A Better Workplace Forums:
General Workplace Issues :
I work in a very busy medical practice sharing the role of secretary with one other. We have a hard job keeping new staff because the job is so demanding and complex.
I'm continually training someone new, whilst handling 70% of the work, then dealing with the new person's refusal to do some of the tasks, their stress at not getting one on one training with undivided attention, then their stress turned on to me, because I cannot give them the time they require.
To add to the burden, all of the doctors expect and demand that their work is processed as quickly and efficiently as when we have 2 thoroughly experienced members of staff, working as a cooperative team to accomplish that.
I am not the practice manager, but new staff view me that way; doctors come to me when new staff make errors or aren't doing their job properly, as if I can do something about that, with a staff member who views me as their peer.
I am so burnt out and cannot understand why these employers refuse to understand that:
New Staff need one on one training.
Need a supervisor or manager to oversee their first few months.
Cannot be expected to perform to the same level as an experienced person.
That I need someone to take responsibility in guiding new staff, because I do not have the time or power to do that.
Most annoying is that the doctors will talk to temporary staff, telling them they know there is some problem and that something is wrong - but, will not talk to me, the one person who could tell them exactly what is wrong.
And yes, I know, someone will say, why don't you tell them! I have, several times. In fact, I spent 4 hours outside work time, constructing a proposal which would help to define roles and accountability.......it was tossed aside.
What do I do? I cannot go through another 4 months of training someone else, whilst trying to stay on top of an incredibly demanding job, where I can't put in extra hours, unless I want to do that for nothing.
I'm not sure what leverage point may exist for you and your MD employers (M-deities, as they are sometimes called).
You are to be credited with writing down potential solutions proactively; now you have to find a way to reach someone to build (or rebuild?) a bridge of mutual understanding. If you are angry about this situation (sounds like your resentment is growing), it will make it hard for others to hear you. I'm not blaming you for caring passionately about this, and taking steps toward solving this injustice. Quite the contrary. You are doing the right things by communicating about it. But to be heard, because your sense of injustice will itself put off most listeners, you must find a way to reach beyond your frustration to collaborate on possible solutions that would be workable for both you and them.
Is there someone you ask for feedback about the proposal, about what parts of it made sense, seem on the right track, that have merit? "Tossed aside" just means that you need to find a way to include their view. Ideally, you could brainstorm solutions *with* a representative of your employer. Sometimes telling someone the "solution" (even in proposal form) backfires. They may need to participate in crafting a solution with you. Their ideas about how to solve it must be intermingled with yours. This is the art of negotiation; it is not black and white, where you toss the right answer over to them and they say "yes or no."
Assuming you prefer to keep your job (do you?), and that they also want you to stay, there must be at least *some* open discussion about this. When is your next scheduled review? Can you ask for an unscheduled conversation? Get an agreement about timeframes. That may be the one leverage point here (or there may be others) -- keeping you at your job. They obviously need all the help you can give (and then some), or you wouldn't be training someone else.
Is there not one staff member you could take aside and discuss the situation with, perhaps after hours or over lunch?
Not knowing what's in your proposal, I cannot make any specific suggestions. Hang in there; don't give up.
Thanks for your very considered response.
You are right of course, I did overlook the fact that proposals are negotiable and failed to ask, what works for you and what doesn't.
A major problem is; I work directly for the doctors, but am employed by a larger company, which does not want to pay for extra hours. We are squeezing 10 hrs into 8 hr days.
None of the doctors fully realise, that we are also working for 3 other doctors, all of whom have deadlines and so, we are constantly bombarded with urgent, needed yesterday tasks, from all quarters.
I did attempt yesterday, to organise a meeting between the doctors and the director, before, we employ yet another new secretary, in order to look at how best to train, supervise and support this person.
Also to discuss, how we are going to cope, with a new doctor, adding an extra 10 hrs a week to our workload, given that we are already struggling, an extra 10 hrs of work, will cause considerable stress.
The director can't make the meeting and so, it can't go ahead. This is most often the case, trying to put a meeting together, becomes so much work, that I have to give up, due to time restraints.
The only members of staff who would have any power to change the situation - the director and the doctors, avoid the topic. The director does not want to incur more costs for the company and the doctors do not want to pay for extra hours themselves.
Therein lies the problem; we are expected to complete all the work in our allocated hours and under extreme pressure to do so, but nobody will acknowledge that, this causes extreme stress and leads to us losing new secretaries over and over again.
I feel now, my only recourse is, to do what I can do each day, leave on time, whether the day's work is complete or not, stop and take the time to train the new person properly and if this impacts on the output of work, so be it.
Thanks Daniel, regards Kathy
Good plan, Kathy. Setting good boundaries helps you sustain your contributions, and ultimately is also in your employer's best interests, so you can stick around to keep things running.
Healthy boundaries are a powerful acknowledgement of your value, and be aware that they may complain at first (some things will be left undone), but that's why there's always another day.
Best of success, and carry on,
Yes the plan seems to be good, but I will wait for the results to determine the success rate of the plan.
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Kats, tough, eh?
I would strongly suggest you keep a written (or saved) record of what you do, when you do it, how long it takes, and the effects of your decisions and actions.
I'd further suggest you start exploring alternative employment! Just in case; and talking of cases, make sure you keep those who ignore your pleas up to date with your choices, just in case they decide to 'let you go' and you decide you won't go quietly ;~)
Also, present your ideas / demands / requirements / reccomendations as WFOs:
Well Formed Outcomes
The well formed outcomes pattern goes beyond "setting goals". The metaphor of a goal suggests a destination and a conscious process.
Outcomes set a direction. I may have an outcome to have an independent and happy child. I may not ever reach this as a "goal", but as an outcome, it organizes my choices of interactions with my child every day without conscious thought.
1. Well formed outcomes are stated in positive terms
It is often difficult to know what we actually want. Bad experiences can loom so large all we can think of is what we don't want. Negative commands can influence in unintended ways
2. Self initiated and maintained.
Well formed outcomes must be what you want rather than what other people want to be congruent and motivating.
An outcome that involves pleasing other people is very difficult to maintain (as you know!). It is also indirect. For instance, losing weight because your husband wants you to. You think it's for him but really, it's to keep his interest.
Other people's outcomes often trigger an unconscious rebellious response resulting in internal conflict. Giving up smoking for someone else particularly creates rebellion because it often underlies this behaviour originally.
Successful outcomes involve things over which we have control. We do not have control over what other people think say or do.
"I want Mary to be polite to me" is not well formed. "I want to stay centred and respond assertively when Mary is rude or, I want to behave in a way that invites a polite response from Mary" is well formed.
3. For what purpose do you want this outcome?
So why do you want the outcome? We can sometimes confuse ends with means and sabotage our real outcome. When my daughter was young, I had an outcome to own a house. Interest rates were high and we both made big sacrifices for this outcome.
My real outcome was for my daughter to feel secure in a stable home environment. The house was the means not the end and the sacrifices created less security.
If the outcome is originally for someone else, what do you personally want to gain? You want to keep his interest so you can have a strong partnership. That is what you need to focus on. Hint - placating pleasing or grovelling is rarely sexy and not good for equal partnerships.
4. Well formed outcomes are sensory based
What will you see, hear and feel when you achieve the outcome? Act as if you already have the outcome for the moment and associate into the experience of having it. This gives your brain a great deal of concrete information. We need to represent our outcomes as processes. State it in see, hear, and feel terms. What does it mean to you?
For instance, I can restate, "I want to be confident at work" as "I am making eye contact, I feel centred and seek opportunities to network. I hear myself speaking in a rich slow-paced voice and listening carefully to the other person."
5. Well formed outcomes are sequenced and bite sized
Outcomes can be overwhelming big chunks like writing a book or buying a house. Framing in big chunks can make us feel impotent - it seems like such a lot of time, effort and sacrifice to do what it takes to make it happen.
Taking small actions everyday builds momentum and increases motivation. Being able to make a movie of what you will do in present time sets up a template. Mental rehearsal is an effective way to get things done.
6. What resources do you have / need?
Sometimes we don't get our outcomes because we don't have the resources we need. We jump ahead of ourselves without considering if we are in a position to go for it right now.
What are the important sub goals we need to obtain first? Do you require outside help?
I want to write a book, and need access to a computer. I want to get a job and need childcare arrangements. Sometimes these can become excuses. I can't get X because I don't have Y.
Often the resources are available and can be organized, particularly personal resources. What empowering states and beliefs would help you achieve your outcome easily and quickly?
For instance, I want to write two articles today. Useful resources are focus, flow and enthusiasm. I might gain these by breaking the task into small pieces, mental rehearsal, being clear about my purpose, and remembering a focused state.
7. In what contexts do you want the outcome?
When, where and with whom do you want this outcome? Well formed outcomes are situation specific. Failing to set a boundary can result in over generalization. It may not be useful to focus, relax or get up early every day in every circumstance. You may need to yell at the kids if they are in danger.
Marking a specific context for a particular behaviour anchors the response.
8. What is your evidence for fulfilment?
Specific measurable sensory outcomes have more power to train our attention in specific directions
How will you know when you have achieved the outcome? Everyone's evidence will be different. My evidence for a productive day is not going to be the same as yours.
People often have outcomes like "I want to be successful in business" What does success mean? How can I measure this outcome? By the number of awards received? In financial terms? Promotions in a certain time?
Outcomes represented in vague nominalized terms give us vague directions. What does a solid relationship look like? What does confidence look like? What does assertiveness mean? How will I know when I have it?
9. Well formed outcomes are compelling
Compelling goals are more motivating. Have you ever watched a movie that was so slow, dull and dreary you couldn't be bothered? How can you represent your outcomes so they propel you?
What do you personally find motivating? Brighten up the colours, amp up the soundtrack, make the pace faster and hear the excitement in people's voices. Is it more motivating to see yourself in the movie (dissociated) or be as if you were actually there (associated)? Being there in the state can sometimes create indifference because in our imagination we already have what we want. See also Association Dissociation Submodality
10. Well formed outcomes are ecological
We can't separate our outcomes from the rest of our lives. We have other priorities and important values. Our outcomes may affect other people. Does it fit with who we are as a person, how we see ourselves?
It is important that outcomes add to our choices rather than take them away. In what ways might this outcome not be good for us? Are there any contexts where having this outcome would not work?
I wish you good luck, tho I hope you won't need it, and hope that go - and stay well.