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How I Did Not Get Fired

Updated on August 8, 2017
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Kari was an operating room nurse for 25 years before she retired. Uplifting quotes are always wanted, and Kari collects them.

D Day

"Can I talk to you for a minute?", he asked. "Sure", I answered. We went to the conference room. He shut the door before he sat down. I didn't have any idea what he was going to say until he said it. Then I felt as if I had known for a long time.

"The Board has made a decision and would like you to step down from your position", he said. Relief washed through me like an electrical shock. My face broke out into a smile. "Oh good!", I answered. "I was wondering how to tell you that I didn't want it anymore". "What do they want me to do now? Work in the OR?" He laughed.

Looking back, I think that I was fired. However, due to my unstoppable cluelessness, I never realised this. It never crossed my mind that they would not like to continue my employment. It never entered my consciousness that I may get fired.

"Well", he said, "We need someone in the OR, we need someone for Pre-op and we need someone for Pre-Op calls, you can do all of these. What would you like?"

David, the Executive Director, walked in at that point with trepidition on his face. He took one look at our faces, and puzzlement replaced it. "I started without you", Mark, the Medical Director, said. "She wanted to step down".

Mark's and David's relief was obvious. I could tell they thought they were going to have an angry fight on their hands. Yelling, accusations and threats followed by crying and slammed doors. They forgot that I am not like them.

Instead they were faced by a happy acceptance. Yes, this will mean that I take a pay cut. I will either be able to live with that or not. I could no longer live with being Director of Nursing (DON). I could no longer live with half truths and lies, deceit and cheat. No amount of money is worth the loss of your soul.

Well...It wasn't a No

Clueless | Source

I Love Lucy-Lucy and Ethel overwhelmed on the job

How I Got Here

I came to the DC area as a traveling OR nurse to work for my present company. Ambulatory surgery was very different than being in a hospital. For one thing, you saw the "suits" every day. You can work in a hospital OR and never see a "suit" for years. The Medical Director was the anesthesiologist whom I worked with every day.

I was there 2 months when they first offered me a permanent job. "No", I told them. They wanted to know why not. "I have problems with commitment", I said. And thus, the wooing began.

This is a small surgery center owned by the 10-15 physicians who work there. They all liked me...what was not to like, I'm a great employee. I come in early, stay late when needed, take short breaks and work my tail off. I am very experienced, very smart and highly motivated. (Did I mention, I have a very healthy ego?)

This was the first OR I had ever been in where all of the clinical staff worked this way. I spent years working in OR, always wondering why I was so inefficient. I could not figure out how certain people always had time to talk at the front desk, while I was running around like a madwoman. (I am so clueless at times!)

I finally figured out that my running around like a madwoman, was why they could stand around. I realized that not everyone had my work ethic. Some people worked, some people stood around. This realization has not changed my work ethic it just made me appreciate my working co-workers more.

I don't know about any of you, but I am still occasionally caught unaware of the fact that not everyone thinks the same as I do. People do lie and cheat on purpose. People do hurt others on purpose. Go figure!

After much wooing and finally agreeing on salary, I decided to stay on as OR Manager. We were going through accreditation and I would help with that. Helping turned into leading the way...and pushing the stragglers. OR Manager was upgraded to DON, and the end began.

We received our accreditation from AAAHC with flying colors. We received a three year accreditation on our first try. I was a shining star!

Is There Such a Thing as the Middle of the End?

Done with the accreditation process, I started slacking off of my 60-80 hour week.  I dropped down to about 50-60 hours a week.  I guess my slacking was noticed and commented on.  I started hearing comments from the Executive Director.  Just little things like, "Oh, going home already?"  (I would hear this at 4pm after coming in at 6am.)  He continued to work his 7 1/2 hour day. 

I have to wonder how I find these abusive relationships...I seem to be a magnet.  There were other things, other comments and a rising discontent.  He would decide he didn't like someone on the clinical side and want me to fire them.  He didn't understand how hard it is to find the excellent clinical staff we employed.  He is someone who believes in disposable staffing.

I went to a leadership conference in October of 2008.  It was an intensive, painful soul searching conference.  Three 12 hour days later I knew more about myself and had learned a great lesson.

When someone who pays your salary asks you to do something, you have three options.  Option one is to agree, this is great, a win-win for everyone.  Option two is to accept...not so good, but acceptable.  This one always involves a compromise on your part.  Option three is leave.  When you can not agree, and can no longer accept, it is time to leave.

This is Getting Too Serious...Here is a Funny Little Video

The End

"I don't care how you do it, I just want her out of here."  The Medical Director had developed a dislike for one of the OR nurses.  He rode her day in and day out.  I don't really know why he disliked her.  He is not very skilled at discussion.  I knew him well enough by now to know one day soon he would explode and fire her on the spot for something silly.

I spoke to the nurse.  I told her the truth, she needed to find a new place to work.  It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.  It was truthful, but unfair, and I no longer was able to accept. 

I had enough of the mood swings dictating people's lives.  I had enough of the whining about everyone being lazy.  I had enough being in the same category as these liars and cheats.  These people who maliciously yanked the rug from under others.

We had gone through some bad times last year.  At one point I begged the staff to stay.  I told them that if I left then they would know that I did not feel as if anything would change.  I'm not going to bring out all the dirty laundry, suffice it to say people didn't feel appreciated.

When I announced that I was going to step down from my position, three people told me they were going to update their resumes. 

Terminal Optimism

Optimism | Source

New Beginnings

I am not sure where I go from here. I'm lucky that I still have a job. I guess being clueless can be helpful. I will probably stay until I find someplace else. Good thing I am an OR nurse. I'll never lack for work.

I meant for this hub to be more amusing, but I guess there is too much disillusion left. I am very disappointed in the physicians who own this center. I know too many secrets. I have learned how differently people think. (Did I mention this catches me unaware at times? Clueless!)

The good part is I can start over. I do not ever believe that it won't get better. There is something wrong with me in that I cannot lose hope. I will find something better, I can feel it in my heart! I know that God won't let me fail, and that knowledge allows me to proceed.

© 2009 Kari Poulsen


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