My 10,000 hours

In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell discusses the 10,000 hour rule. This is the approximate time it becomes to become proficient or an “expert” in your field. This would mean if you practice piano for 3 hours a day every day, it would take about 10 years to become an expert. With full-time employment, this shortens to around 5 years.

It is with some incredulity that I am celebrating my 5th work anniversary at Help Me Grow this month! Now one of our landmark beliefs in our field is that the parent is the expert on his or her child, so I never come in as the “expert.” BUT… man, I’m a whole heck ton more proficient about what I’m doing than I was 5 years ago, even 3 years ago!! When I started I literally didn’t know when babies were supposed to crawl.

Now we all know that I was never planning on working this long. I assumed I would work for a couple years, have a baby or two or three or four and be a stay at home mama. But as we know, God had other plans. As I celebrate my 5th work anniversary I thought it would be a good exercise for me to say some reasons I am thankful for being at my job and working for 5 years!


  • First off, I’m thankful for a job! We’ve been through layoffs and cuts and I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to continue working where I want to.
  • I’m so thankful for learning eons and eons about fetal development, child development, brain development, attachment and more. I love learning and I’ve gotten the opportunity to learn so much about a wide scope of topics.
  • I’m so thankful for the philosophy of Help Me Grow and Every Child Succeeds.
  • I’m thankful for learning what it means to be strengths based.
  • I’m thankful for all the awesome families I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with and get to work with now.
  • I’m thankful for getting the opportunity to see success story after success story. It’s been so great to get the chance to see real change – families bonding well with their babies, Moms succeeding at breastfeeding, families overcoming mental health issues, families moving into stable housing.
  • I’m thankful for getting to work with difficult families – for growing pains and learning how to deal with people different than me through these challenges.
  • I’m thankful for working with people from different cultures, families and backgrounds. I’m thankful for learning so much about the culture of poverty and Every Child differently I now view families dealing with that.
  • I’m thankful for the opportunity to be trained in Child Passenger Safety, Infant Massage and Lactation.
  • I’m thankful for my supervisor and feeling supported, appreciated and encouraged in my job.
  • I’m so thankful for all the great people I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with and the relationships I’ve formed.
  • I’m thankful for Starbucks trips, hanging out in trainings, going out to lunch and happy hours. Although they don’t happen anywhere near as much as I wish they did, I love getting to spend time with my coworkers:)
  • I’m thankful to know so many people who care deeply about children and families  and are working hard to make a brighter future!!

One last huge thing I’m thankful for is the longevity at my job. Although the career I feel called to is to stay at home with children, many people don’t get this chance or don’t choose this option. Most people work outside the home, take care of their homes AND take care of their families.

When you’ve worked for a handful of years you’ve been through hard seasons at your job. You’ve had to endure. You know what it’s like to want your time to go somewhere else. Hopefully these are only short seasons… if this is what working is like all the time, you should probably get a new job;) But in my life, after working for years through good seasons, okay seasons and hard seasons I feel better able to relate to people who are building careers. Hopefully when I get the chance to stay home, I can remember this season and I can empathize and show understanding to those hard working mamas!!


About jackielopina

Follower of Jesus, Pastor's Wife, Cookie Baker.
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2 Responses to My 10,000 hours

  1. Kate Titus says:

    Thankful that all those families have been cared for by sweet, wonderful you. :) Thinking about my job today too, as it was my last day! Quit after almost 10 years to go live in Middletown. I also have a lot to look back on and be thankful for, and a lot to look forward to. Hope you can get the big changes you’ve wanted soon too. :)

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