I have been a student. I have been a patient. Currently, I work in service of both and firmly believe that most employees of healthcare and academic institutions forget that they have been one or the other or even both at some point in their life. It is a sad commentary that in settings where one’s very job position is dependent upon the return of the customer, the customer is often shunned. Shunned in favor of a cell phone call, cigarette smoke, chatter with a colleague or whatever. I have said for years that, “I don’t like people,” begs the question why did I spend ten years in corporate human resources? Or why I have I spent two years in education research and programming? Why because, I like helping people.
Which is the central issue that drives me back to my blog this morning, a college campus tends to be huge and overwhelming. Add to that a campus with a major health system and research components. Then throw 1st-year residents, interns, undergraduates, graduates and students in general. Next toss in patients who come daily, weekly, monthly, annual, semi-annually, bi-annually. And just for fun even in this economy we add new employees and just employees, but your still not done you have delivery people, contractors, and so on. In short you have a whole mess of people crammed into a relatively small but widespread environment equally a recipe for disaster.
The disaster is the it’s not my job syndrome? It’s not my job to help. Or even attempt to help anyone patient, student, colleague, delivery person or anyone who appears lost or confused when confronting with the vast environment that many of us come to work daily. But, it is my job to help the lost spiritually and naturally. It sucks not to know your way in the natural sense, and sucks even more when no one offers to help. The disaster, I don’t have time? Forgo the smoke break and just gained 15 minutes back of your day to guide someone down the hall and point them in the right directions. I could go on and on but I won’t.
I will say that it saddens me that people develop tunnel vision, and selective hearing when the very people that keep them employed are in need. I am not naïve about this one. I have spent most of professional life in academic research and or healthcare. And without the returning patients and students I would be and would have been unemployed, no place is an island all of our job positions depend on those we serve. I will continue to walk miles weekly to escort patients and students and even colleagues to the never regions of the vast world of my employer. I will continue to wonder how other people can just lackadaisically let folks wander aimlessly without bothering to assist. None of us is perfect, but we should at least be aiming for that much. Even if you hate your employer (I do not by the way) you should strive never to take hate out on the customer. A piece of unsolicited advice even in this economy if you hate your employer get over it or get another job, no one deserves your attitude or half-doing of your job. Regardless of where we work, when we choose to wake up in the morning and show up, we are there to serve. Showing up is a choice (you could go into foreclosure, have your care repossessed and be homeless). None of us have to work; we choose to because we like and enjoy our things.
I’m off my soapbox now…