28 June 2003
"Is there any reason why you couldn't put a shelf in there," my replacement
asked Dr. G, indicating the blank wall over the copy machine.
"No, I guess not," he replied, tapping the wall and finding a nice sturdy
stud. "I can do that easily," he added. She seemed pleased--a shelf for storage
would free up room on the floor.
Next she tacked the problem of
my her desk. "The monitor should
be here," she said. "It makes no sense for it to be where it is."
I explained the problem we had with the tangle of cords protruding out into the waiting
room, creating an ugly mess that even *I* couldn't live with.
"Is there any reason why you can't move the desk over here?" she asked,
indicating a whole different layout of the office. "And you shouldn't have these low
file cabinets," she added. "You can get tall ones with wood grain."
I patiently told her about our cash flow problems and how we had to make do with what
we could get cheap. I told her that it might be possible to move the desk configuration
and move the computer.
"The problem is I don't know the first thing about setting these things up,"
I told her that Dr. G didn't either and that to move the computer the 4 feet she wanted
would take hiring a computer guy to come in and do it ('cause I'm sure not going to tackle
it after all the problem we had setting it up originally). Money again. Not possible.
She's getting her introduction to doing things the cost effective way.
Yes, I'm in the throes of training my replacement, Ms. Efficiency. I think she's going
to be terrific, but there will be an adjustment process. She has left a job where she
managed a staff of 240 or so employees and bosses and has taken a cut in pay for the
benefit of less stress.
She may find that she's traded one sort of stress for another. Or maybe not. Perhaps
with all of her experience, she'll have the place clean and humming in nothing flat.
It's interesting when you have worked autonomously for nearly two years and are now in
the process of orienting someone new to your ways--without the benefit of a couple of
weeks to prepare for the change over. Everything I've done, she questioned why I did it
that way when another way would have worked better. She wanted to know if the routines
were hard and firm. No matter how often I repeated it, it didn't quite sink in yet that nothing
is set in stone and that if she doesn't like how I've done it, she's free to do whatever
her little heart desires to mold it to a system that she finds more efficient.
She's starting out with lofty ideals--don't we all? Setting up spreadsheets, and
running nice looking reports and keeping two calendars and all sorts of things, all more
organized than my system.
She isn't doing this, yet, while trying to be all other things as well. I, too, could
have created a more organized system if I didn't have 16 other things to do at the same
She will have an advantage, though. To replace me, he has hired not only Ms.
Efficiency, but an all-around person to take up the slack (in addition to the additional
office time the current bone density tech is supposed to be putting in helping in the
office and the part time janitor he hired--essentially he's replaced me with 1 full time
and 3 part time people). One woman was hired as a file clerk, but already Dr. G has plans
to send her to classes so she can take over doing bone density exams (I just rolled my
eyes). He'd also like Ms. Efficiency to take classes so she can do bone density
exams. My advice to her after he was out of earshot: DON'T LET HIM DO IT!! I told her one
exam takes 30 minutes and there was absolutely no way she could do it and her other work
But who knows? Maybe she can. It's time for me to step back and let her make this job
I did giggle, though, when she asked me about her "lunch hour." It seems she
doesn't like to eat at her desk and needs to get out and away for an hour each day.
This is going to be fun. Too bad I'm not going to be there to watch.
(That's mean. I actually wish her well and I sincerely hope that she can take what I've
started and run with it and make a better office out of it. I started with essentially no
instruction. We have tripled the office clientele since then and produced a book and I've
learned to be a bit of a medical assistant in the process. I'm proud of what I've done and
I know that there are a lot of things that fell through the cracks. I sincerely hope that
she will be able to take that as a starting point and devise a system whereby the cracks
get closed up. Then everyone will be happy--and she might even be able to take a lunch
hour now and then!)