This is going to be a "longey", so I apologize in advance. I have lots to say. This is in chronological order. I should tell you up-front, that all of these occurences, other than 2, have occured "in private", with no witnesses.
My nursing unit's Christmas party, for various reasons, was cancelled and is now rebooked for not a dinner, but a luncheon, on February 8th. I've now found out that it is going to be used as a "going-away" party for my unit manager, who is moving to another hospital. Although I had signed up to go to the original function, I have changed my mind and am getting some "flack" from my co-workers.
My unit manager has been that since 1995. She is UM for several units, and I also work permanent evening shift, so I don't see her very often (one way to keep my sanity). When she first became UM, one of my co-workers (who still works in the unit) informed her that another co-worker (whom the UM had a past history with and disliked intensely) and I were "best friends". It wasn't true, quite the opposite, but I was never asked.
Several weeks after "Joan" (pseudonym) was told this, she tapped me on the shoulder and whispered in my ear "I think that it would be a good idea if you found yourself a different friend". I was, to put it mildly, surprised that she would even think that what I did outside of work was her business.
Eventually, this staff member departed for "greener pastures", but it seems as if "Joan" decided that, since she can't get at "Lois" (pseudonym) in person, she'd "get at her" through me. At least, that's how it's felt for the past 7 1/2 years.
I have a MsN (and am finally, after a number of years, finishing up a PhD in anthropology, an interest of mine). I also have postgraduate certificates in operating room nursing and neonatal nursing.
In front of several patients, "Joan" announced that she "felt" "as if you have very little basic nursing knowledge". ALL of my co-workers just turned and looked at her. I decided that she, who neither has a degree nor has even finished her managerial certificate, must be very insecure around someone with more education. I've never "rubbed her nose in it" either.
I take transit. She suggested that "you buy a car and become normal, like everyone else". In front of a patient. But not in front of staff.
I was working on updating my post-graduate nursing course in neonatology, had taken ALL of the theory courses, and needed a "workplace reference" from my unit manager. She wrote on the required form (I still have it, by the way) that "I have been asked to give a workplace reference for this nurse. This course has nothing to do with her current employment". No reference, no clinicals. I was out >$4000 in tuition expenses and had 2 years of studying (part-time) go "right down the tube".
My son died August 28th, 1997. When I came back from my stress leave of 15 weeks, she took me into her office and said "Eric's dead. Get over it". This is a woman who has never been married, has no children, raises dogs. And, no, I've never gotten over it. No one "gets over" their child dying.
Whenever I have asked to have the anniversary of his death off, I've been turned down. "Prime time", "not enough seniority".
My university advisor for my PhD told me that he had recommended that I be a part of a panel discussion. Two months prior to it's occurence. I requested an "LOA" for that date, with the reasons, and submitted it to "Joan". She turned me down flat, "too many staff off on that date". Another graduate student took my place. When the day rolled around, she was the only staff member off. I've never been asked to take part in a panel discussion again.
Two years after her brother died, my one remaining child, my daughter, turned the same age as her brother when he died. My daughter had an emotional meltdown and had to be hospitalized. The day that I had to have her admitted to the psychiatric unit was my day off. I spoke with my CRN and asked for the next day off as a "family emergency leave day". Ruth agreed (she has kids). When I got home the next night, from the hospital, I had a message on my answering maching from "Joan". "Just who do you think you are, asking for an FELD". I'm not okaying it, and you'll get no pay for it. Phone me on Monday (which was another day off of mine) and explain your behavior".
I actually phoned back and let a message on her answering machine, apologizing. Okay, so I grew up with a Scottish Presbyterian mother, the closest thing to a Jewish mother that you can get without being Jewish. And am a Southerner to boot. Genetically cursed with guilt. LOL. After I hung up, I thought, screw that, called her back and left 2 messages, tellling her that the morale in the unit was lousy, and that, like Harry Truman, the buck stopped at the top, with her. I also told her that I would not be phoning her and, furthermore, I would never speak of this with her, period. I actually was astonished that I still had a job when I went to work on Tuesday.
I have tried to "get out from under" by applying to two other units (for which I am WELL qualified educationally) in my hospital. I've also applied to another hospital, although this meant that I would lose my seniority. I've actually had the managers leave message on my answering machine, "phone back, I'd like to talk to you". When I've returned the calls, they were always "not in at the moment". None of them ever returned my phone calls. What I found out was that, in fact, my UM refused to give me a reference.
The final straw was being turned down for my "1st choice" vacation request for this year. My daughter-in-law is Japanese. Her father collects rose petals, and makes a point of going up to where Eric's ashes are scattered on Mt Fuji, on his birthday and anniversary of his death. He and Naoko go there often, but he goes specifically on these two days.
On those two dates, Eibou goes to the site, and performs a Buddhist ceremony in honor of Eric, burning incense and sprinkling petals.
I specifically requested the last week of August off, writing on the request form that I wanted to go to "this special ceremony, given in honor of my son's memory". We "plot" our vacation requests on a big wall calendar, and I had written next to this request "to go to Japan". I was told to erase my "reason", otherwise "your co-workers will feel obligated to rearrange their vacation requests". "Since this is a very special reason for that time, I'll give it serious consideration". She turned me down flat, "not enough seniority".
I tend to run under the theory that "you can go for me if you want, but touch my kids and you're dead meat".
I have a "benign soft murmur". When I "stress", I shunt. It's not much fun, rather frightening in fact. When I was originally diagnosed two years ago, I had ALL the classic symptoms of an MI. I wore a holter monitor for 24 hours, turned out I was allergic to it's "stickies". LOL. I now take an antihypersensive and, for my own sanity, an anti-depressant. I also "grind my teeth".
I've hung in with this job for so long because I like what I do. I also like my "permanent line", and having weekends/statuatory holidays off isn't bad either. I'm also retiring in another 3 years, 8 months, 6 days, but who's counting.
On the day that my UM announced that she was going to be leaving shortly, I'd actually come to work with my resignation. I'd decided that I just couldn't deal with this woman, who'd made my life a living hell, anymore. Didn't know what I was going to do but knew that it was either she had to go or me. Figured it was going to be me. I was wrong. I suspect that my BP dropped right back to normal.
I spent 4 years in the USAF and am well aware that one does not have to either like or personally respect the person wearing the rank, one just salutes the collar dog. I don't feel that I owe this woman any respect, and by going to "her" party, I'd be giving it.
So, am I being "childish" as one of my co-worker's has said. Or "going to ruin the occasion" if I'm not there? "After all, Katherine, she's leaving". Or should I go and be my usual polite self, smiling at her and silently wishing her good riddance?
Thanks for letting me emote about this.
Last edit by jurbyjunk on Jan 26, '03
Jan 26, '03
What a horror of a woman.......I think you are totally justified in not wanting to go to the 'Christmas/farewell' party of this person.
You would, I imagine, feel hypocritical in going......and I don't feel that you are 'wrong' at all. I am surprised you are getting flack!
Jan 26, '03
You must be a saint, because I don't anyone who would have taken all the crap you have! I say don't sweat it...you have already given her waaaaaay too much of your time! Sorry to hear about you son, and never feel quilty about the love you have for him! And CONGRATS on your accomplishments! You deserve the joy of finally having this *&#@$ leave your life!
Jan 26, '03
Wow, just finished submiting this, and got two replies. The internet never ceases to amaze me.
Thanks for your support of my views. No, I'm not a saint. Just been a single mom trying to put food on the table. Being Southern, I suffer from what I refer to as "terminal politeness". LOL
Jan 26, '03
OMG, I wouldn't go either! What a terrible woman! She must really have low self-esteem to get off treating you like that! Did you ever report her?
Don't feel obligated to go. You may intentionally hurt her!
Jan 26, '03
A turd is still a turd no matter how old it is.- Heather
That is so appropo for that UM. I'm so sorry you suffered under her like that.Never feel guilty about your son or taking time off for your daughter. It is their memories and their life that we as parents live and breath. I too suffer from terminal guilt- mine is from being Catholic though- I feel guilty when I call out cuz I'm sick but when my kiddos need me... the job is out of luck
I'm so glad the warden is leaving. Maybe you will be valued for you now!I wouldn't attent her going away party unless it was her funeral so I could moon her grave and happily walk away knowing I survived! You ARE a SAINT. (Most saints don't know it either!)
Jan 26, '03
You deserve a medal for putting up with this horrible woman!
You owe her nothing! Not even the time of day!
The only way I would go to this party was if you get the chance you could beat her up and let her know what she has put you through. Under those conditions, I'd make sure I'd never see or speak to her again before you do this. Better yet - hire a hit man to get her, sounds like she needs to be put out of her misery!
God must be looking out for you, especially since she's leaving! Maybe where she's going, there will be someone tough for her to deal with and gets the same treatment she has dished out. Bless you!
Jan 26, '03
After reading your story, NO you are not being childish, and if this had happened to me, I would not go to this party. Why surround yourself w/people who obviously give you no emotional support? Bad enough you have to associate w/them during work hours, but after hours? NO
You've been through alot obviously, and you need people to bring you up, not down. God bless you!
Jan 26, '03
Your NOT being childish at all. Your being HONEST. There is nothing wrong with not going based on all you have been put through by this woman.
Your just being REAL!
God Bless you,
Jan 26, '03
You are good, I don't think I could have tolerated her that long. First of all you don't owe her or anyone else a reason for not going, those are your feelings. And on that day just pray for her, and go on with your life. Believe me she will get what is coming to her. Trust me.
Jan 26, '03
Alternatively, don't leave her richly deserved comeuppance to chance, but go along, and loudly toast "Good Riddance" to her as the party starts, then walk out!
Jan 26, '03
Wow, you are GOOD, to put up with this abuse for so long.
I worked under a vicious, petty, vindictive, jealous, controlling manager for two years and then got out. Your UM sounds very much the same. I, too, was taking antihypertensives (none since I left - it was stress related). She had her favorites, who could do no wrong, (those that were less skilled) and then there was me.
I am not from the South, so I am not as polite as you, I just had to subtly torture her whenever I had the opportunity. It was really just childish behavior on my part but it felt ooohhh soooo good!
She also denied a vacation request that was submitted 5 months in advance. I resigned over that one, timing my leaving for just before my vacation. I let it be known to higher ups, (who begged me to reconsider) why I was leaving. The mgr was terminated a few months later.
I would definitely NOT go to the party. Instead, I would have my own little private celebration, to celebrate my freedom from this mean person. Don't agonize over not going. Never allow anyone to force you to do something you really do not want to do.
I wish you well.
Jan 26, '03
I'm absolutely speechless after reading all that. What a horrible, horrible excuse for a human being.
Please don't go, if not for you, for me. I can't stand her either.
It will amaze you how much better life will be stress and worry free when she's gone. Enjoy your last 3 years before retirement with a UM that's better (it can't get worse).
Plan something special for yourself the night of the party.