Looking to Right a Wrong

For nearly 30 years I worked in a hostile environment for a toxic boss. After her ouster, the new boss began his reign. Though it was at first less obvious, it became increasingly apparent that he too was a bully. Then I retired. Currently my former work environment is in serious trouble. They have replaced nearly three quarters of the staff. That means that much of the “institutional memory” has been lost. They have also lost much of the basic expertise and experience to stay in compliance with regulatory requirements. But the more pressing problem is one of attitude. There is a pervasive apathy. I have been going in once a week to train the new staff on procedures and techniques. I’ve made progress. The problem seems to be the now absent managerial oversight since the boss announced that he is leaving at the end of the fiscal year. Even those persons still in supervisory positions are feeling the uncertainty. The stalwarts are starting to talk about abandoning ship…

Righting a wrong needs to happen from the wrong management, wrong attitude about value of staff, and of course the wrong approach to financial stability. I have the unique perspective of being on the outside with a window into the heart of the issue. As I see it there are plenty of workers that have been wronged in more ways than one. I suppose I could list them all but that’s not the point. It has become obvious that I can do a few things to correct some of the problems. I was always trying (and being sabotaged by management) to improve morale. I can now make a difference. On another front, my old position has been vacant for over 18 months. I have been trying to not only train the staff but to sift through the new employees to determine if any are up to taking on the responsibilities my position demanded. I’m ready to make a recommendation.

A search is on for a new director. This person will inherit a mess. And just in time for an accreditation visit. I’ve promised to try to help get things sorted out as far as compliance goes. But until a new director is onboard, that is one wrong that I cannot right.

90 thoughts on “Looking to Right a Wrong

    1. I can only hope. They are doing interviews but I have no idea who they will hire. My inside source says that all the candidates are qualified. The question is which one will be the best fit!

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    1. I will help as best I can. The crisis is ongoing. I was told yesterday that they lost another employee so are short staffed by 4 full time positions. They were also hit with the omicron variant and had 3 others out…

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    1. Thanks Karla. The top brass suggested that I come back 3 – 4 days a week and handle all the compliance issues. I politely turned down that offer. Instead I will now expand my training scope to include non-facility staff (much as I used to do) at least until they can get back to fully staffed (and staff fully trained). My dance card is filling up but it won’t impede my nap schedule!

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  1. Congratulations, Val. I’m so proud of you. It sounds like all the corporate bullying has taken it’s toll on the company and I pray you have success in the job ahead. πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™

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    1. Things will change as change is the only constant (even when it feels like nothing changes). I’m going to do what I can and not fret over what I can’t. If there is anything that I’ve learned it is that if you do your personal best you can sleep easy every night!

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  2. It is just a relief Val that you still made yourself available to help and train new employees.
    Toxic boss on the other hand is i think one of the biggest problems of most common employees these days

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    1. It is a sad fact that bullying in the workplace is common. The employer wants employees that have demonstrated skills yet they hire managers who have no experience managing and flippantly suggest that they will “grow” into the position! I made no secret at the time I retired that I was willing to assist. And now they are really in need….

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  3. I don’t know of anyone else who would have endured the way that you have. Most of us who understand what is toxic about a workplace either work on a direct remedy, or abandon ship. I’m sure there are a number of folks who are grateful for your willingness to see things done right and well, and for the rewards you bring them that are at least not stifled as they once were.

    Proud of you!

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    1. Thanks Dodi! I am a survivor and I care about the people I left behind – I worked with them for many years so there is friendship and respect that goes both ways. I only hope it isn’t too late.

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        1. It was toxic. Now they’ve shut down the factory and are declaring it a superfund cleanup site… But we’ll see if the new boss is going to help with the situation or maybe hinder improvement!

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    1. Yes it is BUT I can now help in ways that were not available before… Had one of the staff text me this morning with a question – I answer technical questions for free and now they have a safety net, They can ask, get an answer, and not have a supervisor thinking they are incompetent!

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  4. I know you were disgruntled with the work environment for a long time. Perhaps the University will approach you to become the new and permanent boss. It is too bad that you have to go in to teach the people. I would have thought that people who join a prestigious university like that, would have enough knowledge to tackle the situation.
    The supervisory committee needs to be hauled over , I think.

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence but I lack the qualifications (I’m not a Ph.D or DVM). It is like many professions – you graduate with a skill set but must hone and learn specialized techniques according to your employer’s needs. Yes there are currently many very qualified employees (Registered Veterinary Nurses/Technicians) but although they have the knowledge to insert an IV cath in a dog, their ability to do so in a mouse is not developed. That’s where I come in… As for the management structure it is crumbling (it was an experiment by the soon to be former boss) and will no doubt be completely replaced or majorly altered by the new director!

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  5. It appears to me that there is a certain type of person who aspires to management, like those who can stomach the demands of police work. Then there are those of us who have worked under that type of bully, and step into the breach to try to provide their co-workers with a supportive team-based environment. You would probably make an excellent manager.

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    1. I was promoted to a management position. I hated all the politics and the manipulations that my boss and his boss expected. When it got to the point that I knew it was all going to crash, I left. There was a great deal of gnashing of teeth. They hated that their “whipping boy” was taking control…Now that SHMNBN is long gone and the director and his boss are both leaving in June, the sucking void at the top amuses me instead of terrifying me. I was able to shield my direct reports and once I left so did most of them! The people left all look to me as if I were the life raft come to save them. Truth is I’m going to teach them to swim!

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    1. I think the end result will be a better organization. Let’s just hope things don’t get out of hand and they lose any more staff. They are at the breaking point right now…

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  6. At my last job before retirement, it was almost a joke that every time the BOD met we had a new boss in the sales arena. They ranged from excellent to druggies, from “keep me informed” to micromanagers. It was extremely stressful to have to adapt so frequently in a fast-moving arena, and finally became too much. Retirement has worked much better for me!

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    1. I knew when it was time to retire. There was so much that I wasn’t enjoying. I’m much less stressed now and have zero intensions to return to that pressure cooker! Glad you reached that point and haven’t looked back!

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      1. People told me for several years that I would know when it was time to retire — I didn’t understand that until I actually got there, but when I did, it took me about 2 days to make up my mind, and I gave 3 months notice! I haven’t looked back at all!

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        1. Exactly! I knew and acted on it immediately. I had always said that I wasn’t going to retire until 65 but it happened one day and I decided I didn’t want to work any more – at least not full time and not in the same capacity and for that specific boss. As soon as I gave notice (3 months too) he threatened me and that sealed the deal faster than the speed of light.

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  7. Know where you’re coming from. Redundancy in 2001 was a loss of over 125 years of the firm’s experience. We trained our replacements who enjoyed better salaries, but when they were completely responsible for the job, took short cuts and standards slid. Three years later they faced the same redundancies we had and moaned about it. Two years on the work load was transferred back to the States. Two years after that, the bank was sold. Luckily I had my retirement package by then so was one of the lucky ones as the new company only recognised existing pensioners.

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        1. You were lucky! I have to wait until next January and then I will be required to start taking my work pension. I have to wait another 2.5 years for my federal money… unless I want to delay it until I’m 70. Being frugal has made my retirement easy and comfortable.

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          1. I’d worked everything out to get my state pension at 60 (2016) but the government moved the goalposts twice to 65 and then 66 so I had to wait and extra 6 years. Living frugally to start with was a godsend.

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            1. Your government is now in sync with ours – it used to be 65 but now it is 67.5… I worry that my social security might not exist if the government doesn’t keep its grubby hands off it!!

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              1. A lot of people will have to work until they’re 68 or even 70, and they are also tweaking pensioners allowances……… already the free TV licence has been cancelled for the over 75s and to be eligible you have to be means tested, the winter heating allowance has already been reduced, and now they are thinking of changing free prescriptions (and free eye tests as well I expect) for the over 60s to be in line with State Pension age.

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                1. Gah! Tel your government to stop taking their cues from the US! Our Rx costs are ridiculous and there is no such thing as free medical anything. Even when I am eligible for the federal medical insurance there will still be deductibles… Of course if you want free TV it is available for everyone but there isn’t much to watch except old shows from the 1960s…

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                  1. Hi Val. We’re glad we don’t have a TV and certainly won’t be getting one when we’re 75!
                    Our government’s answer to extending the pension age is that people are living longer! They’ve also changed the starting age of eligible contributions from 16 to 18 so I’ve lost 2 years and will get a reduced pension now. I could top up from 2007 to 2022, but they can forget that. I’d break even when I’m in my 90s but doubt I’ll live that long.

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                    1. My work pension is calculated on the average of the last 5 years of employment so that’s pretty good. The social security is over my whole work life – but my first paying jobs were part time and I barely made $500 a year – a pittance. I hope my income stays steady as there is no way I want to go back to work!

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                    2. Likewise. My works pension was based on final salary, but because I had to wait an extra 6 years for my State pension, they topped it up by Β£50 a month which will be removed when my State pension kicks in, but at least I don’t have to repay that.

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                    3. I’d be on pins and needles as that will certainly make a big difference in the budget!! You are an expert in budgeting so I’m sure you will make it work…

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    1. Retirement is a lot of fun! I’ve never been busier or had as much fun doing nothing but what I am motivated to do… It is delightful to be able to impose my own deadlines and my own prioritized list of things to do!

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  8. My vet tech friend is now managing a practice. He’s doing OK, amazingly, and that practice too, is a mess. There are so many ways an organization can be a mess. I would never want that job but he seems to have found his niche. It puts together all of his life experience and challenges him.

    I think a vet practice has to be stressful just because of its nature and the pay isn’t great. I think you’re heroic to go in there and attempt what you are attempting. ❀

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    1. So good that your friend has found a position in which he excels. Sometimes individuals work better under pressure! Thanks Martha! I don’t view myself as a heroine. But if someone were to promote me to “superhero” status I’d wear a cape!! (I think forest green in a patterned velvet). As it is I have the admiration and respect of the staff and that is enough (along with the hefty pay). hehe!

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  9. I think you’d be best one for the position of director, even superb paper qualifications don’t always fit a person for a job. You have insight and you have wisdom – and these don’t come with a PhD or even a Masters or Degree; it comes from a heart that leans against God’s.
    But I suspect (correct me if I’m wrong) part of the mess at work also lies with the rest of the organization. If that is so, a change at the top might not solve every important issue – in which case, I’m so glad you no longer work fulltime at that place! You’ve endured enough!

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    1. Sadly the degrees and certifications are required – federal regulations… But thanks for the vote of confidence! I think God is at work in the usual ways, quietly and with unrelenting steadfastness. The latest indication seems to be that there will be a woman in charge for the first time in the history of the department. I don’t know how this will impact the department but it can’t be worse than the current situation. As for the organization, I think it is solid and on the whole a great place (individual departments are very much influenced by the people in charge).

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  10. Well, it shows great character that you were willing to help. Sometimes that is punished, too, because the new boss wants the workplace to flow in a certain mannerisms. I learned when I first started working to not out-perform my boss, too. I’ve had relatively good luck at the places I’ve worked. I was fired from Subway then hired back a few days later and my manager was fired. She had tried to blame me. They could probably have gotten help from another store, but it would have been an inconvenience. I went back because I liked working at Subway. It’s one of the better fast food places to work at.

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    1. Glad the bad manager was found out and they realized their mistake in firing you! As far as a new boss wanting things to work a certain way – I’m always flexible. Besides if they don’t want me there I’m good with that too!

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    1. I’m puzzled too. I suppose there are plenty in management who see the employees as disposable cogs in the machine of commerce. And I’m guessing there are some jobs that require so little skill that that might be true. However in this case there is a high level of skill that needs to be developed and maintained and once someone leaves it is a four to six month training period to get them up to speed and another year to prepare them for certifications and to develop proficiency. It truly is important to retain employees. I just don’t understand why they won’t pay people what they are worth and then respect them enough to make them want to stay!!

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    1. Thanks Susi, but I’m still retired. I just go in once a week to do training so I’m still present. As for being in the running for the director’s position – that won’t happen as I don’t have the required degree. I’m not a DVM!

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  11. I see this all the time, in schools, both public and charter. I am now one who picks and chooses sub assignments- doing what I can for the children, and knowing that there is a point at which one is only enabling the miscreants in the drivers’ seats.

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