Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Nov 17, 2012

If you want people to take you seriously, don’t have too many oversights

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:37 am

On  11/5/2012, one colleague of mine forwarded to me an email from a monitor regarding one of our studies, which itself is an annoying thing. On the email subject, he refers to one subject at our clinic while in the body of his email, he talks about a different subject not even located in our clinics. I wrote back to him asking him to clear up which subject he is talking about.

I said “By the way, our site number is 041. Appreciate it if you get the site correct before sending it.” I knew I was not being nice when I wrote this but I was pretty upset when some monitors throw upon us data discrepancies with their own glaring discrepancies in the email.

He returned with this “My apologies.  I was copying and pasting since I have several sites that needed SAE follow up.  Please forgive this oversight. It is subject …” I was going to ignore him without further wasting time on him.

But being a busy person as I am,  I sent him this “BTW, if you want people to take your email seriously and get back to you, it is better not to mess it up with this kind of oversight.” I know most people simply trash his email without even a look at the content. And of course, I will not forget to share this with my daughter.

1, Sep 27, 2012

When the CEO is leaving the company…

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:24 am

On 9/11, the second head of our company before merger made an announcement about the departure of the CEO of the company. I thought it was nicely written.

“Please join me in wishing …, Executive Director of Community Network Development, success in his new endeavor. … will be leaving the University of Kansas Hospital in the next few weeks for a new opportunity.

— was previously the Executive Director for the company for 12 years and was instrumental in the growth and advancement of our company as it built 5 community cancer centers as well as other cancer related programs.

— has served on numerous healthcare and cancer association boards both locally and nationally, educating others, as much as he was exploring for new programs and services that would position our physicians and staff to make the greatest impact on patients. His philosophy in evaluating the merit and value behind anything new has always been – ‘is it good for the patient?’

1, Jun 25, 2012

Time to move…

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:55 am

By next month, I will have worked at the clinic level for five years. Since early this year, I thought I should move to something else.

For one thing, I don’t see any room for improvement and further development if I keep staying here. I need some challenge to keep me going.

For another, I don’t like the hierarchical nature in the clinic. I am comfortably with more egalitarian work environment.

Hence, I decided to try getting into our IT department. I kept looking for any openings within our system. Right before I left for China, I sent my application for one opening in our IT department. I had the first round of interview on 5/30.

I was told that they just started giving interviews. In fact, I was the first one to be interviewed and they didn’t know how many they would interview. I didn’t feel good toward one of the guys. In fact, I had a feeling that it would not turn out right. Indeed, it didn’t. My daughter said, “Good. Now you can concentrate on your writing.” Big comfort!

1, Jun 17, 2012

“Everyone else looks after his own interests…”

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:54 am

On 4/30, we received an internal email from our director of operation. She has been with the practice for 10 years and is leaving for another company by the end of the month. It was so nice that she gave a month’s notice.

Well, it seems normal for people to jump from one position to another when there are some big changes in a company, especially when a merger of two companies inevitably creates duplicates and sooner or later the duplicates will be removed. Rather than waiting to be laid off, these people seek out their own different path first.

One colleague comment, “Well, everyone looks after his own interest.” True. Another asked “Who’s the next one?” Still, her departure came as a shock to me, as I used to see that person as the permanent fixture of the company. I think I am still very much the product of old culture.

1, May 29, 2012

Hiring a lawn mowing teenager

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:12 am

On 5/26, Saturday afternoon, when I searched for lawn mowing services in our area, I found one offered by a 17-year-old boy. I called for an estimate. He came over, surveyed the front and back yard, then asked how much I offered.

I told him I was thinking of asking my neighboring teenager boy for $50 because he has a tractor. He said, “The thing I don’t like tractor is it cannot go through area around trees. I mow and trim the yard well.” He asked for $65. I knew there was room for me to bargain it down.

We were talking outside and it was very hot that day. I thought of my own children and would hope other people would treat them generously if they were in his situation. He is the same age as my daughter. So I agreed to give him what he asked.

Yesterday, he came over and started working at 9:50 in the morning and ended at 11:50. I think he is happy with the check for his two hours yard work under the burning sun.

1, Feb 18, 2012

How to Work with Monitors Or Not

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:35 am

This happened again on 1/23 and 1/24. Monitors from two studies emailed me asking me to work on some issues related to my patients and get them resolved a.s.p.s because there would be an immediate database lock. I went to their systems only to find the pages that I was supposed to work on were frozen, so I emailed back, informing them the status of these pages.

Upon receiving my emails, the monitors went to the related person to unfreeze the pages for me, then emailed me back, intending me to work on them a.s.p.s.

I felt like having wasted my time helping them to find out what their systems allow me to do when I expected these monitors to figure out this first before writing to me.

At first, I was upset and felt like being pushed around. I wrote to a project manager about this. I finished writing a grumpy email but I did not send as I knew exactly what that manager would say and would ask me to do. As it happened in the past, the manager would ask me to do what the monitors request.

Here’s my passive aggressiveness. Next time when a monitor asks me to do something, I will first ignore it. Upon second email, I will ask if the pages are ready for work. I will go to their system only after I hear from them the second or third time. Never waste time on starting working immediately. This was written when I felt being thrown around.

1, Feb 6, 2012

Weather is the Safest and the Most Shallow Topic

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:09 am

The research team at our site has shrunk from 6 to 2 persons. Between two of us, there is very few in common. It is no exaggeration to say that we are as different as sky and the earth. Hence, the exchange between us, other than work-related topics, is very much limited to comments on weather, the only safe topic if we want to engage in a polite conversation. Can’t believe official interactions are so superficial.

For my part, I stop myself from any involving in any unnecessary communication because of its exceedingly frivolous and teenager-like nature.

I have found out lately that weather is most talked about between strangers. There must be something good about weather, otherwise people would not indulge in it so dearly. This is what I think about it.

(1) People can stay on the surface when they don’t know each other well. Weather is something everybody knows just a tiny bit.

(2) Weather is something everybody senses, knows, and likes to talk about.

(3) Weather is a neutral topic, void of any political color, running no risk of offending anybody.

Finally, of course, it is a bit tongue-in-cheek to stay on weather among colleagues. Let it be. So is the culture.

1, Jan 28, 2012

Doctors and Monitors, Between Kings and Queens

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:54 am

Here’s a peep into the world that I live in. Among others, it consists of doctors and monitors, which I would not put down as the world of jungles because it is a more delicate and civilized one than that. To be sure, they all carry around in their manner a 1000 times enlarged image of themselves, not to be treated slightly. On Tuesday, August 16, 2011, two monitors were scheduled to come and meet the principle investigator (PI) for the study. Our doctor came over twice to see if they had come. The monitors were late for their appointment with our doctor.

Instead of giving them a chance to push their way around as they always do, as soon as I saw the monitors, I told them our doctor was waiting for them the whole time and now was with the patient. They missed their appointment and would have to make another one. That was final. They made a trip here for nothing! I felt a bit sorry but couldn’t help.

After that, I wrote to the doctor, “The monitors said they were sorry that they were nearly 15 minutes late for the appointment with you. I reinforced to them the importance of keeping their appointment with our doctors. I am sure they have learned their lesson.” To this, the doctor replied, “well done, thanks. you are right, part of scheduling an appt is so I can set aside time for them.”

Between doctors and monitors, I always stand by our doctors. As I have to see them everyday, I need to have a good working relationship with them. Plus, it is not a good practice to please outsiders at the cost of insiders.

1, Nov 15, 2011

Work, Dream of Change, and Your Personal Agenda

Filed under: Career,work — Tags: , , , — admin @ 12:50 am

Thought for the day.
On the surface, the daily trip to the office is never as glamorous as an epic event. It can be very banal and mundane. It can wear away your life quietly before you notice it. For me, the trick is coming to the office everyday and thinking of the changes that I have in my mind and the day when I don’t have to come or I come as a different person. The terrible thing is stopping or forgetting to think.

For the majority of people, they face the dilemma of coming to work physically but not wanting to mentally, the need to be here and the reluctance of doing so. You seldom hear people talk with enthusiasm about their work, instead you hear people ask “Is it Friday?” on Monday morning and hence we have the restaurant TGIF — Thank God It’s Friday.

The challenge is to enjoy the process of doing or pretend enjoying without losing sight of the large picture and a bigger goal. I know it is so easy to say or think about it than the real action.

1, Nov 4, 2011

Work Hard: the Best Medicine for Your Mind, Most of Time

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:15 am

On May 30, the Memorial day evening, I took my daughter to Barnes & Noble’s. We stayed there till the bookstore closed at 8 PM, which was earlier than normal day. From there, we went to Target for a walk. After we got back, I said to her “I wish there were something to cheer me up.” My daughter said, “Work hard.”

For a long time, her words echoed in my head, with lots of happy associations. Even if I have not worked hard, the thought of “work hard” did cheer me up. Now I truly believe work is the best medicine if your illness comes from your mind.

I record it here for myself and for my children. Any time you feel down because of lack of accomplishments or goal not reached, the only remedy for this is “work hard.”

1, Oct 19, 2011

A Bad Job is Better Than No Job

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:15 am

I am not sure if I have posted this piece here. If I have, too bad, read it again. A young relative of mine in China was given a job offer around the end of August. Everybody was worried that he would quit the job, packed up things and come back home in a few weeks, either because he did not like the job or the job was too demanding and he did not want to work hard on it.

I wrote to him on 9/3/2011, “A paycheck is a paycheck, no matter who gives it to you. If you don’t like it, you can always find another one. But don’t just quit on the spot and go home. It is better to wait till you find another one, the so-called riding-a-donkey-while-finding-another-donkey. Always remember a bad job is always better than no job. You don’t increase your value as an employee by sitting at home doing nothing, and you don’t want to let time go by without increasing your value.”

I’m happy to report that he is still holding that job now.

1, Oct 18, 2011

No Job Security, Big or Small Company

Filed under: Career,work — admin @ 12:29 am

Last week, on 10/14, a colleague of mine talked about our former manager who met with another colleague of ours in another clinic. Our former manager left us first for one big company in town, then she moved to another one, a much smaller one.

They talked about job security in a small company and whether or not she had made a wise move. This reminds me of one small company that I used to work for around year 2000. At that time I thought it more secure to be with a big company like Sprint. Within one year of the move, I got laid off during Sprint’s third round of force reduction and the outsourcing drive.

I remember one colleague of mine who tried to get certified for “job security.” But her certification has not saved her during our latest round of job cut. Oh boy, she was extremely upset.

Now I no longer count on any company for job security. The only security that is worth seeking is one’s indispensible skills.

1, Oct 17, 2011

Good Work Habits, According to Your Boss

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:07 am

This is part of my diggings during my house cleanup. I wrote it back on 7/30/2008. The topic is work habits that bosses love written by Margaret Steen.

(1) Communicate, communicate, ommunicate. Better asking too many questions than otherwise
(2) Acknowledge what the boss says. We all appreciate “responsive listening.”
(3) Collaborate. Respond to new ideas constructively instead of throwing roadblocks.
(4) Build relationships.
(5) Understand how you fit in. That is understand what the boss expects in an employee.
(6) Learn the boss’s pet peeves.
(7) Anticipate the boss’s needs.
(8) Think one level up. This is very important if you want to move up.
(9) Open yourself to new ways of doing things.
(10) Be engaged in your work.

1, Aug 31, 2011

Email Standards

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:03 am

On 5/18/2011, we received an internal email regarding our company’s email standards. I am sure these standards were not invented by our company, as they seem pretty much standards for all professional email behavior.

(1) Business emails should never, ever be set to include stationery.
(2) Use it strictly for business purpose.
(3) Don’t Forward Spam, Hoaxes, cute stories or chain letters. Cute stories, jokes or emails of “inspiration” are not work related and should be deleted.
(4) Reply to the sender and ask that they only email your personal email account.
(5) Refrain from using “Reply All” unless every recipient needs to see your response.
(6) Use of “Subject” Line
(7) Always reply to emails – especially the ones specifically addressed to you. The sender is still waiting to hear from you.
(8) Keep your email message short and to the point.
(9) Do not hit the Send button without doing a spell check.
(10) If it is really important, make a call to make sure it was received.
(11) Temper and tone matter.
(12) Keep in mind that email is not private.
(13) Use out of office response to alert others of your absence.
(14) Be courteous, considerate and responsible when writing an email message.

In a word, keep it professional.

1, Aug 30, 2011

Can You Be Happy at Work?

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:08 am

We all know that the happiest is he who does what he enjoys and does it everyday. Yet, for those who don’t really enjoy their work, how can they be happy, even though not being the happiest of all? To be sure, I am one of those folks. All we can do is to achieve as high level of happiness as we can.

For me, there are three things that never fails to cheer me up at work.
(1) I make a point of learning something new at work as the preparation for something that I enjoy doing. I am a happy fly as long as I have learned something new and feel that I have not wasted my day.

(2) I will enjoy my time off work much more when I have a job. This is like eating chocolate. Much as I like it, I would not be able to enjoy it if I have chocolate everyday and all day long. I see work time as the time between chocolate-intake hours.

(3) Keep everything professional. This way you won’t be disturbed if you unfortunately encounter a very barbarous and disgusting colleague, like I once did. My favorite self-deceiving and self-comforting saying is: “A dog bites a human being, how can that human being bite back?”

Enjoy your eight-hour-a-day toil! Remember it is your responsibility to make yourself happy.

1, Aug 28, 2011

Attention to Details and Big Pictures

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:20 am

It is both interesting and challenging for me to go through the exclusion list defined in our company’s dress code, because some of the terms are foreign to me and I have never challenged myself to learn all these words.
–jeans of any color, except on designated days
–tennis shoes or athletic shoes except with jeans on approved jeans days.
–bermuda shorts (?)
–low cut blouses
–tank tops (?)
–thin or spaghetti straps (?)
–tube tops (?)
–crop tops or halters (?)
–Cargo pants (?)
–open-toed shoes
–flip flops (?)
–Crocs with holes (?)
–leggings (?)
–spandex pants (?)
–sweat pants
–baseball caps or hats
–tee shirts

By the way, I received a warning for wearing a T-shirt at office on 5/23, less than a month before the expiration of our company. This is the first time that I violated the company’s dress code, of which I had not been aware in my entire six years of service. Call it a failure to pay attention to details, which is very much characterized of me.

After that I think about big pictures and grand scheme in life. Your mind will be tightly entrenched and restricted by the endless details like this if you find yourself in this position for long. I know both of my children already refuse to be thus locked down.

1, Jun 12, 2011

One of the ill-advices that I received on my job

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:53 am

A piece of recent history.
When I first started the job in 7/2007, one colleague told me that the best teacher for all questions was monitor, who should be the expert on the protocol he/she was working on.

This I did follow faithfully. I saved all my questions for the monitor, which turned out to be a huge mistake. The monitor told the manager how stupid and ignorant I was for my position and how she wasted all the time educating me, etc.

I didn’t know that monitor was supposed to do SDV at the site and their time was very much limited as the sponsor paid for the trip to the site. They would not want to waste time on educating me. I was supposed to hide instead of to show my incompetency. I was lucky that I still had the job after that.

Now I realize very often the opposite is true. Instead of getting answers from the monitor, I often provide ones for them. The more I work with them, the more I see through them.

Some of them simply act as if they knew everything, which turned out to be nothing but a mask covering their true ignorance. I should always work with a questioning mind. This is something nobody told me in the beginning.

1, May 1, 2011

Work is Divine and Parasite Existence is a Shame

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:09 am

Today is May First International Labor’s Day. This is to glorify work and celebrate this day.

Above is one of the children’s songs that sends a positive message and that I tried to teach my children. The song says this.
While the sun is out and bright, the roosters crow, the birds are busy building nest and little bees busy with collecting honey. Where does happy life come from? It is work alone that creates happiness. … We celebrate work that brings endless joy and creates wealth.

I think of this song when I see laziness in some wealthy second generation in China. It is sad that wealth has generated laziness in some cases and enabled some people to live like parasites, without any sense of shame.

On this International Labor’s Day, I tell my children never to forget this aged old value that work is divine, that laziness is the root of most of, if not all, social problems.

1, Apr 17, 2011

One of the Most Painful Moment in My Job

Filed under: work — admin @ 1:00 am

On On 5/21/2010, a doctor came in about 9:30 AM, asking me about a clinic trial for a late stage lung patient. I gave him the fast fact of the trial. Then I printed informed consent form and went to room #11, where patient, aged 38, and her young son were sitting, crying. They must have just been told of disease progression and the poor prognosis of her disease. I felt sad for them, especially the boy.

I explained to them the importance of clinical trials and the available treatment for our patients that clinical trials had to offer. I could see she was too upset over the news of disease to listen to my wonderful explanation. I gave her a copy of informed consent, leaving my phone number, telling her to take it home, go through it carefully, do some research on this investigational drug, and call me if she had any questions. Before I left the room, I told the young boy to take good care of his mom. He nodded through sobbing. I felt like comforting them by giving them a huge hug, but then I didn’t.

I just experienced the most painful moment of this job — seeing patient cry, knowing too well their hopeless situation and yet, unable to do anything for them.

1, Apr 15, 2011

Get Into the Habit of Civic Communication

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:19 am

Our company offered Just Culture workshop last week, with concentration on communication between employees and patients and among employees.

The workshop intended to teach us how to carry on a caring, considerate and positive communications. Because sometimes negative communication shows up accidentally when people fail to pay attention to how important daily interactions are.

The question that bothers me is the fact the negative communication crops up at the moment when we are off guard, as if nasty words are lurking around somewhere in our sub-consciousness looking for a chance to surface. Does it reveal something about us? At least it tells me there is a need for such a workshop because somebody has not talked decently.

If we have got into the habit of being civic toward our fellow beings or keep our subconscious space clean, we will feel free, that is, free from any guard against ourselves and from the need for such workshop.

1, Apr 14, 2011

The Farewell Card to My Manager

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:09 am

Yesterday was the last day for my manager at our practice. She will pursue other opportunity with another big local company. Below is what I wrote in my goodbye card to her.

“Forgive me for telling you that you are an awesome person and have always been trying to do the right thing for others and for the company. Given time, I have no doubt that people will come to appreciate your fine qualities.

A new environment means new challenges and the unexpected happenings. No matter where you go, your fundamental belief and principles will be your strong support and will guide you and carry you through any challenges.”

This is what I once told myself. This is what I truly believe will help her in her journey ahead.

1, Jan 11, 2011

The Power and the Damage of Unknown Phobia

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:56 am

It happened on 12/1/2008, over two years ago. I just dug it out from my work journal. I thought it was an interesting event.

On that date, I wrote to a colleague, offering to work on the patients that she was working on. She told me “We will let you know!” I don’t know who “we” are as I only wrote to her. She has never written back to me, even though she needed my help on getting some data out. I have noticed that she has tried to avoid working with me, keeping an interestingly polite distance and appearance, for some unknown reason. Let’s call it unknown phobia.

I have never worked with this colleague before, yet she has heard some gossips about me and was reluctant to work with me out of some unaccountable phobia. By the end of the day, it is not me but those with phobia and with closed mind who will suffer as the result.

1, Dec 13, 2010

A Trick to Get Employees Involved in Survey

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:06 am

On the morning of 6/7, I was very busy after a SIV. When I opened my office mailbox, I saw an email from the president of our practice, sent from him to me directly regarding an employee engagement survey, as if he personally asked me to do the survey. I know there is a way of mass-distributing an email and then when it reaches the recipient, it looks like it was sent to you alone without disclosing other recipients. It has the effect of making you feel special when you receive an email directly from the president. However, since the president is over 60 years old, I wouldn’t flatter him with being so computer savvy as to know how to do this mass-distributing. So I thought he must have sent these email one by one to hundreds of employees within the practice just to make people feel special.

After chatting with one of my colleagues, I know better now. Of course, he did not do it himself. He could easily delegate the task to someone else without having to go through any of the trouble that I thought of. Still, I appreciate the way the email was sent to each of us. It makes me feel that I could not simply ignore it without putting some effort on his behalf. The trick works on this busy Monday morning, at least working on me. Something to think about!

1, Aug 28, 2010

Lack of Proper Enforcement of Meeting Etiquette

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:10 am

On 7/19/2010 we had a SIV at one of our clinics. It is one of those days when I feel displeased by some rude behavior. The meeting with our future monitor was made rather unpleasant to both the speaker and all of us because of one compulsive participant. She is compulsive in that she has to jump out barking out something, for whatever the speaker said. Even when she couldn’t think of anything to say, she paraphrased what the speaker just said to confirm her understanding. She whispered loudly with others when she was not interrupting the speaker.

It is unfortunate to all of us that she does not know that she should allow the speaker to finish his sentence before blurting out hers, no matter how useless her words are. She has never learned to raise her hand when she feels the urge to replace the speaker’s voice. She routinely interrupts speaker at will.

This rude meeting behavior openly shows disrespect for the speaker and shamelessly forces everybody in the meeting to focus attention on her instead of on the speaker.

A meeting is not supposed to be an arena for people to showcase themselves or to grab people’s attention or to emphasize how incompetent the speaker is.

The sad part is not that she fails to follow the standard meeting etiquette but she even feels jubilant and triumphant each time she thinks she beats out the speaker. Does it really take so much guts and maturity to behave like a real adult, instead of a three-year-old?

By the way, I wrote the above during the meeting.

1, Aug 19, 2010

My Experience with Time Warner Road Runner Service

Filed under: work — Tags: , — admin @ 12:52 am

We have been out of internet service since last weekend due to the broken modem. I contacted Time Warner about it and was told that a technician would come over today between 5 to 7 PM, the earliest possible date.

Since my daughter has piano lesson on Thursday at 5, I called yesterday to see if they could narrow the window to 6 to 7 PM.

First of all, it took me over 30 minutes to finally get hold of someone over the phone. The Time Warner guy told me he could not change the window. If I could not make it, he could get me some other day. That seemed to be the last straw. I had already waited for a few days and he still would not be flexible enough to accommodate me.

I told him I was going to close my account and look for other high speed internet services. He told me he would connect me to their customer service girl, who proved to be worse than I imagined.

She said, “You are free to go to other companies, but you will have to wait for several days no matter where you go. You can’t just get it whenever you want.” Though she yielded to my request a little bit and pushed back the window for today, her attitude was far from apologetic and friendly. In fact, her attitude was so unfriendly that I felt like having tasted something worse than anything you can imagine.

We have been Time Warner customer for many years. This is the first time their modem gave us trouble. Had I looked around for other companies this Monday instead of waiting and calling for a change of time, I could have avoided such an unpleasant encounter with Time Warner folks. Now I learn my lesson.

1, Aug 9, 2010

How to Avoid Ruining Your Work Reputation

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:29 am

There is an interesting article written by Liz Wolgemuth, On 4/29/2010, “How to Ruin Your Work Reputation Slowly” The article starts like this, “It isn’t hard to ruin your reputation online these days–blogging about your boss, Twittering about your customers, posting Facebook pictures that involve copious amounts of alcohol and otherwise inappropriate props.”

While we don’t have many chances to make major mistakes and total the job of ruining our reputation, we do face the possibilities of chipping away our professional image in the workplace, by behaving a little bit unprofessionally.

First line of breakdown: communications skills, written and oral ones, and the content of your communication, especially the sensitive area of email. The trick of a good communication is to get into the habit of using formal language and avoid any non-work related content. Another trick: email as less as possible.

Second line, your behavior in public or at meetings, another danger zone. Better qualities to display at the meeting are attentiveness and inquisitiveness. Interrupt your boss or embarrass the boss in a meeting will quickly earn you a bad reputation.

Third one, a good working relationships with your manager. This is a tricky one. The trick is not to openly nurturing a good relationship with your boss. Because you run the risk of ruining your relationships with coworkers. After all, you don’t want to be known as a boot-licker.

1, Aug 4, 2010

The Temptation and the Danger of Stupid Behavior in a Fun Crowd

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:03 am

During a conversation among some nurses on Monday 8/2/2010, I heard that they had a party last weekend and one of them got drunk. I heard that girl saying “Party was no fun without getting drunk.” Another asked if she drove after that. “No. Can’t put the two together,” she said.

I thought of another party in which one of my co-workers spit out a large quantity of stupid vulgar expressions, most horrifying to all present, which I believe she would rather keep to herself if she had not over-drunk at the party. Her stupidity at the party provides fertile food for gossips long after the party and of course embarrassment to her children at least. This behavior makes me think of sociological theories on crowd mentality and herd behavior.

For some people, it seems the larger the crowd, the crazier they become and the more they let loose of themselves. It reminds me of the behavior of a three-year-old who acts up and seems out of control when there are guests in the house. It is funny some adults never outgrow kindergarten behavior.

Don’t make a fool of yourself while having a good time. Remember losing control is no fun.

1, Aug 3, 2010

A Woman with an Extraordinary Ability

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:41 am

On 7/2, while my colleague and I were talking about one monitor from PRA, she told me of her experience with that company, specifically her unpleasant one with her boss there.

From the conversation I learned one trick of getting rid of an employee is to write up high expectations for his/her performance. If that employee fails to meet the high benchmark, fire that person. My colleague used to be a boss with a dozen employees under her. When her boss asked her to play this trick on two of her persons, she thought it unfair and refused to follow. As the result, her boss fired her.

Many people complained of her boss, a woman with an extraordinary controlling finesse, but nobody could do anything about her. Here’s what she did in order to get her way. She engaged in indecent relationships with nearly all the upper level management so that they were afraid that she might file sexual harassment lawsuit if they fired her.

Who says life is boring. This is nothing but boring if you happen to meet a boss like this one.

1, Jul 28, 2010

It Takes some Tactics to Ward off Troubles

Filed under: work — admin @ 1:30 am

This happend on the morning of 6/7/2010 when a monitor wrote to me about two patients under xyz’s care, “Hi …, These are for xyz’s subjects that were screen fails. I have asked her to make these calls, but they are still outstanding. Would you mind trying? Thanks …”

It is a touchy situation as I am fully aware of the fact that xyz is not easy to work with and will be mad if I do what the monitor has asked me to. So, I asked my colleague what she would do in this situation. She read the monitor’s email and said, “Forward the email to xyz and let her do it. That’s what I would do.”

Oh boy, this would be the last thing that I would do because xyz would be wondering why the monitor asked me regarding her patients instead of asking her directly, as if my arms were so long that I had reached into the depth of her domain of control. What was going on behind her back? Were we gossiping about her? she would bombard me with endless questions. This is like begging for trouble for both monitor and me. Do I need troubles? No.

At first I was thinking of writing to the monitor, explaining to her my dilemma. Then I thought it better not to commit it in writing. You never know what the monitor will do with my email when I mean for her own reading. So I picked up the phone. Luckily she was on the other side of the phone at the moment. I explained to her why it was not proper for me to get involved, which she understands perfectly, given her own experience with xyz. I suggested that she email xyz and cc our project manager and even our department manager. If this won’t work, she should call our manager. Always go one level up instead of going horizontally when you try to resolve some issues. She appreciates my suggestion greatly and did what I told her.

After that, I shared this experience with my daughter, hoping she could understand this simple fact – when working with difficult persons, it takes some tactics to ward off troubles and enjoy happy endings.

1, Jul 27, 2010

Healthcare Providers: Myth and Reality

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:34 am

Random thought on healthcare professionals.

A couple of people have asked me at different moments about people at healthcare. I have worked at the clinic level, though not a clinic person, thus have heard and witnessed the attitude of doctors and nurses. I must admit that my previous expectation is better than reality. Most likely, I have been unrealistic in my expectation.

Money is often the ultimate motive behind our daily activities, regardless where we work. Make no mistake about this. Yet, we seem to expect healthcare providers to be more than someone being driven by profit, as if they were saints. Are we expecting too much? At least I am.

My children’s previous piano teacher was full of complaints about the attitude of the doctor who treated her husband’s cancer. “He talked without any compassion,” said she. I also witnessed some people at our clinic who are very single-minded in their coming to the clinic everyday. This doctor happened to work at our clinic.

Coming from the background where Dr. Norman Bethune was a household name, resulting from being strongly recommended in Mao Zedong’s article, “In Memory of Norman Bethune,” I have expected nothing short of a humanitarian figure with expert in medical science from our physicians. Imagine how distant I am from reality. Well, it gives such a cozy feeling to live way above the clouds.

I once told a friend of mine that she would be bitterly disappointed if she expected to see people like Bethune or like Dr. Elton Lehman in House Calls and Hitching Posts: Stories from Dr. Elton Lehman’s career among the Amish. To be sure, they are good professionals in their own way, only if we ourselves have not idealized them out of proportion.

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