My little sister lost her job today. Not because of the economy or down sizing. Because of greed and insensitivity. Little Sister has worked for a fancy schmancy OB doc (OB #1) in The Big City where I used to work off and on for about 14 years. Before that, Little Sister worked for OB #1’s (GP #1) husband for several years. As a matter of fact, GP #1 recommended Little Sister to OB #1.
I need to share a little bit of background info before I start the story. Little Sister is a Medical Secretary with a little over 20 years of experience working in a medical office setting. When she first got out of college, she worked as a billing clerk for a pathology dept. of a Big Hospital. Then she heard about a job as a billing clerk for GP #1. I don’t exactly remember how it came to be that Little Sister left GP #1 and went to work for OB #1, but I think it had something to do with Little Sister wanting to scale back her hours a bit when she was pregnant with Duckie (my niece). I do know that Little Sister had been working for OB #1 off and on for about 14 years. When Little Sister was pregnant with Little Man she decided that she wanted to do the stay at home mom thing for a while and gave up her job with OB #1. Little Sister had always planned to go back to work when Little Man started kindergarten and was very surprised that OB #1 called her out of the blue to ask her to come back to work when Little Man was about 4 years old. Little Sister told OB #1 that she wasn’t sure she was ready to come back to work yet, but OB #1 offered Little Sister a nice salary and promised she could work whatever hours she wanted. Little Sister mentioned an outrageous amount of money and a 6 hours a day, 4 days a week work week to OB #1 . . . and OB #1 agreed to it! And things were fine at the OB office . . . or so Little Sister thought.
Now OB #1 has an office sharing arrangement with OB #2. Two totally separate practices with two totally separate office staffs, computer systems, office furniture, etc. About 6 or 8 months ago, there were rumors and whispers around the two offices that the docs were thinking about merging the two practices into one. When the girls asked the docs, the docs denied anything like that was being discussed. Even though the docs denied a merger, the girls could tell that something was up and there were some changes going to be coming down the pike.
A couple of weeks ago, OB #1 and OB #2 told the girls in the office that there was going to be a joint office staff meeting on Wednesday, July 16. No prior details. No agenda. Nothing. Just an announcement of an office staff meeting. The first one the two docs had held together. So now the rumors and questions were flying around the office. That’s why no one was really surprised when the announcement of a merger was made. What surprised everyone is that there were going to be major changes to the office staff. Some hours were going to be cut. Some positions were going to be changed. New policys and procedures would be put in to place. And one job was going to be eliminated. Imagine Little Sister’s surprise to find out that the position being eliminated was hers. No warning, no offer of an altered work schedule or work duties. Nothing. Just a "we’re eliminating your job and replacing it with a position that you aren’t qualified to do." The person coming to fill the new job is the person who left OB #1’s office quite suddenly years ago and that’s when OB#1 called Little Sister to come back to work for her. Even though Little Sister had been doing the same kinds of work for years without the fancy title. OB #1 would give Little Sister 4 weeks of severance pay and wanted Little Sister to be out of the office by the end of the day today. So, Little Sister was told at 2:30 on Wednesday that her job was being eliminated, she was going to be unemployed, and she had only one day to get caught up and get her desk cleaned out. Did I mention that happened two days after Little Sister returned back to the office from a week’s vacation? Yea, some nice welcome back.
When Little Sister told me this story, I was so mad I could spit nails. How could you do this to someone who had been a good and loyal employee for over 10 years? How can you do this and expect the girls that are staying not to have some hard feelings about OB1 and OB2? If this is how she treats her employees, how does she treat her patients? And what’s to stop them from doing the same thing to one of the other girls in the office. About a zillion thoughts have been zipping through my head since last night when Little Sister called to tell me the news. Talk about cursing up a blue streak. I would have made a sailor blush last night.
Little Sister went in to the office today and cleaned out her desk and tied up as many loose ends as she could. She was pleasant and graceful and handled herself with a lot of class and dignity. She kept a positive attitude that this job change might be a good thing. OB#1 mentioned that she was impressed with Little Sister’s grace and Little Sister replied, "I’m doing it because I need the severance package and I need a good reference." I wish I could have seen the look on OB#1’s face! OB#2 never said one word to Little Sister today.
Little Sister has 4 weeks of severance coming, so she’s not stressed to find a job right now, but she’s going to have to find one fairly quickly. So I’m going to help her with her resume and hopefully she’ll find a new (better) job quickly. I’m hoping that she can find a job as easily as I found my new job . . . and she finds one that she likes as much as I like mine.
I’m ticked that someone could treat a long term employee so poorly, but I’m also happy that Little Sister will get to spend some time with her kids before school starts in the fall.