Professionalism

When you work for a government agency, all your office correspondence is accessible to the public. In my case, such scrutiny is highly unlikely, because my job is generally uneventful, and doesn’t inspire those types of inquiries. Thank goodness. Because I don’t really like drama.

So, I definitely could have lived without the excitement when one of my coworkers decided to send me an e-mail entitled “professionalism”, with a copy to two of my supervisors, saying that I was unprofessional and lazy. This really stunned me, because I take bridgetending very seriously. I am proud of the job I do.

Without going into detail, it boiled down to a difference of opinion regarding a gray area in our procedure. He suggested I should lie on the radio to my boaters to keep up appearances. I prefer to be honest, and my actions caused no inconvenience or complaint. And more importantly, no one’s life was put at risk.

But he would not let it go. He went on and on, saying he’d never heard anything so unprofessional in his 19 years as a bridgetender. That kind of made me scoff, because I’ve worked with him for 17 of those 19 years, and oh, I could tell you stories about some of the outrageous things we’ve heard from coworkers. Bridgetenders are a very unique breed.

But he didn’t stop there. After I came back from my days off, there was another e-mail from him, to me and my supervisors, calling me a liar. This was patently absurd, and I could easily prove it. He was really beginning to sound like he had lost every single marble he had ever had.

I basically said that I wasn’t going to have this discussion with him on this public forum, and that if he had a problem he should take it up with our supervisor, and that he needed to stop harassing me.

The weird part about it is that it’s much ado about nothing, and his outburst and name calling made it very clear that he was the one being unprofessional. The irony is that he retires in about a week. I guess he has decided to burn all his figurative bridges behind him. Let’s hope, in his heightened state of agitation, he doesn’t go all literal on us.

I used to respect this man. Now I’m not going to miss him at all. And that makes me really sad.

So here’s to professionalism. Here’s to being kind to one another and treating fellow human beings with respect and courtesy. Here’s to keeping it classy. And here’s to not pulling a b**** move on your way out the door.

Let it go

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The World’s Best Bedside Manner

A little over a week ago I had surgery on my wrist. I was scared silly. Mostly because I’d be all alone during my recovery, but also because it’s downright unnatural to voluntarily subject oneself to getting sliced open. I mean, seriously, who in their right mind says, “Here. Cut me, please.” You have to be in a heck of a lot of pain in order to seek out pain as a remedy for that pain. After many months of procrastinating, I had reached that point.

I had every confidence in my surgeon. Her name is Dr. Elizabeth Joneschild, and she’s part of the Seattle Hand Surgery Group. I’d seen her several times prior to this last, surgical resort, so I had developed a great professional relationship with her. Not only does she clearly know what she’s doing, but she’s very patient when you ask her questions, has an excellent reputation, and, let’s face it, she wouldn’t have an office with such a spectacular view if she weren’t doing something right. So if you have problems with your hand or wrist, I highly recommend her.

The anesthesiologist, on the other hand, I only got to meet on the morning of the surgery. That’s, of course, pretty standard, but it doesn’t do much to inspire confidence. Here’s someone who can knock you out in a variety of ways, who you don’t meet until he’s about to knock you out.

In this case, I was to remain conscious. They were only numbing the arm and putting a drape across so I couldn’t see what was happening (for which I was extremely grateful). But I was still scared and I’ve no doubt that it showed.

But I was lucky enough to have Dr. Stephen Markowitz as my anesthesiologist. I’ve known a lot of great people in the medical field in my lifetime, but this guy really went the extra mile. Obviously Dr. J had to concentrate on what she was doing, so Dr. M started asking me about my job. What’s it like to be a bridgetender? What bridge do you work on? How high is it above the water? Any question he could think of.

Not only did this conversation distract me, but (and I have no idea if he was conscious that he was doing this or not) it also allowed my mind to leave a realm where I was feeling pretty helpless and scared, and enter a realm where I was an expert and actually had something to teach and contribute. The surgery was over in about 15 minutes, and I didn’t feel a thing, not even panic. What a gift.

I’ve got to say that my hand was definitely in good hands. I’ll be forever grateful for that. When you only have two of something, you tend to want to hold on to them at all costs.

HomeHands

The Business of Sexualization

Recently I wrote a blog entry entitled Gender-Specific Jobs? Pfft. I wanted a picture of a female construction worker for the entry, and I settled on this one.

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But in order to find that one, I had to wade through a ton of photos like this.

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Why is that? How long will it be before women can be taken seriously in the workplace? It’s as if men feel that as long as they can sexualize a woman’s career choice, they can take away some of her power, some of her ability, some of her professionalism.

Yes, you’ll stumble across the occasional beefcake career oriented photos of men. Calendars of firemen spring to mind, but those are the exception, not the rule, and they are usually clad in some clean motivation, such as a fundraiser, to lend them credence.

The women who model for these photographs need to realize that they are making it much harder for those of us who are serious about our professions. The disrespect they demonstrate toward our career choices gives us yet another hurdle to jump over before we can be considered on an equal footing with our male coworkers. These sexy photos should not be part of our occupational stereotype, but they are.

What follows are photos of hard working women contrasted with their “naughty” and unfortunate counterparts. I can’t help but shake my head.

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female_firefighters_38WomenFirefighters-580x360

policepolice sexy