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
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!