No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Real Life Story About Someone

Someone works under deplorable conditions. Their workplace is a physician's clinic. Someone is a nurse in that clinic. Someone is not allowed to take a lunch break, instead having to sneak in bites of a sandwich here and there, in between phone calls, vital signs, shots, and exams- making sure not to let patients see them eat, as that would be unprofessional.

Someone is required to work 10 - 12 hours a day without any scheduled breaks or a lunch. No breaks period. Someone is not even able to step into the restroom to relieve themselves without  Dr. Boss knocking on the door and saying, "I need you in exam room...", but really, that's small scale comparatively...

Dr. Boss frequently has anger management issues, and has from time to time thrown objects from Dr. Boss's desk at Someone and Someone's co-workers. Once, a cell phone-turn-projectile launched across the room from Dr. Boss struck Someone, leaving a mark. Another time it hit the window, cracking the window and shattering the phone.  Once, Dr. Boss was yelling at the staff and simultaneously banging on Dr. Boss's desk with hands in fists, and broke Dr. Boss's own wrist in the process! Can you imagine being so out of control mad that you break your own wrist pounding on your desk? Dr. Boss calls each of the staff demeaning names, like "twit" and "useless" and "not deserving of the salary I pay" in front of patients and other staff....the list of workplace offenses truly goes on and on. I've only scratched the surface here.

I have asked Someone, and Someone's coworkers why they don't quit this job, go somewhere else. Each of them have multiple years of experience doing what they do, and each are very efficient and well qualified to do their respective jobs. I would think none of them would have trouble finding work.

It's all about the money, they say. They explain, under no uncertain terms, that Dr. Boss pays them each a salary that is literally at minimum, two to two and a half times higher than any other physician's offices pay.  Dr. Boss is quick to remind the staff of this on a routine basis.

Now, mind you, all of the atrocities that have occurred in this work environment have not gone unreported. There is an "office manager", who has been informed of the name calling, the lack of lunch breaks being provided, the requests to perform medical procedures on patients when Dr. Boss is not physically present in the office... Either Office Manager simply has not addressed these complaints with Dr. Boss, or Office Manager has addressed Dr. Boss with the complaints, but it has fallen upon deaf ears. Regardless, there has been nothing done to alleviate the problems.

In recent weeks, Dr. Boss has become increasingly persistent  with comments that the employees should "just quit" their jobs. Everyone wants to quit, but no one wants to quit. It's a very precarious situation because this is a very bad economy we're still in, and no one can afford to be without work while they look for something with comparable pay. To take much less than their current salaries would mean certain foreclosures, repossessions, and evictions.

This hostile workplace has put so much stress on the entire staff at Dr. Boss' office, that every single employee is now under psychiatric care and on medications for depression, anxiety, and stress. Not just one or two employees. Every one of them. That should speak for itself.
When you talk to this group, they all, each and every one of them present to you as timid, fearful, anxious people. I used to meet with a group of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. These employees remind me of that group. They all look and act like people suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. No kidding.

I told this group of employees that I thought many of these offenses were more than simply poor treatment of employees, from a moral perspective, but also some pretty clear cut infringements on federal labor laws, malpractice infringements, and also several instances of definite sexual harassment. (Your employer is not supposed to share the intimate details of their sex life with you. That's crossing the line!)
Armed with that, they approached the Office Manager once again, requesting relief from these offenses, and to date, there has still been no action taken to correct the maladies present at the workplace. After the most recent string of violent outbursts, each of these employees are too afraid, individually, to embark on the process of seeking legal counsel for fear of retaliation. It almost seems like a hopeless situation.

I don't know why I feel compelled to tell you about the plight of the staff at Dr. Boss's office, but I do.  Maybe I just want you to be able to think of them anytime you think how badly your job sucks. At the very least, your spirits should be lifted just a little knowing that at least you don't work with Someone at Dr. Boss's office.

**UPDATE  3/18/2011  Someone got fired by Dr. Boss today, and honestly, I've never seen anyone happier to lose a job!**