Monthly Archives: December 2015

Lessons Learned from 2015…Goodbye to the Negatives

Say No

As 2015 comes to a close, I have found myself thinking more about things that are happening in my life and more importantly, those things that are creating issues. One of the biggest is my job. I used to say that I loved my job, but as the year went on, I realized that I loved things about my job, but the job as a whole, not so much. Trying to find what had changed, I made a list and as the list came together, I realized that there were a lot less listed on the loved side.

I still love taking care of the patients. They are going through the fight of their lives and I hope that I make a difference, even if it is ensuring that they smile or laugh and maybe help them forget about things for a few minutes.

I used to enjoy going to work. I would get to work early to get everything ready for the day. I didn’t mind the days where a patient needed to start earlier than usual to make another appointment. It was fine because we were there to take care of the patients. But I realized that more times than not, some of my co-workers were resentful of being asked to come in early or were no longer offering to come in early because “those that don’t have a life always come in early.” I realized that they thought that I don’t have a life, so it was now expected that I would always come in early so they wouldn’t have to. And really, how fair is that?

But I do have a life and I realize that I am starting to resent being taken advantage of. I shouldn’t feel that I am being professionally punished because I have come in early in the past and now it is expected that I will always come in early. And that resentment has begun to affect me and how I am at work. I have started to get headaches, and while it is easy to blame the weather (yes, it is almost January and we have not had any snow, but a lot of rain), so it could be a sinus headache. Except, they start on the drive to work and continue until I get home. So no, not sinus headaches, but stress headaches. The stress is causing other physical problems in addition to the headaches.  I often feel nauseous and have started to look for reasons to miss meetings where I know someone is going to try to rope me into taking on another task or planning another event because their plans and their lives are more important than mine.

So I’ve started to say no. No to all of the additional things I am being asked to do or take on because someone else isn’t willing to do so. At a meeting last week, I told them no and they seemed surprised and asked for clarification. So I clarified it by saying, “No, I have too much on my plate, so maybe someone else who hasn’t volunteered for anything this year can take on this task.” And then I listed 4 people around the table that hadn’t done anything extra. Did it make me popular among my co-workers? No, but that is okay. I can’t worry about that. I have to do what I can do to get rid of the stress in my life.

I don’t like feeling so negative all the time and I often feel like I am bringing all of that negativity from work home with me. Several years ago, my husband and I used to drive to and from work together. On the 20 minute drive to work, one of us would vent and on the drive back home the other would vent. Once we arrived home, it was put aside. I know that I need to find ways to deal with the stress. So, while I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, I have a resolution for 2016 and it is to find ways to deal with the stress. I made another list of things that I like to do and those that I want to do for the next year and I’ll share them soon. Some will be easy and others will take some time, but hopefully they will be resolutions that I can actually accomplish.

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When Your Boss Tells You About A Job Opening…At Another Location

On a Friday, with less that 30 minutes left before the start of the weekend, my boss asked if she could come up to discuss something with me. Usually this ends up with me being told something negative, so I really wasn’t looking forward to the conversation. I was already on overtime, so I was wishing that I had left earlier in the day. When she comes up, she tells me that one of the managers at the main location is leaving for a another job. She says, “I don’t want to see you go, but this is an opportunity for you to move up,” And then she says, “Think about it, because next Friday, the big boss will be here, and expect him to discuss this with you.”

So of course, she is making me go hmm about a lot of things. The first is why me? Yes, I am currently a supervisor at one of the community locations, but I work for a company that was taken over by her company, so I would be quitting one company to go to work for another. The second is do I want to leave a 15 minute drive in the suburbs to drive 30 minutes into the city, pay tolls, pay parking and worry about being mugged on my way to and from my car everyday? No, I am not exaggerating. The city is not the safest and several people have been robbed and worse in the area that I would be working.

Another thought is am I the only one that is being encouraged to look elsewhere for employment and the answer is no. Apparently during our recent annual review process, several employees, myself included, were told that we were wonderful at our job, but there didn’t appear to be any growth in our department, so maybe we should start thinking about opportunities outside our department or the company altogether. In other words, start looking for another job. I couldn’t grasp why we were being told that we were doing a wonderful job, but we should look for another one. I received a 9.8 out of a possible 10 on my evaluation, so it wasn’t as if I was one of the slackers of the department. And I was in good company too. The other employees encouraged to look elsewhere were the head nurse, another nurse who had just completed her BSN (Bachelor’s of Nursing) and the medical assistant. We each did different things in the department, so what was the reason behind this?

I talked this over with my husband to see what his take on the situation was and he said it probably was something that reflected back on her evaluation. Like what I asked? His response was like does she encourage her employees to improve or move up within the organization? Usually? No, but could this be the reason? Yes, because a week after this conversation, my company sent out an Employee Satisfaction Survey, and one of the sections was about “your” department manager and a series of questions. She would have failed every question, but because she “encouraged” us to look for better opportunities, she wouldn’t be a total failure. So the only reason that she appeared to “motivate” us to look for something better was because she was being evaluated on if she had done so.

But she has failed at her attempt at motivating her employees. She showed us that she really doesn’t want to know if we like our jobs or if we want to move up. She is quick to blame someone when something doesn’t go right 100% of the time, but never praises us when we go above and beyond. When you bust your a%# to do good and it’s the negatives that keep getting attention, then employees might start looking for something else. As one of my co-workers said, “If you keep being told to look elsewhere, eventually your employees will take that advice and it shouldn’t be a surprise.” When you don’t feel that what you do matters or is no longer appreciated, it might be time to say goodbye.

Work and Holiday Parties…I Don’t Go

I will admit that I am not a fan of holiday parties put on by work. I have always felt that the workplace holiday party is one that is organized by those people hoping to be seen by the bosses as going above and beyond. At times it has become heated and I’ve seen people push others out of the organizing until they are the only one that remains. Then they can say they did it all themselves and reap the praise they will get. Okay, fine, you need the validation that you are worth something to the organization. I would prefer that my organization saw my worth through my work.

The first year that our center was opened, the holiday party was held on-site with finger foods and a children’s choir singing holiday carols. Considering that people were not allowed to bring their significant others or children, this created a lot of hurt feelings. It also meant that there were no alcoholic beverages, which meant that most of the people exited as soon as they could and the resentment of giving up time after hours was rampant. Luckily, the party was on a Friday night and by Monday, most of the people had forgotten about it, but there are always those few people that will carry the grudge a little longer.

The next year, the party was moved off-site, which meant that those attending could drink alcohol. The people paying for the party decided to issue vouchers to each employee for two drinks. Now, for those employees that do not drink, this caused them to be singled out by those that do, and all sorts of comments ensued, which basically ended up with the non-drinkers feeling as if they were being bullied to give up their vouchers. To give some background, my first job after college was at a Level I trauma center. Within a few weeks of starting, I was called down to the Emergency Room. On my way there, I saw staff running with a stretcher to the operating room with a tiny body on the stretcher, people hanging off the sides while working on the patient, and lying next to her were the remains of her skull and brain matter. Her mom was drunk and didn’t strap her into her car seat. An image like that will stay with you forever. And it will impact your decision to drink or not in public. I choose not to drink. If I want something to drink, I wait until I am at home. That is my choice to do so. I don’t feel that I should have to explain why I don’t drink. Nor do I feel that someone who does drink needs to explain their reasons for doing so to me.

Anyway, I have lost count of the number of people who thought it was perfectly acceptable to call out those of us who don’t drink in meetings and other events to “be a team player’ and give our drink vouchers to those that could use them. Let me see, what they are saying is that the two drink per person limit isn’t enough for them and they want to drink more. So, if I were to give them my vouchers, I would essentially be aiding them in possibly getting drunk and if they chose to drive, then I could be putting the public at risk. No, that isn’t something that I want to be a part of. And honestly, how many of us really want to see our co-workers getting s@%t faced drunk and acting like a fool? I would rather not know anyone that I work with that way. It’s bad enough that we have to hear the after party stories at work the week following the party.

So this year, the bullying about attending or not attending the holiday parties started even before Thanksgiving, with the first email that went out to RSVP if you were attending. I, like many others, deleted the email. Several more emails followed as the date of the first party got closer. Delete, delete, delete. Then came the email demand a reply with a yes or no to the party. I took this to mean that they were not getting very many “yes” responses. Several of my co-workers responded in one email, all listing their names and a “no” next to each. Which opened the door to questions on why aren’t you going and being encouraged to attend the party, but “you don’t have to drink.” Ahh, and there it was. The reason they want you at the party. Unless you attend, you won’t get a drink voucher and they won’t be able to get them from you. Yep, that just makes me feel all warm and welcoming by my co-workers. Nope, it makes me feel used, which is why I stayed home.

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays 2

PugChristmas

The Loss of Two Blogs and Trust

Maybe I’m naive. Over the past few weeks, two blogs that I follow have had ‘moments of truth’ where they admitted that they weren’t the cast of characters that they had been portraying on their blogs for several years. One admitted that they really weren’t a 20 something genderfluid gay man with a librarian boyfriend and a disabled marine who had lost a limb and was a recovering alcoholic. In reality, they were a female M/M author who had apparently started her deception in 2010.

The other admitted in a post this morning that he had also fabricated his character, as well as his chef boyfriend and a friend that was just coming out after having a horrible childhood. It had to be exhausting to keep track of all the “stories” that were told over the years. All of the readers of the blogs came to care for these characters. For me, they were close in age to my own son and I saw things in their “personas” that made me think about things we had gone through when he was younger and hope I would never have to go through with him as an adult.

At this point, I am just trying to understand the need for the deception. Why pretend to be two boys in love and create this cast of character that readers of your blog came to care for? Why not just tell your own story? If you went through a horrible gay bashing years ago and are still getting counseling, why not blog about your road to recovery? Or the fact that you have been in a relationship for 25 years and are still healing? People would read your blog. They would still find encouragement from your experiences and maybe help you along the way. But you will never know that now because the people the readers came to know weren’t real.

When the first incident happened, several readers commented that it was like suddenly losing family members. And I get that. Readers of the blog came to care about these “people” and to learn that years of blogging weren’t real is just so hard to understand. Maybe these characters that were created were a part of who they were at different times of their lives, but it was still a deception, and it is still a loss. It makes a person not want to trust or believe anything they read online. I just don’t get the need for deception. Tell your story, you can be your age and blog about your life. You just don’t need to create a cast of characters to do it.

You will never truly heal if you have to pretend to be a bunch of different people.

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