My last email to the work place on 12/30/2016


I sent it out the minute before I left for that office permanently today. Great feeling!



Leaving a workplace on the best possible term


resignation-email
I sent out this one today, finally. I felt so great after I did it!



You first need to please one person — YOU


I wrote this great piece today. Please go to LinkedIn to leave your comments.

About two weeks ago, we learned that our manager’s husband is very ill. I know her parents have passed away and she doesn’t have any children of her own. So when I think of the coming holiday season, the time of family gathering, I feel like reaching out to her and letting her know that we care, even though she is a rather private person. I shared the idea with a colleague of mine and went out to get her a blank thinking-of-you card.

After I got the card, I typed these words on a piece of paper, printed and pasted it on the card– “… hopefully, knowing that someone cares will help you going through the difficult time in your life….” Both of my colleague and I signed on the card, then I emailed to a colleague at another location, asking her if anyone wanted to sign the card.

This week that colleague of mine wrote to the whole team, “I was wondering what (if anything) the … staff has done for [our manager] in the past around the holidays?” The ideas of sending the boss this or that gift rushed in.

Giving the manager a holiday gift? We have never done anything like this before. I feel uncomfortable doing it simply because she is the boss. No one ever gives me, a rank and file employee, anything on holiday, even though I have more than once gone out of my way to help. It disturbed me even more when I thought of the fact that the team had done nothing when another colleague’s mother passed away. Not that they didn’t know. The double practice brings to my mind words like curry favor with, ingratiating, efforts to please the superior.

Make no mistake that we all start our lives trying to please others like our parents so that we can be taken good care of when we are too small to survive on our own. I remember clearly that I was so eager to make my parents happy by trying to do well at school, even though I seldom did well there. Also years ago when I got back from office, the first words that my son shouted out to me through the door were like this, “Mom, I got another 100!” I was very pleased that he cared so much to please me. But still I keep telling my children that I am pleased as long as they are pleased with themselves.

As we grow into adulthood, we realize that we have our own journey to cover, and our own dreams and passion to fulfill and to follow. Pleasing others is no longer the priority because we no longer latch on other’s pleasure for our happiness. We create our own happiness through our own accomplishments and attainments. In adulthood, it is crucial that we understand that we need to please ourselves first if we want to please others. If you are not happy with yourself, it is difficult to make others happy.

Of course, I am not naive to the point of not knowing modern day politicians. Pleasing voters at any cost is just the means to their end. Their end is winning the election. Winning makes them happy. Perhaps, gift-giving to one’s boss alone is also a means to an end, ulterior or not.



The highest insult at workplace


I wrote and posted this one today while at work.

1. Unappreciative of Efforts
2. Lack Recognition and Respect
3. Constant Criticism
4. Expect Employees to Be Like Them
5. Hypocrisy
6. Delegate Too Much – or Not Enough
7. Micromanagement
8. Manipulative
9. Don’t Value Employees

What an awful list! Two years ago when I read Glenn Lopis’ article “9 Ways Leaders Insult Their Employees,” I thought who, in his/her right mind, would do these to his/er employees, like hypocrisy, manipulative? Get real! Not in my wildest dreams!

I have seen micromanagement. It is called super responsibility in my vocabulary. I have no complaint about it as long as the manager takes responsibility for whatever under his micro.

Many of the items in the list look like the same thing to me, like appreciation, recognition, respect and value. Of course, appreciation and recognition encourage people to keep doing what they have done. But what difference does it make if you are paid adequately? We are old enough not to crave for recognition, and we won’t do a shoddy job even if we are not duly appreciated. Respect? It would be nice if you are truly respected. But how do you know it’s genuine or not? I can live without it. What matters most is you are treated legally, that is, without any form of discrimination.

To me, the highest workplace insult for someone, who is the key player in a team and who should play the leading role in a project, is assigned a subordinate position and is told to play second fiddle to an outsider who doesn’t know what he is talking about and who interferes in whatever the key player does.

Readers, what is the highest insult that you have experienced at your workplace? Go to LinkedIn to post your comments.



Employees as Customers: Loyalty, Trust, Empathy and Happiness


This is what I wrote today at office,

People might not see employees this way, but when an employee is considering changing jobs, it bears some similarities to a Sprint customer thinking of switching to AT&T or Verizon. Here are four places that show their similarities.

Number 1: accessibility. Because customer service cost money, some companies discourage customers to talk to the real person by making it difficult for customers to reach them. So, making customer service accessible is the first step to a good service. Similarly, a good employer will provide its employees with an avenue through which an employee can unreservedly share his work-related ideas and thoughts. I remember vividly when, back in 2013, my workplace hired an outside listening ear to hear what people had in mind. During the meeting with these outsiders without the presence of our manager, people were like horses being unbridled, vying with one another to have their voices heard. Because they don’t have such an opportunity as often as they wish. Such listening ears should be always available.

Number 2: same expectation. When customers called customer service, they expect customer service agents to treat them with due respect and make them happy and satisfied. When people go to work, they have the same expectation of their employer as the customers.

Number 3, same win-win situation. That is, if the company respects and treats customers decently, making efforts to make them happy and meet their need, customers will more likely to remain loyal to the company and to stick at it for as long as they can. This benefit both the company and the customers. It’s the same win-win situation between an employer and his employees.

Number 4, same empathy. That is, we listen to both employees and customers with the same empathy and same eagerness to help them out. Because we are dealing with human beings, be they customers or employers, we need the same kindness, sincerity and the capacity to understand and meet their need.

The thought for the leaders: if you think customer service is all about making customers happy, we can say the same thing about managing people.



The Healthcare hierarchy with gender factor


I wrote this short piece today and posted it on LindedIn. I don’t have a clear idea as why I wrote it. Perhaps I want to cause people’s attention to this well-known phenomenon.

More female nurses than male nurses.
More female nurses than female doctors.
More male doctors than female doctors.
More male doctors than male nurses.
More nurses than doctors.
Naturally, more money paid to a doctor than to a nurse.

In a team building event at my work place early this month, an announcement was emailed out, “Bowling lanes will be reserved: 8 people per lane/6 lanes so be thinking about how you want to construct team competition!” One doctor replied all, asking to have four guys on his team. I replied to him, “From my observation, the healthcare hierarchy is like a pyramid, the downward you go, the larger is the crowd, the less guys you will find there.” So I wished him good luck on getting four guys among nurses.

A quick search on the Internet confirms my observation. Beckers Hospital Review’s “Gender ratio of nurses across 50 states” reveals ratio of females to one male in America as 9.5 to 1. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation shows the distribution of physicians by gender in percent with female taking up 33 percent and male 66 percent in America.

I was wondering how other countries are like in this regard. So I got the data on female doctors as percentage of the total in 2000. See my article posted on LinkedIn. At least we are getting better now than 16 years ago.



Take Nothing for Granted –The Need for Recognizing Good Work


I wrote this article today, while at office.

The company that I was associated with was bought by another entity in June 2011. After that, especially after a new senior executive director came aboard in mid-2013, a new meeting item crept in monthly, that is, massive accolades showered upon the deserved employees within that new entity, almost nothing upon old place folks. This is something entirely new to me.

Some people in my old company might think it nothing but you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours. People just do what they are supposed to do. There is no need to make a fuss about it. This is so not true.

First of all, there is a difference between following your job description and going above and beyond, and between a good job and a shoddy one. There is definitely a need for encouraging excellent job over the not-excellent one by the endorsement from someone, so that the bar will be raised for everybody.

Secondly, recognition will make it more likely for the outstanding people to continue their great performance. It’s like I open the door and let you in first and you say thank-you to me. This way I will do the same next time. This is called the rule of reciprocity that we all embrace. A recognition from the management will most likely make someone a happy employee. We know the relationship between being happy and being productive. People don’t like to be taken for granted for too long.

Third, there is a need for the manager/supervisor to engage every employees by confirming his expectations. Sometimes, a manager can make it known to the employees his expectations by recognizing some people and leaving out some others, sending a clear message to those being left out that they need to catch it up.

A thought for the leaders: keep your eyes open for great performers. Be profuse in your praise for the great ones.



Locker Room Culture and Conformity in Office


Finally I finished this piece on locker room culture last weekend, which I planned to get done the weekend before last.

Donald Trump’s widely publicized ‘Locker-Room Talk’ is at best a sign of adolescence immaturity; at worst, you can say whatever you want. Your imagination is the limit. No comment. The term itself pushes to the front what I experienced when I first started my current position back in 2007.

Urban dictionary has this definition — “The crude, vulgar, offensive and often sexual trade of comments guys pass to each other, usually in high school locker rooms. Exists solely for the purpose of male comedy and is not meant to be taken seriously.” Don’t take me wrong here. Urban dictionary’s definition is too narrow. My office is not like this. Because it is both different and much more than that.

People called that office room a big closet because it doesn’t have a window. Once the door is closed, people who are kindred spirits would say whatever they had in mind without any moral scruples, nor any qualms of conscience. One lady almost never spews out one sentence without her favorite ingredient, the f word. See the similarity here? Except they are not people of high school age and not boys. These are people who are old enough to be grandmas.

Trump’s locker room talk makes me wonder why people are succumbed to this kind of behavior. I refuse to believe that people are as mean spirited as their words betray them. I would attribute this to two factors: the locker room culture of that office and the desire to belong.

Each company, each office has developed and cultivated its own subculture, some energizing, some energy-draining, some with can-do spirit, some filled with whining and complaints. The one I was first exposed to in 2007 was certainly not a healthy one. You could even see negativity flowing in the air.

Because nobody wants to be marginalized in a subculture, not even me who already stands out in a crowd as a foreign-minority, people make great efforts to conform to the subculture by trying not to appear different from others. Plus, consider this key fact that I have come to appreciate: America is not the land of independent thinkers. Instead, the pressure to conform is the rule of the land.

Thought for the leaders: make every effort to cultivate positive culture. The herd will follow.



Two Pearls of Wisdom in the office


I have such a rich work-related experience that I would waste it if I don’t share it with my dear readers. Here’s one that I wrote today.

(1) Take care of your reputation, even if you don’t intend to stay long at your current position.

Here are something that I hear people talk about behind the back.

“If she does one thing, she will make sure the whole town knows it.”
“If you don’t hear her complain, it’s because she is not doing anything.”
“Her words? You have to take it with a pinch of salt.”
“She talks non-stop but says nothing.”
“She is very trustworthy.”
“She is the to-go person if you ever need help.”
“You can always count on her.”
How do you want your colleagues to talk about you when you are out of sight? This is the reputation that I am talking about. I know someone who often cries wolf at office. When she does need help, people don’t take her seriously until this grandma cries like a baby.

(2) Be your own cheerleader.

Because nobody notices you if all you do is to bury your head and do a great job. There is no grading system at work, no final exam to let your stand out. My children were all great students at school, so they never got teacher’s attention. “Only when you break some rules or break something like window can you get some attention. Of course, son, that’s not a good one.” They got it. In fact, they learned more when they watched TV news. Very often, the one who has done something horrible gets the most TV coverage. Let’s not talk about it.

The point is you don’t want to be a nameless hero at office. Nameless hero only sounds great but let’s face it, in reality it’s not appreciated and recognized at all. You need to make sure you are at least appreciated. It’s like in research, if it’s not documented, it’s not done. Like I used to do two persons’ work in one workplace silently for nearly a year. I thought it known to all and never complained, never bragged or even mentioned it to anybody. In the end, I was not only unappreciated but was told “You are expected to step outside your role to help out.”

It is very tactic as how to broadcast your accomplishments without sounding like the squeaky wheel that wants more oil. Consider sharing your accomplishment this way, “I know it is not in my job description, still I have done this or that because I know too many deviations/mistakes, even if it’s not my fault, would not make us look great.”

In summary, think of this daily at office: (1) how to cement your reputation; (2) how not to be a nameless hero.



At work, we are first and foremost living beings


I just published this article on LinkedIn today.
After I put down the phone with a colleague, I went to the infusion room. The sights of patients and the words of my colleague suddenly seem so discordant. There is something so not right. My colleague just told me over the phone, “These red queries make my blood pressure shoot up.” I could almost see her anxiety level skyrocketing from the way she talked. Oh dear.

Here I see patients fighting for their dear lives. I imagine they would give up anything if they could get back their health. And there my healthy colleague run the risk of getting hypertension over a few queries.

Once a colleague of mine requested a patient’s chart from medical record department. When she didn’t get what she requested in due time, she marched to the medical record supervisor’s office and reported the incident. When the medical record person came over to explain how busy she was at the time, the two got into a raucous and truculent fight. To me, any kind of fight is detrimental to health and to life.

Very often when people work themselves up emotionally and make a gargantuan deal out of something very trivial or when they entangle themselves insignificantly in the office, they are doing disservice to their health and they lose sight of the big picture, that is we are living beings, which are also called lives. Life means many things. Like all living beings, life has a beginning and an end. On top of everything else, life means vulnerability.

Anytime people place trivial things above their health and their lives, they actually put the cart before the horse. The patients in our infusion room have taught me that nothing, not even wealth, fame, and power is more important than life.



What do you lose by giving your people more responsibilities?


I posted this great article on the LinkedIn,

I know a case in which an employee at a giant communication company, then software engineer level II, applied but lost for a SE level III position within the same team. That employee is the key player technically in the team, constantly helping other level III team members. His only problem is he doesn’t talk much.

Upon being rejected, he started applying for other internal positions, which immediately triggered panic attack on the part of his supervisor who desperately needs that employee to be in the team. The supervisor knows that employee is the only one who can get any urgent challenging job done. He knows the team cannot function without that employee. In a frenetic attempt to keep that employee, the supervisor promised mountains and oceans to him, including the level III position.

Case like this is not an isolated one. It always makes me wonder this question that I have for the supervisor/manager/to-whom-it-may-concern: What do you lose by giving your people more responsibilities, by trusting your people more, by promoting an internal employee whom you already know?

Nothing, as far as I can think of, especially in light of the fact that nearly all new hires need training before embarking upon the new position. If you can trust that an outsider can be trained into the new position, why can’t an internal employee be thus trusted, unless that internal employee is an imbecile?

What does the denial do to the employees? Potentially, it could lead to decimate trust and productivity, and high employee turnover.

How to retain great employees? The answer should leap to the eye.



My Besetting Sin at the Meeting


Here’s another great article that I wrote on the LinkedIn,
I have to confess that I enjoy reading and hearing words from pastors or ministers or someone with Rev. before their names. They all make me think about something else. Today, I was reading Pastor Cole’s writing on besetting sins at bible.org.

“Four ministers got away for a retreat. As they sat around the fire talking, one pastor said, ‘Let’s all share our besetting sins. I’ll go first. My besetting sin is that every so often I slip away from the office to the race track and bet on the horses.

The second pastor volunteered, ‘My besetting sin is that I keep a bottle of wine down in my basement. When I get really frustrated with my deacons, I sneak down there and have a nip of wine.’

The third pastor gulped and said, ‘My besetting sin is that I keep a punching bag at home. When I get mad at somebody in the church, I go home and think about that person as I hit the punching bag.’

They all turned to the fourth pastor and asked, ‘Well, what is your besetting sin?’ He hesitated, but they coaxed him. Finally, he said, ‘My besetting sin is gossip, and I can’t wait to get home!'”

It is the last two pastors that not only make me laugh but also set me thinking about numerous occasions at work. The fourth pastor, in particular, reminds me of one of my besetting sins.

While we are all sitting around the table at the work meeting, seemingly thinking about the topics under discussion, you can see the presence of the fourth pastor among us. Sometimes, it’s obvious when you see smile on someone’s face while she is sneaking a peak at the cellphone. Sometimes, a person prefers not to say anything at the meeting but can’t wait for the end of the meeting like the last pastor.

The only time when people competed with one another in expressing themselves was when the company hired an outside consulting company, Huron Consulting, to preside the meeting, without the presence of the manager. That meeting was like a gargantuan boiling pot.

My besetting sin at the company’s work is, I am always thinking about one thing, not about the topics under discussion but this, if I were to preside over the meeting, how can I nail down people’s attention on where I want them to? How can I engage everybody? How can I make them as enthusiastic about the topic as water in a boiling pot? How can I make everybody talk without any fear?



Uphold your own standards, regardless of your work environment


Well, you can see I am not as busy as I should be at work. So I pour my creative energy here. I have been contributing to LinkedIn lately. This is one of the articles that I wrote.

When my daughter started her intern job last summer, I felt this strong maternal impulse to share with her something really important.

People at your work place can be as diverse as birds in the forest. Some talk more and work less; some work and no talk. Your manager might come from a finance background and try to mess up with your graphic design. Your colleagues might come from the place where minorities are as rare as pandas.

Some people may offer help but will talk behind you about how incompetent you are and have to seek help for the work that you are supposed to know.

On the one hand, you will find people of your grandma’s age gossip and giggle like teenagers, on the other hand, there are people with full integrity.

A friend of mine told me about her daughter’s decision not to work at any bank. “Look at big banks like Wells Fargo,” Of course, we know the notorious deeds of Wells Fargo. I know someone at healthcare office cares only her paycheck. I hear too much whining and complaining around in my office.

Number one: don’t look for absolute fairness and justice at your workplace. It’s all ideals. Whatever you learn at your classroom about social justice and equality, keep it in your head. Workplace is not about justice and equality. It’s all about getting the assignments done legally.

Number two: unethical events like Wells Fargo are not uncommon. But make your own judgment and always do the right thing, regardless of the pressure from above. Better lose job than lose principles.

Number three, seek out your own role model, your mentor in your work place as early as possible, and follow them.

Sometimes, you might think you have to compromise something in order to fit in the culture of your work place. Compromise as we all do in life, but never compromise your values. e.g. you can giggle one of your silly giggles but never gossip about others, even though gossiping is the norm.

Always hold dearly the values and principles that define who you are.



What will you do when you are under-appreciated and under-utilized?


I have shared this article on the LinkedIn. Please leave your comments there.

My daughter started the first day of her fall unpaid intern at this new place after Labor Day. Of course things always go slow on your first day, no matter where you land. No rush at this moment.

I shared with her this. While you are a college student, it’s OK to accept unpaid work as long as you get what you need. You actually buy work experience with your time and money. If, say after two weeks, you sense that they don’t appreciate your talents, that is, they won’t involve you in anything above clerical nature of work, you really need to take some actions.

Take initiative.
Take actions.
Propose new ideas.
Nothing will happen before you do something.
It’s you time, your life, your responsibility.
Nobody cares but you.
It’s nobody’s business but yours!



Don’t deliberately ask questions in order to start a negative topic…


Last Friday, a colleague of mine went to another location to get the so-called “training,” which she told me she didn’t want to go and I don’t think it necessary. When she came back today, I was very tempted to ask her about her training, like what you learned from your training, anything that you can’t learn from here and that you have to go to OP, etc. But I held myself back.

To be sure, training is a privilege. I’d like to share this with her. It is not work, in that you don’t have any responsibility for the time you spend there. When there are tasks waiting for me to complete, I’d like to escape by spending my time on the wonderful carefree training. Too bad I was never given this privilege.

By asking her about her training, what I really want to hear is her complaint about the boring time that she was asked to go through and that gives me an opportunity to add fuel to fire. I was going to share my idea about training. If she doesn’t complain as I expect, I might feel being denied a chance to get negative. This is actually not nice at all. So I thought it better not to mention it to her.

This reminds me of one incident when someone deliberately asked a guest at our house a question in order to start a topic that catered to the low taste of that person. Later, I heard a comment like this, “I knew he liked to talk about it, so I intentionally led him into that topic.”

I don’t like that incident. I see a little manipulation there. Of course, one should not imitate something that one doesn’t like.



How to keep employees engaged and involved at work


To be sure, most of the managers would like to see the employees 100 percent engaged and involved in their work when they are physically present at the office. But the reality is many people mentally check themselves out while at the meeting and at work. I know I do. Call it daydreaming.

I have learned some companies give bonus to those who come up with great ideas and those ideas have been adopted by the company. I would brainstorm myself every day if the place I work with thus encouraged people.

The place where I work use games like jeopardy and Kahoot! which is “a free game-based learning platform that makes it fun to learn…” Of course, at the end of the game, there is prize for the winners like gift cards. This trick works at the meeting but is far from enough to stop the high turnover rate there.

How to keep employees fully engaged and involved at work is a huge subject, almost number big challenges to the employees. I read something like 10-Cs of employee engagement:
1. Connect
2. Career
3. Clarity
4. Convey
5. Congratulate
6. Contribute
7. Control
8. Collaborate
9. Credibility
10. Confidence

I am surprise “Caring” is not part of these Cs.



A gloomy day, made sadder when being alone


It is two days after my son’s birthday and three days before my daughter’s. In between their birthdays, I am thinking of them and missing them a lot more than before.

Strange it was a cold gloomy March day, with spark of snow in the morning. My mood is always impacted by lack of sunlight. I tried to find reason for this. This is what I read today — “Unraveling the Sun’s Role in Depression –More Evidence That Sunlight Affects Mood-Lifting Chemical in the Brain.”

To be sure, I had a busy day at work, with a morning meeting at OP and a diligent monitor to keep me extra busy. Still, I felt the day being heavily blanketed with an unspeakable sadness. It is the last day of one of the colleagues who came to share the office with me in January 2015. We have had a good working relationship. Plus both of us are book lovers. We talked more about books and our own lives than about work during her stay here. Being aware of the fact that today is her last day surely makes the day sadder. Tomorrow I will be alone in this office.

I have to philosophize the day. In our life’s journey, we don’t know who we will encounter or when our path will cross or when we will part our ways. The only comfort is leaving a place, knowing that we have treated all in our path with honesty and respect.

The real boost of the day is — bringing out the very best of ourselves wherever we are and feeling no regret when we have to say goodbye.



It is so easy to get trapped down by your surroundings


I don’t know what happened to me last Friday when I wrote to one of the upper management of going to conferences. I don’t mean that I shouldn’t have written that email. I should. And I should feel good after sending it out. After all, they don’t know and don’t care what you think. It is up to me to make myself understood.

What actually bothers me is I should not feel upset at all. Why did I feel so upset? The fact I feel upset shows that I got myself trapped down by the workplace surroundings. I should always keep myself above and beyond what is going on around me, instead of allowing it to disturb my equilibrium.

Now think how not to get myself trapped down by the going-on like last Friday.



Work becomes more and more irrelevant, a rough week for me…


It’s not been a pleasant week for me. But by Friday, when I attended a zoom meeting at work, I was more upset than before. Our workplace sends people to attend this or that conferences either in Hawaii or San Francisco or Chicago or some other more scenic place. I don’t know why I have never been given an opportunity to attend any of them, even though other colleagues doing the same job have been to more than one conferences. I simply don’t understand why. I mean I can present papers, high quality ones, at these conferences, better than the majority of them. They know this. They have read what I have written and have paid enough insincere lip services. I feel like they deliberately shut me out of it.

This morning when the same topic was presented and when I saw other people going here and there. I couldn’t remain silent any more. So I wrote to the meeting host via private chat, asking her why. She said she would relate the question to K, the top one in our department. I told her not to, because I would rather tell K myself, even though I’m sure she will report to K everything.

I wrote to K, “The reason I keep writing to you is I believe in telling the truth. Why don’t we ever have a chance of attending any of these conferences that were mentioned during this morning’s meeting?” Of course, I didn’t tell her all the truth, especially the truth about one of my colleagues’ leaving.

I expect her coming up with some explanation, that is, telling the truth as why I have been neglected in this regard. But I was disappointed when I received her email, “You can…just let [my manager] know. We try to support travel for any staff person 1) that’s been with clinical trials (CCP and ACP) organization for at least one year and 2) is in good performance standing (i.e. is not on a performance improvement plan). Have you let [my manager] know you are interested in attending a conference?”

I don’t know what to say. My manager never cares and never mentions any of these conferences at all! I was very very upset. I know I shouldn’t care. The fact is I feel more and more irrelevant at work. Still, I wrote back to her politely, “Thank you for getting back to me. Have a nice day.”

People are limited in terms of their ability to think beyond their own interests. I have found many people around me feel irrelevant at work, which explains why we have such a high employee turnover rate. It’s beyond my pay range to worry about this. I only record one of my experiences there.

By the way, one of my colleagues just had an interview this afternoon. I know she will leave soon. No wonder. I even have prepared a goodbye card for her.



One of the reasons why I am so eager to leave this office 2


On the morning of 6/25/2015, we had a meeting at another location from 7:30 to 8:30. Also that morning, there was a monitor scheduled to come at 8:30. It turned out that the monitor was told by one of my colleagues that I started working at 7 AM, which meant she could come early if she wanted. This she did. The front desk lady told me she showed up at 7:50. Of course, I was still at the meeting at another location.

The front office supervisor wrote to my manager at 8:27 AM that morning, “I have a Monitor here and she says [my name] knew she was coming but neither her or [my sidekick] are here and she cannot stay long she has other appointments and a flight to catch. Please help with direction.”

The next day I explained to my manager, “Yesterday’s [study name] monitor came to south clinic earlier than the schedule because she said someone at OP office told her I go to the office at 7 AM.” The manager, instead of taking my words as true, came back challenging me, “She arrived around 8:30 which was her scheduled time.”

Neither the manager nor I were at south office at the time when the monitor came. How did she know when the monitor came? 7:50 is 40 minutes ahead of her scheduled time. Both the monitor and the front desk lady told me she showed up earlier than schedule. Why did my manager challenge what I told her, as if I lied to her?

It upsets me every time I think of this. Some people say hurtful words or hurting others without thinking. My manager belongs to that some people. I don’t think it is her intention to hurt but she did it. Well, for me, it is time to put it behind me and move on. Let’s try to forget uncomfortable things in life, as if they never had happened.



One of the reasons why I am so eager to leave this office


For some reason, I thought of this early in the morning today while I was doing math exercise. It bothers me a bit when I think of it. So I thought the best way to put it behind me is to record it here.

There is one reason that I felt specially pushed to leave this office. It is the manager. To be fair, like all of us, she is a good person with limitations, that is, she is rather gullible to what people say to her. But that limitation hurts decent person like me in particular, because I make it my principle not to say bad things about anybody to my manager.

Here’s how bitching words about me got around. When I worked at our SW office, I was with someone who seems to make it her mission in life to gossip about others. To be fair, she is also a good person or at least she has the desire to be good. But the flaws in her character often ends up being detrimental or even sabotaging to others.

Specially, that colleague of mine lacks the guts to say what she wants to say in front of the people. Instead, she badmouths her colleagues to the manager, colleague like me, a nonwhite minority who she strongly dislikes. Also, when a mistake of hers is found, she blames other for her mistakes, with me being that other.

Second weakness is her lack of the self-discipline to watch her mouth and not to gossip about others. For some unexplained reasons, she simply couldn’t stop gossiping about others. This baffles me tremendously.

It yields some horrible consequences for me when I was around that person before 3/2014. This I didn’t know until I left SW for south office and until I had some exchanges with the manager who distrusts me and my ability, and of course, dislikes me, believing I am a liar, all totally for no reason at all. I’ll show why she distrusts me tomorrow.

Now you understand why I have been constantly looking for jobs. Too bad, I don’t have the luck to land on anything and now, as I am approaching six decades of life, I am losing the drive to drive around.



Meetings everyday except Monday–Totally Unrelated to me


We have meetings everyday this week, except Monday. I told my colleague how I dislike this strongly. She simply laughed.

Today, my colleague and I drove to Fairway to attend a site initiation visit meeting from the sponsor, which took nearly the whole morning. I felt tired after that and would like a nap, but of course I couldn’t.

Tomorrow I will have to attend one at Westwood for the so-called CTO Research Coordinator Monthly Meeting. On Thursday, I will go to Overland Park site for another monthly research meeting. Friday will be the CTO Monthly Staff Meeting.

The point is I feel totally unrelated when I am at these meetings. I really don’t care. I really don’t want to spend my time living out other people’s dream. They are unrelated to my agenda. I sit there with an obvious unconcerned look and a truly absent mind throughout the meetings.



We don’t come to the office to make friends, then what?


I remember someone at work said this “We don’t come here to make friends.”

True. However, since we spend one-third of our days or our lives here, friends can make a difference in terms of how happy we are at work or what mood we are in here. You don’t want your life spent in a hostile environment, which is detrimental to your health.

Hence, for your precious health, it is your responsibility to make your working environment as less hostile as possible, even if making friends is not an option.

Always remember your happiness is in your hand. Take initiative instead of blaming others.



Words posted on my office wall


These words are posted underneath a shelf against the wall that only one person can see it, that is me, the person sitting by my desk everyday.

(1) Use time to create value and to add joy to life.
(2) No matter what happens, never lose your sense of purpose.
(3) Life is too short to live other people’s dream.
(4) Write something every day. Never underestimate the effect of your contribution.
(5) Be a friend to all who know you.

I didn’t post them all together. In fact, it took me a year to post them all here, though I forgot what occasions that had prompted me to post each of them. It is funny that I go to my office every day, thinking of the day when I don’t have to.

Yesterday, the person who would come to this office starting next year came over. For some reason, I don’t have a good feeling about the new arrival. But it is what it is. While I can’t control my environment, I can adopt a positive attitude, yes, by going back to these postings.



Because positive is the only way out


This week I have been waiting for words from the hiring manager. She told me a decision would be made during the first week of December. I began to lose hope as the week went by. I knew I would be contacted the first of the week if I got the offer. If not, I might hear from the hiring manager later this week.

Indeed, I got an email from the hiring manager today saying an offer was made and was accepted yesterday. Well, in fact, it came not as a surprise. I was sort of expecting something on this line. In fact, I was prepared for this.

Still the day seemed suddenly dark after I read the email around 1 PM today. I was at west today. The busy and somehow unpleasant experience there with the monitor enhanced the gloomy mood that I carried for the rest of the day.

I guess no matter how much I have prepared, I still need some time to get over the disappointment of the rejection. I still need to remind myself “With or without an offer, I remain the same.”

I am going to reply to the hiring manager with a very positive note. Because being positive is the only way out.



With or without an offer, I remain the same


Yesterday, 11/18/2014, I went to have a job interview for a protocol manager position. The interview was set up for 30 minutes. Before we knew it, it was after 4 PM.

We had a good time chatting about our experiences as PhD. candidate. Both of us are PhD holders. Both had some circumstances which made it more difficult for us to achieve our goals. Eventually both have earned the degree within the given time frame.

It has been a long time since I talked to someone who has been there and who truly appreciates what I have been through in order to get that degree.

She told me it was going to be very competitive as there were three very strong internal candidates. I am not very hopeful that I would get this position. Still, I have enjoyed the process.

My daughter called tonight asking about the interview. I want to tell her that, for me, with or without the offer, I remain unchanged. I am still on the track with my plan.



Golden Rules, no matter where you work


Just do it
I will translate it into English later.



I met another first generation, over-educated Chinese at my workplace


Tim recommended me to Lai on 7/18/2014 when I was thinking of getting into cancer registry, a job where you can work remotely. I would like to be able to work from home.

I was told she had lots of grant and would be in much better position to get me in. I still remember SML, currently teaching at the department of Preventive Medicine & Public Health and the director of… Cancer Registry. She asked me for my resume on 7/28/2014, which I sent immediately and was waiting with great hope because of what I perceived as some “advantages.” She has my published articles and knows what I am doing right now.

Three months passed and I have not heard from her ever since when I thought she was like me in many aspects and would do much better than this.

Here are the similarities between us:
(1) Both of us are Chinese
(2) Both of us are first generation immigrants
(3) Both of us are way over-educated than our peers — she got her BA in economics in 1979, two master degrees from Ohio in Accounting and from Pennsylvania in statistics, and finally a PhD from Pittsburgh in epidemiology in 1992. Wow, a rare thing among Americans.
(4) Both of us, as the first generation immigrants, have undergone decades of struggle in our adopted land to gain a foot stand here.

She has been there and knows all the hardships involved in getting to where she is now. She knows my potentials and my skills, yet she chooses to let me pass doing nothing when she is in the position to do something.

People are different. So I cannot expect kindness from everybody. This I know. To say I am not disappointed is a lie. I will remember Sue— so that I will try to be different from her–helping out whenever I can. I will never forget where I come from.



A simple division of labor in the world…


I am not busy at office, which is a good thing. Because I will have more time for myself to do what I enjoy.

I used to enjoy helping people at other sites, but I have changed my mind after I learned from the manager that one colleague of mine complained of the mistakes that I made while helping her, saying that I had created more work for her than not doing it at all. This is of course a very unfair judgment. I made no attempt to argue with her. Peace, this is all I want.

I finally figure out this simple division of labor under the sun: your job, other people’s job, and God’s job.

The world would be a wonderful place if you only focus on your job and let others and God take care of theirs.



It is hard to trust anyone you don’t know, really?


Never-trust-writing-to-anyone-that-I-dont-know
Yesterday I sent this email to someone who is doing the same work but at another location of the place where I work. Since both of us have to prepare for the coming audit and they have this kind of audit before, I thought I might learn something by reaching out to see how they prepare for it.

After a few hours, my boss called me regarding this email and inform me how improper it was for me to write to that person instead of directing any question to my boss, making me feel like having committed a big blunder. To say I was mildly disturbed is an understatement. This morning I wrote to that person, cc my boss and the senior director of the whole department:

“I am sorry that I wrote to the wrong person yesterday.
I want to make sure there is no misunderstanding regarding my email to you. Please understand there is nothing personal and entirely professional.

I want you to understand the reasons I wrote to you:
(1) You are the first … on the research contact list. I am your counterpart on the … side. I was asking my counterparts on … sides work related questions.

(2) I thought people at WW had experience with … audit and I might be able to learn something by reaching out to my colleagues. I wasn’t expecting anything more.

(3) There WAS some confusion on our end. Don’t worry there IS no confusion NOW.

Please, next time, I would appreciate it tremendously —
(1) if you don’t know the answer, simply reply to me by saying “I don’t know.”
(2) please INCLUDE me in the Cc.. line if you decide to forward MY EMAIL to anyone else. I appreciate a culture of openness and integrity above anything else.”

Guess what? This person wrote back saying — “No need to apologize to me” He truly believes I was apologetic and even offers to help next time. Yeah right, I still trust writing to anyone at all. What a joke! What a culture! I get into trouble even by asking someone in the same work place some work related questions. A disgusting workplace!

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