Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Some friend I am

And so I've returned to the world of work outside the home.  That world where you have to respond to the time clock of others. The world where you wear an ID badge.  The world where you can't wear a modified version of your pajamas for the first six hours of your day.

Hospitals are perhaps the most complicated and entangled bureaucracies of all bureaucracies...but maybe I'm naive.  School districts and universities probably give hospitals a run for their money but I think accidental death always being a possible outcome at hospitals makes for slightly higher stakes than say, flunking.  As health care employees, we are charged with efficiently processing large amounts of very personal and private information while managing and serving a customer group that is mostly anxious, in pain and facing life and death decisions. It's a service industry with layers of standards, protocols, procedures, updates, changes, improvements, responses to government and regulating bodies that drop in without notice... and in the end, patient survival, healing and as a cherry on the pie, satisfaction lead the charge of every day.  Anybody who crunches numbers in health care can attest to the importance of customer satisfaction as an overall major maker or breaker of hospitals.  It isn't acceptable anymore to just be competent at care.  Cost overruns do not sit well with CEOs but neither do patient complaints. The result of trying to make sense of how all the jigsaw pieces fit together amounts to a very long and arduous employee orientation.

I really could benefit from some proper therapy

How does this all affect me initially?  Not well, I'll tell you.  While the school district was its own madness, it didn't feel nearly as badass as the hospital did to me this week.  Maybe I'm just a bit rusty being with my own kind again and I'm taking it all too seriously while at the same time grinding the gears of my mind that aren't as greased as they used to be.  I came home agitated and in such a fog the first day and promptly spanked two dear neighbors who dared to cross my path to be kind to me.  I didn't exactly yell, GET AWAY FROM ME but I pretty much communicated as much.  I was o-ver-loaded by rules and regs.

You brought me dinner without permission? I might have to kill you.
Now most normal people would greet a neighbor delivering a fully cooked Tex-Mex surprise dinner with a "Gee, what a fantastic place this is to live and I really value you as my friend."  But I'm not normal people...or am I?   I greeted her at the door instead with humorless surprise, wearing a look that probably said "great, one more g.d. thing"  Eyes like saucers at that point, I muttered a feeble thanks and took the bag ungraciously.  The nerve of her really, right?  How dare she take care of me without expressed permission?  She called the next day and all I could say after my apology was,

"Did I look murderous?  Because I felt like I could have killed anyone to satisfy my blood thirst at that moment in time.  Could you see it in my eyes?  Who knew that a 90 minute benefits presentation could put me so close to the edge."

She's a good friend, thankfully, and said she could see the blood vessels breaking in the whites of my eyes and ran out the door for her life, confirming my suspicion that I had the look of a postal worker whose route had been changed.  This is a problem you see, surprising thankless hyper-controlling people.  They can become rageful.

What'd I ever do to have a friend like her?
Thank God I build up a lot of goodwill with friends like her in-between freak outs, thereby allowing for some slippage occasionally.  


  1. Congrats again. Just remind yourself that new jobs are hugely stressful, even under the best of circumstances. (Such as some of mine in advertising, where, contrary to many co-workers' opinions, no one's life ACTUALLY hung in the balance.)

    Whenever you add to a normal workload the special complications of not knowing how to work the phone, what anyone's name is or where to find the loo, it's going to be draining. Breathe deeply and all will understand.

    I'll buy the next round to celebrate!

  2. Ahhhh ... now that was very nice. Thank you.

    But remember, I'm used to it. This morning I got totally bitched at because I wouldn't let the oldest child (not the husband but the oldest true minor) eat Chex Mix for breakfast. I told him that if he wasn't careful I would be sending him over to your house requesting to be fed one day next week.

    Love you lots!