Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How not to win friends and influence people

I'm not an easy person to get along with, and I never have been. Sometime several years ago, I accepted this fact about myself and moved on. When I started my internship, it took me a bit to figure out that I was in a position of authority (although at an internship, that is debatable). Since then, I frequently remind myself that I am "the boss" at work, even if I don't feel like it. My goal at work is not to be friends with people but to make sure the work gets done, that our work environment is professional, and that we provide excellent customer service. This often makes me unpopular. For the most part, I don't really care about my popularity. I am who I am, I have high expectations of myself and those who work with me, and I expect people to come to work with a strong work ethic.

This morning my hormones got the better of me. I've worked really hard to learn NOT to say things out loud that I'm thinking. When someone goes on and on about their allergies, pneumonia, and bronchitis while smoking the fifteenth cigarette of the day, I DO NOT point out the logical fallacy, for instance - no matter how much I'm dying to do so. Apparently, this morning my filter was turned off.

I was coughing and sneezing, as I am wont to do these days - a combination of allergies (raging) and rhinitis of pregnancy (a condition I was previously unaware of). Someone said to me, "Dr Blank, you'd better not get me sick."

For a moment, I was quiet. Then I said, "I hate when people say that. First off, I'm not sick. Second off, I would never deliberately make anyone else sick. And lastly, if I WAS sick, I'd still have to come to work, as we're not really able to call in."

That reply did not make me popular. In fact, the commenter flew off the handle at me. I didn't think it was that bad of a comment. Apparently, I was wrong.

Why can't I just keep my mouth shut?


Lise said...

If they did think you were sick, last I checked the polite thing to say is, "I hope you feel better soon!", not "You'd better not get me sick!"

Amy said...

it wasn't that bad of a comment... and they need to take a chill pill.

Anonymous said...

That was a comment worth flying off the handle over? Um.... yikes! :)

While I admire your focus on Getting Work Done, I think in the workplace it's important to remember that organizations operate most effective and efficiently when morale is high. It might not be the boss's job to be popular, but it's worth his or her while to take the time to be generally pleasant, build relationship, and foster a positive environment, right?

Somewhere along the way (maybe I've missed it in other posts?), I'd be curious to hear what adjustments you've had to make for your pregnancy.

For instance, do you take extra precautions in radiology? Around anesthesia? In the lab area? Are there procedural changes you've had to make, or expect to as you get further along?

The Homeless Parrot said...

Lise, I thought that would have been the nice thing to say, too. Oh well. Apparently, that's just me.

The Homeless Parrot said...

Anon, you are right about a pleasant workplace. There has to be a balance. I probably haven't found it yet, I may never find it. As I said, I'm not really, in my opinion, an easy person to get along with. That's why I married my husband partly. He gets along with most anyone. We're very different, which is probably why we complement each other.