad happy.

There were several elderly couples, one of which was on the verge of being unable to take care of themselves, and the other one was so tired that they almost couldn't take care of themselves either. After they moved in, because of caregivers’ delicate care, their caregivers not only took care of their day-to-day life, but also gave them massages, and encouraged them to do what they could possibly do. Their moods became much better. Soon enough, the semi-self-care elderly became completely independent, whereas the health situation of the other, who was on the verge of being unable to take care of themself also improved greatly.

There was one elderly couple that became independent after they came here, but had to return home due to their financial situation. After they came back, one completely couldn’t take care of himself, and the other one also became a semi-self-care case. Through these examples, many seniors and their family members got to see that our retirement home was very different.

Within a few months, the number of occupants had increased from 32 to 58. The original vacant beds and rooms were almost filled. Through this, I truly came to feel what Master said about “Pacify the External by Cultivating the Internal.” (“Pacify the External by Cultivating the Internal,” Essentials for Further Advancement)

I wasn’t good at recruiting residents, nor did I put forth any effort in that regard. All I focused on was thinking of those seniors, trying to take care of other people’s feelings, and balancing relationships well. The inner environment thus also became harmonious. When the seniors and their family members were happy, naturally we gained recognition from outside people, which reminded me of the saying in our traditional Chinese culture: “Without self-promotion, it is naturally respected and admired by people.”

I also realized during the process that the retirement home didn’t have a standardized fee schedule. Every time when a new resident came, the owner decided on the fee. After I took it over, I became the one who set the fee, but on the other hand, I also felt it wasn’t standardized. Therefore, after getting permission from the owner, I laid out detailed fee standards and stipulations for residents, in order to make sure it was fair for everyone.

By year-end, the number of caregivers had increased from six to nine. Their salaries also almost doubled for the increased occupancy. I said to the owner, “Our retirement home is getting better and better. After I came on board, I set high standards for those caregivers, and they have also worked very hard these few months. Could you give them some year-end incentives?” She agreed and gave everyone a wool blanket.

Though they had to work very hard as the number of occupants increased, they were also very happy, mainly because of their significant pay increase.

After working there for seven months, I felt that my work was completely on track. But I still felt that because of the nature of the job, it was hard for me to find the time to do the three things. So I told my boss that I wanted to quit. Initially, she didn’t approve it, but seeing that I was determined, she asked me to first find a replacement. I then checked with my connections to look for a proper candidate. After I found one who fit the role and trained her for two weeks, I left.

The last two weeks’ pay I returned to the owner. I said to her, “All I did was to train someone, who did most of the work. Please don’t bother paying me.” So she didn’t insist. However, about a bit over a month after I started with the new job, the owner brought her daughter and son-in-law to my home to deliver three boxes of fruit and a red envelope. She said it was to congratulate me on my new job. This time I couldn’t decline. When I opened up the envelope, I saw it had exactly the last two weeks’ pay that I had returned to her.

Doing the Right Thing

I was very careful with using money. The time when I was buying insulated containers and was preparing to pay, the owner’s daughter came and stood in front of my computer. She saw that I was chatting with a few vendors at the same time, though the price difference was very tiny, I still picked the one with the most competitive price and then sent the link to her. She said, “My sister, you don’t have to do that. No big deal.”

After that, the owner gave me 1,000 yuan to pay those people who came to deliver rice and eggs, as well as covering other expenses. I took note of every transaction. I also left my bookkeeping book on the table in my office, so whoever wanted to check could take a look. Sometimes when I missed recording a transaction, I paid for it out of pocket.

Back then, because I could rarely find the time, it was difficult for me to take the Fa to heart, thus, I began to copy the Fa. When I did that, I only used my own pen.

One time, when the owner came to my room, she saw I was wiping my table with the wipe which came from my own supply. She asked me, “Why didn’t you use our wipes?” I said, “I don’t want to.” At work, any pieces of paper that had been printed, but with a blank page or even half a page that could be reused, I didn’t toss out, but cut it to make a notebook. When the owner saw that, she said, “This is exactly how corporations do things.”

Master’s Empowerment

Thinking back over those seven months, every time when I ran into any difficulty, Master always helped me resolve it. What gave me the most headaches were recruiting new residents, caregivers, and chef, which were all easily resolved under Master’s arrangements.

When I posted an ad on our local informational platform, qualified people came for interviews. I remembered I received several phone calls. The owner’s daughter also said, “Oh wow, it’s so easy to find candidates from this platform!” However, after I left the job, when she put up an ad on that platform, she received only a few responses. Only then did I know that it was because Master helped me.

Looking Inward

There were also areas where I needed to improve, such as validating myself. Although I kept saying to residents’ family that every improvement was attributable to the owner and caregivers. However, when I sensed some elderly treated my understandings towards them as the kindness of caregivers, I still felt uncomfortable. Back then, I didn’t realize I had this attachment, but once I realized it I eliminated it.

When I recalled the issue, I realized that I had the attachment to validating myself. Years later this attachment seemed even more clear when looking back on the situations.

When I first came to the retirement home, the owner asked me not to clarify the facts to people. I said, “Isn’t it the same as asking me to write guarantee statements? This wouldn’t do.” On the other hand, I’d take into account of people’s reception and others’ reactions, I wouldn’t go right into it without considering others’ feelings. But I still had reservations. Especially in the beginning, I felt like a newcomer and didn’t know much about worldly matters. Thus, for a while, I didn’t clarify the facts to anyone. Later, with the progress of my work, I began to awake the conscience of some residents and their families.

I wrote this article to share with everyone who's been dismissed from school or work or couldn’t live in a normal living environment due to the persecution. As long as our wishes comply with Dafa, we are willing to sacrifice ourselves, cultivate our xinxing, take our self-interests lightly, put up with being wronged, and endure hardship in the initial stage of our work, our path will then become wider and wider down the road.

Chinese version available

Category: Journeys of Cultivation