And not the animal kind–though I should take a lesson from it.
I almost got myself fired yesterday. And at the time, I wasn’t sad about it. At all. Every fiber of my being had to conjure the financial ruin (and burned bridges) walking off the job would create. I knew if I opened my mouth to respond–a lot of frustration and hostility would boil over. I was so, so, so, so, so close to looking at my boss and saying regretful things, then leaving right then and there. Just to show her I would. Because I was upset that nothing ever changes, and my employers don’t care about the issues so important or problematic to me. So many problems remain that it’s difficult to address one without bringing up 12 other infractions. So at the time it just seemed easier to cut ties.
And certainly I would regret that decision. I DO need this job–and I’m good at it. It’s my best work skill, they are willing to work with my school schedule, and I need the money. And my boss MUST realize her life is a lot easier with me in it–though she’d never give me the satisfaction of telling me so. I am dedicated and show up every Saturday, I am fast enough to work busy Mondays and Fridays. I do all of the cleaning of the hospital. I am somehow the only one that knows how to change the processor chem, and if I do say so myself, take the best films. I know how to set up the I131 room, and am willing to come in on Sundays to check the kitties in there. I have NEVER called in sick–even when I am. I have come in between 4:45 AM and never later then 6:55 AM to clean up from the day before, set up for that day, and house-keep–and then worked the rest of my 9 hour day. I am not just a body. And replacing me would not be that easy. My quitting wouldn’t be great for either me or my boss. But at the time, both of us were so angry that we were willing to terminate the relationship.
But then after getting so heated with my boss, I could calmly restrain a fractious cat. I thought to myself what the difference was. How could I slow my adrenaline and ignore angry growls, and cat-aggression, but get all riled up when it’s a person confronting me? My big conclusion was that cats only think of self-preservation–their behavior is not about me. But is that really so different from people?
Cats bring out the teeth and claw because:
As humans, we’re tough, but we’re also scared a lot of the time. We each get afraid of various things, and that colors our behaviors. Just like cats, when threatened we can lash out. We will try to control our own environment and destiny sometimes at the expense of others.
2-They’re uncomfortable or don’t feel well.
When you’re cold, have a headache, hurt somewhere–it’s really difficult to have patience. And just the overall psyche suffers, and may cause an unfortunate episode with another person.
3-They don’t like the way I am poking at them or interacting with them.
Kitty says, stop touching me like that or I don’t like how you’re holding me (or that you are). In the same way people will tell you. Make an undesirable face, use a beligerant expression, employ negative body language, have a “tone” in your voice, or say bad things–we are sensitive to these cues. And if the interaction isn’t pleasant we’re going to get our hackles up and respond defensively or aggressively to it. Yay language!
4-They wanted to be doing something else (napping).
People can become irate, too, just because they’d rather be elsewhere. It has nothing to do with the person they’re dealing with–that person just gets the brunt of it. Work, appointments, traffic–people don’t wanna be there, so accordingly, the temper is going to be shorter.
5-They are tired and/or hungry.
Exactly like when the kitties would rather be settling in for a warm nap instead of at the vet, people are edgy when they’re tired. See my last post on the importance of sleep. And hunger? If you’ve ever seen an NPO cat prior to surgery, you know it’s crabby. Hunger can make a cat or person do crazy things.
6-They are mad at their owner for bringing them in, or at another cat/animal.
The cat scratches the techs and doctors, because they are displacing aggression. If a person feels anger toward someone–a client, a superior, a certain employee, the husband–but for whatever reason can’t address the issues with THAT person. Well, the frustration is going to come out somewhere. Every spouse in the world knows this story.
7-Or they’re just little jerks.
Probably the rarest form of fractious cat–just a nasty personality. And some people are just a$$holes.
So looking at that list, let’s start with me:
1 I was scared. Scared that I would again and constantly feel overwhelming stress/annoyance like the previous day. Scared of killing something or doing irreparable harm to a patient.
2 I also didn’t feel well. I had a sore throat and general malaise. Plus I was regretting my breakfast cookies, because my blood sugar felt a little lower than is comfortable.
3 I didn’t like the way my boss was interacting with me. After not getting “after” anyone the day before (for transgressions I feel are blatant and obvious,) and without telling me anything good about the work of the prior day–she was then getting into my face. About something that wasn’t wrong. If she had checked she would know this.
4 I wanted to be anywhere else but a 4th day at work–3 of them 10+ hours. I have to fix my car that won’t lock and get a bungee cord for the door that won’t shut. I need to read and outline my textbooks before the semester starts. And when I work full days and Cool works full nights I never see her. So I wanted to be home with her. I want to read for pleasure while I still have time. . .
5 I was tired. Cool woke me up at 2:30 AM that morning and I never did go back to sleep. And this was after waking up at 4 AM (then working 10 hour days) the 2 previous days. And obviously I get really grumpy when I’m exhausted.
6 I was mad at the receptionist who can’t say no or schedule appropriately–or check in a true drop-off appointment. I was angry that same receptionist (that creates the stress) gets stressed and pushes HER work onto me when I’m already overwhelmed with my own work. I was also mad that the tech I worked with the previous day was slow, doing exactly 25% of every task and leaving me with the rest.
Now lets look at my boss:
1 I suspect she was scared I would poison our new good tech against her by being disgruntled. She may also have been scared about losing patients during anesthetics. Thirdly, she might have feared clients would be unhappy.
2 My boss complained of a headache early in the morning, so I know she probably wasn’t feeling the best.
3 She did not like my tone of voice, didn’t like that I didn’t automatically submit to her, hates that I seem to lack gratitude to her for being employed, and especially didn’t like my comments of wanting a to quit if things at work didn’t improve.
4 Of course, my boss would rather be doing something else. Even people who love their job don’t want to be there all the time.
5 I can’t know if my boss was tired, though I assume so since she had also been working the previous insane day, and Wednesday was also her third, long day in a row. And I know she was hungry, because her stomach growled all morning.
6 And it’s impossible to know who else my boss might have a problem with at the time. Frustration at other staff members? The business partner? Her husband? All possible.
So the score? 6 out of 7 (I like to think) for me and 4 to 6 out of 7 for her. So we shouldn’t have interacted at all–that’s what those numbers tell me.
Lesson: It is possible to bypass emotion and fight or flight responses. And I need to do this when dealing with people, not just when restraining the fractious buddies.