Wednesday, February 15, 2006

This Is Not About You

15 FEB 06

When I started this blog, it was to give me a way to write about my own thoughts for my own benefit. Dear reader, this entry has very little to do with poker, and it’s not for your entertainment. I need a way to get my thoughts down. Feel free to read and offer advice if you think it will help, but you aren’t going to like me much when you are done reading, and I really don’t want any more abuse, thank you.

Here goes.

Poker may be starting to affect my work.

It’s interesting. I remember when I started playing many years ago (okay, it was last year, but it feels longer), I got a few bad beats while playing 4/8. I came into work the next day and was really hard on my residents. The fact they had it coming was merely coincidence. One of my residents was looking at a CT scan and couldn’t tell the difference between the uterus and the bladder. I really laid into him.

Afterwards, he actually thanked me. It seems that no other staff had cared enough to get involved, much less angry. He told me that he’d try better, and that he appreciated my willingness to attend every resident conference and provide input. I guarantee he’ll never forget his female anatomy again.

But, was I overly emotional because of the bad beat the previous night? If I’m being honest, I’m forced to say yes. Just because I was doing the right thing doesn’t justify HOW I did it. There were plenty of other less confrontational ways of approaching this resident. In fact, I got reprimanded for my actions.

Well, I got another bad beat yesterday. In fact, it was a string of bad beats akin to the slaughter of Daniel Negreanu at High Stakes Poker (am I the only one watching this show on GSN?).

So today, I come in early and immediately get a distress call from one of my techs. It seems she was up all night worrying about whether or not we are in compliance with a certain federal regulation. Now, there are a lot of things I do that need to be in strict compliance. Certain things are Level 1 critical (for instance, the amount of radiation coming out of my machine is too high – I shut it down without a second thought). In this case, the tech felt that the issue was a Level 1, and she wanted to shut us down. Fortunately, it’s my decision. The issue is clearly important, but it’s about a Level 3 or 4 (these levels are arbitrary – my point is, the issue is clearly important, but not bad enough to cancel a full day of patients).

Well, the fact that it takes her 30 minutes to explain the issue to me (while patients and residents are waiting), coupled with the fact that she clearly cares more about the issue than is healthy, coupled with the fact that she won’t let me interject to explain to her how we were going to solve the problem caused me to get a little short.

This will come back to haunt me. As I type this, she is calling the FDA. They are not known for measured reasoning in cases like this. I expect we may get shut down - not because we need to get shut down, but because they will likely not understand the issue after my tech explains it. Their “cease” order may be precautionary until they can get more information.

And you know what? It’s MY fault. I promoted this tech to the lead position because I had to fire both previous leaders. Both prior firings were fully justified (the first had committed 2 felony offenses and the second I blogged about – she was the one going through the messy divorce who kept bringing her new boyfriend to work, taking 2 hour lunches, and acting very inconvenienced when asked to do her job). I CAN’T fire another one.

My thoughts here turn to Change100 at Pot Committed. I’ve been fired from one job, but it was not my career. She got fired from a career-type position. That’s exactly what I may be facing with my tech – firing her from a career position. It could be devastating. I don’t want to do it. Hopefully, I’ll find a way to bring her around, or at the very least put her back where she was (not in a leadership position).

I promise I won’t make any final decisions until I’m sure it’s not rash behavior from my recent bad beat.

This sucks. A better person would find a way to make this work.


John G. Hartness said...

It sucks. The "burden of management" that people talk about is very real, which is something that hits me in the face every year when I discuss people's raises and/or bonuses with someone based on their performance. Any time you're forced to hold someone's livelihood in your hands it's tough.

The question is going to come down to - is it worth firing over? Obviously her two predecessors were awful enough to fire, so is her behavior today worth dismissal or is demotion an option? I have managed to avoid firing anyone by shuffling folks around to various departments and positions, so maybe you can go that route instead of firing her.

Either way, the mere fact that you are taking the time to think it through rather than react immediately says a lot. Good luck.

iamhoff said...

I don't know, that's kind of a fugly situation. Being on the cautious side of things isn't necessarily a bad thing unto its own, but when it jeopardizes the business it has to be dealt with. It may be that she's young enough to be idealistic and all about doing "the right thing" to the letter, as opposed to the spirit. As Staff noted, the fact that you're thinking it over instead of knee-jerk reacting is a good thing. Good luck.

Unknown said...

Thinking about it vs. Knee-jerk reaction is a good sign of a good manager.

I think taking her through your thought process will help her see why the issue is a non-issue.

Darryl Metcalf said...

Ok...First and only question that needs to be answered is "can she do her job without putting others at risk? If the answer is no, FIRE HER...If her actions don't put others at risk then it is YOUR job to train her adequately. I think my experience at having 450 people I was directly responsible for for 18 months really opened my eyes to how people act and react to situations. This has nothing to do with poker and probably nothing to do with leaderhip. I have a feeling this has to do with explaining to some "commander or DCCS why your clinic is closed.

DrChako said...

Thanks guys. Quick update - she finally calmed down enough to tell me:

a. She hasn't slept in over 2 days
b. She's lost 9 pounds since I promoted her
c. She has spent most of the last 48 hours crying
d. She didn't call the FDA
e. She found an easy way (with a little help) to fix the problem - as I knew she would.

I sent her home with a directive that she get some food and some rest. I told her not to think about work until Friday or Monday. She started crying again and she hugged me and thanked me.

It's not over, but I'm most of the way through the thicket (at least this time).


Darryl Metcalf said...

Maybe you should work on the nine pounds!! :)

whiskeytown said...

whew -

I have found in situations like this I like to write up a scathing letter/email -

and then let it sit and sleep on it overnight -

by the next day I'm cringe worthy enough to see it a bit more rationally and calm.