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Tuesday, 11 September 2007

The "C" word

C can stand for a lot of things: cash, car, confidence, competency, career etc...
 
Today, the C word for me is confidence.
 
There is a lot of fudge among all 4 pharmacists in this department. For example, my manager, is the name lead for Oxygen in Islington, meaning everything that deals with oxygen cylinder queries or problem goes to him. Being a manager, he has no time to run a report on oxygen data, so  he asked me to join him in this oxygen meetings. As his usual phrase : "that's a great idea, irene, are you happy to do it?" or "Please can i have the report on the cost of oxygen per month, please update the graph" . To  be honest, that's a data analyst job, not me. To be honest, i didn't go through 5 years of university, 2 years of traning, sat through 7 years of exam to run report, and create graph on an excel sheet. We have a dedicated data analyst who does that. Not complaining, just not an efficienct way of handling resources in the NHS.
 
Secondly, projects. I can never get my head around this. A is the head of pharmacy, meaning any projects that involved community pharmacists in Islington remain in her territory. Then i am the lead for specific disease, for example diabetes. So i sit on diabetes implementation group.  So there is a suggestion for a diabetes project that involves community pharmacy. A, again, do not have time to write such unimportant paper exercise, i.e. proposal, so she asked me to write it. That also includes a secretary job of booking a room for meeting and getting a date for everyone. A chairs the meeting. I am the hand, and she is the face and the mouth.Having observed this kind of workflow for a while, i realised that the biggest incentive to move up the management ladder is so that i can do the talking, while others do the writing. No doubt that A has a wide network, she has excellent communication skills and is clearly motivated, highly enthusiastic. I sit next to her and i asked God: why am i not like her? Why can't someone infuse those kinda enthusiasm and motivation to love my job? What;s wrong with me? Why why why?
 
Then the C word. Yesterday i sat on the diabetes local implementation group. My chance to speak up is finally here: " Diabetes Project :Irene tan/A. A wasn't a member in the meeting, hence i did the feedback and update. My heart was racing from the beginning of the meeting till 2 hours later. When it was finally my chance to speak, my voice trembled. As a rough estimation we need X amount of money to run this project. Silence. Before we put in any more hours into working on the proposal, we want to know whether this is something this group can support in terms of funding. Silence. "There is no funding .. and we can't just take your word, we need something written ..etc ... and you need to have conversation with Public health to see how it fits into the wider context"
 
"This is not something we did in isolation. Public health was involved from the very beginning. They were invited to our first meeting but no one could make it" I responded. "So are you saying that this is not your priority at the moment? " The chair ambiguously responded.. those kinda yes/no answer like how politicians responded. Then someone from public health said it's clearly a priority..
 
I blushed. My heart was beating. I wanted to retaliate but i kept quiet. It was the way she said it, she actually used the word " daft".
 
Why are we going two step backwards? This suggestion came out from this group itself to have community pharmacists involved to help in achieving the target. In other words, it is obviously a strand of work that flow from the wider context. Now that a verbal feedback of what has happened since the last meeting came back to the same thing: "let's see how it fits into the wider context" RUBBISH !
 
They want a proposal , fine, that's easy to churn out. But there is no guarantee that there is funding. So what are we saying here? I hate to admit, but everything is about money. No funding, projects can't go ahead. So why am i writing the proposal and organising meeting? Because there is more high end that running an excel report?
 
the C word: Confidence. I can say so much here because i wasn't confident then. I still very much feel like a foreigner. Yes apart from my oriental look, it's the way of saying something. I am not comfortable with those environment.
 
In a way, i dislike meetings. 2-3 hours of meetings with 1 or 2 action points. Never an effective way of managing resources.
 
Well, that's the reality of me working in a foreign land. Not so much that they are foreign to me, more so that i lack of confident. At the back of my mind somewhere, this thought that i am foreign is lurking.
 
If A was in the meeting, the atmosphere would be different. She would probably articulate it much better than i do, and she probably say something witty and lighten up the room with some laughter or some jokes.
 
But i can't do it. I am just as blunt and square as it is when it comes to this. Perhaps it would be much different if i am speaking in mandarin or cantonese..maybe... or maybe this kinda of bureacratic environment is not my cup of tea. Maybe working is not my cupt of tea at all. If only i can be student all my life, studying one course after the other...
 
Talking about tea, i have become a grumpy pot recently at work. So much frustration brewing inside me, which i think it's not healthy. I am loosing that radiant from my smile, if i ever smile.
 
I went to gym in the morning to have some endorphin released (the chemical that being released,  body owns antidepressant, can lift up one's mood). Those endorphin evaporated the minute i stepped in this building. I don't think it's healthy. I can't let my colleagues suffer from grumpy pot, i prayed and i read the bible and i prayed.. this is where i am at.
 
Time... time will tell. God help me! Change me or change situation.. whichever that suits You.!

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