Sunday, November 21, 2010

C is for Contention

When problems arise in close relationships, they usually look like something moronic. Every couple a story about their first fight, and chances are, it's something ridiculous. "He doesn't put the forks in the dishwasher right." "She doesn't change the toilet paper roll." "He/she was driving too [whatever]." The important thing in these arguments is seeing what they really are, underneath. It's not really about forks, it's about an equal division of labor in the house; it's not the toilet paper roll, it's selfishness or lack of concern for your partner; it's not your driving, it's where you are going. (Individual results may vary, proceed with caution) Woe be the partner who doesn't understand that when you trivialize the issue, saying it's just a fork, you are trivializing the bigger problem that your partner can't vocalize.

Cute advice, but I thought this was a political blog?
Right you are, Dear Reader, so here's the surprise: It's the same in the workplace. Your employees aren't really upset because there's no coffee in the break-room, they're feeling underpaid; They aren't really complaining about one more stop, they're complaining because they're feeling put upon, and overworked. It's not professional, but it's a reality. It's how people find ways to express their internal frustrations. Although it would be both unprofessional and a "career-limiting" move for health care workers to weigh in with their opinions about Mr. Duckett (who I hear was imported from Australia) I think it might be a pretty accurate gauge of how people feel.

So if Mr. Stephen Duckett thinks he's going to be canned for a cookie I think he's experiencing some misapprehensions, and should probably be cut off from watching scrubs, because that's not accurate, sir. If anything in this situation is going to be the nail in his career's coffin, it's going to be the people under him not supporting him. Rumor has it that health care workers are as frustrated as citizens are with the system; and who's surprised? It's a tough situation. No-one honestly believes that health-care workers are sitting around, gleeful that the emergency room is overstocked again. We know they're working their collective asses off, and it's just a heartbreak that the system can't do their efforts justice. Hopeful some of the new measure being up in place will do some good. Like Dr. Cox has said, it used to be the life being a doctor, but not anymore.

But the issue is Mr. Duckett's insensitivity. He has  gone on record saying that he was not intended to be the one talking to the media, that honor was given to a "senior physician", so it was not really his responsibility to be the bearer of the news, but perhaps he could have found a more tactful way to covey the message. We seem to expect all people who find themselves in higher ranking positions to be immediately aware of how to deal with the media and constant scrutiny, but there doesn't seem to be any reason why we expect this. Knowing how to romance the journal doesn't really imply a better ability to oversee the health care program. In fact, just assuming that because someone is charming means they have all the answers has gotten many people into trouble over the course of human history ("Thug say tree good for eating!Him has shiny hair! Me eat!"), so much so that frankness seems to be the exception and can occasionally be considered endearing to many. This does usually require that the person has supporters already, however.

Claiming, as some have, that Mr. Duckett is just a scapegoat, and that he didn't make the system, but simply worked within it, so he should not be punished for it's failure is much like saying since sociological forces create poverty, criminals shouldn't be punished for committing crimes; perhaps being able to not punish them for working within a faulty system would be the ideal, but we're so many light-years from the ideal that we can't even see it with a telescope.

By now, it's kind of a moot point, since Mr. Zwozdesky has warmed up his vocal cords, pulled the right strings, and issued the statement that:

 “I told him I thought those were inappropriate comments, I’m sure you regret you uttered them, and he said, ‘Yes.’ ”
but did he say it while your lips were moving? On the subject of giving him the old 'heave-ho' he asserted that,
“He’s in the role that he’s in right now, and I have to have a level of comfort and confidence in him that he can and will deliver. So we’re going to give him and everyone in the system a chance to do that.”
In other words, we'll be watching Mr. Duckett's career with bated breath, but you know if the new system fails, they've got their fall-boy already packed up.

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