Long-time readers can skip the first paragraph if they remember this story.

The longest Christmas Party I ever attended was with my ex-girlfriend Julia. She was my ex-girlfriend at the time, and had been for about a week-and-a-half. I had broken things off a couple weeks before Christmas, and that was going to make things difficult for her. So I agreed, without much hesitation, to go to the family Christmas party and she would let everyone know we broke up after. Her brother’s then-girlfriend (now wife) didn’t like me for some reason. She got wind of it, and told everybody. But she didn’t tell me, or Julia, that everybody knew. Nobody said a word, but it was three hours of exceptionally cold treatment.

Last week was the Residency Dinner for my wife’s work. That’s where they honor the residents and instructing physicians, like my wife, are expected to be there. Which, hey, it’s free food and a nice night on the town. There are worse things.

One of my wife’s colleagues is on her way out, and not by her choice. In the jobs where my wife has worked, doctors aren’t fired but rather have contracts that are not renewed. The result is that you are fired way in advance of your departure date. Sometimes months. This can be kind of awkward because your final couple months there, everybody knows that you’ve been fired. And so it was this this doc. Except this doc, by dint of the occasion, was actually given an award. By the director that fired her. In front of a room full of people that know exactly what happened.

The thing is, this isn’t even the first time this has happened. It’s the first time it’s happened at this job, but it happened twice under her previous one (which did the same contract thing) at the “Physician Appreciation Dinner”. One involved a doctor who wasn’t fired, but was pressured to resign due to health reasons. But she had the social obligation to go to the PAD, be a part of the slideshow, accept some certificate thing, and be thanked for the job that she was being told not to do anymore. The other one was even more complicated, with a physician that was fired and then was mysteriously unfired. All in the run-up to the PAD.

It’s all kind of a surreal experience.

One that kind of hits close to home. In Arapaho, Clancy really got the sense that the only reason they didn’t fire her was because they couldn’t replace her. It’s not that she was bad at her job – in fact, none of the three mentioned above were actually bad at their jobs – but some people (or at least one person) just didn’t like her. But there was always a feeling like if they could just find someone else to do the job, they wouldn’t renew. Well, it’s good to be needed and all, but it’s not fun to work in a place where you are merely tolerated. Attending a PAD by people who are just tolerating you isn’t as bad as doing so when they just fired you, but it’s vaguely familiar.

I am happy to report that none of this is an issue at her current job. Her contract was renewed last week without much fanfare.


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About the Author

Will Truman (trumwill) is a southern transplant in the mountain east with an IT background who bides his time taking care of their daughter while his wife brings home the bacon. You will probably be relieved to know that he does not generally refer to himself in the third-person except when he's writing short bios on his web page.

2 Responses to One Last Parade Before We Show You The Door

  1. Michael Cain says:

    The public part of it is interesting. When I was on the wrong end of a giant telecom merger, my final check included both all of the usual severance things, as well as the balance of the quite large retention bonus I’d been given a few months before. But that was a private thing.

    • trumwill says:

      I think with doctors a lot is public. Partially because, at the sorts of hospitals where Clancy has worked, there typically aren’t all that many of them.

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