I spent Christmas Eve in transit hell

Somehow I ended up in an unfamiliar Chinatown that afternoon with only 20 minutes to make a crucial bus connection and still needed to find, buy, and wrap a thoughtful and appropriate Christmas present.  (Did I mention this was in Chinatown?  It was in Chinatown.  Couldn’t have planned it worse if I’d tried.)

The fact that it somehow worked is all I’ll ever need to know about Christmas miracles.

Oh, and remember when I spent Thanksgiving dinner with a bunch of 3rd year med students?  I one-upped myself and spent Christmas with a bunch of interns.  All I can say is, I know now that Grey’s Anatomy is real – just replace the sex with office politics and add in a few more diabetic foot patients.

I have heard terrifying stories of power-hungry residents, a fired intern, and the incredible power that you gain if you just have enough people who have your back.  (Everybody who’s gone through a residency right now is probably nodding their head like, “Yeah.  And sky is blue, dear.”  Understood).  I also saw the most stereotypically tough ortho intern I’ve ever met become so frustrated in recounting a story that he cried.

He was talking about how to deal with an ineffective, power-hungry resident who essentially owns your life – and it was uncomfortable for a few reasons.  The most self-centered one was that I can’t blame it on surgery.  I know that dealing with an ineffective or dumb boss is something everybody has to do at some point, whether you’re in surgery, psychiatry, or welding – but it’s disturbing to really accept that it’s out of your control.  I guess you just have to be able to pick your battles, wield some social skills in the face of the worst of them, and just deal the rest of the time.

This is one of the reasons I’m always trying to figure out how people I admire handle tricky situations like that.  There are people out there who really can just fix those situations, and I pretty much want to be them when I grow up.  Some people collect coins, some people collect art – I collect other people’s advice.

In other news, I may soon be snowed into the almost-Grey’s-Anatomy intern house.  But it’s okay, because I have wireless internet, 6 chapters of required reading, and a fireplace.  Your move, weather.

4 thoughts on “I spent Christmas Eve in transit hell

  1. it is difficult to set appropriate boundaries when you have no power. the residents have little power either, though. all you can do is be efficient, work hard, and smile. sullen, cynical, sarcastic do not work. well, maybe some cynicism, but only absent the other two, and with the smile. the attending does not want to hear about it. the chief resident has shared common goals and experiences with the other residents every day for years. all you can do is do your work and persevere.

  2. “I know that dealing with an ineffective or dumb boss is something everybody has to do at some point”

    This is something that can be excruciatingly difficult in the best of circumstances. Let alone when your in an extremely high speed, high stress, no margin for error environment. I don’t have any data to prove my suspicion, but I am willing to bet dollars to donuts that the interns and residents that have the best set of coping skills and experience are the ones that end up doing the best.

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