Sunday, May 1, 2011

Treading cautiously

Though my grandmother frequently warns me to be careful about what I post on this blog, when it comes down to it, my blog is anonymous. I have been careful that no one at work knows about it. It's never been opened at work on any computer. Still, I guess there's always some slim chance that someone knows about it. At this point, who gives a ?

At any rate, I'm going to tell this story anyway - as a hypothetical story.

Hypothetically, someone has been unhappy in her job in the past few months. There are a variety of reasons, but she has been trying to work through them. Unfortunately, things came to a desperate, furious head this weekend.

This hypothetical person was AT home, on her off night. She was talking to her close friend that lives 3000 miles away about her frustrations at work. Said person was discussing her complaints and worries as a way of working through them. Mind you, this was a private conversation. AT HOME. On her OFF NIGHT from work, from the comfort and supposed privacy of her own home. Her friend, we'll call her Jessica, had some good advice, and by the end of the this conversation, our hypothetical person was feeling much better about things. She resolved to get up early the next day, bake cookies for everyone at work, and try to start fresh.

This PRIVATE conversation took place on Facebook chat (not on the wall - which is totally different). Imagine our hypothetical person's shock, dismay, and anger when it became clear that her COLLEAGUE - another DOCTOR in the hospital - opened Facebook at work, accidentally logged in as our hypothetical person, and then preceded to read the entire conversation. Not only did the DOCTOR read the conversation, she allowed the technicians - with whom our hypothetical person already has a respect problem - to read it over her shoulder.

Hypothetical person is still reeling after finding this out 3 days later. Being pregnant, as our hypothetical person is, and being the sole source of income in the household, as our pregnant hypothetical person is, options at this point are limited. Hypothetical person is beyond devastated, feels violated, and is unsure how to proceed at this point.

I really feel like if hypothetical person were male, there would be no problem. Flame me for thinking that if you will.

More to come later.


Shannon said...

That is so horrendous, I cannot even put into words. I'm so sorry it happened to this hypothetical person, especially as they can't do what I would do as a singleton with no responsibilities except myself. You're last line isn't offensive, it's unfortunately true. Females and males do get treated differently professionally, thats been shown time and time again.

elizabeth said...

Ugh, that sounds hypothetically terrible. What a horrid situation to be involved in. I'm hoping some good comes out of the situation :/

Christian Kay said...

How in the world did this person accidentally log in under your account? I am so sorry this happened. It is a complete violation of your privacy and I would feel uncomfortable around them. I would want to storm out and quit but needing the income, would have to hold my tears back and tread on, deciding to keep my distance from everyone else and no longer try to befriend them. Tough situation. So sorry...

Karen Whiddon said...

That sucks. Seriously sucks. I'm sorry. Let's you know who your friends are, I'd say.

Megan said...

Holy crap. Hypothetically, I think that's about the worst thing I've ever heard someone do to a coworker/colleague. The worst that's ever happened to me when I've stayed logged onto Facebook at work or school is someone posting something silly as my status update, then warning me to be more careful about staying logged in... I can't imagine going into a chat or message and reading the whole thing. Dirty, dirty. So sorry that happened to you :(

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

T'internet is a double edged sword.... i guess anything we write electronically should only ever be something you could bear to see on the front page of your local newspaper. Our habit of letting computers remember passwords leaves us open to this problem on shared computers too... something I have noted with interest as other people often use my ipad and then forget to log out... as an honourable person I have managed to not read anything i shouldn't, but am aware they might read mine!
What to do... well eavesdroppers never hear good about themselves and nor do snoopers - and it was a private conversation... doubt they could use it but they may well have taken pictures of it to try to use against you. Then again it might point out some issues they all need to deal with and so do you - and there is no right or wrong - just differences of style, opinion and attitude... that need to be resolved.

There are some true mean sorts out there - both vets and nurses - male and female - negative, derogatory, unsupportive, critical, abusive, and unpleasant to work with. I see it a lot... I live in fear of being considered any of those things... and try to be reasonable about my expectations... curb dominance and set reasonable goals and expectations for myself as well as others. I have seen a few places where it has all got badly out of hand and staff have lost jobs, careers, reputations due to the spiraling deteriorating work situation.

Depending on what you wrote, I guess you should be prepared to apologise, be prepared to admit some fault for venting, blame hormones, fear, stress and all that - but use it as a positive error that might clear the air?
Really feel for you...
Hope it gets sorted, and favourably.

Mary said...

I'm so sorry. So unprofessional to read the chat and even worse to allow others to read it. I wish I had something helpful to add, but can just offer my support.

Anonymous said...

Okay, this is a tough one. Glad it's hypothetical. :-)

1. Take down the FB page. Before bringing it back up, prune the friend list, and block where applicable. Change all passwords. Never sign on to any private site at work ever again.

2. This situation is temporary with a definite ending: all pregnant women eventually deliver and go on maternity leave.

3. This is a female-dominated profession, like it or not. Some women are cattier than others. It's safer to have colleagues, not friends, at work. Never befriend subordinates. (IME)

4. Chin up. This hypothetical person was trying to work through a problem by speaking with an uninvolved party, kinda like an unpaid shrink or priest. Nothing to apologize for there, vs. trash-talking or gossiping to a co-worker, client or supervisor.

Elizabeth said...

ouch this is just bad no matter what way you look at it.
This hypothetical person needs to suck it up and go see the so called hypothetical colleague. I use the term colleague loosely mind you. What was written was intended to be private just the same as had it been a phone conversation with a friend. Everyone has a right to vent.
What this colleague did was certainly wrong.
I would want to know why this colleague shared what she found with others rather than being discreet and speaking to the author if she was concerned about what she read. This person is certainly not embarrassed about reading things she had no business reading.
Cleaning this up is going to take conversation and apologies from both the hypothetical people..
It sounds to me like the entire staff has respect issues that need to be worked on..

nohika said...

Hypothetically, if I could, I'd begin looking for a new job. That's despicable and extremely, extremely unprofessional of your (er, the hypothetical person's) coworkers.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure what could be done to mitigate the damage...

Holly said...

oh my. This is very unfortunate for the hypothetical parties involved. It will undoubtedly increase the tension at the place of business and I hope it can be resolved.

Rachel said...

@ anonymous: how elitist of you to refer to technicians as subordinates, and that vets should not befriend them. being a certified veterinary technician is a career choice, just as being a vet is a career choice. yes, the vet is in charge of their case, yes the orders are to be carried out by the technician; however, friendships can, do, and should develop. being a technician is not less-than. most certified veterinary technicians are not hoping one day to be a vet. they are committed to patient care, committed to the comfort and well-being of their patients, and committed to their role within the veterinary team. "subordinate" is such an archaic, out-dated, old-school way to describe this relationship. if you're a vet, i hope your medicine isn't also old-school.

Anonymous said...

>>how elitist of you to refer to technicians as subordinates, and that vets should not befriend them.>>

Why don't you re-read what I actually wrote, as I chose the word "subordinates" very carefully.

I am a veterinarian, and I own a practice. My subordinates include office staff, kennel staff, technicians, and veterinarians. We have friendly relationships, but we are not friends and do not socialize outside of work situations. This has nothing to do with being "elitist"; I respect what my technicians do, and they treat me with respect. My employee turnover is low, BTW.

Over the years, I've seen numerous problems between my employed veterinarians and my staff, particularly when the veterinarian attempts to befriend the staff vs. learn to earn respect. Friendship is not a shortcut to developing a pleasant working relationship, especially when the veterinarian is young and the staff member is experienced. Young veterinarians inevitably have some growing up to do, and the staff doesn't always remember they've been in school for many years vs. working in the real world.

As to my medicine being archaic, I'm boarded by ABVP. That's a cheap shot. It's obvious you have a chip on your shoulder.

webhill said...

UGH. This is why I use a separate browser at work. EVeryone else uses firefox. I downloaded Chrome, changed its name to something else, changed its icon to something else, and stashed it into my folder on the office PC where I keep other work-related files like drug dose charts, diagnostic algorithms, etc. I use that browser if I want to log into any personal accounts while I'm at work. Using the Firefox that everyone else uses, I have on occasion accidentally logged in as someone else, too. But I've always immediately logged out, and notified the person that he/she shouldn't allow the browser to save his/her password! Which, btw, you shouldn't do either.