Headaches

Once again! I never expected that running a program would be anything less than challenging, but did not anticipate sportsmanship to be one of the main issues i would confront. As the reader is aware, I have been working on building a hospital-based, outpatient weight loss center. It has taken years, but I now have a small team I work with – 3 administrators, and administrative assistant, a PA, 2 dietitians and a behaviorist, as well as some other ancillary staff who have been kind enough to help out from time to time.

I have been doing some teaching also – three endocrine fellows so far have rotated through my clinic. Things are busy and humming along.

Theoretically, I have a great team now. Everyone on team has the capacity to do and has done excellent work. They are all smart. They all have common sense. They all care about the kind of job they do and they care about the patients. Sounds like, what could possibly go wrong?

What could go wrong is rebellion. No one likes to be told what to do, especially if it disrupts what is perceived as the usual routine. So unfortunately, I am experiencing a lot of pushback, specifically about wanting to have a half hour meeting once a week which would require a few folks to come in a bit earlier than usual. I mean, does it not make sense, now that there is actually a team, to have a weekly team meeting? And at a time of day when no one is seeing patients? Before the day begins? 8 a.m. seemed like a reasonable time, such a small thing to ask, but apparently, not so much. You would not think such a request would be met by anything but benign acknowledgement. Not so. The response was dramatic. I was on the receiving end of such a vituperative tirade from one individual that you would have thought that I had killed someone. The worst part is that I was not in the least bit surprised – in fact I expected it.

However, this resistance took other forms as well, more insidious, albeit less jarring than the explosive attack, from others.

Because everyone has her (they are all female) own pushback approach: the passive aggressive employee (doesn’t show up or shows up late, and apologizes) and the directly oppositional employee (who doesn’t argue, but merely calmly, firmly, and ostensibly with great maturity, sets limits, asserting something along the lines of “I’m not doing that”).

Over the years, I have known other administrators – and seen what they put up with, some up close. cb has had some absolute nightmares he has had to deal with throughout his career – there is never a paucity of bad apples who poison the bushel.

Part of the problem is I do not have hiring and firing authority – due to budgetary constraints, I am assigned people already on the payroll with no latitude to advertise for any positions – no new positions are permitted. I basically have to take what I am given or no one at all. This does not give me much leverage. If things continue like this, though, I am going to have to think seriously about lobbying to make personnel changes. It would take a major effort. Sometimes you get lucky and peops quit making the job easier.

Oh, well, I have been mulling all this over for the past few days, still feel bad about the huge and unnecessary confrontation that happened the other day, but am quite sure I was absolutely without fault on this one. And I should point out to the reader that I am the first one to accept blame and am also one who apologizes a lot for things that are not my fault. My Mom never apologized for anything, my brother never apologizes, and also members of my family – brother, Mom and Dad – were not gracious acceptors of apologies, which tended to make those feelings of shame when has when apologizing extend for outrageously agonizing duration. When accepting apologies, I, too, can be rather imperious and unforgiving. It seems to be a family trait. I must say, when I am in the wrong in my marriage and apologize to cb, he is so extremely magnanimous and gracious that apologizing is painless. Another way I am the luckiest woman i the world. He is so much a better peop than I am.

The point being that during an unpleasant confrontation, among other emotions is inevitably that feeling of indignant self-righteousness that adds fuel to the fire and clouds objectivity such that seeing the point of view of the other(s) is impossible, at least in the moment. Later, after cooling down, and upon rumination, I may get that sick sensation in pit of stomach of having been absolutely wrong, and the sickening knowledge that I owe someone an apology. “Later” sometimes means an hour after the incident, and sometimes it means a day, sometimes even more, but if within two days that discomfiture has not seeped in, then I am, in my own mind, all ok and I know my behavior was justified, and I am vindicated. Usually by this time, I have also had the opportunity to bounce things off cb (as in work related things) and/or other family members or friends, who will have definitely been honest with me, although understandably in the kindest possible way and often with not a little bias in my favor.

Anyway, that is the way things stand now, with incident of the other day, so I will just stick to my guns.

This entry was posted on Sunday, April 26th, 2015 at 4:01 pm and is filed under career, projects, stupid. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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