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Old 12-14-2007, 04:17 PM   #1
Auburn Annie
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Default Once more unto the breach, dear friends

Yes, I am looking for work again. My job at the lab is no more. On the last day of my probation period I was told I was just not a "good fit" - a hard worker but without enough lab experience (which, by the way, they knew when they hired me.)

I have to say I was not surprised. The work was complicated, mostly because I had next-to-no guidance at all, not even a FAQ or procedure manual. I busted my buns learning the process, checking records for completeness, setting up homedraws, etc.

But most impoprtantly, my supervisor, who had held the job before I was hired, was the least supportive person I've ever met. I knew from the get-go there was a problem but couldn't figure what was wrong. In the entire two months not once did she ever say hello, how was your weekend, have a good night etc. Her only conversations with me were about what I did wrong or forgot to do. She mocked my explanations to another lab worker behind my back but within earshot. She had me dropping off a form in the billing office to Cheryl and I found out more than a month later I was supposed to be giving the forms to Kelly! And she introduced me to Cheryl, so that was no accident.

To her I was either the invisible woman or idiot child and she regarded me with undisguised irritation. When I had to go to her office to pick up paperwork she never acknowledged my presence. I found myself going out of my way to avoid walking past her office. I got one curt "thank you" (by accident, I swear) when I picked up a fax she was waiting for and dropped it off.

I showed up on time, kept my head down and did my work - all things considered, damn good too - but it didn't matter. In the end the administrative director had no choice but to let me go - based solely on her reports, I'm sure. He felt bad and I think suspected there was a problem but relies on her say so, so I was out. Almost everyone else at the lab was very kind and helpful and by the time I left was beginning to feel I could fit in nicely, given time. Except, of course, for my supervisor.

After discussing it with family and friends we decided that either [a] she was intimidated by my intelligence and/or friendliness (I doubt it - she's not the easily intimidated type) or [b] she had had her own candidate in mind for the job and had been outvoted by the administrator, so decided to get rid of me one way or the other. I have no doubt she had a weekly session with her boss complaining about how slowly I was picking up the work, and how badly that was reflecting on lab customers, etc.

It was very demoralizing to be considered incompetent when you *know* you can do the work, if only there was some support and a little time. However, after hearing my story, my friend Judi confered with her sister who had retired from the same lab a couple of years ago and her one word judgement was "Sheila" (the supervisor.) She told me Sheila has done this before, that it wasn't me, and that she sees herself as the power behind the throne, so to speak. The administrator is the "face" of the lab but she's the one who gets the work done and doesn't like anyone else in a position to do the same.

Anyway, my blood pressure is back in normal range. I'm not girding my loins to do battle five days a week. I don't have to get up at 5:30 in the morning. And I saved enough to pay the Christmas bills and next February's taxes and have a little left over. Can't re-do the kitchen, alas. So I'm off on my search once again for a job.

Thanks for letting me vent. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

PS - I saw a co-worker the other day (our shifts overlap, and she's a doll to work with) so I asked her if my job had been filled yet. Nope - "it's a zoo" says she, and another lab worker has been pulled from the bench to help out for now. It'll get worse before it gets better because my co-worker is having surgery next week and will be out until February.

Last edited by Auburn Annie; 12-14-2007 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 12-14-2007, 06:08 PM   #2
Rainbow Trout
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Default Re: Once more into the breach, dear friends

Good Luck on your job search, there is a better one waiting on you!!
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Old 12-14-2007, 06:28 PM   #3
Jesse Joe
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Default Re: Once more into the breach, dear friends

All the best of luck to you Annie, I agree with Rainbow Trout.

Fingers crossed for you.
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Old 12-14-2007, 07:11 PM   #4
Dream Street Rose
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Default Re: Once more into the breach, dear friends

Hi Auburn Annie,

I am so sorry to hear about your very unpleasent experience at the lab. It is good you can vent and it sounds like you know who you are. Just remember, it is hard to soar like an eagle when you work with turkeys. You are that eagle and I am sure you will move on to bigger and better things. A lot of us have walked in your shoes. Remember to smile and don't ever forget who you are.

Enjoy the holidays since it seems you have done a great job of setting yourself up in the $$ area. Hopefully, we will all have a good 2008.

DSR
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Old 12-14-2007, 07:31 PM   #5
Yuri
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Default Re: Once more into the breach, dear friends

Hang in there Annie,
Being successful in a miserable workplace is not a very enticing goal. Any company that fails to recognize dedication, determination and the willingness to learn is not one that an intelligent person would wish to be associated with. Don't sell yourself short and you'll know when the right job comes along. Employment is a two way street. You should know that you'll be doing them a favor as much as they you.
Just curious Annie, just what kind of lab was it?
Yuri
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Old 12-14-2007, 07:59 PM   #6
BILLW
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Default Re: Once more into the breach, dear friends

Annie,

Good luck and best wishes. Enjoy Christmas and set your sights on 2008. Their loss will be a better place's gain in short order I'm certain. Peace be with you. Merry Christmas.

Bill
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Old 12-14-2007, 08:27 PM   #7
RM
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Default Re: Once more into the breach, dear friends

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri View Post
Hang in there Annie,
Being successful in a miserable workplace is not a very enticing goal. Any company that fails to recognize dedication, determination and the willingness to learn is not one that an intelligent person would wish to be associated with.
Yuri
As John Prine wrote, "Some Humans Ain't Human". Wishing you the best, and a fruitful 2008.
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Old 12-15-2007, 01:53 AM   #8
podunklander
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Default Re: Once more into the breach, dear friends

Sorry this happened to you Annie. Sometimes these things are a blessing in disguise...though it may not seem that way just now. It certainly wasn't the best work environment.

I'm always sceptical of these probational, 'trial work periods' and want you to know that your experience with this may not have anything at all to do with you personally, or the quanity/quality of your work.

For one position I had -the 3-month trial work period was never meant to turn into a permanent position, though that was what I (and those before and after me) was lead to believe. The company just kept bringing in a new girl every 3 months. And the funny thing was that they'd have us train the new girl before we left.

The girl who trained me had clued me into this. She was excellent at this job and I found very little, if any issues with the work she had been doing.

The "trial work period" meant that this company could fill a position without ever having to shell out benefits and they probably avoided other employee related expenses too. And this was also cheaper than going through a temp agency.

All they really wanted was someone to be there and know the job well enough so that the bookkeeper could go on vacation and have someone there to keep up with things.

Whether or not this was a similar case with the place you worked at....I just get the sense that it didn't have anything at all to do with you or anything you did or didn't do.

Your supervisor behaved terribly and there's no excuse for that. It's an aweful thing when the politics and games can affect one's chances of making an honest living.

Again, I think there were some extraneous factors going on there and that, although this affected you adversely, it most likely wasn't a reflection of your work, etc.

Please be well and I wish you the best in yor employment search .

Pam
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Old 12-15-2007, 10:16 AM   #9
Auburn Annie
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Default Re: Once more into the breach, dear friends

Thank you everyone. I'm not worried - made it many years without work as my husband is fully employed and has the health insurance coverage. It just would have made things easier on him.

Yuri, it's a hospital laboratory. Some of the work is in-house (for patients) but much of it is outpatient blood draws for nursing homes and personal residences. The hospital has been through very hard financial times (pension payments are being taken over by PBGC in January as they owe over $20 million) and the lab has been the engine driving the financial turn around lately, so the administrator is under considerable pressure to keep the customers happy and the revenue coming in - something that's hard to do with a shortage of bench people and phlebotomists. In years past they could take a nurse or someone with a biochem background and train them up to whatever tech position they needed to fill, but no longer. Now the techs have to be certified before hiring, already trained, and testing urine, blood or tissue samples is not a glamour job.

I could be kind and say my former supervisor simply did not have the capacity to train and otherwise deal with a non-tech person. I'm sure she's very competent at her work, but makes a lousy mentor.

Also, the lab is a very weird, insular place. In the two months I worked there, not once did I see another lab person eating in the hospital cafeteria. Most ate in the lab "lounges"; in my case, a tiny table for 4 surrounded by orange lockers near the two toilets - not exactly a relaxing atmosphere. There was a small TV, microwave and refrigerator. Most brought their lunches although some bought stuff upstairs and brought it down to eat. They never left the "maze" as I called it. There's a whole hospital beyond the lab walls and, other than the phlebotomists who *had* to leave to do their work, nobody ever left! I brought my lunch 4 days a week, bought once, but always went up to see who was there and had lunch with various people (nursing home secretary, nurse managers, cardiovascular techs) and said hello to others, everyone from accounting and business office, security and housekeeping, to the CEO and CFO who ate lunch in the cafeteria.

Anyway it was just one of life experiences best put behind me. 2008 is supposed to be a bang-up year for Capricorns - we'll see!
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Old 12-15-2007, 11:01 AM   #10
Yuri
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Default Re: Once more into the breach, dear friends

Annie, I was curious as I too work in a hospital laboratory but as a microbiologist. Even with almost 30 years experience in the clinical setting, it is difficult to practice my profession while fulfilling mandatory requirements on continuing education, proficiency testing, meeting annual College of Medical Technologist requirements and preparing for yearly performance assessments amongst other demands. On one hand management stresses that you live up to your title of a health care professional yet on the other hand, they often show lack of respect, antagonism and downplay your importance - all when it suits their goals - especially in these financially challenging times. This is a game played by almost all employers these days.

As you say, testing urine, blood or tissue samples may not be a glamorous job, but I love it! The ‘Gill Grissom’ in me wants to solve the mystery. The politics of management I can do without and the hurried, stressful organized chaotic insanity of the laboratory environment comes with the job. What really makes it all worthwhile for me is that everyone of my colleagues are intelligent, educated, considerate and dedicated professionals that I’m proud to call my friends. I hope you too find such a job in your future.

Yuri
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Old 12-15-2007, 11:07 AM   #11
timetraveler
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Default Re: Once more into the breach, dear friends

It sounds like the heifer torpedoed you good. I can definately relate to what you went through, having once worked in the fast food industry. During the nearly three years that I worked for a well known hamburger chain, I & many others went through similar sorts of abuse, not only from management, but also from co-workers who apparently felt threatened by those of us who had a better work ethic, as well as being able to get along with the customers. I ended up quitting as the management had cut my hours & days so deeply that it wasn't worth getting up in the morning. I think the reason it toasted me so much is that I really liked the job.
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