By Wendy Paulson, Human Resource Specialist

Wendy Blog 1Have you ever been told “you must be special” when you tell someone where you work? They say that because not everyone can work in human services. What is it that inspires us to choose a helping profession or nonprofit work – even if that means a modest income, unusual hours or other sacrifices? When I interview candidates, I ask them what qualities they think are necessary to be successful at this job and why this a good fit for them. They often describe themselves as someone who was sensitive and kind from a young age. Many have been caregivers for family members who needed help due to illness or disability. Their resumes are filled with volunteer activities. This supports my long-time view that people who choose to work at Hammer Residences are what I call “naturals.” That is, they were always more empathetic or altruistic…more likely to befriend the classmate who was teased by others or to be kind to an elderly neighbor. Imagine my delight when I read about research that supports my naturals theory: a study that shows there is a neurological basis behind the truly altruistic – folks who voluntarily help other people at some sacrifice to themselves.

Researchers at Georgetown University examined the brain structures of 19 kidney donors, comparing them with 20 people in a control group. They found that super altruists were better at reading signs of distress on people’s faces, and that a certain part of the brain that processes emotion was larger in theirs than in the control group. Researchers found that a part of the brain associated with processing emotion – the right amygdala – was 8 percent larger on average among the kidney donors. You can read the 12/11/14 article in the Star Tribune by clicking here:  Altruists’ brains uniquely wired

Wendy Blog 2When we say we are a caring community, it’s more than a mission statement; it is an identity statement. One of our best recruiting tools is employee referral. When we hear from a current employee that their friend or relative will be a good fit for our organization, it carries a lot of weight. We tend to recommend others who share our values and work ethic. We have a robust hiring and training program and there is always a need for Direct Support Professionals. Contact us in Human Resources to find more about our opportunities, or to refer a friend. If you are a natural, you will feel right at home as a part of the Hammer Family.