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shrinkykitten

"...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.

2.21.2009

Work habits/work ethics

I accept that I am totally into my work - I work hard, I work long hours, I try to do as much as I can, and take on more than I should. I invest myself completely and work becomes way too important.

But I'm in a bimodal workplace when it comes to work habits/work ethics. Our physicians are the hardest working doctors I've ever seen. It inspires me to work as hard as I can to help and support them, and because of that, I've made peace with some of the more secretarial parts of the job. If it helps my group of physicians, I will do it. I also have, in just the month I've worked there, really come to love the department and what we do. Our physicians do amazing work, and are great, funny, fun, sweet people. In many ways it is the perfect place for because the mission of the department fits so well with my own passions, and the physicians/faculty match well my quirkiness.

But, the admin staff is a whole 'nuther story. They have very low investment, many of them are super young (first job out of college; one year out of college), and it creates a high school like environment that I can barely tolerate.

There is so much unprofessionalism among them, it's not even funny. I had a meeting recently with one of them and with my boss. We are working on a big project together. During the meeting, the other admin person kept putting down my ideas or making jokes at my expense. She has worked here for like a year or so, so she knows my boss better than I do, so maybe she a higher comfort level and level of casualness than I do, but I think it was still unprofessional and inappropriate. I'm afraid to say something because she works directly for the department head, and I don't want anything I say to get misconstrued and passed on.

The other admin staff spend their days hanging out in my office with my office mate, or reading facebook, or looking at the latest news and gossip about celebrities. When they have to work, they complain about it. It's driving me crazy.

On top of that, they only have to work 7.5 hour days (technically so do I, but I work way more than that). Yet, some of them rarely even put in that. They also take 1.5 hour lunches (lunch is supposed to be 1 hour). Now this wouldn't bother me so much if it didn't directly affect me. Honestly, having them all gone for 1.5 hours a day is good because it gives me some quiet time to focus. But, starting next week, I have to start doing lunch phone coverage (2 of the admin people's phones need to be covered at lunch). So, I have to cover an extra long lunch for people who are, in effect, working 7 hour days when I am working 9-10 hours a day with no lunch and am drowning in work?

The idea is supposed to be equity - we all take turns covering things. But when I have the largest group of doctors to look after (I have like 15 whereas the others have between 1-5), then that's not fair. Mostly though it is the 1.5 hour lunch that upsets me.

I'm not going to say anything. I've only been here a month, and I think I can't start pointing out inequities until I have established myself better as a good worker and a team player. We are losing some staff though, so I may ask if there might be a chance of getting my own office. I just have to figure out how to frame it.

I'm afraid to say anything directly to my office mate about office noise - my predecessor just silently seethed about it, so if I say something, it could become huge and turn the whole group of them against me.

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