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!

Most sincerely,




“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.”

Capri Bailey


4 thoughts on “When Your Work-Identity is Stripped Away From You

    • Thank you! I believe having a successful workplace, no matter what industry, is in the top three necessities of life balance. LIfe’s too short to be unhappy!!!

    • You are so kind, thank you! I’ll keep them coming! If you have a topic you’d like to explore, please let me know!

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