Health Care Employer Doesn’t Want To Hear Concerns

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about feeling pushed out:

I work for a very large, distinguished health care organization. They have an excellent reputation. I am involved with staff training, but feel I am being pushed out of my job. Over the last few months I have had increasing conflict with my boss, my manager and with the director. In one situation in which I had concerns about documentation of patient care, I was accused of grilling the staff.

When I have tried to report workplace concerns to my director I have repeatedly been dismissed from her office if I “interrupted” her at times other than scheduled one on one meetings.I contacted an HR representative who was supposed to help employees with difficulties. She directed me to have a discussion with my boss with someone else present. I decided to write my concerns and leave them for the boss to read. As a result I was called into an after-hours meeting with my boss, a manager and the director present, as well as the HR representative.They all attacked me.

The director said I was stupid and didn’t understand the patient care issues involved in my concern about care not being documented. My boss, who I formerly had a good relationship with, twisted it all to make me look bad.My boss appeared to be supportive after they left. Things had gone on fairly normally with her – until the last two weeks. She completely rejected one idea I had and sabotaged another one. She said I hadn’t told her my plans, when I had been discussing them with her since January.

She said she didn’t want to do business with someone I had picked, and had me call all over town to find someone else. Then she reversed her decision, which is costing her twice what it would have.While this is baffling enough, Monday she called me into her office again, after hours. The purpose of the meeting was to let me know she thought I had purposely tried to offend her in an e-mail I’d sent about the most recent project. I apologized and tried to be as friendly and cooperative as possible.I was coming down with a cold anyway, and have called in sick this week. I’ve only started feeling better today. I don’t know what to do. I used to be confident and creative. I’ve been with this employer about a year and half. Because they are such a corporate force I feel quite threatened. Do I get a lawyer? Advice would be appreciated.

Signed, Feeling Pushed Out

DearĀ Feeling Pushed Out:

I edited your message to reduce the likelihood your specific situation would be recognized by others. The examples you gave seem to indicate miscommunication and misunderstandings about your work role, what is needed and wanted by your managers, and what you have been working to achieve. Clearly you have been trying to do the right thing as you see it. Perhaps your best approach now is to express to your boss what you are feeling and find out what has gone wrong. If you do that you would want to emphasize these things:
*Express that you want to keep your job and you want to excel for the benefit of everyone, including patients, co-workers and managers. You also want to feel that you are contributing to your utmost–which is what you have been doing all along.
*Explain how you have felt recently–that nothing you have done has been understood as you intended it, and that you worry you are being encouraged to quit. But, you don’t want to quit and are committed to staying and doing an effective job.
*Ask for an overall evaluation of your work, and specifically ask for this information: What should I keep doing exactly the same way? What should I start doing that I’m not doing now? What should I change to be more effective from your perspective? What should I completely stop doing?
*Ask for support and say how much you value the encouragement you had formerly. Ask if there are projects that have priority and that you could focus on.You may feel that all of this puts you in the situation of admitting error. But, hopefully you can keep a confident approach as though you are strong enough to be willing to make changes as needed.Perhaps you will have a chance to express the strengths you think you have brought to the team. If you have received positive evaluations in the past, copy those and circle key positive statements, then quote them.It seems that if something isn’t done soon, you WILL be made so uncomfortable you won’t be able to stay. Or, things will become so difficult that you’ll be asked to leave. You don’t want either one of those, I’m sure.

However, it may be that your style and skills are not a good fit for your current job and you will want to look elsewhere. At least you can leave on a strong note, rather than a weak one.You asked if you should see a lawyer, but it doesn’t appear that a law has been violated or that you have suffered loss. You have not been disciplined for anything yet, and the complaints about you have been related to work issues that are not regulated. Working for a large corporation does not constitute a threatening situation. If you feel you SHOULD see an attorney, do so of course. Many will give a free consultation over the phone. I believe your best bet at this point is to get a clear understanding of what your bosses at all levels want from you. You may find you need to do less in some areas and more in others. That might be difficult to adjust to at first, but may help you keep your job and rebuild your relationships where needed.Best wishes. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe