Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Next Step

Just before I became a nurse, the unit I work for got a new manager. He is not a nurse-- he's got an MBA.

That was our first warning.

Since it was my first nursing job, I was too busy learning the ropes to pay much attention to what was going on above. But it didn't take long. By the second or third monthly staff meeting, I began to realize that a series of increasingly disjointed, and sometimes nonsensical changes were being attempted-- harebrained schedules, attempts to use smartphones to dispatch us, etc.

When those things didn't work, it was, according to them, our fault-- that we were not trying hard enough to implement his genius ideas.

Over the months, I began to realize that I'd seen this story before: The Peter Principle.

In 1969, Laurence Peter published a book that purported (correctly, I believe) to explain a lot of organizational dysfunction. Basically, it said that people are promoted upward in organizations as long as the master each level. They rise until they hit a level they cannot master-- their "level of incompetence." Over time, position after position becomes filled with someone who cannot do the job. They cannot be promoted upward, and are rarely demoted. Organizations become filled at the top with people who cannot do the job, like a clogged filter.

I quickly realized that our manager had been promoted to his level of incompetence. And now here's the painful part:

His name is Peter.

In August, the Nursing Manger, the woman who hired me, saw the writing on the wall and left. The nursing manager position was taken over by a great guy, a nurse in my unit who did a lot of my training. He has struggled to do his job, but "Peter Principle," as I've nicknamed him, has thwarted him at every turn, taking away resources he needed to do the job. He is currently doing three jobs-- his, a former assistant who also quit, and coordinating day to day, which was formerly done in alternating weeks by two of the nurses in our unit.  The nursing manager, who has two young children, and was working 80-90 hour weeks (on salary), turned in his resignation.

Things are about to become very bad. I've been getting my resume ready, and have been encouraging a co-worker who is just as disgusted with recent events, to do so too.

In the meantime, I'm keeping my eye on our "Lumberg" until I can turn in my resignation as well.

"That'd be greeaaaatttt....."


SkylersDad said...

Oh wow that sounds bad JY. Is there any hope of going over this guys head to his manager to let them know what is going on? Or is that person too buddy buddy with him, or has risen to his own level of incompetence?

SamuraiFrog said...

Ugh, how awful. To find a job that you've found so fulfilling and then to have some MBA come in and throw a wrench into it. What a headache. Whatever happens, I'm rooting for you to come out on top.

Johnny Yen said...

SD- I thought of that. I've had discussions with co-workers about it, and we've come to the conclusion that he's got an "angel" (or satan, in our view) who protects him, no matter how incompetent he is. I'm also ready to step out and expand my skill set as a nurse.

SF- Thanks! It's still fulfilling some of the time, and it's serving its financial purpose-- I'm able to write out checks for my son's college, which I was horribly worried about for years, and no longer have to. I'm confident I'll be in a better situation soon.