You would think that the hardest part of being an ER veterinarian would be say...the hours. Or maybe the working holidays and weekends. Or perhaps the dealing with gravely injured and ill animals and their distraught owners. Sure, all of that is challenging. But those things seem like a cake walk to me compared to the real challenge - interpersonal work relationships.
I am a difficult person. I am Type A+. My job is something I take very, very seriously. I pay close attention to my patients and try to always, always do the right thing - whether that be easy or exceedingly difficult. I demand perfection from myself and never achieve it, of course. My expectations for those I work with are very high. And in one area, I constantly find myself lacking - I am terrible at managing interpersonal relationships.
First of all, I am not a warm and friendly person. I try to keep my personal life to myself for the most part. I don't like to talk about personal problems at work, and I don't seek the advice of other people regarding personal unhappiness/problems. As a result, I don't like to hear about other people's problems. My approach to work is to go to work, do my job to the best of my ability, and go home at the end of the day. This aloofness never wins any popularity points. When I first found out about my gestational diabetes, I had no intention of sharing that with anyone at work. Only when insulin became a necessity did that information come out.
Secondly, I abhor gossip. As a result, I do not engage in it at work, and I expect my coworkers and colleagues not to engage in it around me. You'd think it would garner respect, but actually, it probably sets me further at odds.
Lastly, I am very blunt. I say what comes to mind, and while I never intend to hurt people, I've been told my forthcomingness can be hurtful. It is never intentional, but it's there.
There is no single aspect of my job that I struggle with as much as dealing with my technicians. I hear again and again from them that I am a great doctor, that I would be the first one to whom they brought their personal pets. Then I hear again and again how difficult I am to work with.
It has truly become a source of frustration for me in that I cannot get a straight answer on how to improve this. The technicians seem unable to clearly voice a reason, so I am left with vague answers and no real way to improve. I WANT to improve. I WANT to be a good doctor to work with and for. I don't want to be difficult. If only I knew how...?
The weekend was a very busy one, as holiday weekends are prone to being. My technicians were tired and cranky and over it. I was tired and cranky and over it. My blood sugar has not been cooperating so well this weekend, and I can't help but think that the stress, late nights, and sporadic eating have had something to do with it. I'm also having a hard time telling when to take insulin (on the very bright side, my recent growth ultrasound estimated the baby in the 47th percentile for weight, i.e. perfect, and all of my non-stress tests have been great - so everything is perfect at the moment).
At any rate, one of my techs and I sort of snapped last night and had words.I had to force her to go outside to calm down and talk about it rationally. It was a productive conversation in that she told me useful ways that she perceived I could improve. Some of the points were valid, some were not. In the end, I hope it smoothed things out, but I suppose we'll see.
Honestly, I sometimes think I will have to give up clinical medicine and become a teacher. I love teaching, and I wouldn't have to interact on a boss/subordinate level. I could just do my thing and go home at the end of the day.
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