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Work Has Become Disheartening

new-job-2So…work….I said earlier that I would post one last time about work and then not say anything more until I have a new job. I used to enjoy my job and looked forward to going in to work. I still enjoy some parts of my job, mainly those involved with taking care of the patients, but the other things have taken a toll, not just on me, but on the whole department and it is a struggle to just go into work each day.

Late last year I wrote about my former manager telling me I should look outside the department for other job opportunities. At the time, we didn’t know that she was doing the same thing. The search began for a new operations manager and I hoped that the new manager would come in and work to get things back on track. Ummm, no. In fact, it’s been seven months and things are worse than they ever were. We aren’t being managed because it has become apparent that she is in over her head and doesn’t know what to do. So as a result, she isn’t focusing on the main issues, but is taking small things and working on those while the bigger issues remain unresolved. We have staff being written up, staff being terminated and others, like me, looking for other jobs.

I knew that things would be different when the new manager didn’t meet with the individual sections to learn what they do and understand what a typical day is for them. She cut the weekly staff meetings to once a month and for the meeting agenda, she completely eliminated my section as well as others. We were no longer given time to discuss changes that were coming down or concerns that we might have. I still had a weekly meeting with her and during our first one, she told me that the previous manager had “spoken very highly of you and told me that you are the one to go to when I need help because you have been here from the beginning.” I quickly learned that meant I was there to dump all the things on that she didn’t know what to do or didn’t have time for. The first time your manager says they appreciate you, it feels good. The twentieth time they say it to you it means nothing. They are just meaningless words being said to pacify you.

The turning point for me came just before the holidays. One of my employees went to cover the morning meeting and came back extremely angry because she had basically been made to look as being totally incompetent at her job in front of other employees. She was told that if she couldn’t do her job in 40 hours “you will need to look at being retrained because apparently you have problems with time management.” Really? So it doesn’t have anything to do with our clinic increasing from 2 doctors to 4 which meant the workload increased while staffing didn’t? The answer is no. It doesn’t matter to the manager. That employee began looking for a job that night after work.

A few days later, my manager made the comment that “I don’t understand why your section is struggling with the workload. You did this job for a year by yourself.” Hmmm, yes, I did the job by myself for a year. But I had 2 doctors that were only there a total of 4 clinic days. I now have 4 doctors, each with 3 clinic days, so I have a total of 12 clinic days a week to cover.  I also didn’t have any of the Administrative Assistant duties that were passed on to me when that person quit and they decided not to fill the job. I also didn’t have to complete so many meaningless reports, most of which were repetitive, but have to be done separately to keep other people happy. We also weren’t required by the government to capture all of the Meaningful Use data in order to meet the guidelines for insurance reimbursement. So yes, I was able to keep up with the workload. It was much smaller then.

Going home that day I told my husband that it is easy for her to say what she did because she has never taken the time to sit with us to see what we do. She hasn’t even asked to see the spreadsheet that breaks down my sections tasks for daily, weekly and monthly. She hasn’t done that for the other sections either. So I began looking for another position. I have started with internal job openings and will eventually look outside the organization. Last week I was called for an interview. The job I applied for and the description of it from the director were completely different, so that wasn’t for me. But fingers crossed that I will find something soon.

If not, I can always hope to win the lottery.

Man Your Battle Stations

churchillThis is going to be a work update. Our new manager started in August and while she has been settling into the job the office has been in chaos. It has been interesting to see how people are trying to make themselves seem wonderful in her eyes, as if they are the perfect example of “Employee of the Year.” Oops, maybe they are trying so hard because the new manager actually was selected as “Employee of the Year” at her previous job. Anyway, it has been more of let the backstabbing begin and then the mudslinging starts.

Our office has been in transition for a while. We had the old manager leaving and the new manager coming on board. The plan was for the old manager to continue to come to our office for two days a week to help the new manager learn her position. That idea, while great in theory, lasted about two weeks. The old manager has done much of the training by phone and teleconference. Another area of transition is with our doctors. One is leaving to work at another community site. His replacement, while we know who it will be, has not been fully credentialed at our facility or with the insurance companies, so that has caused a delay. The physician leaving wants us to slow down on giving him new patients and our other physician is taking on the majority of the patients and is feeling overwhelmed and overworked. Our head nurse doesn’t like our new manager and has already complained about her to the director of the center. Added to this are rumors of cutting staff and people are worried about their jobs.

Employees are trying to get the attention of our new manager and they don’t necessarily care if they throw another employee under the bus in order to do so. Tension and animosity is growing in the office. I had one employee straight out lie to try to get out of doing a task that she was given more than a year ago by telling our manager that she “volunteered” to do it because my section was too busy and it is time we took it back. Of course, I was called into the office and questioned about this. I explained to my manager that the task the employee was given had never been my sections to do and that she was given the task because she didn’t have enough work to do and they were trying to justify keeping her position full-time. I also let the manager know that there had been a nasty, hostile confrontation with the former manager and the employee in June during my weekly meeting and to please verify it with her. She did and now she knows the truth. As for the lying, co-worker, I discuss work and only in front of witnesses. Any further conversation doesn’t happen. I keep our interaction limited and the door to my office closed.

I had high hopes that things would be different and sort themselves out once the new manager came on board, but that isn’t the case. A number of co-workers are looking for other jobs. They used to hide that fact, but now it is being discussed out in the open. Their feelings are if the manager knows, maybe something will change. I’m getting tired of waiting for the change to come. In my opinion, the wrong people are looking for other jobs. The one’s causing the problems are the ones that should be looking elsewhere. I spoke to my husband and he knows that I have set a date in my head of when I will have enough. Either things get better or I start the search for a new job. As always, he is supportive. And I love him for that. It makes it easier to go into work every day. Until then, I have made the quote below my new motto and have put it on the bottom of my computer monitor where I can look at it each day. I also have it written it Italian, which makes it harder for people to know what it says:

“Sometimes it’s better to react with no reaction.”

 “A volte e meglio reagire con nessuna reasione.”
 

Starting Over At Work

The process for hiring a new operations manager for my department is finally over and the new manager is currently going through orientation. I really liked her when she came for her interview and I hope that the person who showed up for the interview is the same one that shows up for work. In other words, I hope that she really is as she seemed to be during the interview, which was pleasant and open to ideas from the staff. She has experience is several areas of the department and understands what our roles are, so hopefully everyone will be able to start with a clean slate and move forward after all of the drama and upset over the past few months.

Of course there is concern that the current manager will fill her head with trash talk about employees that she has been in conflict with. I am somewhat torn on whether it is a good idea for the outgoing manager to be the one training up the new manager. I know that it helps with the ease of transition for the department, but I would hope that the soon to be ex-manager would let the new manager learn for herself who people are in the department and what they are about. I am focusing on the positives…a fresh start and a new attitude of the office.

Overall, I am hopeful that all of the negative things that have been going on will end and we can focus on taking care of the patients.

Work Again…Trying to Find the Positives

Neg PosI originally wrote a post about changes that are coming to work, but I took it down after reading it again and realizing that it was mostly negative. I didn’t like that because I had made it a goal to try to find something positive from each day, but it was becoming harder and harder to find something positive. Negativity was becoming more prevalent and I wanted to figure out why.

Really, I knew why. The reason is that my workplace has become negative over the past few months. To briefly explain, my manager, who told me I should consider taking a job elsewhere, has taken a job elsewhere herself. The decision came after she had confronted a nurse about something that had happened in the clinic and the nurse not only defended herself, but a doctor and another nurse basically told the manager that she was wrong and to back off. The manager ended the conversation by telling all of them to get out of her office. Shortly after we began to hear that she was interviewing for another position, which she got, and she will be transitioning out of the department. Unfortunately, things are not going smoothly and the atmosphere of the office has become negative.

Now that everyone knows that the manager is leaving, some have become passive aggressive with everything they say or do. I know that it is a power play, but it creates tension, which morphs into anger and before long everything seems to have a negative feel to it. Where I used to enjoy going in to work, I find myself dreading it. I have started going into work earlier than usual so that I can get things done without having to deal with others and their issues. Staff has started talking about looking for jobs elsewhere and that means that a department that has run so smoothly in the past, is now at risk of breaking apart.

I want to be positive that things will get better once a new manager is hired, but that may be wishful thinking on my part. The first candidate interviewed last week. They currently work in our department. The staff took part in interviewing her and when asked how she would handle the communication issue within the department, she replied that she would tell the staff that the gossiping needed to stop. She works in the department and to her, the communication issue is gossip. How she doesn’t think that information not being disseminated to the proper people isn’t a communication problem is something I just can’t understand. She works in the department, yet she has no idea what issues are affecting the rest of the department.

I have gone back and forth about starting to look for another job. My husband wants me to try to get out of the medical field and look for a position with the government. Candidate number two will be interviewed next week. He is a project manager, so maybe someone with no ties to the department will be a better fit. There are supposed to be two more after that. Things will get better. I just need to say that every day to and from work. Maybe saying it enough will make it happen. Fingers crossed.

Focus On The Positives

As we moved into the New Year, it seems the question that everyone kept asking was, “What is your New Year’s resolution?” If I replied that I didn’t have any or didn’t make them, some looked at me like I was from another planet. One co-worker replied that “Everyone makes them.” Of course my reply, with a hint of sarcasm was, “Who is everyone? I want a list.”  To me, a resolution is something that you must succeed at, and when you fail, as I have done in the past, I end up feeling like hmm, a failure. And for me, I do not want 2016 to be a year of failures.

Positive

So instead of things that I knew I would fail at, I thought of things that I would like to do or try for the new year. If I try something and it doesn’t work for me, then that isn’t a failure. It is a success because I will have tried something I haven’t done before. If it is something I end up liking and decide to keep doing, then that will just be success times two. I made lists of things that I would like to try for 2016. Some of them were to focus on the positives, find ways to relieve stress, make health a priority and focus on family.

I realized that negativity always has a way of bringing me down. I tend to focus on the negative and then it starts causing all sorts of issues, from stress headaches, stress eating and not being able to sleep. One of the ways I decided to deal with the negativity was to not focus on it. Instead, I have decided to try to write down something positive each day. Whether it is something someone said or just a positive quote that will carry me through to the next day. I have an inexpensive journal that I picked up for the holidays, so I have started to put the positive things in there. I realized that I missed a couple of days, not because nothing positive happened, but because I wasn’t used to writing things down. So I have put writing in the journal a part of my daily routine. I actually had several sticky notes that I put in my lunch box to remember to journal after work, so hopefully it will be something I can do every day.

As for things I would like to try in 2016, I want to try to eat healthy vegetables that I usually avoid. My plan is to try one new veggie a week. I know that it is all about the taste, so I plan to search out recipes that are not labor intensive and if they taste good, then maybe I will add them to our list of healthy foods. If they aren’t then I will have tried something I haven’t before. So far, I am learning to like sugar snap peas and green beans (as long as I have some low-calorie ranch dressing to dip them in). There are many foods to conquer and many weeks left in the year.

I also want to find things that help in stress relief. I had read an article a few months back about how coloring books for adults were becoming popular for stress relief. My husband and son bought me several coloring books and pencils for Christmas, but I haven’t used them yet. My son asked me why and I explained that I was stressing about choosing the right colors for the flower. His response, “I don’t think you are supposed to stress about coloring. That would defeat the purpose.” And of course he is right. I did find a free app for my Kindle that allows me to color. If I don’t like a choice, I can click the back arrow and it disappears. I finished one pattern and it let me email it to my husband, who printed it off and hung it on his bulletin board, so I have colored something, and it did make me feel better, so that is a positive.

 

 

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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