Friday, February 2, 2007

Is it really eat the young?

Nurses talk to each other about how we eat our young and how that's shameful.

True. Reasonable.

But then, maybe it's not about age. It's about gender, perhaps, and about complex social issues of female-dominated workplaces and Empowerment and how we socialize each other to not have power and Womyn With A Y and menarche/menopause and other gagworthy propoganda. Maybe that's not fair to dismiss the latter idea with sarcasm, because I do regard it as chick schtick. The point is taken by Suzanne Gordon, and the case is reasonably made. I just don't agree.

Ninety percent of my new colleagues in ICU have been on a sliding scale from wonderful, professional, welcoming and enthusiastic at one end to indifferent, reasonably polite and reasonably professional at the other end. Who could ask for better? Nobody. (Not anybody realistic, that is.)

There's always at least one. It's a workplace, and no matter who you are, what field you're in or anything, there is always at least one. It is to my utter bliss that so far, there only has BEEN one. This one happens to be younger than me.

But now that I'm thinkin of it, this unpleasant hazing was done to me in the IT field as well. There's always a small handful in every office and on every contract. The geeks who don't help. Geeks who purposefully obfuscate. When you're a geek, it's laughably easy to blind your (non-geek, if you have them) friends and family with science. You get awe in return if you're speaking to someone who's impressed by that kind of thing.

But I've been hazed with the Blinded By Science bit; I've been hazed by the weirdly passive aggressive I'm Going to Fill Up Your Whiteboard With My Formulas And Don't You Dare Erase Them; I've been hazed by the room full of 15 men talking about the Tijuana stripclub the night before (and I'm the only woman there, and by the way, nobody invited me, which was the aspect of it that annoyed me more). This chick can code circles around me, maybe she'll take my office and the esteem and awe that every other Poindexter here has for me. Of the handful of geeks who've done that to me (and to all newcomers), the vast majority of them get over it. The ones who don't are the same ones who didn't get over it with the guy/chick hired 7 months before I was, anyway, so everybody knows That Guy's Just A Prick.

So I'm getting hazed again.

It's boring.

I mean, really. I'm not offended. It doesn't hurt my feelings. Nor am I...I dunno....what does one typically feel when one is on the ass-end of that whole Eating The Young (irrespective of age issue)/Hazing The New Girl Thing? When it happened in nursing school, which is where you see it a lot....Are you threatened? No. One doesn't feel threatened when someone else is acting as if you're a threat.

In my case at the moment, I don't know that 'threat' has anything to do with it. I don't know what the source of the malfunction is, actually. But ...I have to tell you it's weirdly liberating to not ...care.

And it's really that more than anything that has me thinking. It's about this parking my butt on a zafu to meditate business, at the root. So in circling how to write that over on Betelgeuse, I'm writing how it's affecting work here. This is my life in nursing, and to have a life in nursing, you will hit the adage, Nurses Eat Their Young, pretty much immediately. I guess....I'm not feelin readily digestible. That's not an analogy I'm willing to take further, mind you. But it's got nothing to do with age. Or gender. Maybe it's just people. And maybe you can ...step outside of that stupid little dance altogether.
/jo

4 comments:

Jo said...

I think it's a combination of experience and power.
Take a more experienced nurse who may be a little burnt out (and needing a power trip) and add to it a new enthusiastic nurse and you may get some hazing.
It's great that you are coping so well, I think it would bother me a lot more.

Anonymous said...

Or take the established nurse that is scared in her "outside life". The one that doesn't have an ego, a sense of selfworth. She traumatizes her fellow workers with snide, rude and completely offensive remarks about people that she perceives as a threat. And the sad thing is, she is listened to and people bow to her.
LOL oh well at least I can move to another department!
Steve

JustCallMeJo said...

Jo, thanks. Some days are better than others.

Steve...Naaaah. The same people are in the other department, too. :)
/jo

Not Nurse Ratched said...

"One doesn't feel threatened when someone else is acting as if you're a threat." OMG I sooooo needed to hear that. It's so true. I am going to keep this in my quotable quotes file!