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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


Give the new kid a chance

Maybe I'm overempathizing because President Obama and I started work at about the same time (I started one day before him), but it chaps my hide when I hear the pundits asking "Why isn't X happening NOW?" The guy's been on the job for less than 2 weeks, give him a chance!

My job is far less intensive than his, and I didn't have the associated relocation and complete lifestyle overhaul that he has, but I do miss my old work friends and my office, so I have some sense of loss that maybe corresponds with his. And there are things I don't know about my job and things I can't quite wrap my head around. There are tasks I still haven't completely taken over from my predecessor because I don't completely know all the ins and outs of them.

And I think I likely have a version of the emotional reactions he is having that complicate things - the "Oh shit, what have I gotten myself into." But mine is coupled with all the emotional reactions of having lost a job I loved and feeling like a failure because of it.

My new boss keeps saying, "Oh hey, Shrinky, did you do x yet?" and then I work hard to get x done and he comes back and says, "Oh, hey, did you do y yet?" and then I frantically do y. It's not the same as, "Oh, hey, did you withdraw our troops from Iraq yet? or "Oh hey, did you solve the economy yet?" but it can at times feel that high stakes (esp. in medicine - where everything is life and death - even administrative work - there's an error in the lit review for the education grant - PATIENTS ARE GOING TO DIE BECAUSE OF IT!!!).

On another note - my new department chair is a woman. She is also a physician, researcher AND a Dean. I asked one of my co-workers how she managed that because my old department chair (male) was a chair, researcher, and physician and he barely got things done. My co-worker said, "She has no life." Well, I think that is a given (and am suprised, actually, how many of our physicians do actually have lives), but I was a little surprised to hear this leveled against her, almost like an accusation. Does anyone say this about males? I feel like among males, it's not even worth noting for those in positions of power - of course they work 24-7. It's a given, and not seen as any kind of failing or sacrifice.


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