The Test


Well I’ve learned through the last two-three years of therapy to learn to say no and not let people push me around to stress me out.  I guess today I had the ultimate test, and I think I passed.

You see, I was on my way into work and was having a great Friday morning: The sky was blue for the first time in what seems like weeks, the sun was shining; and it’s Friday!  As I was arriving at my office, all I could think about was how hungry I was and that I needed to go to the bathroom.  I figured I’d put my stuff down, run to the bathroom and then run and grab something from the cafeteria to tide me over until lunch.  But that is not what happened.  When I entered my office, I entered to workmen drilling a hole in my wall, a new employee needing my help to get her where she needed to go for orientation, and someone telling me I was supposed to be in a meeting at that exact moment.  Now the irony is that I scheduled that meeting, but I was not aware I was supposed to attend it.  If I had realized that, I would never had made it for the very second I walk in the door, especially today of all days — of eight office staff, only 3 of are working today.

So I asked my meeting to wait for me for five minutes.  I called the person who was scheduled to orient my new employee this morning and was immediately greeted with, “I can’t today, I’m too busy.”  Busy?  Seriously?  We are ALL freakin’ busy.  We are all over-worked and understaffed.  This is NOT anything new.  What is new is that the boss is out of the office for the day.  Now, in the four years I have been in my current position, I have always been very accommodating to our staff.  Maybe too accommodating.  And now that I was starving, mother nature was calling, I was in a hurry to get into a meeting, and I was responsible for the work of three different people with no backup of my own, I had to deal with someone telling me they were too busy?  WRONG!  I don’t know exactly where it came from, but it was there….my motherly persona, my steel backbone, my don’t “fuck with me attitude”.  In my nicest but stern voice (if there is such a thing), I basically told my staff member too bad – do your job.  Then I ran to the bathroom and to my meeting.

Once out of the meeting, I ran to get a bite to eat.  On my way, I was multi-tasking and reading my email on my phone.  My jaw dropped when I read yet ANOTHER email from a different staff member telling me they couldn’t orient our new person this afternoon either.  The reason?  They were TOO BUSY.  I had it.  WE ARE ALL BUSY!  No one does my job if I’m TOO BUSY.  I had enough!  I put my foot down.  The boss may not be in today, but these people were going to still do their freakin’ jobs and not push it back onto me to find a different solution for them.

For the first time in four years, the staff got to see a different side of me.  Granted it was in an email and not in person, but it was a different side nevertheless.  The “Don’t Fuck With Me” side.  So to sum up what I did, I sent them ALL this email:

Dear Staff:

Please note, ORIENTATION IS NOT AN OPTION.  I am sure you can all agree that it is an extremely important aspect for both the (XXXX) profession and to (Our Company) to give our new employees the most thorough orientation possible.  Busy and high acuity days are actually prime time for new staff members to shadow you so that they can get a good view of who we are and what we do here.  If you are so busy that you do not have time to go over the checklist items that you are supposed to be discussing during orientation, then please let me know and I will schedule you for a second orientation day with that person as well.  There should be no need to cancel orientations due to work flow.

Now, this may not seem like much for some.  But to someone who is usually very accommodating to the point of increasing my own stress load and having to learn to say NO, this was a huge step.  I knew it was.  I put my foot down, and it worked.  I haven’t had one complaint all day.  Instead I did get a pat on the back from my boss when he called and I told him what was going on.  Yay me.

So the moral of the story?  Do your job and don’t complain to me.


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