Work Stuff

Gossip is a B*tch

gossip: casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.

Dangers of gossip:

  • Erosion of trust and morale.
  • Lost productivity and wasted time.
  • Increased anxiety among employees as rumors circulate without clear information as to what is and isn’t fact.
  • Divisiveness among employees as people take sides.
  • Hurt feelings and reputations.
  • Attrition due to good employees leaving the company because of an unhealthy work environment.

Oh yeah, we’re going there. Strap in.

I’ve been having anxiety attacks again. My chest is tightening and I feel like I have heartburn all the time. My heart is being thrown into palpitations and my whole body just feels TENSE.

Things were going great at work. Everyone had their assigned doctors, we were all doing our thing … and then one of the MA’s was asked to leave. She wasn’t a good fit. Her doctor wasn’t happy with her work performance and this girl, though  nice, was one of those people who you couldn’t say anything to without her taking it the wrong way or over analyzing everything. If you said something, it became a “thing.” If you didn’t say anything, it became a “thing.” If you tried to help, it was a “thing.” If you looked at her wrong, she made it into a “thing.”

News flash, I don’t do “things.” I like my drama-free life, thank you very much. I tried to stay out of it as much as possible but one thing about being one of the oldest people in your clinic is: people come to you for advice because being older equates to being wiser, I guess.

So, I heard a lot. And I offered advice and served up my thoughts.

Mistake number one.

But honestly, we all heaved a collective sigh of relief when this person was kicked out because she was just too exhausting to be around and ain’t nobody got time to walk on eggshells all day, every day.

Now there was an MA opening.

Right around the time this MA was asked to leave, another MA, who worked with Dr. S., was struggling to try and do a good job for him. It didn’t help that she was fairly new and was being told, or showed, different ways of doing things. We all do the same things but we all approach these duties a bit differently because every doctor we work with prefers a different approach. Which is fine, but it can be confusing. I have to give this MA credit, she lasted way longer with Dr. S. than I thought she would. Because Dr. S. is a dick. On one hand, I think he enjoys being a dick because he gets some sort of high off being that way simply because he CAN. But on the other hand, he is a meticulous doctor and wants it done a certain way and accuracy is EVERYTHING to this man. Which is not a bad thing, we should always strive to be accurate but let’s not forget, we are human and it’s not a question of IF we miss something, it’s a question of WHEN. And WHEN that happens, please be patient as we learn from this experience and strive not to do the same thing again.

Because Dr. S. has such a reputation in our clinic as being difficult to work with, he has gone through several nurses and MA’s. No one wants to work with him because it’s just not easy, let alone pleasant. So Dr S. is discouraged by his clinic days because no one sticks around long enough to LEARN and/or IMPLEMENT what he wants.

Someone, who had good intentions, told Dr. S’s MA that he didn’t like her. Unfortunately, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back and she went to management and told them she no longer wanted to work with Dr. S.

So, she no longer works with him and took over the spot that was recently vacated by the MA that was asked to leave.

Are you keeping up?

Personally? I don’t blame the girl. I wouldn’t want to continue to work with a doctor who is difficult on a good day, let alone who doesn’t like me or I don’t like him. How exhausting. I didn’t blame her one bit for moving, I just wish it had happened a bit more organically and wasn’t prompted by another employee, who again, had good intentions but the execution left much to be desired.

Now, Dr S. is without an MA – again. And his nurse had to leave because of family issues, which is a shame, because she was actually a good fit for Dr. S., but life happens, what are you going to do?

Now Dr. S. is without an MA OR a nurse. Awesome.

Enter me.

Look. I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, but I’ve been an MA for nearly six years now and I feel like I have a pretty good handle on my job. I can handle the patients, give the doctor what he wants and very little gets by me so that our clinics typically run really well, barring anything outside my control.

I thought about it … agonized over it … and ultimately, I just couldn’t sit back and do NOTHING. That’s not in my DNA, unfortunately.

I volunteered to take over Dr. S.’s clinic preps/clean up until we could get someone else hired, trained and up and running.

I did it because A. I knew no one else would volunteer, which B. meant that we all would be assigned days to cover for Dr. S., which meant we would have 8 different hands in his schedules and potentially a completely f*cked up mess that would only make our volatile doctor even more of an ass to be around. Which brought me to C. I know what I’m doing and I was hoping I could bring a little stability to his clinic schedules and D. I thought of Dr. S. as a challenge and I like challenges, and E. I don’t give a rats ass if he likes me or not.

Take me or leave me, dude, I really don’t care.

However, me, being me, I took on the challenge, THAT I VOLUNTEERED for, and have been stressing myself out because I desperately want to do a good job for this man and I didn’t want him to think I was a dumb ass and say something to my normal doctor like, “Wow, your MA is really stupid” or something to that effect because I DO care what my doctor and mid-level think of me and I don’t want to disappointment them.

So yeah, I’ve been stressed being Dr. S’s “MA.” I have covered a few of his clinics though thankfully, we are rotating on actually working his clinics, so that helps a bit. But I am the go-to person for anything concerning his clinic schedules, which is fine, and seems to have been working thus far.

At least, I haven’t heard anything to the contrary and in cases like this, no news is good news when it comes to Dr. S.

However, Dr. S.’s old MA, though consistently covering another doctor, is always listed on the coverage schedule as a covering MA. I mean, if she’s going to be this other doctor’s consistent MA, why make it sound like it’s a temporary gig on the schedule?

This has been going on for WEEKS. Nothing is being said, nothing has been announced, we’re just stuck in limbo. So naturally, people have questions.

Which management construes as GOSSIP.

I respectfully disagree.

WE HAVE QUESTIONS. WE ARE ASKING QUESTIONS. What’s the big secret? Why isn’t management telling us what’s going on? The lack of communication from management is only making us ask MORE questions. And now, management has berated us for gossiping because these questions are getting back to management and they aren’t addressing the questions.

Dude, if you don’t have answers to these questions, just tell us – we’re still working on the situation. But to deliberately not address the elephant in the room only makes that elephant an even bigger entity which leads to more questions.

Which management then gets pissed off about and now the message is more severe and less enlightening and again we are TOLD to stop gossiping.  Which confuses people even more – it’s a damn merry-go-round.

Everyone is now so sensitive to this “gossip” problem that I was actually pulled into my director’s office and she asked me why I brought this MA’s name up in a conversation I had with my immediate manager. First of all, that was a conversation that had NOTHING to do with my director and secondly, I mentioned this MA’s name because I was making a suggestion on how I thought she would be a good fit to help out another team that just lost their MA. (Yes, I’m talking about a THIRD MA leaving – they’re dropping like flies, ya’ll).

I was beyond annoyed. I told my director that I was confused by this “gossip” thing and felt like the real issue wasn’t “gossiping” but a lack of communication on management’s part. Everything is a damn secret in this clinic. All management has to do is address the murmurs, answer the questions to the best of their ability, people are not stupid, they realize that there are some issues that are none of their business but SOME information is better than NONE and by the way, don’t make us feel like 5-year old children because we dare TO ASK QUESTIONS.

I also told my director that when it comes to this specific person, or really, anyone outside myself, I don’t care what happens. Ultimately, it’s none of my business. But when things happen seemingly out of nowhere, we, as humans, who have a vested interest of what happens in the clinic because we spend 40 hours of our lives every week in this place, have a right to wonder WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON.

Of course, I didn’t word it like that, I maintained a professional tone of voice (though I’m not going to lie, I was pretty frustrated, and have been because this tension has been building FOR WEEKS), that was the essence of our conversation.

Look. Gossip happens. I’m not naive enough to think it doesn’t happen. Whether it’s with ill-intent or not, gossip is a by-product of working with a group of people, but when something happens, and everyone notices it happened, but management treats it like, “hey, there’s nothing to see here, folks, move along” and then berates us because we dare to ask questions about what happened, that’s not gossip, that’s just bad management.

I think this situation has not been addressed for so long that it only PROMOTES gossip because we’re all speculating and wondering why management hasn’t said anything. What are they hiding?

It just snowballs.

And unfortunately, this is how our clinic runs. Our communication with management is not ideal. They can do a better job. And I think our clinic peeps also need to understand that not everything that happens in the clinic is their business. However, when something happens that affects the overall running of the clinic, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to answer a few damn questions.

So. This “gossip” train has also been stressing me out. And whenever I feel overwhelmed, I tend to withdraw and emotionally shut down. I go into self-preservation mode – I don’t care. I have to do this because I find myself caring TOO much and honestly folks, IT’S JUST A JOB. It’s not worth my health and when your job starts to physically affect you, it’s time to take a step back and breath some reality.

Dr. S. is starting to get used to my face. He has had a few suggestions concerning my clinic prep (which he told to his medical secretary who told me. But that’s par for the course with these doctors – they go to the person they are most comfortable with and his medical secretary has been with him for a long time. That’s fine. I get it. It doesn’t bother me) and I’m adjusting what I’m doing based on his feedback and hopefully making his clinics a little less painful for him.

But consistently maintaining two doctors’ schedules takes a lot of my mental reserves and it’s all I can do to keep my head above water. And I’m being real here – we have to resolve this other doctor’s MA team thing before we can even ADDRESS finding an MA for Dr. S. and now an MA for the team that just lost theirs. I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel on the Dr. S situation for quite some time.

And again, that’s fine, I volunteered for this gig, remember? However, what I DON’T have time for is the extra drama and reprimanding from management for all of the “gossip” around the clinic.

My mantra, at this time, is, “I don’t have an opinion and I don’t have any suggestions.” It’s sad that I’ve come to this place but my mental, and physical health, can’t take any more stress at this point.

I’m in survival mode and will continue to be in survival mode until the dust settles, every team has an MA, and we can get back to “normal.”

Book Corner

Book Review: Hidden in Plain Sight

By day, Roberta Lake is a computer software and hardware specialist with an uncanny knack for understanding the inner workings of the technology she works on. By night, she is a CIA Brain Trust operative, putting her abilities in mind communication, infiltration, and control to use on people instead of gadgets.

In other words, Roberta Lake is a psychic assassin.

Under the watchful eye of the Brain Trust, as well as her handlers, the Three Wise Men, Roberta takes out her assigned targets from afar with the help of her alter ego, Bobbi Waters—the true killer of the two—and only after she determines whether the target truly deserves to die.

This arrangement spins out of control when the Brain Trust suspects Bobbi is fracturing from Roberta, becoming a separate persona. Roberta is deemed a threat to the organization, and this time, it’s her life that’s being targeted. What’s worse—they want to know her secrets first, and she’d rather die by her own hand than be the blueprint for an unstoppable force of psychic killers let loose on the world.

I downloaded this book from NetGalley so in essence, it was gifted to me for my review. (More about NetGalley soon).

First off, the book cover and the blurb are what sucked me in – the eye really captured my attention. And I like the title, though after reading the book, I think “Hidden in Sight” would have been a more appropriate title because for me, this story was anything BUT plain.

It’s an intriguing premise and though I personally don’t believe in psychics and the paranormal, I do believe it’s possible on some level, if not probable. So I’m coming at this read from that opinion.

I was confused right off the bat. The author does a really good job of pushing me right into the middle of Roberta’s story but it took me several chapters before I started to get a feel for what was happening. For example, I thought Roberta and Bobbi were two separate people for several chapters. And I couldn’t figure out the relationship between Roberta and her boss Magi and why were they jumping right into sex? Though an interesting read, I felt cheated in some respects because I wanted to see more character build up before the action.

Though I certainly understand why the author chose to open the story this way, and it was interesting, if not terribly confusing, I feel like if an author is going to open up her story this way, then allow me a moment to catch my breath and catch up to the premise. I needed to know more about Roberta, how she discovered her abilities, who these characters were and why they were important to the story. Though I’m not a fan of back story, a little back story goes a long way.

This story felt more like part four of a series. And I can definitely tell that the author is working that angle with this premise, and I think it’s a good idea, but to me, this was like walking into a movie theater late and jumping right into a story that A. I have no idea what it’s about, B. where it’s going, and C. why I should care enough to stick around and figure it out.

I wanted to know more about how Roberta discovered her talents. I wanted to see her struggles and her emotional journey that led to her decision to terminate bad people. I wanted to know more about her family history and why this ability is prevalent in her family. I wanted to know how she was recruited and by whom. I wanted to experience her first kill and the creation of Bobbi because after the author reveals who Bobbi is, I totally bought the REASON Roberta created her. I wanted to experience Roberta’s moral dilemmas and struggles. I really wanted to see more relationship building between her and Magi – I’m suddenly thrown into the middle of a sex scene and a few chapters later Magi is professing love. Whoa guys, slow down! And I wanted to know why Roberta felt so uneasy about Jenny. Other than that character being annoying, why did her gut tell her there was something off about her co-worker? What actions caused Roberta to be suspicious about Jenny? Simply being annoying doesn’t quite justify why Roberta felt the way she did about Jenny.

I felt like a runaway train trying to make out details from a blurred landscape – it was exhausting and frustrating.

And perhaps that’s the author’s intent, to spoon feed backstory to the reader as the series progresses, I can appreciate that approach, but I needed a bit more backstory IN THIS STORY because it took me a while to play catch up.

This premise also reminds me a lot of the TV show, “Alias” with Jennifer Garner. The character is recruited from college for her raw talent and then cultivated and groomed to be an effective tool for an agency’s agenda.  Then, her and her handler develop feelings for one another which complicates their working relationship. That premise has always fascinated me and being a fan of “Alias” I really liked the strong female character and her ability to kick ass virtually all the time.

Which brings me to another point of contention: Roberta is seemingly invincible.

I’m all about strong, powerful women. But Roberta doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses. Her ability to compartmentalize and turn her mind off/on is certainly impressive, but short of killing her physical body, what weaknesses does she really have? We’re lucky that Roberta has a strong moral compass and she’s capable of compassion and love as evidenced by her interactions with her family, but surely there is a physical limitation to her supernatural powers? If so, this story didn’t reveal it. And though her ability to control a target’s mind, and other entities, (no spoilers), it’s almost too much power, too easy, in some ways. I want to see a weakness that is not readily apparent and not many people know about but when someone stumbles across it, it absolutely cripples Roberta and she has to come up with creative ways to handle it.

At this point, Roberta is more machine than human. Which may be what the author is going for, but in order for me to care about her, the possibility of losing her will only enrich the story, in my opinion.

Overall, the story is well written, fast-paced and interesting. I think the author has the potential of taking Roberta on some incredible journeys, I would propose slowing down and allowing the reader to enjoy the experience.

*All views expressed on this site are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated.

Book Corner

Book Review: Talking to Strangers

How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn’t true?

While tackling these questions, Malcolm Gladwell was not solely writing a book for the page. He was also producing for the ear. In the audiobook version of Talking to Strangers, you’ll hear the voices of people he interviewed–scientists, criminologists, military psychologists. Court transcripts are brought to life with re-enactments. You actually hear the contentious arrest of Sandra Bland by the side of the road in Texas. As Gladwell revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, and the suicide of Sylvia Plath, you hear directly from many of the players in these real-life tragedies. There’s even a theme song – Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talmbout.”

Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world.

Yes, it’s true, I rated this book three stars.

It wasn’t due to lack of interesting content, all of the examples that Mr. Gladwell presents are interesting, his points are well taken, they are also well articulated, when he gets around to making them. And the thought that the “supposedly” brightest minds in the world are incapable of detecting bullshit is more than a little alarming. (As evidenced by his examples).

I gave this book three stars because of the way this book is laid out. Mr. Gladwell gives us example, after examples, to prove points that he doesn’t quite allow the reader to digest before moving on to give us yet another example or another aspect of communicating so that by the time I reached the halfway mark, I was ready to just scream, “JUST GET TO THE POINT ALREADY!”

I suppose, after reading the above blurb, I was expecting a mind-blowing, profound solution to talking to strangers – a how-to guide to communicating and understanding a stranger’s non-verbal language. I was expecting some tips and tricks on HOW to talk to strangers, but Mr. Gladwell instead shows us, through historical events, that it’s nearly impossible to truly know a stranger’s motives.

With all due respect, Mr. Gladwell, duh.

In essence, this book is about reminding us not to jump to conclusions when speaking to total strangers. We don’t really know the motivation behind someone we just met. We may think they are honest, they may appear sincere in their body language and facial expressions, but Mr. Gladwell’s point is: it’s virtually impossible to truly know people.

This quote perfectly sums up this book: The right way to talk to strangers is with caution and humility.

Not exactly earth shattering advice.

However, let’s be fair, there are a lot of television shows, movies and online sites that tout the ability to teach someone to tell if someone is lying or not. And if the person’s motivations match their non-verbal language, then we will likely correctly interpret whether someone is telling the truth, but if someone truly wanted to fool us, it wouldn’t be hard to do.

As Mr. Gladwell states, we all default to believing people are inherently good. We want to believe that people are honest and truthful because no one wants to believe that people are capable of lying or generally being assholes. And now, with the aid of the media, we are constantly reminded to be careful, don’t trust anyone, people have ulterior motives and no one really cares about anyone but themselves, (it’s all about ME), that now I think the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction and most people default to thinking the WORST of people right off the bat. Which Mr. Gladwell shows us is also a very dangerous road to travel.

So, what now? How do we successfully communicate with strangers? I don’t have the answer to that question and I don’t feel like Mr. Gladwell answered that question either, he simply reminds us that in order to effectively communicate with people, one must be patient, kind and understanding because people are the byproduct of their life choices and personal history and if we understand that crucial factor, then we are more likely to understand a person’s motivations and temperament.

If you’re looking for a how-to book on how to talk to strangers, this is not it. But if you want a glimpse into the human psyche and a thought-provoking read, then enjoy.

Can We Talk?

Appreciate Now

This video really resonated with me….

I think I can appreciate this message now because I’m older.

A new year, a new beginning, a new chapter … and a time to reflect on the past. Which I don’t do, ever.

I’m a future sort of gal. I tend to only look to the future, plan for upcoming events, always thinking of what is to come. And because I tend to do that, I tend to forget to appreciate the now.

Though I feel like I’m better than I used to be.

I think Kevin is focused on the NOW. He’s always working on projects and doing things that need attention NOW. But he’s so busy living in the now that I don’t think he takes the time to appreciate the now. I’m working on coaching him to slow down, take it easy, appreciate the moments. His tasks? Will still be there whether he takes ten minutes or an entire afternoon to just STOP and appreciate the fact that he stopped and paid attention to the now.

I could be busier, sure. But I don’t want to be busier. I like having my quiet, solitude moments. I like parking my butt on my couch and reading books, or putting in earbuds and watching YouTube videos. I appreciate the moments perhaps TOO much.

But time doesn’t seem to be moving as quickly since I’ve been less busy, less productive.

I just wish I could slow time down a bit more so I can appreciate the moments even more.

Time is precious. It’s important to make the most of this precious time. But it’s also important to appreciate the previous moments as well.

It’s all about balance. And finding that balance is perhaps the most challenging part of living life.

Daily Prompts

Thoughts: 1:2:20

Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution that you kept?

No and here’s why.

I think my resolutions have always been someone else’s resolutions. Not to say I haven’t wanted those things I’ve resolved to do but rather, they were goals that weren’t that important or realistic for my lifestyle.

Not to mention, I just get bored with trying after a while.

I’m lazy. I really am. And I’m terribly selfish with my time. I think that selfishness stems from the fact that I spend the majority of my time helping/serving others. I work in the medical field so my day comprises of being available to our patients and at my doctor’s beck and call.

I don’t feel like I truly have time for ME. Because given the choice, I WOULDN’T do this job – it goes against every grain of my body – but somehow, I’m good at it. And I’ve gotten to the point where I feel comfortable doing the job and I like my co-workers so I don’t see myself starting over any time soon.

Plus, I’m just too old to start over. I could, but I don’t think it would be a good thing, overall, to do that.

I think if alternate day fasting has taught me anything, (and yes, I’m still doing that), it’s that I need to do what works for ME. Granted, I don’t know what that is until I try different things but I need to stop and recognize when something is not working and try something else. And NOT beat myself up over failing.

Ultimately, I’m scared of failing. I’m scared of wasting precious time because again, I don’t have a lot of time TO waste. I think that’s my biggest hang up with writing – I’m scared to fail. But how can I succeed if I don’t fail?

So, though it’s good to have goals, I think it’s more important to have REALISTIC goals for YOU and YOUR life.

Daily Prompts

Thoughts: 1:1:20

I’m asking the obligatory first of the year question:

What goals do you have for this year?

I want to write more and finish a novel. Notice I didn’t say it has to be a GOOD novel, but something tangible, something workable.

I want to do a better job of balancing my work/personal life and take more days off. Life is too short.

I want to blog more.

I want to successfully complete a bullet journal. (More on that later).

I want to take more pictures.

I want to improve my mental/physical self.

I want to make money from my writing … somehow.

I want to cash in our frequent flyer miles and take a long weekend trip with Kevin (in addition to our yearly cruise).

Your turn: What goals do you have for this year?