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Thursday, 15 December 2005

Work in Columns

Had a disagreement at work today with Avni on the format of our newsletter. Background : our newsletter are being sent to all the GPs, and nurses in the community and the format is one column , the same as the format here in the blog, from left to right in a straight line.I feel that people like them are unlikely to read it because the lay out seems wordy and long, as shown in our January 2005 newsletter :


The conversation started gently, I told her, after consensus , sheetal and I (NOT WAJID) think the newsletter can be written in format. Avni disagreed straightaway. She took out our previous newsletter and said that it's hard to put it in column because we have graphS, tables to show in the newsletter ( not a good excuse to me) then she challenged me and said, if you can rearrage the January 2005 issue in 2 columns and show me and I will decide. She got frustrated and said I can't believe that you even want to start this argument, it's a waste of time, and you have nothing else better to do.

I argued that most of the academic pharmacy papers are in 2 columns, like Merec ,(as shown below) and even British Medical Journals are in columns, with their graphs and tables ! AND it has been proven that shorter sentences like 2 columns in a A4 paper are more likely to be read rather than just one column. Well, at least to my knowledge, that was what I have been told, if not why all the clinical trial papers in journals and even newspapers have MORE than one column on one page. I am making an evidence based fact!


I got a bit heated up when she challenged me to rearrange the past issue of our newsletter in 2 columns and showed it to her. I kept quiet but it's shown on my face. My heart was beating fast and I could feel my palpitation. I get that when I am frustrated or afraid. I said let's agreed on the outcome, what will happen when I manage to rearrange them in 2 columns. She said I will look at it and decide.I immediately arranged it in two columns, i even save some space! After i have done it, i decided to take a break and cool down.
So I went out and had my sandwich for lunch and I talked to God about this matter.

When I came back from lunch, I printed out my revised version and gave it to her.

She said can u leave it on my desk and I will look at it. Few minutes later, we received our mail, and pharmacy flyer from the national pharmacy association arrived. She showed it to me and said look at how they arrange it (which was clearly in 2 columns and a table,) the exact same format like I have arranged. So I referred to what I have done in the newsletter which she didn't look at it yet. Then she said : Oh, okay I guess now that you have done it, I can visualize it and I can see it better. Tell Sheetal, she will know how to do it in 2 columns. She just changed and said that she can visualize it when I told her ( *Duh* ) , compared to the fact that I was stupid enough to even raise this issue with her. I also said ya, I guess I should have done it and showed it to you instead of just saying it, it's easier when you can see it and get my point. ( *gulp* ) In the end, she admitted that she personally doesn't like to read things in column. I said all our textbooks, including our pharmacology and our drugs bible are in columns. She said ya, I just don't like it. ( Oh ya, so it's all your own decision that you don't like it, so everyone has to follow your way la )

Then there is this Wajid commenting that oh the gp can't see your emphasis if you made it in two columns (do you know what you are talking about? Make your argument stronger la ) I didn't sound please at all, I just said the table remained unchanged, letters in bold will still be in bold, nothing changed, just that sentences are shorter (get it? )

Avni said we have decided it's gona be 2 columns. Then no one said a word. The dynamics in our team is very interesting, she is the lead of our team , eventhough our job title are all the same. Sheetal works under her, eventhough she preferred it to be in 2 columns, she didn't make her point strong enough today in front of her, she didn't back me up much. So I am the ugly one lo (Cantonese saying). Wajid is a yes man, he wouldn't say no when she says yes. Avni obviously corrected and helped him in many ways. Me, I have nothing against her, I respect her and admire her capability like I wrote yesterday, I think without her, this whole team will fall apart, that I totally agree, even I have to learn a lot from her.

BUT, I think decision should be made jointly and I just wanted to prove my point. It doesn't matter whether what the outcome of the decision is, I just want to get my point across and heard. This whole team is not only her, and she is very vocal and she say out loud things that she doesn't like. Avni is not my manager, she is not above me, she is more experienced in this job and I do listen to her and obey her. But I will also voice out my suggestion even when she doesn't agree to it. I am not a sheep, I can voice out my opinion and how to make things better. To be honest, I don't care, I know I can't please everyone and I don't care even I am popular on this floor or not. I just do my things right and get things done. I DON'T CARE !

I know I am still young in this area, I am not good at communicating well and I got heated up quickly and my tone of voice goes before my feelings, and I will start to say it really quickly and lost my calmness. I have to learn more.

I am feeling much better now and more lesson on communication.

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