Friday, June 27, 2008

Aren't "we" special?

As someone who's been cautioned once or twice against being too direct- I've found myself playing passive altogether too often lately. I noticed it first some time ago when in an email to a coworker at the corporate office, I said something to the effect of, "If we could get this profile updated to reflect the change in status, that would be great!" We? I can't do a damn thing about updating the profile... I don't even work in that database. Hell- that database is 3,000 miles from where I sit. You are responsible for that task. ...But I totally softened it. Maybe I was trying to come across as more of a "team player," by implying that we can do it together! Yeah. I still can't do a damn thing about it and it's still your job. Oh, and I actually can't continue working on that item until your part has been completed.

Then we made a bunch of declarations about my dental preferences. "I think we decided the floss with the sort of spongy, ropey feel was the best..." Hmmm. Was the dental hygienist in the bathroom with me, both of us in our pajamas with morning breath? And did we look at each other with two-fisted flossy grins in appreciation of the gentle dental scrubbing we experienced from said floss? I don't think so. What's the deal there? I couldn't' admit the flat ribbon floss my friendly hygienist (shout out to Nancy at Dr. Felix's office!) suggested wasn't really my thing? Was I afraid my shunning her recommendation would jeopardize our regular six month hook up? Please.

The final straw was really when we decided on what type of medical care I should receive. "I think we decided it would be alright for me to go off the methimazole because we felt I was doing a lot better." Last I checked the only degree hanging on my wall (or boxed up at my Mom's house, actually) is for something totally non-scientific like Art. Under that there profile section, do you see "Salty, Phd?" Didn't think so. (Besides, if I was going to be a "PhD," I would totally go for the gold and add, "Esq." Go big or go home, really.) In this case I think the ubiquitous "we" has more to do with not wanting to seem presumptuous or like I remember our last office visit better than he does. But seriously- I usually do! I can't tell you how many times the doctor sits there staring at his new Dell flat screen that's supposed to tell them everything their paper charts used to say and they're asking, "Now it looks like I saw you back in ...?" or "Now are you still on the XYZ medication?" You should know this! It is not my personal responsibility to lay out my medical history every time we meet. WTF?

So folks, I think we need to work on this. Well, specifically I need to work on this. But in this case, I really do mean "we" because I hear people do it all the time. But I think if we all made an effort to take a little more ownership of our jobs, our actions, our mistakes... all of the things each of us really is in control of and accountable for, we'd be communicating an awful lot better.

No comments: