Assistant Boss to the Resuce: No Beach Clean Because I Had to Work
July 22, 2021
A lot of people lose their shoes at the beach. Two days ago when I was able to get to the beach early in the morning, I found a lot of single shoes buried in the sand. I know these become bits and pieces of plastic because further north near Tourmaline, the plastic that washes back from the Pacific are often plastic bits of shoes. People really should remember their shoes at the beach. Is it really that hard?
I didn’t get to do a litterpick because I had to spent precisely 6 hours of my time yesterday doing Assistant Boss work. Since this is my fictional world where I vent my frustrations, I will vent it here. I actually had a wonderful time yesterday afternoon and evening because I am happy wherever I am. But the truth is that I single-handedly can’t fix our scheduling system. There are so many rules and regulations, and payroll regulations. I had a new per diem physician that was ready to be deployed into our system, and if I waited for the system to get her in. It would have been at least another 3 weeks. I can promise you that. The problem with big systems is that people work at their pace and under a union environment. I believe in the unions, but they are not the friends of efficiency. If I had waited, it would have taken the secretary a week to call the computer training people, another few days to organize her shifts and to contact her. They would have played phone tag for a few days. If you follow what the HMO middle management team wants, they want the shifts that she works to be approved by a commitee that meets once a week. It’s just ridiculous. This is why I’m moving on to other tasks. But for now, I’m still responsible for these colleagues and I put her in a shift and I was her back up trying to show her the ropes during conference time. So everyone else got to listen to the lecture and then go home. But I stayed during that time, to work with this physician. It was an absolutely wonderful afternoon. She is wonderful, and I do our HMO song and dance and sing our praises. So much of what I do, is making this group of pediatricians invested in our system and happy and easing their way. That’s what most people never understand. You have to invest in people and believe in people. And then they will succeed. But its essentially 4 hours of unpaid extra work. So when nursing management nags me about an extra flu swab that costs $10, I look at them and my eyes will literally cross over and I want to gag and make faces. I don’t though. I just sit there and I try to hold my tongue. Sometimes a diatribe will spew forth, but more often then not I just picture everyone marching around – they are all marching marching marching. Marching to where? I have no idea.
And then someone called in sick, and they were sick. But who was going to work the extra evening shift? Two of my clinic colleagues offered to stay and work, but I knew they offered from their hearts but did not want to work. One is better to be in her home and getting more exercise and one was traveling to LA the next day. These are real friends and wonderful people, and they don’t have the title. I still have that damn title, Assistant Boss. And despite my rantings and ravings, I take pride in that title. Dr. Dear Friend had this wide-eyed belief that someone would volunteer. We did email it out to the group. I know people. I’m been micromanaging schedules for four years now. No one was going to volunteer to work 2 hours in the evening during a beautiful summer evenings when their children are off from school – unless we sent out a desperate plea. And this was not a desperate situation, because I was already there donating 4 hours to get a per diem physician into our system faster. So I stayed to work. It was an easy shift and I was home by 830pm. I made a little extra. I’m donate some money to the Rainforest today to turn it into a postiive thing. But the consequence of the HMO machinery not allowing me to continue to do it my way, is that since I’m not allowed to own it all – then backup is going to be reinstituted. Because I won’t be the backup anymore. So there goes a step backward for work-life balance. I tried and tried for almost five years. Every scheduling meeting I would say, I’ll risk it. I own it. I staff. I’ll go without backup. But the machinations of silly people saying silly things about things that did not even take the time to try to understand or ask me about, it just pissed me off. And I said, I’m done. I rarely called in backup the four years I staffed, because I tried to fix it on the front end. And I agreed to slowly get rid of backup. But as it creeps back in, it’s the collective physician group’s ennui and management group that caused this slide. I tried, and it’s an impossible task to fix a system.
The crazy thing is that working the evening shifts occassionally is so importnat. This is when the sick patients come in, and what are we – but pediatricians. If you don’t want to take care of sick patients, then what are you doing in medicine? I don’t know what the answer is. I absolutely don’t. But I do know that I had a wonderful day yesterday hanging out with two of our part-time physicians. I enjoyed the patient care yesterday. My legs were still achy last night and I paced around to work through what I think is the caffeine withdrawl myalgias. I’m now six days coffee free. Mr. Plastic Picker hugged me and massaged my legs a bit, and it helped. And I’m doing really well this morning.
A patient’s parents asked me if I was 25 yesterday. She herself was my same age range and beautiful. I was shocked. She was going to request an older doctor. I looked at her and said, “OMG you made my year!” She asked me what I ate. I told her that I eat plant-based, try to eat lots of vegetables and I walk along the beach when I can. I told her that I’m a climate and health activist and I just decided to be happy two years ago after listening to the waves. Those serenpiditous moments are so beautiful and yesterday was filled with them. But honestly, I can find those moments everywhere these days. And I won’t ever have to find them having to work the evening because someone called out anymore. I won’t. Because I’ll be moving on to other things and we’ll all be backup more again.
So excited about projects on the farm, and I’m working on a local event center and flex space project!!! When one door closes, another opens. And I can make more money on these outside work projects and donate money to the earth. I get my precious time back. 18.75% of my position to be in middle-managment???!!! I’m fundamentally the daughter of my father, and it’s not worth it if your are not the boss or own the business. And whose the boss when it’s the large HMO machinery? Whose pulling in the big bucks and not working? Certainly it’s not Assistant Bosses nor Chief Bosses? I have no idea. Maybe its the faceless emperor behind the curtain like in Wizard of Oz. But I can be my own boss in m own make-believe world. Yes I am. I am the boss of myself! And you are too. You are the boss of your own life.