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.”