At work in 2010: the beginning of the end

The week after I had that talk with the supervisor, I incidentally also had a job interview with a whole other clinic. One I had sent my application to last fall, when the formation started, and where they told me I was so young they’re not sure it was worth sending in an application at all, especially since there weren’t any spots left. Well good thing I did anyway, because on March 15th I was there and spots were becoming available for mid-april. Three other colleagues from my class already work there and told me that the chef was hard to read, so I shouldn’t expect much from the interview. It was a tough place to get into, because everyone wants to go there. It’s right across from where we have our theory classes, it pays and since they work on the basis of a bio-psycho-social model (and not just the biological like the clinic I was currently in), you can learn a lot too. Two other people from my class were also applying for the job. We all had completely different experiences, there was no way of preparing for the interview. As expected, there was a big pile of applications on the desk, they hadn’t even read mine, and in the end I couldn’t at all tell what kind of impression I had made. I was supposed to receive an answer during the following week. Two weeks passed and no answer. I was trying not to get my hopes up too high how awesome it would be to work there. In the second week I pulled my guts together and called them. The woman who was the second interviewer said that I had made a very good impression and was sure I would get a spot, she just couldn’t confirm yet before talking to the chef. The next day, after talking to him, she called back. The spot had been taken by someone else. But they would gladly keep my application if I was interested and would get back to me when something opened up, probably in the summer… Bummers. Now what? Did I have to make up my mind to spend the rest of the year on this ward with this horrible chief?

Back at the clinic, there were also some internal changes: our supervisor, head of PPiAs (that’s what we’re called) was up until now also head of the clinical psychology division (let’s call him B). As of April 1rst, that job belonged to someone else. Someone who was also going to supervise us and whom I’d known from our psychiatry seminar (let’s call him P). A fun guy, maybe, but not as experienced as the other one. We were supposed to get divided into two groups, and everyone was hoping to stay with B. I happened to have the luck of belonging to a ward that was assigned to P. Our first supervision with him was the day after I got shot down at the other clinic and now had to confront the fact that I would be spending many a round with annoying chief (let’s call him L). Only three people showed up. For the next week, we decided to change the time we met. More people showed up then, but we still didn’t have much to talk about. So since there were no patient cases to present, I decided to discuss this L-situation with the new bunch and see what they had to say about it. P pretty much took the opposite perspective of B on this. He said we shouldn’t back down from talking back just over fear of loosing our spot. He would back us up all the way and thought psychologists should make themselves more visible all together. I shouldn’t avoid the ward rounds, I should make a point of attending them and stating my opinion, if someone wanted to hear it or not. It was really invigorating and completely different to B’s approach to supervision.

The next week, when we had rounds, L started his usual act of torturing the poor med student. He always asked these totally random questions no one could answer and heightened the pressure by saying “you need this for the final exam!”. This time, when he asked about some drug no one had heard of, and the med student was visibly uncomfortable, I started humming the jeopardy theme. Out loud. And then I added: “welcome to another round of the senior physician’s quiz show!”. Out loud. Sure, I was grinning on the outside, but on the inside my heart was pounding and I was very anxious to see his reaction. He looked at me and smiled. And then turned back to the med student and asked: “well?”. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise that outside criticism, be it in humor or passive-aggressive, does not sink in to narcissists. But at least I got it out of my system. And I was looking forward to doing it again.

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