A Bully For A Boss
“I’m not sure why he isn’t on your ‘list’, but this medical student is scheduled to observe Dr. Banks in OR 4 this morning, and he needs to get a locker, scrubs, and sign-in with Dr. Banks.”
The scheduling nurse looked at me like I had just spoken Greek to her; nevermind, I knew everything was in place, and soon she would too. Our surgery had all kinds of power-flinging subservient paper-pushers and she was no different.
As I turned to our student, my division director came up behind him, and I, of course, said good morning. He looked up at me from his clipboard, and then flipped through a combination of expressions which was almost comical, beginning with ‘what the hell are you doing here’, to ‘someone else should be doing this’ ending with ‘oh, I guess you’re scheduling the Fellow surgery students’. Paaleeese. Just let me do my job and lose the Hollier Than Thou attitude. In one single sentence and look, I had experienced my work identity being stripped away from me.
But the truth is, he had me trembling in my boots. I knew what I had to do, and did it plus more, and for some reason, it just didn’t matter. I could do everything just as he requested, and it would still be wrong. He was the kind of person who yelled at others in his office and in the hallway. He’d throw surgical instruments across the OR and pens in department meetings.
He was a bully. He treated people like dirt. But only certain people; the ones who knew he was incompetent and incredibly poor at managing people, teaching students, and creating a successful division.
I’ve seen other ‘bosses’ treat people like this also. It’s nothing new. I’m sure everyone who reads this is thinking of someone they have known who fits the bill and description perfectly. It has taken 2 years and several therapy sessions to accept I have PTSD. I work from home now (love it!!) and have him as well as 2 other ‘bosses’ to thank for my wonderful career.
But it was the most difficult and degrading experience (s) of my life.
Just because it may have been an accepted practice in the past, doesn’t mean its okay to do. #MeToo needs to have a sibling named #WorkToo.
I felt isolated, wrongly-accused, and helpless.
One of my co-workers at the university called me a few days ago with this news – two of our colleagues were on the brink of mental collapse. One lady was on Family Medical Leave Accrual (FMLA) and the other lady was using her sick leave before going on FMLA. The gal who had called me was my only link to sanity before I gave notice; she was now facing the same pressure and repercussions that I and our 2 colleagues experienced.
It’s a plague in my most recent workplace. And HR is a ghost in the background. I had worked in 4 different divisions at this university medical school/hospital and saw the same thing happen to co-workers in each. I could see the handwriting on the wall; I had been marked and it was just a matter of time.
But what about the person who has worked in the same division for years? The people have come and gone, and the younger and more aggressive ‘leaders’ are assuming the positions of the patriarchs. It’s not just a matter of being degraded and humiliated any longer; it’s a war room with ‘newer and better’ chomping at our heels as well as accepting lower paychecks for less experience.
As sad and discouraging as this scenario is, it was this original conversation of this group of women at the university. It was hard for us to get together to discuss and support each other face to face; my solution was to provide a supportive, upbeat, positive social site for women our age to converse, get to know, and believe in each other. We had all been sequestered to our own ‘island’ within the hospital, but with a site, we could have a safe place away from the pain.
With all of this said … I really want to hear from you.
I want you to know this is a safe place where you can come and experience support, camaraderie, and non-judgment. No one here will tell you what you should have done; no one will pass along rumors or dream-up lies; no one will be anything other than an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on.
Please, send your story in the Reply below. All conversations will be private unless you request group suggestions or (with your permission) a topic article addressing a common-thread of conversation.
This past week was a tough one for me. If it was for you, please share and know someone on this end is listening … me!
“I had no where to turn. I’d seen 3 collegues terminated for ‘reasons’ which had nothing to do with their job performance. And now, it was my turn to be thrown to the gallows. I felt battered, betrayed, and falsly accused.”
Scared or Excited?
As I write copy for a large financial planning firm, I’ve been aware of the stock market and financial occurrences on a regular basis. I don’t have a lot of money to invest, so whatever I do ‘risk’, I do so with intense research and experienced advice. With the current buzz on a pending recession, I and most of my friends, are getting a bit nervous.
It All Started with the Change of Command
Certain elements which have shown the lack of intelligence in Washington DC set us off. K, well, I should probably speak for myself, but I know I am in confidence with my ‘tribe’ when I speak for the whole. Comments about women, in general, would turn us against the ‘element’, let alone the irreverent stance toward the environment or the insanity of internment for immigrants. Whether your opinion, the ‘trade wars’ have been detrimental to the well-being of many US industrial and agricultural markets.
Haunting and Daunting Past
For me, I’m suspicious of large financial institutions. A pending recession sends chills down my spine – I was taken in 2008 (lost most of my pension in my medium risk pension) when I lost my job, needing to declare bankruptcy to keep my home; my mortgage company had ‘promised’ a loan modification when I lost my job, but it hadn’t been approved before another branch of the same bank foreclosed and purchased my home on the auction block. I can’t tell you the devastation I felt, single mom, lived in our home for 9 years, facing the possibility of losing it because one branch of a bank wouldn’t ‘talk’ to the other. It was maddening.
My parents also lost their retirement in mutual funds investing. No one was unaffected.
Retirement and Our Future
After speaking with several people who are ‘in the know’ and a pending recession and the good or the bad, I am a bit more relaxed. Actually, the financiers who are in the middle of it are fairly excited.
“It presents opportunities which otherwise, aren’t available.”
Well, I believe this may be terrific for someone who has the margin to risk buying growth stocks or maybe a hot trend trade. For me, I’m suspicious of large financial institutions. But little ol’ me, putzing around trying to make a nickel here and there and squirreling money as if it’s my life on the line (isn’t it?!!!). I fear to invest $15,000 in an agriculture venture outside the country or buying growth stocks for lack of trust in my own emotions.
Me or a Financial Planner?
So, I’ve taken the steps toward enlisting a financial planner. The company I write for is an extremely trusted ally of mine (I’ve purchased many programs from aa associated company) and quite frankly, everything I’ve read from them makes sense to me. I’ve concluded, with some suggested financial help, the following path (also seconded by my go-to resource, AARP).
Go with what feels comfortable for you. It’s your money, and if you are concerned about your well being, then read, read, read! By doing this alone you will gain knowledge and satisfy your concerns, whether you take action or not.
If you feel you can tackle this on your own, or just want to make sure you pick a great planner, take these steps:
- Do some research into articles of money which are important to you. Pick a few from the group, and read further articles from your sources. Of these resources, pick one or two and contact them with your concerns. You can also request a trial portfolio to see where your money would be invested and the returns/risks you may expect.
- Also check out self-investing websites, if you are confident enough to go it on your own. These would include TDAmeritrade (Scottrade) or Yahoo Finance.
- There are many other resources you can read up on, including Investopedia, Simply Wall Street, or Yahoo Finance. Most have a free trial period so you can see if self-investing is the path for you.
You Can Do This!!!
No matter your path, feeling better about finances and our futures’ stability is on all of our minds. Some things are out of our hands, but some things are smack dab in our laps. Take some time for you and your well-being, and brush up on retirement options, recession outlooks, and possible choices to avoid a set-back. You’ll feel better about all the ‘doom and gloom’ talk while also knowing you are current and making wise financial decisions!
- Recognize this – You are justified in taking time ‘off’ and for yourself. Just like the oxygen masks on the plane ‘secure your mask before securing others’ If you aren’t there to complete the task, it won’t be completed!
- Make sure your time off is exactly that – time off. Don’t clean the house when you should be going to the store just because You want a clean house. Though a clean house is wonderful, it isn’t time spent on loving yourself, it’s a diversion, just like shopping for the household. Get a massage, go for a walk in nature, or treat yourself to a movie. You pick.
- If you are in a destructive situation, step back, analyze why you are the one in pain. Schedule some time to inventory your feelings and desires, then decide for yourself, or with someone else, how to get to a ‘safe place’, either by changing the situation or re-evaluating your understanding. Also realize, no one else can do this for you, so construct a positive path which will lead you to a better place
I’m Grateful I Walked
Never Enough Time …
On my way to work, the morning was typical, just like all the rest, alarm, coffee, shower, more coffee, feed the dogs, iron a shirt, pet the pups bye-bye, and unlock the car.
As I backed out of the driveway, however, something felt different. I thought it was the cool, overcast day, giving a breather to those of us with hot-flashes and yard work. But I didn’t think that was it, there was something more. Something mystical, something just beyond my grasp. But, as most things ‘unusual’, the feeling was gone, and I was in traffic and pollution before I knew it.
I turned the corner to pull into the parking terrace when my car began to ‘chug’. I couldn’t describe it to the tow truck guy any other way … “It felt like gas wasn’t getting to the engine. I thought I had run out, truly, but remembered I had just filled it up the day before. The gauge said ‘full’ too.”
As I watched this burly young kid (okay, he was probably about 35, but a kid to me!), I realized I was stranded. The bus didn’t come anywhere near work and my kids were both out of town. I’ll need to just walk home, I suppose. Thank goodness it was a cool day; the walk would serve me well.
I finished work, gathered my stuff into a department tote, and set off in comfy shoes I had stashed from the winter before. I left a bit early, so I could get ahead of the traffic rush and not breath fumes most of the way home.
The cars hadn’t read their script, however, and I felt the heat with each passing engine. As a second old truck’s tailpipe bellowed a strangling carbon dioxide lung-full, I decided to abandon the direct route and opted for a hopefully, more clean path through the gully. It was well worn and offered respite from the traffics’ deafening hum as well as the gases which gagged even the hardiest of lungs.
I found the trail’s path only a few feet ahead and dropping onto the soft peat of the trail, I felt like I was slipping into a cool, enveloping pool of tranquility. The green from the canopy branches filtered the light, giving off a surreal vision of fog and mist. As the temperature dropped, my muscles relaxed and my shoulders began dancing with my melodic pace.
Each step was therapeutic. The birds began singing and realized I hadn’t heard their song in ages. The small stream which dipped in and out of sight from the path gurgled and sputtered over the stones and the low hanging branches. The smell of wet bark and fresh moss rose around me. It was as if the entire show was being assembled and performed just for me.
Then … I stopped dead in my tracks. What had I been doing for the past five years? When was the last time I had been in nature, and when was the last time I felt alive, really alive?
I took the kids camping a lot, but that was ages ago. I also took the pups for walks and romps in the park, but it wasn’t the same as this. This was for me. I was the person in the middle of this ballet and it was for me. No body and no thing to be responsible for.
As I continued on, I began looking for details … caterpillars on leaves, ladybugs on blossoms, and skeeters on small pools in the stream. I swear, I saw the trees breathing, in, out, in, out … the shadows keeping their secret to those keen enough to notice.
A turn in the path showed an end to my symphony, so I decided to rest on a partially hidden bench, stealing just a few more moments amongst the bracken and branches. I didn’t want the magic to end. I wanted to continue down the path of discovery and wonder; to explore the feelings I knew as a child. The feelings I had felt every day of every summer of every year of adolescence. This brief walk within the arms of mother nature felt like home. And I didn’t want to let go.
I could hear the clicks of bicycle gears approaching, and tried to bring myself back to the present. The rider dismounted his bike and began walking down the path toward me. As I looked up, I noticed his eyes were closed and his face was raised to the treetops. He too was experiencing the sanctity of the moment, the melodious song, and serene peace of our surroundings. There was nothing special about this place and there was everything special about it. I wasn’t the only one needing a bit of rejuvenation between responsibilities and the drudgery of the outer world. Owing family, owing bosses, owing reality; everything, but what I should be owing … my own inner peace and tranquility.
Our eyes met briefly, and his glance ‘spoke’ of what I was feeling … this is a safe place for each of us … and all of us.
And it won’t be the last time my car is left to its own devices while I focus on mine!
Wow, spring sure has hit hard, hasn’t it? Wait, spring, winter, summer, back to winter, and then spring … my bulbs are going crazy right now!
I’m going to do something different today, as I’ve been struggling a bit with ‘attitudes’ of sorts. I’m not sure if the hormones are kicking in full-strength, or if it has something to do with taking care of my dad, but the last 4 weeks have really taken a toll on my ability to pull myself ‘up’. Living my 5th decade has proven to be a bit of a challenge!
Considering this, then, I thought I would enlist three of my closest comrades to write a few thoughts down, just to get the ball rolling for the new season. I’ve also been composing the FREE e-book, which will be out in a week, for you all to enjoy, so concentration towards it will steal a bit of my time.
And with that, here are my writing wranglers, with their take on … well, anything! Have a great first week of May!!!
Well, I’ve Been Gone Awhile…
After leaving this website in the hands of its owners and realizing they were a bit more involved in their lives than they had anticipated, I’m back to managing the rhetoric and resource. Though hearts and hopes committed to pursuits of grandeur, life and love possessed the most promised of pledges. It is with great compassion and ownership that I will be flagging videos, creating posts, taking pictures, writing blogs, and blowing our horn in every way possible, once again. Thank you for welcoming me with open arms!!!
Though we haven’t had any obvious energy online, those of us behind the scenes have kept the emotion of My Second 50 alive – in coffee shops, on gondolas, and with family surrounding our souls. Conversations have continued within the pages of books and on sidewalks of schools. Tears have been shed embraced in hospice and concerns have been voiced on the steps of capitals. Our thoughts are singular, but our focus is combined. We are aging women who have dreams of our own and lives to begin living – now.
We are often a strong league in numbers, but sometimes feeble in the confines of our own minds. When the hormones are raging or disappoints rank too high. And why do these things usually hit home at the dead of night?
In the past year, I have traveled, grown, lost, and loved. I’ve realized my ‘sisters’ are the strongest part of me. I’ve seen many of them vulnerable and frail one moment, and turn around and knock down steel barriers the next. Some carry pain I will never know, others mask hardship without a clue to their frailty. Many of us exist with a lump in our throat and a brief hesitation to begin the day.
And with all this emotion, disguised or free-flowing, we carry on.
In witnessing these amazing feats, I fall silent. Too often I battle with times of insecurity in my responsibilities and expect more of myself than ever before.
I am not unusual.
I have moments of elation and hours of thought. I try to stay upbeat, but it is winter in the Rockies, and sometimes the days close in with grey and gloom. I blame the weather, but are the storms inside my skin?
Once again, I am not alone in these feelings.
That is when I reach for My Second 50, and it’s ladies to redirect me.
You all are light and hope. I’m so honored to be, once again, in your midst with words and welcome. Pour that cup of coffee and let’s tally onward …
Take The Initiative
- First and foremost, listen to your body
- Secondly, don’t put off what you should do today
- Thirdly, keep trying, don’t give up, we all have setbacks- it doesn’t mean defeat
- Fourth, have fun, put a smile on and get outside
POSITIVE ATTITUDE and YOUR BODY
Happy Mind, Healthy Body: Can One Affect the Other?
As each of us moves through our day, there are occurrences when stress, anxiety, or nervousness affect our ability to function at our peak performance level. Granted, asking our body and mind to kick out 100% velocity 24/7 is a bit much, but all in all, it is generally what we ask of ourselves. Getting reports completed, keeping meetings and schedules current, and satisfying those around us who ask the utmost of our abilities takes a toll. Both mentally and physically. Not to mention the daily demands of our personal lives of paying bills, raising children, and keeping our homes operating efficiently.
Picture this scenario and replace yourself with a car. The engine is asked to travel at 80 MPH, throughout the entire day. It has hills and valleys to travel through, periodically needing service. Gas, oil, and levels of coolant can keep it running on a current level, but it will also need additional maintenance; repairing the transmission, replacing a leaking oil pan, or fixing a ripped seat should be maintained also. These things take time, money, finding the right mechanic, and hardest of all, the realization of it needing to be done.
While our bodies are not as clearly understood as a red flashing oil light or a flat tire, we usually have a pretty good idea of when we need ‘maintenance’. Eating, for example, is a pretty easy need to realize. But even this common and necessary practice can be misunderstood. If we fill up on empty calories or toxin-filled foods, they wear down our ‘engine’ and extra tasks need to be performed. Exercise, diet re-evaluation, and even surgery contribute to the doctors’ game plan of what will keep us moving through life happy, well-balanced, and capable of handling life’s’ ups and downs easily.
When the red oil light does come on, however, and generally we can all figure it will happen at some time, the anxiety levels rise and our body goes into survival mode. How do we cope with this mentally? Do some cars fall apart at the bottom of the valley and park at the side of the road to rust away? Are others taped and glued together to make it to the next garage to be fixed and made better, later? Physical mishaps can be dealt with, but even a car needs a driver to determine that something is wrong. As is our psyche, and we are dependent on it to get us into the ‘shop’ to fix any problems which may arise.
If our minds are at the breaking point, however, what happens then? If we have been operating at a full capacity for months and years and our bodies say ‘whoa, I need oil’ do we listen, or do we keep on pushing ourselves until the engine seizes up? Having a negative or overwhelmed mental state can harm the body much more than just needing to enlist in an exercise program. It can defeat our environment, causing us to reduce work efforts, forget important family needs, and basically, shut down the communication between mind and body.
Keeping our psyche healthy and happy is, and should be, a major concern of a nurtured and balanced lifestyle. Each one supports the other, making our bodies capable of handling the anxieties and burdens we put on it daily. In other words, we need to stop and smell the roses on a scheduled and realistic level.
So what now? If you are feeling unhappy, nervous, or ill, see your doctor. Discuss your concerns and devise a path for you to get back on the road of positive feelings. If you feel good currently, great. Keep up the good work, but don’t rely on youth or caffeine to get you through the day. Make sure the fuel you are putting into your body gives you the happiness and positive attitude you need to face your job, your community, and yourself with a bright approach to your day and your life.
If you aren’t sure how you feel, ask a close friend their opinion of your attitude. Do they think you are optimistic or pessimistic? Do they view you as wanting to try new things in life or hovering in the background, afraid of what change may bring? Remember, these stresses will eventually take a toll on your body, whether in small doses of having a headache or irritable stomach, or large doses such as heart disease or cancer.
Bottom line, listen to your body. Deep down, you know what you can do to make yourself a healthy and happy person. Do the analysis and step up to the plate. Your mechanic and fuel can only do so much. It is up to the driver to pull the car into the gas station or call the mechanic. And no one wants to drive a broken down and unpredictable machine.
Keep On Truckn’!
Independent & Astute Fine Artist
Handsome & Sensitive Biochemist
Yea! It’s taken me way too long to get a Pinterest account up, but I hadn’t the time to grab some photos for a proper and welcoming attraction for you all. Lo and Behold, I have finished off some great boards, stuffed them full of beautiful content, and have it ready for your browsing.
I particularly like the Places to Travel board, as I believe the four walls are closing in on me. There is also a board on Projects To Try, Garden Ideas, DIY Gift Giving and Kids Corner for projects to do with your grandkids. If you haven’t been bitten by the Pinterest bug, don’t feel left out. Actually, it may be a godsend, as when you do begin, it is easy to get lost in its oblivion. All of the pictures, projects, file folders, and recipe cards can be ditched, as they can be ‘stored’ on Pinterest. Well, maybe not the recipes, but there are plenty of new ones to collect, especially on healthy eating, something our doctors keep mentioning at routine visits!
There are also plenty of lists which have been gathered for those of us with good intentions, but little time to do anything more than writing a Post It note to ourselves. Several are in the Travel folder for itinerary suggestions and packing hacks, as well as Events and Celebration organization ideas.
Check them out and please let me know how you like them. If you have any additional boards you would like to see created, contact us below and we’ll get more content posted. Pictures will be added daily (as I’m kind of a nut for Pinterest) and future board ideas include Wedding & Events, Retirement Abroad, and Entrepreneurs.
Thanks as always, our readers are the best!!!
Early Spring Flowers
The weather is easing up and the days are getting longer … yes, my faith in nature has been restored! The dogs are staying outside longer also, bringing in mud instead of snowballs. It’s ok, I’ll do the trade-off. Winter does not show my best side, not because of the snow so much as the short days.
This year I did keep thistle seed outside my window for the Gold Finches. They have made a world of difference in my attitude and outlook. Bright little streaks of yellow on the grey days can make a huge difference. Their song in the winter seems a bit more bright, instead of the melancholy two-note trill. Perhaps they brighten each other up!
As I was leaving my home yesterday, a neighbor was walking his sweet lab. She is older and moves slow. We were able to get in quite a few topics of discussion before she was ready to move on. Among solving all the worldly problems, he noticed a speck of color in my dull and rotted leaf yard – the tiniest of daffodils were up and were lifting their little heads to the sun! Yea! As I looked further, I found the bulbs were all poking up, not blooming, but defiantly making a stand in the rotten fall muck. Imperial Crown, Grand Emperor Tulips, Angeliques, and Bright Spirit Daffodils, all about 2 to three inches high and looking as sturdy as can be. I do love bulbs!
My eyes scanned quickly around, checking to see if my standbys were blooming, and sure enough, there they were – little violets on my cobblestone path – Early Spring Flowers! I have three kinds now, the basic dark purple, some lighter pink, and a new one with purple speckles on white.
My neighbor was a bit surprised and said he was immediately going to go check his yard for any signs of life. We’ve swapped plants and cuttings through the years and have found our tastes are very similar. In a neighborhood with its fair share of Yard Snobs, it’s nice to know someone else appreciates my common but faithful violets!
Happy Spring everyone!