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Lizzycritter 12-04-2010 03:39 AM

Venting...
 
I had a falling out with a coworker today, and my brain won't let it go so I can sleep, so I'm hoping if I let it out, my brain will chill.

She's had an attitude for quite some time, and it's gradually gotten worse over a period of two years. It started today with me asking if we could set up a schedule to empty the shop-vac regularly instead of waiting for it to lose suction, we use it to vacuum the fur off of patients that have just been clipped for surgery. Her answer? "Well, we can't put it on a schedule because we don't know how many dogs we're going to shave in a week". After two minutes of going round and round that this doesn't matter, because if we empty it once a week it won't ever get full, I gave up and wrote a note to myself to remember to do it on my own. Then around lunchtime, I was cleaning up after surgery, which I am not above doing, but she's the assistant and while I was cleaning, she was up front doing her math homework. Our manager is the kind that wants to be everyone's friend, which I try not to take advantage of and it is nice to work someplace that understands my husband's a cop who works odd hours and if the kids are sick or he's in court, I have to leave to take care of them. But the downside is our manager doesn't really have the intestinal fortitude to crack down on this coworker because she wants everything to be fair and everyone to get along, so she's no help. In fact, at 3:00 when we were overscheduled due to an emergency, Dr and I were working appointments while she was in the manager's office with the manager's son going over student aid or applications or something like that, school related, again. Then at 5:00, after mopping the floor, she dumps the mop water down the bath tub, which I don't like because that much hair going down a vital drain can't be good. I asked her not to do that because it clogs the drain, I had written a note on the white board yesterday not to do this because the drain got clogged. It turned into, "well the manager said I could because it never blocked before", I said "well it blocked yesterday, she doesn't know that, it took 15 minutes to clear it and it was pretty nasty", "well we can't dump it outside, it gets icy", "so can we dump it down a run", "You're not my mom, you can't tell me what to do" -that really pissed me off! I said "well, you are my assistant" "I'm also the doctor's assistant, you can't boss me around, [manager] said I could", I lost it, said I was tired of her disrespect and this was the second time today, she said "more like the 15th time, you better stop telling me what to do", at that point I was about to say you don't want to be here, why don't you f'word quit already, but I didn't, I grabbed my keys and my coat, didn't even put my coat on or sign out, and I left. With her yelling at me from the other room the whole way. I feel bad about storming out, but it was either that or descending into cuss words and possibly a fist fight, she is the type that won't back down off of anything no matter how petty. Walking out was the lesser of two evils. She is in school and we just hired a new assistant last week, but I am at my breaking point. I know she's going to quit sooner or later, but I can't take her any more, it's to the point where I've updated my resume, and I've been at that job 8 years. She consistently calls in asking if she's "really" needed, we work with 1 receptionist, 1 doctor and either 2 techs or 1 tech 1 assistant, even on a slow day we need bodies but it's so hard to get her to do anything without bitching that I don't care whether or not she shows up. She called in Tuesday because she was out looking for 3 boys that are missing up here, very bad story, but it gets dark at 5 and her shift started at 5:30. I really don't think I'm out of line here, but I take pride in being a professional and professionals don't peel out of the parking lot in anger.

cjohnson728 12-04-2010 04:58 AM

I'm sorry you had to go through that, Lizzycritter.

Sometimes it seems like some people never leave middle school drama behind.

You did absolutely the right thing by posting it and getting it out.

almeeker 12-04-2010 11:36 AM

I'm so sorry that you have to work with such a pain in the behind. Work politics are the worst. In your situation I think the best course of action is to decide if the job is worth hanging on to with or without this person. Do you really want to quit because of some underling that is clearly getting ready to jump ship? You might want to have a nice heart to heart with the manager and let her know what your issues are. And if the assistant is supposed to work for you then don't "suggest" things to her, tell her it needs to be done this way or that way. Right now it sounds as if you are enabling her to be mouthy and push you around. And if she's doing homework when there is work to be done, don't tolerate that. Close her book and remind her that shes not being paid to do homework, and if she doesn't agree the two of you can discuss it with the manager. Some people only respond to firm commands. The other avenue you might look into is to file a formal complaint against her.

mtlgirl 12-04-2010 12:57 PM

I agree with Almeeker. I would sit down with the manager and have a heart to heart. Just keep all emotions out of the conversation and explain that your priority is to have things running efficiently, not letting drains get clogged, or vaccuums overloaded and that this assistant seems to have made not taking "orders" from you her priority. She clearly has a problem with authority and at her stage in her career that is just going to consume her work life with conflict.

You can even rationally explain that to the assistant herself. Again, I would use every ounce of restraint I had to remain emotionless and just tell her that you have no desire to "boss" her around, you just want things to run efficiently and you have the benefit of 8 years of experience behind these suggestions. Also next time she starts to argue with you I would just say, "I'm not here to argue with you. I am just doing my job." and walk away. Don't engage her. She sounds like a lazy, spoiled, child and her problems will follow her to every job she gets. You on the other hand, are an experienced professional with a great head on your shoulders so don't give the runt any power over you. Stick to your guns! The critters need you, Lizzycritter! :)

I hope your venting helped!

Lizzycritter 12-04-2010 01:01 PM

I've been to the manager numerous times, sadly I think she's part of the problem. She's the manager because she's the daughter of the original owner, who's now retired. I've been trying to stick it out until the assistant leaves, but it's been at least 6 months if not closer to a year that she's been threatening to quit. It's getting harder and harder to put up with. My only other option is to do an end-run around the manager and try to talk to an owner directly, but they work in the large animal side and are always on the road, they have no idea about office politics. In the meantime, I'm dusting off my resume just in case and doing some soul searching. I like my doctor, I love my clients, and I get along great with the receptionist and the other tech, but enough is enough already.

The other part of it is, and there's no good way to say this especially on a weight loss forum, the assistant's never been a small girl, but she's put on considerable weight, and this is a physical job. If I had to guess, I'd put her at about 350 lbs. Her scrubs are skin tight, which I know from personal experience seriously restricts your mobility. I'm not sure how much of it is can't and how much of it is won't, but she doesn't restrain properly anymore. You're supposed to get down on one knee, put one arm around a dog's head in a sort of bear hug, and the closer arm around the dog's chest. Doing this gives you leverage should a dog panic or try to bite, they don't have room to turn and get you this way. They're stronger than us, using leverage to your advantage is critical. Now she stands bent just at the waist, one hand on the dog's nose and one on the leg. I'm kneeling eye level to the dog's face while drawing blood, if the dog lunges she's got no leverage, I'm farked. I'm seriously afraid one of these days somebody is going to get bit, this has also been brought up several times and has fallen on deaf ears.

blackrhino2 12-06-2010 05:23 PM

just reading this now...i totally feel for you. i think you should have a very serious meeting with the manager or the owner. explain the situation in a professional manner and state some of the things that should be inexcusable and that are hurting the business operation. tell your boss you need an action plan on how to overcome these obstacles, one that you create with your boss so that she feels some ownership over it and will back you up.

also, try to remember all of the things that are going well in life. always helps to keep it in perspective.

rpmcduff 12-06-2010 05:38 PM

I think Blackrhino has a good idea. Maybe meet with your manager, express your concerns (and that these concerns have you on the verge of quitting) and tell your manager that if she won't come up with a plan you will take your complaint to the owner. Since you have already had discussion this is very appropriate, especially when your safety is at stake. When the plan doesn't materialize (which I doubt will happen given this manager's aversion to conflict) then you won't be doing an 'end-run' but only following through with the only option left to you.

You make me thankful for the dedicated, competent group I currently work with. Good luck.

LisaAnnie 12-06-2010 08:27 PM

If it were me, I would brush up my resume, Always be ready to walk if need be. However give the manager a chance to "manage"... meet with her again and let her know what is the problem (cite an example or two) and let her know it has got to the point that you are ready to find employment elsewhere. Perhaps the manager will act if she thinks she's going to lose you. If she doesn't act, then I would seriously re-think working there.

Lizzycritter 12-07-2010 12:26 AM

Thanks everyone. I haven't been back to work yet. I'm not sure what I'm going to do tomorrow. I do know I am NOT going to apologize. I hate conflict, and thinking about confronting this problem makes my heart race and palms sweat, but I have reached my limit. The Irish red temper has made an appearance. This coworker has become a bully, and I am not going to be pushed any more than I have been. If that means I have to find another job, so be it, even in this economy there's a need for my services :D I wouldn't take this crappy belligerent attitude from the doctor I work for, I sure as hell ain't gonna take it from an assistant that regularly doesn't show up for work anyway. :D

rpmcduff 12-07-2010 03:39 PM

Maybe you should consider Mike's 'shanking with a candy cane' option for your co-worker? LOL.


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