In a small optometry practice, a newly hired and heavily pregnant Original Poster (OP) grapples with uncooperative colleagues who refuse to cross-train for various roles, making her work life increasingly challenging. As tension crescendos, OP reciprocates the unhelpful attitude, instigating an office conflict that brings underlying issues to the fore. But just when a resolution seems far out of reach, an unexpected event at the workplace begins to reshape their interpersonal dynamics.
Struggling with New Beginnings
OP, a 23-year-old woman, begins working at a small optometry practice. She settles in quickly due to her prior experience and finds her coworkers and bosses to be pleasant. A problem emerges, however, when she realizes that her coworkers prefer sticking to their specific tasks and resist cross-training, much to the bosses’ disapproval.
The Niches of Inefficiency
Coworkers at the practice have carved out their own niche duties. Andrea, for instance, exclusively handles pre-testing patients and neglects other tasks, such as answering phones, claiming that it’s the “front desk job.” Despite this, the owners express a desire for everyone to be cross-trained and help out where necessary.
Pregnancy Pains and Professional Problems
Adding to her work challenges, OP is 38 weeks pregnant and experiencing increasing discomfort. This particular day is worse than usual, with her body rebelling and making her job, pre-testing patients, increasingly difficult due to the constant standing it requires.
A Plea for Help
Midway through the painful day, OP reaches out to her coworker, Melissa, who handles billing duties. She proposes to teach Melissa how to do pre-testing so they can trade roles for an hour, allowing OP to rest her aching body. Melissa, however, adamantly refuses to learn new tasks, stating that if she learns pre-testing, she will be shoe-horned into pre-testing duties every day.
Tears of Struggle
Hurt by Melissa’s refusal, OP battles through the pain, pre-testing patients. The exertion and ongoing pelvic pain almost drive her to tears. Her boss notices her struggle and offers to let her leave early, but she declines, unable to forfeit the day’s pay.
A Petty Payback
Exhausted and in pain, OP sits down to chart after pre-testing the last patient of the day. She observes Melissa getting overwhelmed by incoming calls and patients’ insurance queries. Though trained in billing, OP decides not to assist Melissa because of her earlier refusal.
The Tables Turn
When Melissa pleads for help with an angry caller, OP echoes Melissa’s earlier words and declines, not wanting to be shoe-horned into billing duties all the time, echoing her words from earlier that day. Melissa struggles alone, glaring at OP as she returns to her inundated workspace.
The Final Sting
As the day concludes, OP’s boss offers her the chance to leave early while still receiving full pay for the day. OP leaves, relishing a moment of triumph as she departs, leaving a flustered Melissa behind.
A Spouse’s Perspective
At home, OP shares the day’s events with her husband, expressing guilt over her retaliatory behavior towards Melissa. He defends her actions, stating that she merely treated Melissa as she was treated.
A Conscience at War
Despite her husband’s reassurances, OP is plagued with guilt and concern about the possible drama she’s stirred up in an otherwise peaceful work environment. She worries that her actions might have been too extreme, even while recognizing the validity of her initial request for help.
OP finds out that Melissa has been struggling with her own personal problems, adding to her resistance to learning new tasks. Her recently divorced status and ailing parent have left her emotionally drained, making her more vulnerable and stressed at work.
Tensions escalate when Melissa confronts OP about her actions, accusing her of lacking empathy and being self-centered. The confrontation occurs in front of their coworkers, creating an atmosphere of tension and discomfort that envelops the previously serene office environment.
The Bosses Intervene
Reacting to the mounting tension, the owners step in to mediate the conflict between OP and Melissa. They express their disappointment in the breakdown of communication and teamwork, emphasizing once again the importance of cross-training and mutual support in their practice.
Was The Woman’s Behavior Appropriate?
Conflicted about the drama she created at work, OP posts her story online. The readers in the community forum had a lot to say on the matter. Here are some of their responses:
One reader said, “I appreciate your pettiness in this situation. It is not cool to ask for help from somebody you declined to help earlier.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “Treat others how you expect to be treated. Want help from other people? Be prepared to help back.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “Is it that hard to pitch in and help each other? She wasn’t willing to help when a pregnant woman was in actual pain because she might accidentally have to work a tiny bit harder.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another person commented, “Sometimes when you are physically suffering, and someone refuses to do even the teensiest bit to help, a dose of petty is fine. I wouldn’t make a habit of this, but if your BOSS can see you are in total pain and is letting you go home early with pay? Melissa set the tone; you just followed her lead.”
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on their actions?
What would you have done in this situation?
This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.