The past few weeks have been incredibly stressful at the office. This stress was due to a number of causes, but the biggest cause was my office manager continually "yelling" at me for various things that I was unaware I was even doing. Seeing as how no one else seemed to be in agreement with her, I was left feeling incredibly confused most days. It all came to a breaking point last week.
When I went in to work last Friday, I started helping a co-worker get together a list for office supplies. He has never worked the front desk, and was unaware of our need for things like paper clips and toner. My office manager came back and was upset that I was helping him. I apologized, and explained that this is his first time going to get office supplies, and that he does not know what kind of toner we need and how much, etc. My office manager looked at me and said, "Toner?!? Why would we need toner?!?!" I have learned not to explain myself, as it just gets me in more trouble, so I simply said, "I don't know." Then she said she needed to talk to me in her office.
Before I continue, I must mention that words are so tangible. They come across as spoken sound vibrations, but they have the capacity to reach into a soul and do something. They can uplift, soothe, and heal; or they can wreck and destroy. Unfortunately for me, I was about to experience the latter.
Upon arriving in her office, my office manager immediately launched in to full accusatory mode: "Let's talk about Monday. Monday was a disaster. You were here for 8 hours and got NOTHING done. And yesterday [Thursday], again you got NOTHING done. You've been completely unproductive...I don't even know what we're paying you to do anymore!" I sat there, stunned. I have had a lot of coaching and feedback throughout my years (which has been very beneficial), but I have NEVER had anyone question my work ethic. I am the type of person who always gives 110% (well, on an "off" day, I may only give 100%, I am only human), and I had been working my butt off all week (or so I had thought). The sound vibrations from those words felt as though they transformed into a physical slap to my face.
I started to explain what all I had accomplished the past week, but was interrupted with more negative comments related to concerns I had mentioned to her throughout the previous weeks: "You need to STOP HELPING your co-workers; if they don't catch on and learn the job, and if they don't want to be here, then let them go, let them walk out - we don't want them here anyways, we can replace anyone here. You can't care about your co-workers or your patients so much. We will always have a high turnover rate, with new people probably every week, and you need to learn how to deal with it." Now, before I continue on with my story, I will admit that some change is good, and I DO understand that there will be a fair amount of turnover at our office; however, I also know that SOME stability is important! In my business experience (15 years in the workforce HAS taught me a fair amount), high turnover is NOT good. There are plenty of studies and articles that outline the negative effects that high turnover has on a business:
- The shocking cost of turnover in health care
- The cost of turnover: Putting a price on the learning curve
- Turnover rates and organization performance: A meta-analysis
- The long term influence of service employee attrition on customer outcomes and profits
- High employee turnover can affect company performance
- How high employee turnover harms your performance
My biggest problem with this high turnover situation is that in the end, it is my patients who become affected: I have had several patients quit care BECAUSE OF the high turnover rate! That means they are not getting the care they NEED and DESERVE because of something that we CAN work to make better. And that's where my ethics start to get compromised.
She continued on: "The bad thing Dr. T is that you're not mold-able, you're not conforming - we thought you would, and it would be an easy transition. But you're NOT conforming, and we're disappointed. You need to think about if this is really the right place for you...maybe you don't belong here." Ooo, I don't belong...I don't fit it...I was called a disappointment. I have only once in my life had a previous employer tell me they were disappointed in one aspect of my job performance (I did not meet credit card sales goals at a retail job); but never that they were disappointed in who I was. Also, I am all for doing what your employer tells you, but if "conforming" compromises my ethics - then I'm out. I'd even conformed pretty well - keeping on schedule with VERY short appointment times, getting patients scheduled with one of the other docs in the office, following treatment plan outlines, selling things such as decompression packages and supplements and oils and supplies, following up with my patients, etc. But now, as she continued to inform me, I was not conforming in the aspect that I help my co-workers, and I care too much about my patients. I was starting to feel like this:
First of all, you HAVE to be true to yourself, stand up for yourself, and stand up for what you believe in. I believe in genuinely caring about my patients and co-workers, and giving my patients the best care possible. If anything gets in the way of that, then it conflicts with my ethics - and that is unacceptable.
Second, I was being told to conform, and Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing, and perfect will." The pattern of this world is one that values money and prestige - not things that God values. God explicitly states to NOT conform to things that make you uncomfortable, and my whole purpose in life is to follow Him. I will come back to this scripture in my next blog post (which will be about how to seek and find God's will for your life).
While it was a hard decision to walk away from the career I had worked so hard for, God confirmed my answer to leave that Friday morning. All the money and fame in the world is not worth it if I have to compromise who I am and what I believe in. Most people will probably not understand my decision, but I am who I am - a child of God. I'll choose my God, my peace, and my health over every worldly thing, every time.