In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

January 9, 2023

Matthew Jennissen on not sweating the small stuff, making every day fun, more

By In the Loop
Matthew Jennissen

The "In a Word" column spotlights the kinds of people you think about when you think about Mayo Clinic. They've answered questions, serious and otherwise, so you can know them better.

Matthew Jennissen came to Mayo Clinic straight out of college, thinking it would be a stepping stone before he went on to become a law enforcement officer. That was nearly 25 years ago.

"I haven't found a good reason to work elsewhere," says Jennissen, now an assistant supervisor in Global Security.

Among the many reasons he's stayed are the patients he encounters.

"They come here with hope, seeking answers," he says. "I enjoy learning where they are from, how far they've traveled and their experience with this facility. It always amazes me how far people come to get care here, something we take for granted as it's right here in our backyard."

One of my favorite things about Mayo Clinic: Our patients and visitors. After spending 25 years in Security, I have had the pleasure of meeting many of them. Some are lost. Some just want to tour and see the sites. Some are having the worst day of their lives, and we are here for them. You never know what's going through their minds. Did they just receive bad news? Are they hoping for a good diagnosis? We, the security ambassadors, are the first Mayo staff they will encounter. Hopefully, we can provide them with the best patient experience possible.  Maybe a helpful hand, friendly smile, directions to their appointment — all these things to make their day a little easier or better. 

The single most important thing I did at work yesterday (or expect to do tomorrow): Support my colleagues so they can serve our patients and visitors in the best way possible.

A book I would recommend, or one I want to read (and why): I am not an avid reader so my book experience is low. However, one that sticks with me is "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff, And It's All Small Stuff," by Richard Carlson, Ph.D. It is a reminder that the small stuff isn't worth getting upset over — something I needed reminders of for most of my life. I will occasionally pick up this book and read short passages to help keep me grounded.

Mayo Clinic has taught me: Don't take your health for granted. Many times, I have said to my colleagues, "You think you're having a bad day, step out into that hallway. Look at what we see — people experiencing life-altering medical conditions. Never take your health for granted." 

Most treasured or best advice from a colleague at Mayo: "To get comfortable, you have to get uncomfortable." It's a difficult lesson for sure, but one I am starting to embrace. We all like to be comfortable, but the only way we can truly grow and succeed is to change. And change is uncomfortable. Another one I have heard and used many times myself, "The only constant is change." 

Most memorable Mayo moment: This one is hard. There are hundreds. In August 2019, I was invited to dinner and reception with the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees to recognize me for my involvement in a large incident in our facility. During the dinner, I was introduced and received a round of applause from all in attendance. This was a very humbling experience and one I will never forget.

If I could choose the "hold" music for Mayo Clinic: Hard rock. However, I'm certain it wouldn't be Mayo approved.

Favorite space on campus this month: Not just this month, but my entire career — Saint Marys Chapel. It's a place to quietly reflect and seek guidance. When I was a night shift assistant supervisor, I would visit the space in the early hours of the morning — no one around, peaceful, a time to reflect and seek guidance. I would envision the days when the Sisters of St. Francis would fill the space and worship. It truly is an amazing space on campus.

People who inspire me: My close friends, they know who they are. They put up with me and my antics and still elect to call me their friend. I am blessed to have them in my life, but most importantly, my wife. She has put up with me for almost 30 years and is the most positive, upbeat and loving person I know.

The most fun I've had at work this year: I try to make every day fun. I tell my team that my daily goal is that they want to return tomorrow to work with me again. So far, most of them have returned.

Team Dr. Charlie or Team Dr. Will? Or Team Mother Alfred or Team Dr. W.W. Why? Not listed, but Sister Generose. We used to see her in the early morning hours making her jams. She was always a friend of the Security Department and our staff. When she passed, Mayo Clinic closed its doors to honor her service. I had the pleasure of reopening the doors. As many of you know, the Plummer doors have only been closed 11 times in the history of Mayo Clinic, so this was quite the honor.

When patients recall their visit to Mayo Clinic, I hope they remember: A friendly face


Tags: In a Word, Staff Stories

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